While surfing the internet,( do people still say that?), I ran across a few sites of interest. Selling and sharing books is changing daily. If you’re interested in getting the word out about a creative project, your book or discovering new books, these sites are handy.
If you want to sell direct, gumroad.com is a great place to start. Gumroad encourages customers to add any creative project, it is not exclusively books. You could sell music downloads, just about anything you create. Building a store is not a requirement. You own the distribution. You can also use the social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to connect to your contacts.
Gumroad provides you with a link that takes your followers to your product. From there, your customer can view and purchase securely. So, instead of having to find you on a site like Amazon, you provide a link that takes the potential buyer to your product. Looks easy.
Quora is a blog site as well as a question/answer site. It is similar to Ask.com in that it allows users to ask and answer questions. Some differences: users get points for the number of hits followers provide if they click on and like your answer; users can create a blog to talk about their product or service.
This site is a start-up (2012) so I’m guessing it is changing and adjusting as the need arises. The only thing I didn’t like is that too many people are just promoting their own businesses and not necessarily answering the questions asked.
Book Scout app
Random House released a Facebook app in January, 2013, called Book Scout. Once you add the app to your Facebook profile, you can discover new books. I would say it’s a little better than searching Amazon, since I have found Amazon’s search engine to be a bit difficult unless you know a lot about the book you want. Book Scout is so new that it does not yet have some books catalogued in their app.
It is easy to use, there is a bookshelf for your books so you can share what you’re reading. This feature is not necessarily unique, except that it is tied into Facebook. Time will tell.
Libboo is another book discovery website. Specifically for e-books, in October, 2012, libboo received $1.1 million in seed money. For self-published authors and small presses (like LeRue Press, our company), it will provide an avenue to engage users and potential customers to learn about new books and tell others about them via “buzzing”. Libboo gives its users the avenue to buzz a book to a long list of social networking sites, including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, Stumbleupon, Tumblr, the list is endless. Authors can sign up and develop a following that will help them get the word out, good or bad. Readers who sign up have an opportunity to earn free books. There’s a place to comment and “follow” other users.
Full disclosure: LeRue is slated to release a number of titles with Libboo in 2013.