Reviews Don't Necessarily Mean Increased Sales

My eyeballs normally glaze over when an organization puts out a report that has reams (or what seems like reams) of data.

But the report Dean Wesley Smith posted about on his site actually sounded interesting to me. So while I mostly skimmed the report, the research data on page 8 was especially interesting. Nielsen's UK data (wonder if it's similar in the States?) analyzed a bunch of different things and whether they had any correlation to book sales. They considered such things as no short description, no long description, no reviews, and no blog, and further broke that down into general fiction, children's fiction, trade non fiction, and specialist non fiction.

This part of their analysis blew me away, and I'll quote: "Review appears to be the least significant indicator of increased sales within Fiction, Specialist Non-Fiction and Children's." I don't know about you, but I've always thought reviews mattered a lot to how much a novel did or didn't sell.

In the digital world, maybe it really doesn't matter how many reviews your novel has (or if it doesn't have any). Doesn't seem right to me - I know I rely on reviews for buying purposes, but I've occasionally bought books that didn't have any reviews. The jury is still out on whether that was a wise move by me, but I digress.

The data is in the report, as I said, on page 8 - and in a nice graph, to boot. (For those of you who are more visually inclined. :-) But it helped me too. ;-)) The analysis really does point to that.

A slight caution for me is that this is only one report. Let's see some other organization come out with a report analyzing the same sort of data; will they come up with the same conclusions?

Who knows.

The report is here.

Still, it's good to see someone digging into this. Kind of makes you think.