Is All publicity Good Publicity?

By posted at 9:23 pm on March 12, 2011 6

Is all publicity good publicity? Are all reviews—even bad ones—good for books? The answer, according to a new study [pdf] by the journal Marketing Science, depends on whether the writer is well known or unknown. The study examined the impact of a New York Times review on the sales of more than 200 hardcover titles. For books by established writers, a negative review led to a 15% decrease in sales. For unknown authors, a negative review increased sales by a healthy 45%.

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6 Responses to “Is All publicity Good Publicity?”

  1. Samuel Sargent
    at 11:03 pm on March 12, 2011

    The type of bad publicity is relevant as well. A bad review is probably on the lower-intensity end of bad. On the other end of the spectrum would be something like the Cooks Source plagiarism scandal. Prior to the bad publicity, very few people had heard of Cooks Source. However, as a result of the bad publicity, the magazine as forced to close after all of the sponsors pulled out.

  2. Gwen
    at 1:26 pm on March 13, 2011

    Hmmm. Keep in mind that established authors get much harsher bad reviews than new ones–the NYT has no interest in taking an unknown author and ripping them to shreds. The paper only reviews an unknown work if they see something valuable in it, though the reviewer may dislike the work overall. But the NYT does not hesitate to take a famous author down.

  3. Negative Reviews May Be Good for Your Book | Be the Story
    at 9:41 am on March 14, 2011

    […] to Bill Morris of The Millions for this link to a paper, published in Marketing Science(v. 29 n. 5, September-October 2010), […]

  4. Chris Bohjalian
    at 6:06 pm on March 14, 2011

    Also worth noting that established authors likely to have larger week one sales and preorders to begin with — and an inevitable sales drop in weeks two and three.

  5. “Sucky” Reviews And What You Can Do — The Book Doula
    at 9:58 pm on June 5, 2011

    […] such thing as bad publicity for us, apparently; only for our celebrity counterparts. According to the report mentioned here, I can expect that negative review to increase my sales by 45%. Darn– I knew I should never […]

  6. Mike
    at 9:07 am on October 6, 2013

    Depends if you have a secondary market I think. Good or bad publicity for product A for instance might have x10 the effect of product B sales. Not as simple as people say maybe………..

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