We interrupt this public service blog for an announcement from our sponsor, NetGalley…
When I recently announced that NetGalley had reached the milestone of 5,000 registered members, I promised more info about our community of professional readers – who they are, how they read, etc. The data below was drawn from internal statistics on our site as well as a recent online survey answered by over 655 NetGalley members.
Who they are
As you might expect, the biggest community using NetGalley is reviewers – including bloggers and print reviewers – making up about 50% of total registered members. The remaining 50% is a mix of librarians, booksellers, educators, and media.
How they read
Though nostalgia for printed books and galleys remains high on blogs, twitter discussions and in other venues, our members are inclined to read digitally if it means faster access to new titles. A whopping 71% see “quick access to new galleys” as the biggest draw to digital galleys. And well over three-quarters of the respondents will read either print or digital galleys, with only 12% responding “I will only read print galleys.”
Also mirroring wider trends in reading devices, just over 60% read galleys by downloading them to their computer. As for dedicated reading devices, Amazon’s Kindle was the winner at 16%. The Sony Reader was next in line at 12%, with Barnes & Noble’s new Nook at only 5%.
NOTE: We conducted our survey before the iPad hit stores. In addition, the iPad currently does not support DRM-ed (protected) files – so the only galleys from NetGalley that can be read on that device are galleys that the publishers are offering as DRM-free (open) files. To date, the majority of galleys offered on NetGalley come with DRM; logically, since most publishers do not want pre-pub files distributed. More on this topic in a later post.
Why they like digital galleys
After quick access to new galleys, our members appreciate digital galleys for what they can provide that print galleys can’t: mainly,
- Being able to “read on the go” (49%)
- Searchability inside the galley (34%)
- Full-color reading and images (25%)
In the age of immediacy, when news becomes old before it even makes it to print (thanks, Twitter!), being able to email a direct link to a digital galley is a pretty awesome tool in the publicist’s tool belt.
It also makes sense that the ease of skimming and searching digital galleys makes them attractive to professional readers who may not need to read the entire text – like TV/radio producers looking for experts and journalists writing off-the-book-page-features.
In addition, most professional readers don’t have early access to four-color pre-pub materials for illustrated and graphic-heavy books (like cookbooks, children’s titles, etc) – meaning that professional readers might not otherwise see these titles (or only see a few pages in BLADs) before they arrive in stores.
A Book Critic’s View
During a recent chat with book critic Bethanne Patrick (the host of WETA.org’s Book Studio, who we’ve interviewed in the past, known to her fellow tweeters as @TheBookMaven), I got a few more insights on the advantages of digital galleys. Bethanne said she loves how digital galleys allow her to preview a book, to see if she’d even want the printed galley. When bookshelf space is at a premium for reviewers, she appreciates getting an email from a publicist with a link to the digital galley that says “take a look and let me know if you want a printed galley.”
Bethanne also sees value in the one-stop-shopping aspect of NetGalley:
- When she decides she wants a printed galley after viewing the digital version, she can just hit the EMAIL PUBLISHER button right in the title record in NetGalley.
- She can also access the Digital Press Kit materials – where publishers can include the press release, tour schedule, author Q&A, audio/video clips, cover images, etc.
- By sending her reviews to publishers via NetGalley, she hopes to appease publicists who still ask for tear-sheets of reviews.
Finally, Bethanne added that even when she had read an entire galley in printed form, she still liked to have a digital copy while writing her review. That way, she could quickly find a certain page or passage in a window alongside her review, without having to take off/put on her glasses while switching from the printed page to her computer screen. It’s the little things, right?
I’m excited that support of digital galleys is growing and—best of all—publishers and readers alike are finding new ways and reasons to appreciate the format.
As always, I’m open to any and all feedback – we love hearing from you!
your friendly Digital Concierge at NetGalley
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