From Digital Book World:
This week, we will explore a book’s recommendation factor—how likely it is that readers will recommend a book to others, and how this relates to reading behavior.
So what makes readers recommend a book? And can we measure the books that have that X-factor, or—as we at Jellybooks prefer to call it—a high recommendation factor?
In 2003, business writer and strategist Fred Reicheld introduced the concept of the “Net Promoter Score” in the Harvard Business Review as the “one number you need to grow.” The score is a simple but highly effective tool for measuring customer satisfaction.
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The Net Promoter Score is based on a simple question: Would you recommend this book to a friend?
The reader is asked to answer this question on a scale of 0-10, in which 0 means “definitely not,” 5 means “neutral” and 10 means “absolutely.”
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Those who choose 9 or 10 out are considered “promoters.” i.e. strong advocates of the book, those who choose 7 or 8 are considered “neutrals,” and those who choose between 6 and 0 are considered “detractors.” The percentage of those indicating between 6 and 0 is then subtracted from the percentage choosing 9 or 10. The resulting percentage is the Net Promoter Score or NPS.
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At Jellybooks we first used the methodology in a pilot with Simon & Schuster, but with a twist. We surveyed users separately based on whether they had read the book from start to finish or if they had abandoned the book. We then proceeded to calculate a separate score, which we call the “recommendation factor,” for each group or cohort.
Let’s have a look at the results for one specific book.
Those who finished it rated the book as follows:
Note that 120 readers described this book as “awesome,” 190 readers said it was “great,” 70 thought it was “gripping,” 90 described it as “entertaining” and a mere 60 said it was just “good” (multiple answers were allowed). None of the readers who finished the book (including those rating it 0-6) described it as “boring,” “disappointing” or “did not meet my taste.”
Thus, deeming a book “good” does not mean that the reader will strongly recommend it.
Now let us look at the results for those readers who did not finish the book. The title had a completion rate of about 70 percent, so 30 percent of readers did not finish the book; not everybody chose to answer the survey:
Readers who don’t finish a book are very unlikely to recommend a book they abandoned. This of course sounds utterly logical and intuitive, but has anybody ever scientifically measured it? We think not!
What’s more, we often hear editors and publishers say to us, “What do I care if people read my books as long as they buy them?” Well, word of mouth is one of the most powerful drivers of book sales. So if reading the book is a prerequisite to recommending it, then authors, agents and publishers should surely care whether book buyers are reading them, lest sales peter out like water in the dessert.
Link to the rest at Digital Book World and thanks to William for the tip.