Twitter: The Bookstore?


photo credit

Dee Donavanik, Publicity Director


If you have a thought you feel the need to impulsively share, where do you go? Twitter!

If you see something you need to impulsively purchase, where do you go? A physical store perhaps, if you need to have it this very minute. Maybe Amazon or another online marketplace if you can wait for it to get shipped (only two days, if you’re a Prime subscriber!). And now, perhaps, also Twitter!

Publishing house Hachette recently announced that it will be partnering with Gumroad  to allow select authors to sell their books directly through their Twitter accounts.  According to Michael Pietsch, CEO of Hachette Book Group:

With so much of our book marketing done socially now, in-stream Twitter purchasing is a natural next step. Gumroad’s success working with music labels and artists to enable sales to fans, and their partnership with Twitter, put them at the forefront of social media commerce. (via Publisher’s Weekly)

Twitter is a great place for authors to engage with their fans and readers.  Those with substantial followings and more active accounts even seem to sell more books as a result.  So perhaps it seems like a natural step to include links within Twitter, making it as easy as possible for someone who might make a purchase to do so and get some exclusive features as a bonus while they’re at it.  If it helps an author’s bottom line and helps generate sales, then what’s the harm?

On the other hand, critics can say we should leave Twitter alone and not try to commercialize everything. According to the New York Times:

Many social media users still see sites like Twitter, which introduced a buy button this fall, as a place to share ideas and experiences, not to sell merchandise. And early efforts to roll out e-commerce on social media platforms have lagged.

Furthermore, if you’re following an author on Twitter, it’s highly likely you are already a fan and would be purchasing his or her book regardless. If you see a new book release being discussed, it wouldn’t take much effort for you to open another tab in your browser and add it to your online shopping cart. Or maybe, if you’re an upstanding citizen, you were planning on picking it up anyway at your next visit to your local independent bookstore.

Whether or not Hachette’s venture with Twitter leads to a significant boost in sales remains to be seen. Perhaps in the meantime the real question we should be asking is: how lazy are we as consumers?


Related: 10 Authors You Need to Follow on Twitter and their Strategies Worth Stealing


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