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