Deals of the day
I think the brain fuzz is lifting, so here I am with the first non-NPR Books post in ages. As you are all too aware, we — authors, publishers and booksellers alike — have been racking our brains trying to figure out how we can use existing, emerging and evolving social networks and other websites to promote and sell books. So it was only a matter of time, I suppose, before someone jumped on Groupon.
Groupon, of course, is the site du jour: Google is supposedly chomping at the bit to acquire it, although some have questioned whether businesses can actually make money with it. (Although don’t ask me about the numbers because math never was my forte.) You may use Groupon, or any one of a slew of similar sites including BuyWithMe, LivingSocial, Yipit and Zozi. (Clearly not people we would want coming up with our book titles.) Or, if you’re like me, you might have bought a Groupon(s) but never used it. Then it expired and you lost the money.
This morning, Shelf Awareness ran a piece about a handful of independent bookstores taking issue with a large publishing house’s use of Groupon: in typical Groupon fashion, the house offered consumers 50 percent off their purchases. The stores were out of sorts because they felt this cut them out of the picture (since no bricks-and-mortar store can afford to offer such steep discounts).
Personally, I’ve cooled on these “daily deal” sites. Having signed up for what appears to be all of them several months ago, I’m now inundated daily with AMAZING DEALS! Every day!! Who knew I possessed the ability to ignore so many discounts? Or that bargain shopping could be so hard? (Although I do think interest-specific sites like Zozi — geared toward active consumers — can be slightly more effective in keeping users’ clicking.)
But what do you think? Can we use these sites to get more books to more readers? And is it more effective for the publishing houses or for individual bookstores to offer the discounts? Have you used a Groupon (or other similar deal) at a bookstore? Would you?