Thursday, December 16, 2021

Social Media Followings Don't Necessarily Translate To Book Sales

Elizabeth A. Harris wrote this really interesting article in the New York TimesMillions of Followers? For Book Sales, ‘It’s Unreliable.’

Screen shot of the New York Times article, featuring a photo of Billie Eilish

In it, Elizabeth explores both how publishers have been basing their publishing bets more and more on social media followings, and yet the evidence of book sales isn't aligning in the way those publishers expected.

The article opens with:

A book by Billie Eilish seemed like a great bet. One of the most famous pop stars in the world, Ms. Eilish has 97 million followers on Instagram and another 6 million on Twitter. If just a fraction of them bought her book, it would be a hit.

But her self-titled book has sold about 64,000 hardcover copies since it came out in May, according to NPD BookScan, which tracks most printed books sold in the United States — not necessarily a disappointing number, unless Ms. Eilish got a big advance. Which, of course, she did. The book cost her publisher well over $1 million.

The full piece is well-worth reading, and it's a reminder for all of us that racking up social media followers isn't necessarily going to lead to racking up the book sales.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

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