A Blog-to-Book Critic
Caroline McCarthy of CNET posted this article today about the blog-to-book phenomenon. While she points out several noteworthy blog-to-book disappointments, I can't help but wonder about the successful ones she didn't mention. Her article focuses on highly visible trade titles and perhaps the hit rate is less there than in my world of mostly technology-oriented books. Nevertheless, we're thrilled with the success of several of our blog-to-book titles including Naked Conversations, Lifehacker (which is currently in its second edition, Upgrade Your Life) and our most recent offering, ProBlogger.
Having seen a few of these work so well it's clear author platform is vital, but there is at least one other key ingredient required as well: the reader's hunger for something beyond the blog. Think about your top 10 favorite blogs. After reading their latest posts how many times have you wished for something more, not just the next series of posts? How many times did you leave that site or RSS feed and think, "gee, I wish that blogger would come out with a book"? If you're like me your answer is "rarely."
Most of the blogs I read on a regular basis leave me quite satisfied and I rarely find myself wishing for more. Additionally, I generally love the short bursts of content each blog offers and probably wouldn't have the same reaction if the material was presented in chapter-length pieces instead. IMHO, that's the main reason why it's hard for some of these wildly successful blogs to cross over into the bookosphere.
Joe, great blog, but I'm curious as to why you would link to Amazon for Wiley books rather than just linking to the book page on your own website. I'm always frustrated by the fact that publishers cede so much territory to Amazon needlessly...
Posted by: rjh | July 10, 2008 at 09:05 AM
Excellent question -- I'm glad you asked! While I believe we have great catalog sites for our books at Wiley I almost always opt for an Amazon link. Why? The primary reason is probably depth of content. The typical Amazon page has more content on it than any book publisher's equivalent page. Don't forget that I'm including author comments as an important piece of content as well; most publisher sites don't include customer comments, or at least they don't typically have the depth of comments that Amazon does for that title.
The second reason is purchasing convenience. Amazon sells a lot more books in any given day/week/year than any publisher does off their site, so why not take customers where the bulk of the traffic, transactions and customer discussions are already happening?
The third reason: My own convenience! Don't forget that I blog about books from all publishers, not just Wiley. I can find any publisher's book much faster on Amazon than I can if I have to first hunt for that publisher's website and then find the book. That's partially because I always have multiple Firefox tabs open to Amazon throughout the day.
Posted by: Joe Wikert | July 10, 2008 at 12:12 PM