Do Online Books Increase Offline Sales?

Subject: Do Online Books Increase Offline Sales?
From: "Steven J. Owens" <puff -at- netcom -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 1999 09:34:30 -0700 (PDT)

Hey folks,

Does anybody have any specific evidence that online versions of
books improve offline sales? Anything would be appreciated - hard
data and statistics are nice, but even anecdotal evidence from
publishing professionals would hepl.

On another list I hang out on, one of the list members is writing
a book on programming (Java Swing, in case you're curious). They're
having an argument with their publisher over the online copy of the
book and have appealed to the members of that mailing list to contact
the publisher and encourage them to keep the online copy available.

The basic argument is that online copies of the book help book
sales by letting people get a look at the book. However, reading
online only goes so far, and if you really want the book, you want an
offline version of it. Printing out an entire book is tedious and
costs more than just buying the book. Also, with a purchased book you
get (hopefully) better production values.

As a tech writer and as a programmer (and hence a member of hteir
target audience) I'm planning to contact these folks. I do believe
that online availability of a book improves offline sales. I know it
influences me that way. But I'd like to get more evidence.

Steven J. Owens
puff -at- netcom -dot- com

Here's the original post. If anybody cares to comment directly
to the publisher, the email address is in the body of the message

From: "Matt Robinson" <matt -at- mattrobinson -dot- com>
To: <swing -at- eos -dot- dk>, "Advanced Swing" <advanced-swing -at- eos -dot- dk>,
"Advanced Java at Berkeley" <advanced-java -at- xcf -dot- berkeley -dot- edu>
Subject: Friends of Swing - Please Read
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 17:52:07 -0700

Pavel Vorobiev and I have completed the writing of "Swing",
which has been freely available at
since we started the project.

Many people from these mailing lists have helped improve the
book through suggestions and corrections, and we feel that it
is a useful online resource to all situation, or has used the
resource, we urge you to take a second out of your day to write to
Marjan Bace (maba -at- manning -dot- com) and let him know that
"Swing" will gain a wider audience because of this free availability.

As you can imagine, after putting a lot of hard work into the book,
and fighting from the start to make it freely available for all Swing
developers, it has become increasingly frustrating to be constantly
worrying whether or not the publisher will decide to take our site
down on a whim.

...any support we get here is greatly appreciated...


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