August 6th, 2012

Fun at Other People's Expense

I love Nate's Excellent Blog, The Digital Reader. I check in at it more than once a day, almost every day. I am always sad when I am All Caught Up. I have enormous respect for Nate's opinions, even when I disagree with them (which, actually, isn't very often). I have a lot less respect for some of his guest contributors.

For some unknown reason, I mysteriously agreed with the substance of several Rich Adin posts. However, we're back to normal with this entry:

In this outing, Adin smacks down people who have the unmitigated gall to leave 1 star reviews on Amazon for reasons that he does not respect. What is the world coming to!!! When people who were expecting an HEA are mad that they suffered through hundreds of pages and didn't get it AND THEN WARNED OTHER PEOPLE! How Dare They! Commenters on Adin's post point out what the reviewers are doing (not just being uneducated, Rich, not that that would matter, unless he honestly thinks that uneducated people shouldn't be allowed to publicize their opinions of what they are reading. Wait. I think that _is_ what he is saying).

Anyway. Funny! I, personally, lurrrrvve 1 star reviews. If an item has a ton of reviews, I don't really waste my time with anything but the 1 star reviews. I want to know if sensible people are 1 starring this thing (and, if so, why) or if it's just a bunch of idiots. So, idiots leaving 1 star reviews can be tremendously useful to me, reassuring me that my purchase will indeed be a wise one. (<-- That's not sarcasm. I hate wading through a zillion reviews to try to figure out if there's a hidden flaw in the product. 1 star reviews tend to expose these, so if all the 1 stars are written by idiots, I'm usually safe.)

But I wasn't even going to bother to post that. Then, I was over on jezebel following a link to a tweet by, hey, I'm not actually going to admit to that here. Whatever. I checked out what Nate had posted recently, which included this, possibly destined for a Morning Coffee entry:

And this may be the single most misguided thing I have _ever_ read. Ever. Ever. Ever. And remember, I was _raised_ JW, so I know from misguided.

The idea here is simple. People buy a ton of cheap ebooks when they get an ereader -- they don't actually read them all right away. So then publishers don't know what they actually read/liked, thus it is hard to develop a publishing strategy (so goes the headline) and/or a subscription model would make more sense because after the customer has all those "fashion accessory" books, they'll stop buying until they catch up.

There might be a language barrier here ("These type of transactions are clogging the sales data publishers are pouring over invalidating the voracity of any sort of trend predictions or market share charts."), but I don't see any reason to get into that. I'm sure they speak and write english way better than I speak or write their other languages.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: People Don't Just Buy Books to Read Them. Especially not starting at the beginning, continuing in a linear fashion until reaching the end and then stopping. DUH! Stop thinking this! It is a stupid way to think about how people read and, honestly, a fairly boring way to consume books. (<-- I say this only because people who read this way crawl all over me for the way I consume books and my patience, which is limited, was long ago exhausted on the topic.)

The idea that the size of a TBR pile would inhibit future purchases is Absolutely Insane on the face of it. Unemployment and other cash flow issues MIGHT inhibit future purchases, but TBR pile size is NOT a reason for someone who buys a lot of books to stop. Especially since the TBR pile is _virtual_. This is why we switched to ebooks. Because our homes have finite space, but our Amazon accounts, not so much.

Finally, if you want to SELL books, you don't give a shit -- or you shouldn't -- whether people "like" what they are buying. You only care whether or not they want to buy more. It's not a subtle difference.