Random House, HarperCollins Execs Talk About Online Book Browsing, Web Widgets
In its first week, “Marley and Me” was the most consistent title users utilized the widget to pass along the “Browse Inside.”
“Everyday you can see new titles added to viral distribution,” Hulse says. “It’s growing very nicely the amount of titles in viral distribution. I think we’re going to see a lot more activity in this space in the coming months.”
Hulse says a focus of the initial launch was that the widget would work well and easily with blogs, in particular with MySpace. MySpace and HarperCollins are both owned by News Corp.
“Our whole focus here has been on creating something that for marketing purposes can be spread virally, that’s very easy, and that people can use,” Hulse says.
Random House’s ‘Insight’
Matt Shatz, vice president, digital for Random House, says their company’s Insight widget allows users to tap into the fixed sample set of pages for more than 5,000 titles that were available as of launch.
“For the last couple of years, it’s basically been Google and Amazon,” he says. “They spend a bunch of money scanning titles and indexing them, and doing what they do and putting them on the sever and hosting them so consumers can see sample book material or have book material come up in search results. What we’ve come up with is our own version of the service.”
The company had a small number of titles in Amazon’s Search Inside, but it’s been about two years since any new titles were released for the service. Now, Random House will have more control over a search, according to Shatz.
“The pages and files are sitting on our servers in Maryland, which means that all kinds of retailers ... can with a minimal amount of development on the user interface enable that search and browse functionality to their users without having to spend all their time resources and money scanning [and], storing all those pages, etc., because we’re doing it.”