Facebook Wants a Cut of eBook Sales on Its Social Network

3956779350_ae74dfab14_bAuthors and publishers have been selling books on Facebook for over six years now by setting up shops with 3rd-party services, and now Facebook wants to get into the act.

Buzzfeed reports that Facebook has finally woken up to the idea that commerce is possible any place where people congregate:

The company is building out shops within Facebook Pages, essentially mini e-commerce sites that give businesses a chance to set up second homes within its walls. The shops are still in the testing phase, but some already feature “buy” buttons that allow the entire shopping experience to occur within Facebook — from product discovery to checkout.

“With the shop section on the page, we’re now providing businesses with the ability to showcase their products directly on the page,” Facebook product marketing manager Emma Rodgers told BuzzFeed News.

If it works, bringing storefronts directly to Facebook Pages could have a transformative effect on online commerce, as retailers embrace the platform not just to inform their customers, but to sell directly to them.

That's interesting, but not for the reason everyone thinks.

Facebook shops are not a new idea. As I've previously reported, people have been selling stuff on Facebook since at least 2009. They've been using services like StreetlibAerbook, and Gumroad to install shops on existing FB pages, and in some cases also using payment processors like Paypal to make the sale.

No one knows how much is sold on FB each year, but at this point it has to be in the tens of millions of dollars - if not more.

And now Facebook wants a cut of those sales.

The social network is under increasing pressure from stockholders to increase revenues. That's why FB has gotten more aggressive in suppressing un-promoted posts, and why Facebook added buy buttons to updates last July.

And now Facebook has hit on the idea of becoming a marketplace portal to rival Amazon. I don't see that happening, but more importantly Facebook is coming to the game at just the right time.

It's 2015 and most web retailers, including Amazon, Walmart, Rakuten, and even B&N, have third-party sellers listing products on their respective sites. One could look at that fact and say that Facebook is late to the game, but it's also worth noting that a lot of those sellers have a presence on multiple sites.

It shouldn't be hard to encourage them to also set up shop on Facebook as well.

image by ell brown

About Nate Hoffelder (11579 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."

2 Comments on Facebook Wants a Cut of eBook Sales on Its Social Network

  1. Setting up shop on FB: Depends on the terms. And FB already has a policy that it won’t show your announcements to more than x followers unless you pay to be seen. And as soon as you pay, it says “sponsored ad” and people tend to then say “don’t show me any more ads from x” So they have some work to do if they want “retailers” to take their site seriously as a storefront.

    I’m not against adding a retailer, but I don’t think it’s set up right now to sell things. Just like GR, the newsfeed actively scrolls away, doesn’t show everything all the time and even lots of shares and likes is no guarantee of anything.

    I’ve not heard of anyone thrilled with a facebook ad, although I’ve seen lots of attempts. I’ve even had companies offer to create a facebook ad for me, but that’s the EASY part.

    And I am one of those who sees a “sponsored” and clicks, “don’t show me these.”

    Again, I’m not against it, but they are not Amazon and their ads usually miss the mark from what I’ve seen.

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