Friday, February 03, 2006

Sundry Items/amazon.com


I forgot yesterday to mention an interview I did on 1/31 over at Dineen Miller’s blog. Take a look if you haven’t already stopped by there. Dineen asked a few questions that, well, got me going.

In the near future I’ll have another interview up on
Chris Wells’ site. I’ll let you know when that happens. Interestingly, Dineen and Chris asked completely different questions, which was quite refreshing.

Also, coming soon here, I want to give you another inside look at editing with a publishing house. Remember when I covered the macro edit for Violet Dawn? Well, guess what’s back on my desk, this time for copyedits. We’ll take a look at how this go-round is different from the last, and what makes a good copyedit, etc.

Oh, I want to remind you all of our discussion board (link at left). You’ve probably forgotten about it—because I know I had. For a while last year it was going good there, but I happened to check it for the first time in a couple months, and there’s an obvious lack of recent chatting. Frankly, it’s not a big issue to me whether you use it or not. I know plenty of other writing blogs offer message boards for discussion. But if you’d like to open up some topic, or perhaps continue a topic started here, please note that you’re doing so in a post comment, so BGs will know to mosey on over and take a look.

Now for today, here’s a bit of cool news from Publisher’s Weekly regarding amazon.com’s new venture:


The day before it is set to release results for 2005, Amazon announced another marketing initiative designed to drive traffic to its site. Amazon Connect will let authors post messages directly to their readers via the Amazon.com home page. Authors' posts will be limited to customers who have purchased that author's work in the past, or to those who sign up to receive that author's posts.

Amazon said about 1,000 authors have enrolled in the program. In addition to the Amazon.com home page, posts will appear on book detail pages, a blog page and on a special author profile page that features the author's three most recent posts and entire bibliography. In addition, customers can sign up to receive posts from authors whose books they have not previously purchased on Amazon.

I’m already in the process of signing up as an author.

It’s interesting to note that in the grand scheme of book sales, the Internet plays a very small percentage. According to the ECPA’s recent survey for sales of Christian books in 2004, the Internet came in at only 1.4% of sales. It does form a little larger percentage in the general market, but still not much.

But here’s the thing I notice with myself. I may not buy all the time from amazon, but I do use it as an information site. I can easily look up an author and everything he/she has written. And now much of the time I can read a few pages inside the books. This author thing sounds way cool to me as a reader. It will drive me to amazon.com more frequently now, I think.


I’d like to take an admittedly less than scientific poll here. Do you use amazon.com for information more than you use it for purchasing? If you use it for information, what kinds of info are you seeking? And—in this new Amazon Connect program—what kinds of information from an author would you like to see (if ya already didn’t know all her inside stories and read her blog every day, that is)?


16 comments:

Pamela Cosel said...

I actually use Amazon.com more for purchases than information, though I do both. If there's a book I want, I first seek it via Amazon. I've bought used books (both for pleasure and textbooks) in great shape and at great prices. Mainly, I do seek information about authors and/or speakers. I think the Amazon Connect is a new program worth looking at. As for what I'd want to know about an author, I have to think about that. Don't know yet.

Gina Holmes said...

I use amazon a lot. Mostly because I'm a reviewer and look up book info. I also do buy from there more than any other place. That's because my time is very limited with 2 children.

Maybe I'd want to read about the story behind the story I'm looking to buy or that I already bought. You know, how the author came up with the story, interesting facts, etc. Though to be honest, I doubt I'll utilize that much. Though who knows.

Karen said...

I use Amazon for both marketing research and purchase. It's convenient and saves running out to a bookstore which may not have what I want in stock anyway. I don't know that asking other writers what they do garners the kind of information we need. As writers, we see books/authors differently even though we are readers too. I'd like to know how the non-writing readers use Amazon and what they look for when making a purchase.

Ron Estrada said...

I have a separate mailbox for my Amazon purchases. I'm skeptical of those survey numbers, especially after internet sales for general merchandise skyrocketed last Christmas. I use Amazon to get info on books in my genre, whether I'm going to read them or not. I read the reviews, though I get mad when somebody bashes an author I know (though I think I would be less angry if it were me being bashed). The author info is a nice marketing tool, but see if you can include your blog and homepage link.

Cara Putman said...

I use Amazon for both purchasing and exploring. I still prefer holding a book and flipping the pages for exploring, but like Amazon's inside the book feature. When we lived in DC I didn't have a connection with a Christian bookstore and it took awhile to get to one, so I bought a lot of my books through Amazon. Now that we are in Lafayette, and I know the people at the local Parables, I buy 90% of my books there.

The idea of getting to check on author comments will certainly keep me going to Amazon as one way I check out books I'm interested in but not committed to. Those would primarily be for new authors that I've seen somewhere but am still not convinced I want to plunk the money down.

I also get a lot of info from Amazon when I'm talking the library into buying books like your women's fiction series.

Cheryl Russell said...

Are there other places besides Amazon? ;-). I buy most of my books from Amazon because it's easier and I live in an area where selection is limited, but mainly because I like the 'point, click, bring it to my door' aspect. :-)

I also use Amazon for gleaning information on books that interest me. If I'm not sure about a book, I'll add it to my wish list.

I'm not sure about their new Author Connect feature. In a way, I think it's reinventing the wheel. I prefer going to author websites and blogs to see what's up. I may check it out just out of curiosity, but I doubt it's something I'll visit frequently.

Karen Wevick said...

I use Amazon for both, however I buy most of my books from Christian Books.com. Even when I lived in L.A. and had a Christian book store not too far from me, I still ended up ordering online because of the time involved to actually to out and shop. As to author info, I have no idea when I would want to see. Not much help, I know. God Bless,

Stuart said...

I buy most of my books from Amazon.com due to discount & free shipping ;) Unless I want a mass market sci-fi or fantasy and then I'll just go browse at Barnes & Noble.

I'm also wondering about those sale numbers for internet from ECPA. Do they count all online sales, or only a specific segment?

But that new feature does sound like a cool tool for both authors & readers. :)

D. Gudger said...

I sometimes look to Amazon when I can't find a book on B&N where I get discounts. Ultimately I buy from the site with the best price. I like internet shoping for many things, but there really is nothing like lurking in B&N or Borders or even Mardel.
The author feature seems cool, but it seems like a lot of work. I agree w/ Cheryl R - there is a sense of redundancy to it. why not just link to the author's web pages or blog?

LaShaunda said...

I buy books from amazon. I use it to research authors and their books. I love the look inside feature, especially if its a research book. It lets me see if it has the information I need, so I can decide if I want to purchase it.

I look at the reviews to see what readers think. I like the idea of putting in a subject and finding a book.

I'm sure I'll be trying out this new feature too.

Becky said...

Well, remember, you're asking a crowd that hangs out on the web.

I'm the exception, however. Never have made an Amazon purchase--just use it for research.

I would like to know the author's web site and/or blog, maybe how many other books he/she has written and in what genre. If they're a speaker and where I might hear them or attend a book signing (or where I can learn that kind of information).

I'd also like to know if they earned out their advance and how many copies of their last book they sold and if they're happy with their publisher, but all that is probably asking a bit much. Hahah

Becky

C.J. Darlington said...

I use Amazon for both -- to buy and research. They have great prices, and I love the free shipping on orders over $25.00. I enjoy finding out any and all that I can about authors, so I'm sure I'll enjoy this new feature.

Domino said...

I also love free shipping. I did a lot of my Christmas shopping at amazon because my family members use wish lists.

I use the look inside feature to decide which of the books on the same topic most suits my needs. I look at an author's selection of books before I buy one.

I think I use it for research more than purchasing, but I do purchase... Amazon loves me.

Camy Tang said...

I'm like everyone else--I use Amazon for both purchases and research. Research especially--there is no other way I'd find some of the ethnic chick-lit titles without Amazon's search feature, because I really don't relish going to B&N and browsing through every single chick-lit novel to find ones with multi-ethnic characters.

I'm also incredibly disappointed by my local Christian bookstores. The fiction section is limited to only the big selling names, which is nice when I need to pick up WEB OF LIES but not when I want to look at new authors.

Camy

Katie Hart said...

I use Amazon mostly for information. I really don't buy books much anymore - I review them. So when an unfamiliar book/author pops up on my list of review choices, I head over to Amazon to get a brief description of the book. If it sounds interesting, I choose to review it.

For the author connect - I'd enjoy knowing what authors are working on next - so I can anticipate books to review!

Nick said...

I use Amazon for information only...but I use it almost every day. I buy from either my local Christian bookstore, Barnes and Noble, or one of several used bookstores I frequent. I have very, very rarely purchased from Amazon. I like to support walk-in bookstores.