Thursday, June 18, 2009


Publishers build social networks sites around, students, authors, genre, and of course teenagers. Some like are trying to create a vertical community, in its case for Sci-Fi lovers, others such as the new ‘Pulse It’ from Simon and Schuster, just go for them young.

Do they work? Well if they didn’t they would be building them would they? When you start with a base near zero then all sales look good. It is not difficult to see why Simon and Schuster shouldn’t get traction as they are; giving away one book a month to be read online for free, points for reviews and site actions, and users can win free books and other prizes. The trick is often not starting a social community but still being there and getting that ‘stickyness’ to keep them coming back. Obviously publishers also have to be able to compete with the others. The everyone needs to respond to change and get that most important thing the user gives - time. We wish them well, but wonder if it were better inside a larger social site rather than competing with other publishers and social sites.

We looked a and were impressed that they have taken an inclusive and not exclusive position, inviting other publishers to sell and promote their own titles alongside theirs. This is a brave move indeed for a publisher and one we have long advocated and support. Is it any different to sites like Baen,com? Well that a personal call but we believe it lacks that Baen roughness and clear Sci – Fi design. However, the designer tee shirts and mugs and blogs are all interesting.

However, why did HarperCollins put the Simpsons Mini Calendar and Simpsons Work Calendar 2010 on the site – obviously not quite science fiction to most of us, or perhaps they knew something we don’t. After all Homer does work at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant!

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