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Facebook: The World’s Largest Bookstore?

28 April 2016

From Digital Book World:

A month or so ago, Facebook reported its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2015, and let’s just say they crushed the ball. Knocked the cover off. Pointed to the bleachers and then hit it out of the park.

The big moneymaker was its burgeoning video ad business. Facebook states that people are watching 100 million hours of video per day on its social platform. More than 500 million people watch Facebook video every day. Just let that sink in. Facebook isn’t simply a video discovery platform; it’s becoming the video discovery platform. And it’s still growing.

. . . .

While people in the publishing industry may find this interesting, most won’t find it particularly relevant. To ignore this news, however, would be a monumental mistake. Don’t underestimate what Facebook is and what it is becoming. Facebook is the world’s best discovery platform, and it makes money by going after digital content that keeps people spending more time on Facebook. And after video, there is a clear line to ebooks.

As dominant as Amazon currently is in ebooks, the retailer’s major weakness is discovery. More often than not, users have to find a book somewhere else and then go to Amazon and purchase it. There are additional, unnecessary steps in their process, and the company has no easy way to remedy it.

. . . .

Facebook has more than a billion users on its site every day. Friends and family are sharing everything they are watching and reading, and Facebook is getting better and better at finding ways to keep people on the site. Articles are short reads and people can leave quickly. But if Facebook had a reader for ebooks, the amount of time people would stay on the site would climb exponentially.

. . . .

The bookstore of the future is not centralized. It is decentralized, and it will give readers the ability to buy their books wherever they are, whenever they want. Readers will get their ebooks over wifi at Starbucks as a reward for buying their Under Armour running gear from the local community college, in the Target check-out line, in their McDonalds Happy Meal, or on Facebook—and it will all be readable on one e-reader. Perhaps the Facebook e-reader. And it will give users the ability to read and share in one location.

While Facebook getting into ebooks would not decimate Amazon’s bottom line—as most of the retailer’s revenue comes from various others sources—it would be an emotional kick in the groin. Bezos built his business on the foundation of books. And Zuck could usher in a changing of the guard.

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

A reminder: PG does not always agree with items he includes on The Passive Voice.

Amazon, Social Media

10 Comments to “Facebook: The World’s Largest Bookstore?”

  1. Facebook works by showing you brief snippets of material you actually want to see interspersed with ads. That works for a paragraph or so of text that describes your cousin’s wedding, or for a short cute cat/dog/kid video. I don’t see it working for long-form fiction.

    Keeping them on the site for a long time is only profitable if they’re seeing a continuous barrage of ads during that time.

  2. “Facebook: The World’s Largest Bookstore?”

    Title be a question, so answer be ‘nope’ …

  3. Old idea.
    Already debunked, repeatedly:

    The search for a magic bullet continues apace.
    The ADSers still don’t get it.

    In this case: Facebook is a communications company, like Twitter. Their infrastructure and culture aren’t geared towards retail. To get into retail they need to start from scratch and they would need to figure out all the things Amazon already has. That isn’t happening overnight and Amazon isn’t going to stand still while it happens.

    If Amazon is going to face a challenge in ebooks it has to come from somebody who knows a better way to sell. That is not Facebook.

  4. As a discovery engine, Facebook entertains hundreds of millions of people a day, specifically, without much long-form textual matter.

    A lot of people get their news or some portion of it from Fb, however, the product is very different from traditional broadcast television news.

  5. I managed to get a couple of posts from my book site out in a few groups and get some good attention, new users, and book sales. Since then, Facebook throttled the number of people who see my posts and wants me to pay for any more post sharing to other groups.

    But they want $20 to boost a post. Um, pass.

    • I’m very happy to spend money on FB because it works.

      • Yeah, but you do targeted ads, not posts, right?

        • In my experience (with a company promoting goods, not my own books), boosted posts do far better than ads. That said, you’ll get a few VERY vocal people annoyed about sponsored posts who don’t understand why they are showing up in their feed. (Barbara may have another, more relevant experience related solely to books.)

  6. Yes, that’s true. There’s no point in boosting a post.
    Not advised.
    Done correctly, if I do a post, I can reach 1000 people, which is 2x the audience I have.

  7. I tried two times, on two different books to advertise on Facebook. It looked perfect for advertising. You get to chose the demographics and other important criteria and you should rake in the sales.
    I got zero results. Facebook is a social media tool not a readers club forum.

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