We’ve talked about the pressing need for diversity in the world of book retail, and we’ve talked about our new technology that enables anyone anywhere to sell any book from their website. Now we’re very pleased to announce the public launch of the Everywhere Store technology with a bestselling book by an acclaimed author: The Mountain Shadow by Gregory David Roberts.
Zola’s involvement with The Mountain Shadow is two-fold: we published the standard ebook (the one that’s the same as the printed book) into all the normal retail channels – Amazon, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, and Google – and we also worked with the author to create a special edition of the book exclusively for sale through themountainshadowebook.com. Using the Everywhere Store to sell the special edition only from that website gave the author the freedom to create more than just a word-for-word version of the print book: the Author’s Edition incorporates deleted scenes, love poetry the characters wrote each other, images of some of the locales of the book, an epic Q&A, and so on. It’s a fan’s version of the book, and because it isn’t on the usual retailing sites competing with the print book, his publishers were OK with making it available to any reader anywhere in the world.
It’s an amazing book, but we had no real idea what to expect in terms of sales. Would anyone buy from a website that hadn’t previously existed, had no regular visitors, with a more expensive version of the book that had just been published elsewhere? Would people be willing to try something new when the standard ebook was available in every typical place they usually bought books?
The short answer: Yes. Sales of the Author’s Edition of The Mountain Shadow on themountainshadowebook.com account for 12% of the total number of ebooks sold, and nearly 25% of the revenue. (As we’ve shown in earlier blog posts, authors make much more selling directly.) That’s nothing short of phenomenal in a world where sales outside of Amazon and Apple typically account for less than 15% combined.
We are also encouraged by some other numbers: 5% of site visitors buy the special ebook – so, 1 in 20 people who go to the website actually buy the book. That’s more than twice what we expected. And of the people who buy the book, 50% agree to receive email from the author. Since this particular author retired from promoting his work, that may not be germane here, but other authors aren’t so shy. We can’t help but wonder how good the numbers would be for websites that are already engaged with their readers and visitors…
All in all, the launch is a resounding proof point for our idea that giving authors the tools to reach their readers directly will work. The fact that we can do it for any author, and any site, RIGHT NOW is exciting: The Mountain Shadow is just a start.
And that’s the best way to look at using the Everywhere Store…today, at least. Tomorrow may be another story…