Does my method of book distribution work?

The method of distributing my Mastering ArchiMate book has the disadvantage that I have completely no idea how many people actually read my book. But after more than a month, I have learnt a few things.

I made the book available for public download on the 24th of October 2012 through an article on this blog. The method of distribution does not allow me to get direct stats on downloads. These stats are of a limited use anyway, as the PDF can be copied far and wide as soon as it has been downloaded.

On Nov 7, I changed the links on my blog to the downloads to bitly links. This gives me a limited stats on downloads. From the 7th of November until the 6th of December, there were around 650 downloads of the normal PDF and close to 200 of the ‘professional print’ version of the screen PDF via the bitly links on my masteringarchimate.com pages. Interestingly, I have complete statistics from wordpress.com on the pages on my blog dedicated to the book: ±2100 views in 6 weeks (of which only 500 via the bitly links I use on Twitter and LinkedIn).

I suspect that some (if not most) of the ‘professional print’ downloads were by people who thought the prints would be of higher resolution (they are not), then found out they really wanted the normal PDF. So, after finding out, they probably downloaded the normal PDF. Unless of course, the book has now been printed and is being sold in bookshops in countries where intellectual property rights are not that strongly protected…. Anyway, I think it is wise to forget the ‘professional print PDF’  downloads for the moment.

If I assume that the first two weeks have seen slightly less  downloads than the two weeks after I started using bitly, there have been around 900 downloads via the bitly links. Some of these will have been re-downloads, especially after I put out a version with some error corrections. But some downloads will have been passed on through other means (e.g. e-mail, local storage in companies, etc.). All in all, I have no idea how many people have read the book from downloads.

I haven’t seen a lot of feedback. I did get some error corrections from readers (thanks!) and (though not much of it) generally very positive feedback on the contents of the book (also thanks!). But I haven’t seen a lot of feedback, so either the book is downloaded a lot but read only a little, or people tend not to send feedback.

And finally, there is ‘donations received/licenses sold’ as a measure of success. Maybe people do not notice, but the book is not meant to be a free download. For personal use, it is ‘begware’: if you find it useful, please donate (suggested amount €8.99). For professional purposes (and my guess is that is the majority) a license should be bought. To be frank: I would indeed like to make some money from this, first to cover the cost (Adobe InDesign is not free) and maybe to get some money to buy a better laptop for more books to produce in the coming years. It’s not my main goal, but it would be a nice side-effect.

But, as the book can be downloaded easily and has no DRM-protection, getting donations or selling licenses is a matter of people wanting to be decent / being able to get purchases through their company’s bureaucracies. Here, the numbers are even lower than feedback: 3 licenses sold, some 11 donations received. So, either people download but forget about the book, or they download read and forget about the donation / €8.99 license. The latter  can easily happen. You download, you read and you’re done and there is no personal upside in spending time and energy to try to pay afterwards.  I do not blame people for it. It is quite natural in biological terms not to invest unless you have to. Since I have made it 100% easy not to pay, I must not be surprised that these natural reflexes kick in. I knew that before I decided to distribute this way and I did not write this with money as my motivation anyway.

What this so far is, is an interesting experiment on using plain internet (no marketing budget, not professional publisher) to distribute the book. My guess is that so far hundreds of people have gotten access to it. But to be honest: I’m completely in the dark. Maybe there are only 16 people who actually have read or used my book. Who can tell?

Finally, For the last 30 days, the geographical distribution of views on this blog (as far as WordPress.com has been able to determine, on bitly I get a 25% ‘unknown’) have been as follows:

GeograhicalDistributionOfViewsNov2012

And since inception of this blog, ±24,000 views with the following distribution:

GeographicalDistributionOfViewsOnBlogFromInceptionToDec2012

Yes, even one view from Nepal. Could have been a tourist, of course, forgetting that he or she was on vacation.

As far as my blog is a good measuring device for interest in ArchiMate, the above gives one an idea on how that is distributed over the world.

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5 Responses to Does my method of book distribution work?

  1. Dave Bradshaw says:

    I read your book from beginning to end and really liked it. Thanks for writing it. I have casually followed your blog for some time now. I don’t always agree with you although you do always make me think.

    As you have already summarized in this post, your distribution method is working, as long as income in not one of your primary goals. That said, if you would have used a pay only method then I would have sat on the sidelines until the feedback started to build up. I really dislike paying for a book that tells me what I already know. So, ultimately you will have to decide. You are probably already aware of this… Michael Hyatt just released a book, “Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World” (http://michaelhyatt.com/) that may interest you, if you intend to write another book. I am not associated with Mr. Hyatt or the book.

    As far as your content, I do have a question I would like to ask. I totally get (and like) the use of the standard 5 application elements to describe an application. What we are trying to decide on is, how do you show multiple applications having the same (or very similar application) functions? I’m chewing on multiple application functions that are specializations of a common application function or somehow composing a common application function into the application specific application functions. Hopefully, that made some sense and I would love to hear thoughts.

    Regards,
    Dave

    • gctwnl says:

      As you know, Application Function is the flip side of the coin of which the Application Component is the other side. I generally stay away from Specialization in models that are supposed to be descriptions of the ‘as is’ (current state) or ‘to be’ (project) reality. Such models I think should be ‘object models’ and not (also not in part) ‘class models’.

      If you want to group these equivalent or ‘near similar’ applications, there is a decent solution for this that I mention in Section 7.22 of the book. If two applications realize the same service in an either/or way, you can choose to model a single Application Service that is Realized by two Application Functions and that has (if you model these) two Application Interfaces assigned to it. The Application Service is used by a Business Process and what you have modeled is that this Business Process can use either of the two applications, they are interchangeable. Using two functions to realize a single service is that used in the meaning of either/or. If you want the ‘and’ version, you use a collaboration.

      There is always a danger when you model ‘very similar’ as ‘equivalent’. Your model may get simpler, but you pay a price. You have to decide what price you might have to pay (in what circumstances are you going to draw the wrong conclusions from your model), how likely that is and how damaging that is. I always propose a risk-based attitude when you decide to stray from actual reality (for whatever good reason, and there are good reasons sometimes). If you think it is an acceptable risk, you simplify or make abstractions.

      Secondly, it is important to always do it the same way in the same situations. So, you need to make a pattern, describe when to use it and then use it consistently.

  2. Oscar says:

    I have just made a donation.

    Thanks for the great work on the book! It is a wonderful way to learn how to put in practice the Archimate visual language, with lots of examples.

  3. JP de Vooght says:

    I printed the book using the enhanced file at a local print shop. Worked great. Am still reading the book and like the personal style and war stories. Definitely works for me. Cost of printing and binding in color was CHF120.
    JP

    • gctwnl says:

      JP, CHF 120 equals roughly €100. That is extremely costly, I would say, for a single copy. It is even much more than a printed version that I could ship via my Amazon UK offering. I am waiting for a printed copy from an internet service that provides printing and shipping for far less. If that print is OK, I’ll post the particulars on the main book page of this site.

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