Excerpted from The Digital Publishing Dictionary: Discovery

5348706-magnetic-letters-spelling-out-the-word-discovery[1]Discovery is a buzzword right now in digital publishing circles, with many publishers and tech companies trying to solve the "problem" of helping readers find their next book. One thing I have noticed about this word is that it doesn't always mean quite the same thing when said by different people.Today I would like to give you an orthogonal view of discovery, presented as a dictionary definition.

Discovery - noun. This word has several meanings that can vary based on usage, speaker, context.

  1. (Reader) The act of finding a new book to read based on recommendations, reading preferences, and other input.
  2. (Publisher) The act of convincing readers to buy books from said publisher. (See Marketing, Bookish)
  3. (Extraneous) The act whereby a 3rd party sells advertising space to legacy publishers, indie pub, and self-pub authors and presents said adverts to readers as book recommendations.
  4. (Retailer) The act of pitching titles to customers in the hopes of getting them to buy more books. (See Marketing)

I have been following the debate surrounding discovery ever since the term was the topic of its own unconference back in February, and during that time I have repeatedly seen it misused as a synonym for marketing and/or advertising. While this is an accepted usage, it still feels inaccurate to me.

I still think that the only valid definition is the first one, but that's not how I see the word being used.

P.S. If anyone wants to add another definition, comments are open.

 

About Nate Hoffelder (11588 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

3 Comments on Excerpted from The Digital Publishing Dictionary: Discovery

  1. I think of discovery as meaning “finding a book that is ‘new to you,’ wasn’t something you were already looking for, or knew that you wanted.” Put another way, discovery is what happens when you browse in traditional bookstore but mimicked in the digital space.

  2. William Ockham // 6 June, 2013 at 1:27 pm // Reply

    I think that the publishers definition is:

    The process of telling non-reading book buyers which books they should buy.

  3. Discovery is more than simply finding, but must include understanding what has been found with the ability to talk about what it is. I receive recommendations all the time but don’t necessarily read all of them, does this mean I discovered the books I didn’t read too? Surely not.

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