Does Twitter sell books?
In 2010, I added to my world of books by building Twitter Towers* and here they are in all their glory. (If you want to check out the book titles, click on the picture to enlarge it.)
Unsurprisingly, Twitter Towers are made up of the books that I heard about through the social networking site.
I know, I know. You don’t have to look at me like that… Even with my prodigious level of book-squirreldom, I was a little taken aback at just how many books I managed to accumulate in one year!
I haven’t yet read every book in Twitter Towers but they roughly fall into the following categories:
- I follow the author on Twitter because I already read and enjoy their books e.g. Marika Cobbold, Margaret Atwood, A L Kennedy and Joanne Harris.
- I met and know the author through Twitter and we follow each other, which means that we chat to each other, I probably read their blog and want(ed) to read their book e.g. Better than Perfect by Valerie Storey, Like Bees to Honey by Caroline Smailes, Not So Perfect by Nik Perring, The Disengagement Ring by Clodagh Murphy, The Mathematics of Love and The Secret Alchemy by Emma Darwin; Turning the Tide by Christine Stovell and Trade Winds by Christina Courtenay;
- This blog took part in the blog tour (or Websplash in Talli’s case) to promote the author’s latest book and I wanted to read the book beforehand e.g. Wasted by Nicola Morgan, Della Says: OMG! by Keris Stainton, Without Alice by D.J. Kirkby and The Hating Game by Talli Roland;
- The book was recommended by someone on Twitter, either directly in a conversation or one that I eavesdropped on e.g. Remainder by Tom McCarthy, Electricity by Ray Robinson, One Day by David Nicholls and Hearts and Minds by Amanda Craig;
- I was asked to review the book or a call was put out on Twitter for someone to review it and I volunteered e.g. The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde;
- I took part in a Guardian book group discussion run on Twitter e.g. Hand Me Down World by Lloyd Jones (#HMDWchat) and Black Mamba Boy by Nadifa Mohamed (#FBAchat);
- I won a (sometimes signed) copy of the book as part of a giveaway run by the author or publisher e.g. The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris, Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson and The Runaway Bride by Lucy Mangan;
- I clicked on a link to a blog in a tweet, read a review of the book on a blog, which piqued my interest and I entered and won the ‘pick me’ competition to win a copy e.g. Stolen by Lesley Pearse and The Green King By Stephanie Parker;
- I didn’t enter or win a competition but bought the book anyway because I wanted to read it e.g. The Method by Tom Vowler and Mr Darcy Broke my Heart by Beth Pattillo;
- One of the characters from the book tweets and interacts with readers e.g. Seth McGregor from Firebrand by Gillian Philip; and finally,
- The author’s books are available in German. I know this one is a bit random but I’m always looking for books to read that will help me brush up on my rusty German. Victoria Connelly’s first three novels are, so far, only published in German and these were a great find last year, and I now have a copy of Miranda Dickinson’s first novel in German, which should be a fun read because I already know the story and can refer back to the English if and when I get stuck on vocabulary.
Out of these, the second category accounts for the greatest number of books in my Twitter Towers. I suppose that’s not a total surprise. I follow, and am followed by, a lot of writers and it’s only natural that, if I’m chatting with them, reading their blogs and hearing about what they’re writing, I’ll want to read some of their books. Happily, this means that I’ve read authors who I might otherwise never have come across, which would have been a real shame. Twitter put me onto the trail of some terrific books that I thoroughly enjoyed reading last year and whose authors are now firmly on my radar.
However, I would also say that if someone doesn’t engage in conversation with me on Twitter, even though we’re following each other, I’m much less inclined to check out their book, especially if all they want to do is broadcast that it’s available.
I keep a list of books I read each year anyway but about half-way through 2010, I started keeping tabs on all those books, which I found or decided to read because of Twitter. At the end of the year, I tallied it up and discovered that OVER HALF of the books on the list were Twitter finds.
So, while I don’t know if Twitter can sell books in vast numbers or make a huge difference to book sales, I do know that it made a dramatic difference to the books I read last year. From comments made in my Twitter feed, I know I’m not the only person on Twitter whose book choices are being affected by the social networking site. How about you? Did you find a book through Twitter last year that you might not otherwise have read? Is it changing your book buying habits, too?
* Missing-in-Action from my Twitter Towers are Della Says OMG! by Keris Stainton and The Grunt and the Grouch, The Little White Owl and Star Friends by Tracey Corderoy, which my nieces received as gifts, together with several reference books on writing and, for obvious reasons, ebooks I’ve read such as The Hating Game by Talli Roland, The Dead Beat by Cody James and Evil UnLtd by Simon Forward.