Sorry for the long break. I had a pesky finnish summer flu which knocked me out for one week, after that it was time for the notorious finnish mid summer festivities. I will try to catch up.
Few weeks back I took part in a conference which is part of the European audience research network Transforming audiences, transforming societies. This year, it was held by Aalto TAIK Department of Media. What struck me in the first presentation by Philip M. Napoli (blog) was that traditional audience research is not up to date with new media fragmentation that also book publishers are facing now. Although Nielsen and other well-known rating companies have created information systems to handle these new medias, there is still lot of dark spots in the media usage statistics. For publishers, the buzz around an author, title or specific topic could be used in marketing or when making publishing decisions.
Social reading concepts like presented by Kobo Reading Life can give very detailed statistics about each persons reading habits but also enhances the customer loyalty. Some may see this only as Barnes & Nobles way of differentiating Kobo readers from Amazon Kindle. I like my reading un-interrupted, so I had to remove some of the extra functionalities that it provides. Playing video games almost all my life, I found it a bit interesting how they have incorporated things like achievements or badges as a reward from reading. There is an interesting TED presentation by Tom Chatfield about this subject.
Everybody recognizes the buzz around social media and it is not a surprise that publishers are trying to utilize it. I think there is a lot of potential in this, who wouldn’t like to discuss about a book or receive relevant recommendations for their next book to read? I used to have a co-worker with similar taste and she would give recommendations by sending an email directly from one of the biggest nordic online bookstores. I have to admit that the conversation rate for those recommendations was nearly 100%. If you do not have a somebody to do this for you, a lot of new services like BookLikes and the soon available Bookish try to give readers an answer to the never-ending question, what to read next?