Articles tagged "connect"

Social media for book lovers

Social networking meets your reading addiction.

The New York Times recently ran an excellent profile of Goodreads, a super popular book-centric social media platform. The site launched in 2006, and as the Times notes, has over the last 7 years become “the largest source of independent reviews on the Web, with 21 million and counting.” Like all successful social media sites, its popularity springs from the relationships and communities it fosters, and if this article is any indication, these ties are booming.

I was also happy to note that the piece paid special attention to Goodreads’ relationship to independent publishing. It notes the wild success of “Wool,” a series self-published sci-fi books by Hugh Howey that received serious attention after being featured by one of Goodreads’ most popular book clubs (later it mentions that Howey’s series was optioned by 20th Century Fox!).

The Times attributes the particular advertising power of sites like Goodreads to the “membership model.” In short, recommendations or reviews written by friends (be they online or off) tend to be more effective motivators because they’re understood to be trustworthy and personal. Could literature-focused social media platforms provide the non-traditional advertising avenue self-publishing authors need to break through to a wide audience?

Though the Readmill’s iPad app has been around for a while, in early February the company launched an (even more mobile) app for the iPhone. Readmill is a digital reading platform with a built-in social media interface. One part digital marketplace, one part bookworm Facebook, the application – now available for both iPhones and iPads – allows users to purchase eBooks from vendors online and read them via a slick, minimalist interface on their mobile devices. It also lets readers share favorite quotes, track reading stats, and get recommendations from friends and followers.

Competitor apps like Wattpad and BookShout point to a growing market (and hopefully a growing demand). We’ll see if apps like this catch the public interest, but I think they could provide excellent opportunities for self-publishers trying to get the word out as well as serious readers looking for their next page-turner.

Are you a part of any of these book-centric social media platforms?  What has been your experience?

Lulu Support and Connect Update

As many of you are aware, a couple weeks back we launched a new forum and knowledge base platform, Lithium. Since then, we have been monitoring the feedback from our users, and thus far the new platform has been received quite positively. In fact, we’ve even seen some of our longtime customers return to the forums that we haven’t heard from in quite sometime – praising the new system.

We also launched Lithium with the objective of creating a clear distinction between “Support” and “Connect“. Our intention is to have the Support page be the home for issues requiring direct Lulu team member involvement, while Connect is meant to be focused on “self-service” support with our knowledge base and community of fellow users. We have reinforced that distinction consistently within Connect, and we have our users helping to reinforce it with newer customers. In the past week, we have seen over 500 posts made to the new boards, and we continue to receive positive feedback on the changes we have implemented.

Over the coming weeks, we will continue to solicit feedback from our users, and we’ll be setting up polls to help gather that data. Please check the Connect home page to see the active polls on the right-hand side. We’ll also be looking at ways to increase activity and engagement, and we welcome any suggestions you may have.

Congratulations to the Project Team and all who supported the efforts in getting Lithium launched and off to an incredibly successful first couple weeks.