Bad Metadata = Misinformation = False Conclusions

I’m a big fan of O’Reilly’s Ben Lorica. He modestly shines a lighthouse beacon of quantitative analysis through the fog of print-is-dead histrionics. I was delighted to see some hard numbers of iBooks title share (not market share; these are available titles):

Wow! Penguin’s books are all over the iBookstore!

Well, not really. One commenter on another site (“Jack”) points out that S&S and Hachette are broken out by their imprints, whereas Penguin is not. Same with Macmillan: St. Martin’s, FSG, Henry Holt, Palgrave, Tom Doherty. Macmillan overall has 10.8% of the available titles.

So where did Ben Lorica go wrong?

He didn’t. Penguin did. Lorica simply pulled the metadata provided by the publishers. Instead of asking why Penguin didn’t segment out their metadata by publisher (Laura Dawson may be able to let us know), I’d rather ask what readers would and should expect.

We all know that 95% of publishers don’t have a strong enough brand identity to affect search or discovery: nobody’s getting an iPad and saying, “Well, I’ll just buy whatever FSG has available.” (Though they should, *cough cough*.) But places like Tor/Forge, listed here as Tom Doherty Associates, do occupy that 5%. Especially for the early adopter market, who I’m guessing also like speculative and science fiction.

What are your thoughts?

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Filed under ebooks, farrar straus and giroux, industry, macmillan

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