A preview of the ebook paired with reviews will likely increase sales.Getty
It’s considered common knowledge that book reviews are a big component of successful marketing for an author. But a new study just added a wrinkle: The research shows that combining ebook reviews with a preview of the book itself makes viewers meaningfully more likely to buy a copy than either the review or the preview by itself.
Alone, exposure to an ebook review boosts the likelihood of a purchase by between 7 and 17%, and that’s the same effect that exposure to an ebook preview results in. But exposure to both of them escalates that chance of a purchase by 31%.
The takeaway for any authors invested in marketing their work appropriately? You’ll want to give your potential readers two different ways to judge your work: A first-hand, direct experience (the preview), and a second-hand, indirect recommendation (the review).
“Striking the right balance between direct and indirect product experience is becoming an important strategic challenge,” said a researcher behind the study, Angela Choi of Florida State University, in a press release.
Some authors may not want to offer up the first chapter or two of their work for free, but as these results show, a preview of the ebook paired with reviews will likely increase sales.
While the data behind these findings comes solely from ebook purchases, it doesn’t seem like a stretch to assume the results will apply to other formats, like print books or audiobooks.
Granted, including a “preview” is easy at a bookstore, where readers can crack the cover and read as much as they’d like. When it comes to audiobooks or ebooks, choosing to include a preview is a design choice made by the author or by the vendor selling the product.
The new report is out from the Information Systems Research journal, in a study titled “When Seeing Helps Believing: The Interactive Effects of Previews and Reviews on E-Book Purchases,” conducted by Choi, along with Daegon Cho and Wonseok Oh of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Dobin Yim of Loyola University and Jae Yun Moon of Korea University.
These researchers crunched two months of data covering over 270,000 sessions tracking ebook viewers’ exposure to reviews and previews, compared against their purchase history.