want poetry readers? publish in multiple formats, some free

Those familiar with how we publish at Whale Sound Audio Chapbooks know our mantra – publish in multiple formats, some of them free. We publish as free web-based text & audio, free e-reader edition and free PDF download; with CD and print editions for sale.

Looks like Poetry and the Beloit Poetry Journal are embracing this philosophy too. Both are now offering their entire content free online, while maintaining for-sale print editions. (Hat tip: Jessica Goodfellow)

Why does Whale Sound publish like this? Let’s share some stats.

(Note: Our stats are not scientific. We can’t track everything and it’s never clear what a click on a link actually means, at the end of the day. We don’t count individual readings or listenings to of individual poems at the website, for example. And how do we know that a download or a purchase means actual reading of the chapbook or collection? We don’t.┬áBut, broadly and anecdotally, this is what we have found:)

– the free e-reader editions represent far and away the largest numbers of all copies obtained: between 40% and 60%.

– the second most popular edition is the free PDF download, which represents between 25% and 35% of all copies obtained.

– consumer preference is heavily weighted towards reading poetry rather than listening to it (which makes us sad) – audio copies obtained only represent betwee 10% and 20% of all copies obtained.

– Finally (and most importantly): sales of print version and CD version combined represent the smallest number of copies obtained – only between 5% and 10% overall. (Big hint: if you want readers, selling poetry may not be the way to go…)


PS I should also mention Moria Poetry e-books – you can download every e-book there free and you are also given the option, if you prefer, to purchase a paper copy of the book. Nice, Moria!

Published by

Nic Sebastian

Nic is the author of Forever Will End On Thursday and Dark And Like A Web. She founded the now-archived Whale Sound site and is co-founder of The Poetry Storehouse. Nic blogs at Very Like A Whale and Voice Alpha.

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