December 10, 2014
Hachette Book Group, which publishes best-selling authors including Michael Connelly, Malcolm Gladwell and James Patterson, announced on Monday that it is partnering with Gumroad to determine whether author tweets can help push book sales. In today’s social media landscape, authors with significant Twitter followings — such as John Green and Paulo Coelho — have experienced major success. Gumroad enables creators to sell products directly to social media followers without leaving Twitter.
“Hachette is kicking off the experiment this month, with just a handful of books by authors who have large Twitter followings,” The New York Times reports.
“The first batch includes ‘The Art of Asking,’ by Amanda Palmer, who has more than a million Twitter followers, ‘You Are Here,’ by the former astronaut and YouTube star Chris Hadfield, who has 1.2 million followers, and ‘The Onion Magazine: Iconic Covers that Transformed an Undeserving World,’ a book from the satirical news site The Onion, which has 6.6 million followers.”
A limited number of titles will initially be available on Twitter, although Hachette plans to eventually expand the effort. Some offers will include exclusive bonus items, such as select original manuscript pages, related notes or signed photographs.
Gumroad has worked with artists, charities, musicians and music labels. It will take a transaction fee for each purchase of Hachette books sold via Twitter.
“The experiment will probably draw some criticism,” suggests NYT. “Many social media users still see sites like Twitter, which introduced a buy button this fall, as a place to share ideas and experiences, not to sell merchandise.”