There's a story going around today that the world's biggest trade publisher has set up shop and is now selling books on Twitter. I am not sure that is actually the case.
While it is true that Random Penguin tweeted a link on Friday which led to a collection of what looks like sale pages, only one of those pages has a buy button. The other eight simply lead to pages where you can get more info on a book. If you're interested in buying the title you are directed to the PRH website.
The only book that PRH is actually selling on Twitter (that I can find) is Andy Weir's The Martian; they want $10 for the paperback. I think that is a rather high price given that I can get that book on Amazon for $9 with Prime shipping.
Amazon also offers the Kindle edition for $6; there is no corresponding offer via Twitter, however.
So this is Twitter's plan to get into ecommerce? Color me unimpressed.
Twitter may have launched buy buttons over nine months ago when they announced that partnership with Gumroad, but this is in fact the first time that this blogger has encountered one.
Update: In fact, I have yet to encounter a buy button. What we are looking at here is the new collection and the new Twitter product pages. A reader tipped me to a Techcrunch story on the pages launching last week. PRH was a launch partner. Thanks, Mick!
I suspect that this might be your first encounter with one (they're not accessible outside the US ), so let me show you what it looks like. The first image shows the listing page; the second is what you see when you click the buy button(it's off the bottom of the screen).
I honestly have not seen them before, nor have I seen any buy buttons on tweets. And now that I have seen one, I am scratching my head.
I don't understand how this will become a practical sales channel for books due to the simple fact that no one appears to be using it.
After 9 months I have seen one Twitter buy button for one book. In contrast, over the last 9 months I have seen tens of thousands of tweets with links to Amazon, B&N, and other retailers (Kobo is aggressively promoting its store on Twitter). I have also seen any number of links to Gumroad's competitor Aerbook.
It could be too early to judge but from what I can see Twitter's efforts are just going to get lost in the background noise.
Or am I wrong?