Is BookScan Helpful Or Harmful?

Is Nielsen’s BookScan good for writers? This was a question raised at today’s eBook Summit, by author Douglas Rushkoff. He thinks it isn’t.

“BookScan is a writer’s nightmare,” he said. “It generates a kind of accountability that is actually counter productive to business. Banks are not accountable to the present. They are only accountable to the future. BookScan removes speculation from the book industry.”

But while an author may not like to be classified by his or her BookScan figures, the Nielsen data service can still help publishers understand a title. Consultant Jim King, a former BookScan executive, admitted that BookScan is not a forecasting tool, but he said that it is a helpful way to understand how titles are selling.

He did admit that this is easier to do with backlist titles than with new releases, but recommended that publishers use the tool to track the life of the book.

What do you think of BookScan?

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