Rakuten Provides Sales Data to Publishers, But Platform Needs Work
The wall between publishers and their sales data is slowly but surely tumbling down. The latest retailer breaching the divide is Rakuten, the Japanese-based ecommerce company which recently announced the launch of its Books Dashboard in Japan. The dashboard allows publishers to track the sales of both print and ebooks sold through the Rakuten online bookstore. Nate Hoffelder of ereading blog Ink, Bits & Pixels shared this story and pointed out that though the dashboard is a move in the right direction, it's still clunky. For example, publishers must upload new title information including date of release and price via Excel spreadsheet. It's unclear how this would work with price changes and promotions.
Interestingly, although Rakuten owns Kobo, the new dashboard does not implement ebook seller's robust reporting platform. Kobo provides a detailed sales dashboard for publishers and has recently introduced behavioral data into the mix.
Behavioral data, which I reported on in the latest issue of Book Business, provides publishers with information about how quickly books are being read and where readers drop off in a book. This kind of data can indicate what books are popular among readers -- being read from start to finish, quickly -- and may be worth greater marketing investment.
It will be interesting to see if Rakuten implements any elements of Kobo's dashboard into its own. The press release indicates that, "Rakuten Books will continue to strive to provide more user-friendly functions to both publishers and customers on its platform." Let's hope so because right now the tool isn't all that helpful.