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+Julia Cantor send me Seth's latest post, which includes this bit:

"Monday's publication of Stop Stealing Dreams has exceeded my expecations for feedback and impact. While a typical bestseller might sell 2,000 copies a day, this free manifesto was downloaded and shared more than 60,000 times since yesterday. I've gotten comments from around the world, and it's clear that the manifesto has struck a chord--and that's exactly why I wrote it."

Getting 60,000K downloads of an ebook in a day or so sounds impressive. But I have a couple of questions:

1 - How many people read or are subscribed to Seth's blog every day? My guess is his daily readership plus RSS subscribers tops 100K at least. Probably double or triple that is more likely.

2 - Did he send it out to his email list? If so, you can probably add another 300-400K.

Also, he shared it on Twitter to 150K followers. He shared it on Facebook where he has just short of 150K people following his page.

The point is, it's likely that between 500,000 and a million people were exposed to this free ebook, and 60K of them chose to download it. Is that impressive? Does that number suggest that the ideas contained within struck a cord?

Or does it suggest that when offering a free ebook, Seth can convert about 10% of his audience to download it?

I do know that we need a lot more context around how many people actually were exposed to the offer before we decide that getting 60K downloads is impressive or not.
Mack Collier's profile photoValeria Maltoni's profile photoSheree Martin's profile photo李晨's profile photo
should we be counting also the networks of those people who chose to share it? +Mack Collier
I shared it here and on Facebook... in turn, many in my networks shared it with people they felt would benefit from reading it in theirs, and so on.
Great point, the mulitiplier affect would work for Facebook too, although there would be some overlappage among your followers and Seth's, for example.

I'm not knocking 60K downloads, I'm just not buying Seth's claim that 60K downloads means the ebook's ideas struck a cord. If 60K out of 100K people that saw it downloaded it, then yeah, I tend to agree with him.

But if a million people saw it, and only 60K people chose to DL it, then no, I don't agree with him.
did you read the comments on the Squidoo post? I bookmarked and shared so many links of people and organizations building something alternative.

Also thinking about the % of email shares. Where some of those attachments? Who reposted it? Who's still catching up with their feed readers and may download it at a later date? Lots of variables with social. 60k is still impressive. And if only 1 person does something with it it was worth writing it +Mack Collier
I obviously can't and don't speak for +Seth Godin but I think he was comparing the single-day download for his manifesto to the single-day sales pace for a bestseller.

That said, a best-selling hardcopy or trade paperback will sell 2,000 copies per day over some period of time, so the best comparison metric will be downloads over some longer period of time.

Another factor is the "free" part. Let's say a book publisher set up a table in Time Square and gave away free copies of a NYT best-selling nonfiction book. How many people would pick up copies and never read them?

As +Valeria Maltoni points out, 60k is still impressive. We're all saturated with media, content, information, so I imagine it's harder than ever to get people to download something else for the "To Read" list/pile/queue. That 60k took the time to download a free book in one day, means something (although I'm not entirely sure WHAT it means).
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