It's all about the reader

Publishers must accurately predict the first time they read a raw, unedited manuscript whether it will sell. Based on this, a publisher might take a portion of a very limited publicity budget promote the book.

Unfortunately, no matter how much money a publisher pours into the publicity for a book, the bottom line is that what drives book sales is still word-of-mouth. If readers buy a book, read it and don’t recommend it to their friends, that book won’t sell. The truth is, we are more likely to read a book if someone we trust tells us to, than if we see ads for it on billboards.

The internet has made this all the more obvious. is conducting a poll to find out what books readers believe are the top 10 books of the last decade. Many readers are coming up with the same names - and none of these books benefited from particularly massive publicity campaigns.

It’s all about the reader. That’s why a lonely housewife in Port Harcourt with a popular blog can mean the difference between sales of 500 and 5,000 copies. That’s why Oprah’s Book Club is such a big deal. It’s still all about the reader.


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