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.
- (Reader) The act of finding a new book to read based on recommendations, reading preferences, and other input.
- (Publisher) The act of convincing readers to buy books from said publisher. (See Marketing, Bookish)
- (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.
- (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.