10:1 Book to Online Readership for Bree Tanner

Two quick notes and a question for y’all about Entertainment Weekly’s report on the sales of The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: (H/T Arabella!)

(1) “The new novella currently tops USA Today’s best-seller list and Little, Brown estimates they have already sold 700,000 copies in the United States. Deadline reports that that the British bookstore chain Waterstones expects to sell more copies of Bree Tanner than of any other book this year.

EW then all but says that this is due to Twilight addicts needing a “fix” rather than anything inherently valuable or challenging in the story. Here’s hoping that more thoughtful readers will want to explore what it is about Stephenie Meyer’s books that cause such an addiction!

(2) EW expresses surprise that sales have been this brisk because the novella is available free online at BreeTanner.com until July 5th. “Little, Brown estimates that only 75,000 people have read the book in its entirety on the website.” Here’s my question:

If you take off the mind-numbing head-band meme that won’t allow you to get past “Twilight is stupid and Stephenie Meyer is a bad writer” (listen to this discussion to help you with that), is this really such a mystery? Who wants to read 175 pages in front of a computer?

My thought on reading that book sales are ahead of online readers by a margin much greater than ten to one is that publishing your book online is an excellent way to promote your hard copy book sales. I’m betting that a lot more than 75,000 people have started Bree Tanner online, enjoyed it, and ran out to buy a copy they could carry around, finish, and re-visit any time they wanted to. It was a great marketing decision —

And an excellent way to defuse the inevitable snarky criticism that Mrs. Meyer only wrote it to milk the cash cow of the Twilight Saga.

Your thoughts?


  1. Well, I read the entire book online, but now I have a copy for my shelf as well. The free ebook can’t be read after July 5, which is a problem for fans who like to re-read books. I also find it rather hard to underline, or stick post-it notes into ebooks, which is annoying for me 🙂

    Mind you, I didn’t buy my hardcopy, I was given it by a friend who didn’t want to read online, but also didn’t want to keep her paper copy. It’s handy having friends like that.

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