Bittorrent drives book sales

We usually think of Bittorrent in terms of film, music or television “piracy”, but there are increasing legitimate uses (see The Promo Bay for example).

I’ve also noted that the secret to success is to build a connection with fans and give them something to buy. Here’s an example where the author provided a lot of high value add-ons for his book, and linked to the book’s Amazon page, and sales go nuts.

Late last week, Ferris revealed that not only did the book land on various best seller lists (despite the lack of Barnes & Noble sales), but an astounding number of people who downloaded that extra content bundle on BitTorrent also clicked a “support the artist” button:

For instance, BitTorrent conversion is NUTS. Of 210,000 downloads (of this bundle) earlier this week, more than 85,000 clicked through “Support the Author” to the book’s Amazon page. We all had to triple and quadruple check that to believe it.

Now, of course, not everyone who clicks will buy — and he admits that as well. But, that’s still an extra 85,000 people going to the Amazon page. Some of them are likely to buy.

Even at a 1% conversion after clicking an effective “buy now” link, that translates to 850 books… and BitTorrent is only accelerating. Wow.

But BitTorrent is only for pirates and only hurts authors and artists, right?

Repeatedly we see that “free” as part of a business model is highly viable. Bittorrent is a way of freely distributing content. Wrap up a program with its internally consistent advertising and set it free on the Bittorrent networks, and your distribution is handled. Not at all a new idea. My first exposure was via Piracy is Good? by Mark Pesce from 2005!