It's been a long couple days and my brain is teetering between blank and foggy. It's times like these when I enjoy some good mindless data analysis.
It's fun to look at numbers and speculate about the story they might tell.
Today is day four of Read an Ebook Week, which, I'm convinced, is like Christmas for book lovers.
Our traffic the last few days almost doubled over the same period a week earlier. Thousands of ebook readers around the globe wore their mice ragged during a gluttonous ebook binge to download our 3,000+ participating titles offered at deep discounts.
The traffic Tuesday reached such fervor it caused the site to crash and stay crashed nearly all day. It was a horrible, gut-wrenching experience to preside over our comatose baby. Thankfully, after we performed some radical database surgery, the site jumped back to life, faster than ever.
Back to data. As of this moment, 2,341 Smashwords books with a price are participating in Read an Ebook Week. Probably another 1,600 (don't quote me on that) are also participating because they're already priced at FREE or "Reader Sets the Price."
We gave authors and publishers the opportunity to manually opt-in their books to one of three promotional discount levels of 25%-off, 50%-off, and 100%-off (FREE). The only requirement was that the book needed to carry a pre-coupon price, and the price after application of the coupon needed to be either free, or $.99 or higher.
So I bet you're wondering, which coupon levels did they choose? The fascinating answer is in the pie chart above and the list below.
Coupon Level ... # of books ... Average book price, pre-coupon
100%-off ... 370 ... $3.25
25%-off ... 983 ... $4.61
50%-off ... 988 ... $5.20
Interesting conclusions from the data (plus additional data):
- More authors/publishers selected the 50%-off coupon than the 25%
- Books given the 50% coupon had an average pre-coupon price 13% above the 25% coupon books, yet after applying the discounts, the 50% books cost $2.60 while the 25%-off books cost $3.45. In other words, the more expensive books were selling for 25% less than the less expensive ones. Got that?
- The 50%-off coupon books sold at a rate nearly four times higher than the 25% books. Perhaps the combination of perceived value (of higher price, greater discount) with lower price made all the difference?
- The 100%-off books experienced 74 times more downloads (sales) on average than the 50%-off books, and 291 times more than the 25%-off books