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A Call for Participation — A Survey on Book Discovery


Ballot (Photo credit: Blue387)

I am participating in a survey about how people discover books and hope to persuade the readers of the Scholarly Kitchen to fill out the survey as well.

The survey has its origin in a private mail group, where people were discussing how they find out about new books. I decided that I wanted to know something more specific: Where do people find out about books that they actually go on to purchase for their own use? By ruling out gifts, we get at those books with which people are most engaged.

When I suggested that the group conduct a survey, Joe Wikert of O’Reilly Media offered to host the survey on the O’Reilly site, and because O’Reilly has a relationship with Forbes, the survey could also be announced on the Forbes site. We solicited input from a number of people and got the survey online. Now we are looking for people to survey. That means you.

Here are some links.

First, if you are not already doing so, please be sure to read Joe Wikert’s blog.  Like all the O’Reilly folks, Joe has his finger on all the new things that are happening in digital publishing.

Second, the announcement of the survey, written by yours truly, can be found here.

Finally, here is the link to the survey itself.

Speaking for myself, although I am as comfortable with digital media as anyone (and have been at it for a very long time), I find that I sorely miss bricks-and-mortar bookstores. That’s where I would find out about new books. There is no more pleasant way to spend a Saturday afternoon then in the aisles of a well-stocked bookstore. But bookstores are a vanishing race today, their demise abetted by the very digital media I am so besotted with. How to bring back the efficacy, and the pleasure, of the physical bookstore as more and more of our activity is mediated by the Internet?

You may have other ways to determine what you want to read. Please share those ideas with us.

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About Joseph Esposito

I am a management consultant working primarily in the world of digital media, software, and publishing. My clients include both for-profits and not-for-profits. A good deal of my activity concerns research publishing, especially when the matter at issue has to do with the migration to digital services from a print background. Prior to setting up my consulting business, I served as CEO of three companies (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Tribal Voice, and SRI Consulting), all of which I led to successful exits. Typically I work on strategy issues, advising CEOs and Boards of Directors on direction; I also have managed a number of sticky turnarounds. Among other things, I have been the recipient of grants from the Mellon, MacArthur, and Hewlett Foundations, all concerning research into new aspects of publishing.


4 thoughts on “A Call for Participation — A Survey on Book Discovery

  1. Looking forward to seeing the results of the survey. In a next iteration, it may be worth expanding to include audiobooks–my favorite type of online book purchase.

    Posted by jmdawsonjmkt | Dec 12, 2012, 10:40 am
  2. Reblogged this on Mark Nesbitt and commented:
    I’ve pondered this question quite a bit lately!

    Posted by hauntgburg | Dec 13, 2012, 9:17 am


  1. Pingback: The Results Are In — A Survey of Book Purchasers « The Scholarly Kitchen - Jan 16, 2013

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The mission of the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) is "[t]o advance scholarly publishing and communication, and the professional development of its members through education, collaboration, and networking." SSP established The Scholarly Kitchen blog in February 2008 to keep SSP members and interested parties aware of new developments in publishing.
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