What is More Powerful: Book or Film? The Written Word or the Visual?

A good portion of  movies are based on books, some 30 to 40%. A no-brainer would be to promote books with movie tie-ins as leads, something a new app free on Apple called The Nudge List is doing. It's based on a clever website, nudgemenow.com  that does just that - among other nice things.

And the other things are all visual, that's the truly interesting feature of this brand new site. Lots of movie trailers - not just book covers as is usually the case with book sellers. Result? It's much more fun to look at than Goodreads or Bookish. See here:

You don't believe me? Compare with the home page of Bookish, the new site set up by the big publishers (Hachette, Penguin and Simon and Shuster):

Or take a look at another book discovery site, Small Demons:

Yes, lots and lots of book covers here - a bit of a visual jumble, isn't it?

In my view, the Nudge Network has a cleaner, more appealing look and has content going beyond book covers: it reports on book events, festivals and of course movies. Once a week, on Friday, it will bring you new reads and tell you what's hot. According to Publishing Perspectives (see article here) it started off with a bang, 7,000 downloads of the App in its first 7 days of life. Interestingly, over 72% of visitors reportedly bought a book directly as a result of their visit to the site.

If that's true, that's amazing - particularly considering that the site does NOT give reading snippets or samples. That suggests people are buying blind to the written word and only moved to purchase through the sheer power of pictures! As one of the founder of the App told Publishing Perspectives, “There is nothing else out that gives you curation in such a very visual form, and discoverability is not something that Amazon is any good at.”

Yes, there is no doubt that book discovery is not something Amazon is particularly good at (see my recent post on the subject, here). And it probably explains the success of this kind of site - or at least, why there is space for setting up such sites.

Whether this visual approach will work or not, we'll see - it's too soon to tell. The Nudge Network is like David against the Goliath that is Bookish, yet the latter, in spite of the sums and efforts invested, appears to have had limited success so far. Ditto for Small Demons. Many people argue that for book discovery nothing can replace word of mouth and reviews.

But reviews are not visual - worse, they can be boring while images rarely are. So is The Nudge Network showing a way forward? What do you think?

Enhanced by Zemanta