Hachette Joins with Gumroad to Sell Books on Twitter

Screen shot 2014-12-05 at 4.51.00 PMWith the ink on its new Amazon contract barely dry, Hachette opens up a new distribution channel outside the e-tailer’s ecosystem.

Partnering with the e-commerce platform Gumroad, which earlier this year launched an iOS app to help authors sell their books direct to consumers, Hachette rolls out a pilot program letting readers buy select titles inside their Twitter feeds.

One irony of Hachette’s new initiative is that it goes where Amazon has recently gone before. In September, Amazon began letting Twitter users add products to their Amazon Wish Lists by tweeting the hashtag #AmazonWishList–a move that expanded on an earlier integration this year allowing users to deposit items directly into Amazon shopping carts via Twitter.

But Hachette’s program seems designed to take that one step further, from lining up purchases through Twitter to transacting them there. Authors themselves appear set to play a major role in the sales process. In a statement today Hachette says that “promotional buy buttons will appear” for certain titles “within the authors’ tweets,” with the Gumroad platform allowing customers to enter purchasing information as soon as they click the buttons, according to clarification by a Hachette spokesperson. Gumroad takes a cut of each transaction in exchange for the service.

HarperCollins also sought recently to turn authors’ social media platforms from marketing tools into direct sales channels. In October, the publisher extended additional royalties to authors who usher readers to its e-commerce website via social media posts.

As one marketing executive at a Big Five publisher recently pointed out, changes in reader behavior and in online platforms themselves are quickly forcing publishers to find new ways to leverage social media in order to drive discovery and sales.

Learn more: Get up to speed on the latest in digital book marketing, with a free webcast tomorrow on current strategies, followed by a more advanced look at social media marketing tactics in a second webcast on December 16th. Sign up for the first and get a free copy of Book Marketing & Social Media FAQ plus a discount on the second webcast. And for a deep dive into cutting-edge marketing strategies for publishers, there’s no substitute for Digital Book World 2015.

[Press Release]


December 8, 2014—Hachette Book Group has partnered with Gumroad, the powerful platform that enables creators to sell products to their audience, on a new social media commerce initiative to enable book purchases natively within Twitter. The promotions will launch on December 11 with print books by Amanda Palmer, Chris Hadfield, and The Onion available for purchase for a limited time and in limited quantities, each accompanied by an exclusive bonus item. Since partnering with Twitter on a commerce pilot this fall, Gumroad has worked with major and independent musicians and charities on unique social commerce initiatives. Hachette is its first publishing partner.

Within the authors’ tweets, promotional buy buttons will appear for Amanda Palmer’s book The Art of Asking, Chris Hadfield’s You Are Here, and The Onion’s The Onion Magazine: The Iconic Covers That Transformed an Undeserving World so readers can purchase their books without leaving the Twitter platform. Palmer’s book will kick off the promotion on December 11, and will be accompanied by an original manuscript page, with notes from the author and editor, as well as from Palmer’s husband, bestselling author Neil Gaiman. Ex-astronaut Chris Hadfield will launch a promotion on December 15, with the book plus a signed original photo, a stunning aerial image of the island of Corfu; and The Onion’s special Twitter promotion begins on December 18, with the new book accompanied by a set of note cards featuring twelve of the editors’ favorite magazine covers.

“We’re incredibly excited to welcome Hachette and their authors to Gumroad. We’ve been really impressed by Hachette’s commitment to exploring new opportunities for their authors to make money and engage directly with readers through social commerce. They don’t shy away from new technology—they’re genuinely committed to exploring what the future of publishing looks like,” says Sahil Lavingia, founder and CEO of Gumroad.

Michael Pietsch, Hachette Book Group CEO, said, “With so much of our book marketing done socially now, in-stream Twitter purchasing is a natural next step. Gumroad’s success working with music labels and artists to enable sales to fans, and their partnership with Twitter, put them at the forefront of social media commerce. We’re excited to work with Gumroad to offer this unique capability, and to open up this new channel for Hachette authors and their readers.”


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