In case you missed it, Amazon is now keen for its customers to display ‘Look Inside’ links to their favourite books, from within their own websites or blogs.
To be honest, I cannot see too many ordinary bloggers bothering with this feature, but for us Indies it could prove to be marketing gold!
Why? Because the ‘Look Inside’ feature gives casual visitors the ability to sample our work without feeling pressured to buy. Now I know sales are the holy grail, but nothing puts me off faster than a hard sell, so why do it to potential readers?
As I use WordPress for my blog, some of the following screenshots will be WordPress specific, but I assume other blogging platforms will work in a similar fashion.
For those not familiar with WordPress, all the blogs are built around ‘themes’ which determine how the blog will look and what features will be displayed. In my own blog, I use the theme ‘Elegant Grunge’ because it gives me a main area for posts, and up to two sidebars for other things [as shown below]:Before the advent of the new Amazon ‘Look Inside’ feature, I used to display static images of my books in the second sidebar. Now, however, each image acts as a portal, taking the reader past the cover and into the actual book. What the reader sees when they get there depends on how the eBook was originally set up.
The most common way of setting up an eBook is to use the inbuilt Kindle ‘Go to’ option to navigate around the story. This is clearly Amazon’s preferred way of doing things because their new ‘Look Inside’ feature takes the reader directly into the story [as shown below]:Clicking on the arrows to either side of the sample allows you to navigate backwards and forwards through the story. Clicking on the controls beneath the sample [not shown] allows you to change the size of the font, while clicking the back button of the browser returns you to the blog. Very civilized.
However, if you upload your eBook with a separate, clickable Table of Contents, as I did for Vokhtah, the situation is a little different, and the ‘Look Inside’ feature displays the book like this:As you can see, the reader has to select a chapter before they can read anything. Now, from a marketing perspective, this has two, distinct disadvantages:
- First, that an extra click means an extra opportunity for the reader to change their mind.
- Second, this is a sample only, so while the reader may see all the chapter headings, only the first few will lead to the story. Furthermore, clicking on any of the later chapters will take the reader to an Amazon ‘buy’ page, which is too much of a hard sell for my liking.
Another small disappointment was the ‘Read in Kindle App’ option located at the top right of the page. Clicking this option takes you to an Amazon page where you have to sign in if you want to have ‘a sample of this book [sent] to your Kindle Library’. Personally, I would prefer to see a simple ‘Save as’ option [which would allow me to save the sample directly to my computer].
Niggles aside, however, I am thrilled with the new Amazon ‘Look Inside’ feature and intend to set it up for all my books. It may not lead to increased sales, but it may lead to a greater awareness of my ‘brand’, and that can only be good in the long run.
In Part Two, we will look at how to install the Amazon ‘Look Inside’ feature [for WordPress blogs].