Scribd stats mystery

Posted by Paul Samael on Friday, May 3, 2013 Under: Self-publishing

UPDATE 8.2014:  I have now discovered that Scribd's "read" stats are even less reliable than suggested here and the figures quoted below significantly overstate the number of "readers" - so ignore this post and take a look at this one.

I have tended to focus my attention on Smashwords and Feedbooks as publishing platforms - since other sites I have tried, like BookieJar and especially Wattpad (click here for my curmudgeonly musings on the latter), don't seem to have generated very many downloads.  But I have persisted with Scribd, even though my "read" stats there were certainly nothing to write home about. Until now that is - because for some reason entirely beyond my understanding, "The Pick Up" has, in the space of a few weeks, picked up more "reads" on Scribd than any of my other stuff (all of which has been on there for at least 9 months).  

Now, I probably shouldn't get too excited about this, because a "read" on Scribd appears to be generated whenever anyone views the first page - which probably means that I need to discount my "read" stats by a fairly hefty percentage to get a more accurate picture of how many people are actually reading my stuff.  This seems to be supported by the "pro stats" page of Scribd which suggests I have an average "engagement" per reader of a mere 16 seconds (!).  At first I was pretty depressed by this, but it's possible that some people are downloading stuff to read later (say, on a tablet which only has home wifi access - but they want something to read on the train where there's no wifi).  So it could mean that the engagement stats do not tell the whole story (or at least, that what I keep telling myself....).
Still, I have found my latest Scribd stats somewhat consoling because whilst downloads of "The Pick Up" from Feedbooks have been in line with previous experience (i.e. not spectacular but quite good), my downloads from Smashwords this time around are pretty disappointing;  since 22 March I have managed a mere 29 downloads (and this despite having two positive reviews).  Why am I blathering on about all this?  Well, I think it just goes to show how it's worth being on a number of different platforms, because you never quite know things will pan out.  Maybe it should even cause me to review my grumpy-old-man verdict on Wattpad.

UPDATE 18.5.2013:  not entirely unexpectedly, reads of "The Pick Up" from Scribd have not continued to grow at the same rate - they are now running at about the level of my other stuff i.e. I'm doing well if I get 1 a week, if that.  Still, it was nice while it lasted (and "The Pick Up" has comfortably out-performed everything else I've put on Scribd).

UPDATE 2.12.2013:  just put up a new short story on Scribd, "The King of Infinite Space", which isn't doing anywhere near as well (it's been up there a couple of days and only has 17 downloads).  This suggests that my experience with "The Pick Up" may have been a bit of a fluke - so my apologies to anyone whose hopes I have raised unjustifiably by blogging about the number of downloads it got via Scribd.  That said, downloads of this latest story on Smashwords are close to overtaking "The Pick Up" - which just goes to show how pieces can perform very differently depending on the platform.

In : Self-publishing 

Tags: scribd "publishing platforms" downloads 
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About Me

Paul Samael Welcome to my blog, "Publishing Waste" which will either (a) chronicle my heroic efforts to self-publish my own fiction; or (b) demonstrate beyond a scintilla of doubt the utter futility of (a). And along the way, I will also be doing some reviews of other people's books and occasionally blogging about other stuff.
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