Bringing Life to Your Backlist
Springer Science + Business Media does not view Google Book Search as a detriment to its business, but rather as a valuable marketing tool for its popular science, technology and medical (STM) titles.
Paul Manning, vice president of book publishing for Springer, attributes much of the recent growth of the company’s back catalog of older titles to its participation with the controversial program. With more than 30,000 titles available in Google Book Search, the publisher saw more than 1 million views in a one-month period, and 20 percent of its “buy this book” clicks on the search were for titles older than 10 years old, he says. Manning, 42, talks about the advantages of using Book Search and viral marketing to boost future book sales.
Much of the coverage of Google Book Search has been pretty negative in the press. How has it been positive for Springer’s business?
Manning: When this program started … I initially had a feeling that since Springer was a scientific publisher, there was a lot of discrete information that people could look up. I was concerned people would go look for that information, take the information away and not purchase books.
But then we decided to give it a test. We had some successful tests, and we found that there were a lot of people looking at our books. Indeed, there were probably people that were looking at our books, taking information and going away. But there was an increased volume of people looking at our books and discovering things in our books—that’s the word I like to use, “discover.” Through that discovery, a certain percentage of those people are finding the information they needed and are buying the book. We’ve seen a lot more usage, and because of that we’ve seen a lot more sales leads.