Book Summaries Make Sales for Nonfiction Authors

POSTED ON Jul 30, 2020

Joel Friedlander

Written by Joel Friedlander

Home > Blog > Marketing > Book Summaries Make Sales for Nonfiction Authors

By Erik Nilsson

Here at The Book Designer, we’re always looking for book promotion ideas to share with our readers. If you haven’t heard of using book summaries, particularly in this case if you’re a nonfiction author, you may appreciate today’s guest post by Erik Nilsson who explains how they can be helpful to sell nonfiction books.

Have you ever tried searching on Google for a summary of a nonfiction book? If not, then you are about to find an enormous market where companies summarize books and share them with millions of readers around the world. Many of these readers also end up buying the full book in the end, which is why publishing a summary of your book may be an overlooked marketing strategy.

Today, our world is busier than ever and full of distractions. People have less and less time to deep dive into a specific subject, and often it’s rare to find the time to sit down and finish an entire book. Moreover, there has been an enormous influx of books in the personal development and self-help fields over the last 10 years.

One can argue that the combination of these two trends has increased the need amongst readers for guidance. Being saturated with new books makes it increasingly difficult to select among all the available options, and to see past catchy headlines and book descriptions.

I believe guidance in book selection is one of the reasons that book summaries have become a large industry. As both the appetite for nonfiction and the sheer number of nonfiction books released are both increasing, readers want to ensure that a book is worth their time before investing their time and money.

This trend of summarized books was spotted early on by a number of companies such as Blinkist, getAbstract, and Instaread, which today have thriving businesses based entirely on summarizing nonfiction books.

Why would people who read a summary then read the full book?

According to The Entrepreneur, Blinkist alone had over 6 million users in mid 2018, and since then that number has increased greatly.

However, a question that remains is how many of these summary-readers actually have an interest in reading the full book. We have looked into some of the data.

I’m Erik and I am the blogger behind BookSummaryClub, where I read and summarize nonfiction books. The blog started as my personal notebook, and today it allows me to reach over 25,000 monthly users either looking for their next read or simply enjoying a brief summary of major nonfiction books.

When I look into my own data, I see that over 5% of my readers click through to Amazon and look into buying the full book or listening to the audiobook. That means that my tiny website (in comparison to mammoths like Blinkist) generates over 1000 interested readers to the books I’ve written about.

Moreover, when I researched the subject online, it became obvious that some of the companies mentioned above also use this strategy to acquire new publishers and books to their library of summaries. Fortunately, getAbstract has made a really nice graph explaining how book summaries fuel book sales.

The data in the image above from getAbstract depicts the number of books purchased in the last year from reading a book summary. As you can see, over 10% of those who read summaries of a book end up buying it at a later stage. Moreover, almost 20% of book purchases are influenced by a summary being read.

At getAbstract I could also find several testimonials attesting to the benefit of including book summaries in your book marketing strategy.

One testimonial argues that book summaries have become as important as book reviews in major media, such as The Economist, Financial Times, and Wall Street Journal. The testimonials also mentioned that summaries which are succinct are most valuable for subscribers and readers. This makes sense when you consider the short span of attention of today’s readers.

Another testimonial points out that book summaries are the perfect way to bring attention to books that appeal to busy professionals. Further, they can see a direct correlation of increased book sales with titles that are accompanied by summaries.

Should I summarize my book?

If you’re still in doubt… YES! Start writing a summary of your book. There are many ways to get it published, where companies such as Blinkist, getAbstract and Instaread are obvious choices. Moreover, authors can publish their summaries at my blog free of charge, and all I ask for in return is a link to it from your own blog. (Apply here.)

Best of luck with using summaries as a marketing strategy for your books and feel free to reach out with questions at any time!

Erik Nilsson is the blogger and writer of BookSummaryClub, where everything regarding reading, writing, personal development, and books is discussed. To date, he has written over 140 book summaries based on his favorite reads. You can reach him by email.
Photo: BigStockPhoto

Joel Friedlander

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Joel Friedlander

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