When I was a kid, I was the sort of reader bookstores must have hated. I absolutely devoured books—one of my family’s rules was that no one was allowed to borrow more books from the library than they could physically carry home. We read constantly! However, it was years before I would really get the hang of bookstores.
I remember my first trip to McNally Robinson. I didn’t understand what the name was and kept calling it Robinson Crusoe, since that sounded close enough to being right in my adolescent mind. When we walked through the doors, I was absolutely shocked. Now, for those of you who haven’t been to Winnipeg, the Grant Park McNally Robinson is quite grand: row upon row of bookshelves from the bottom up, with a tribute to Winnie the Pooh in the form of silhouetted characters floating near the ceiling. The young adult section can be found at the top of a winding staircase that curves around a thick tree trunk (straight from the 100 Acre Wood, I presume)—not only was this the first instance of bookstore discovery for me; it was also the first opportunity for me to climb a tree indoors. It is a true booklover’s paradise. From that moment on, McNally was my favourite bookstore. And yet, for all the pomp and pizzazz and tree bark and warm fuzzy feelings I had when I entered the store, I rarely actually bought a book there. I would visit McNally, hunker down in a comfy corner with my book of choice, and simply read until it was finished.
Why? Well, how was I to know whether the book was worth buying or not, until I’d reached the end? And then, why would I buy a book if I knew how it ended? I really only bought a book if it was a gift for someone else, but even then, only if I’d read enough to make sure it was actually good.
The point I’m getting at here is that sample reading is an incredibly important part of the book buying process. Luckily, the majority of readers aren’t penny-pinching misers like Young Amy was, but they still want to know that what they’re buying is worth reading, which has become more difficult to establish in this age of online shopping extravaganzas. This is why samples, excerpts, and “search inside” tools are all incredibly important marketing resources for authors. In fact, to a certain set of consumers, they’re more effective than a physical bookstore would be, because they ensure you can’t do what I did; there isn’t an option to hide away and read the entire book. You get just enough of a taste for it to get invested in it and know it’s a worth addition to your bookshelf.
Lots of authors have been utilizing websites and social media to garner interest for their books, posting excerpts, sample chapters, and quotes to entice readers. These are all excellent options, and now, we have yet another option at our fingertips! Enter: Google Books and Google Play.
Google is just about everywhere these days, and we have teamed up with them and begun the process of putting our own books out through their services. Google Books offers the opportunity to make a certain portion of your book available to readers, and Google Play offers samples of their eBooks. This is especially exciting because most eBook vendors aren’t set up to offer this type of sampling and, while eBooks are cheaper than physical books, most people still want to know more about what
they’re downloading than the metadata description can offer. With these services, we look forward to being able to provide authors with a few new ways to get their books into the minds and hands of their audience! It’s going to take us a little while to set up the process, but you can look forward to seeing Word Alive Press books on Google Books and Google Play in the near future.
Have an eBook you need to share with the world? We can help! Learn more about our digital book services here.
Amy Groening is a project manager at Word Alive Press. She is a passionate storyteller with experience in blogging, newspaper reportage, and creative writing. She holds an Honours degree in English Literature and is happy to be working in an industry where she can see other writers’ dreams come to life. She enjoys many creative pursuits, including sewing, sculpture and painting, and spends an embarrassingly large amount of time at home taking photos of her cats committing random acts of feline crime.