Saturday, January 11, 2014



I had time to amuse myself over the holidays in what is likely an unusual way.   At least it was harmless, non-addictive and non-fattening.   It could be called marketing research since it has to do with visibility and discoverability of book titles, something that must concern all authors.  What I decided to was to try  out the searchability of various e-book sites using both my own books and others.   In this case I first tried to search for When Bees Die both by title, author and then by various applicable subjects.

Barnes and Noble:   Using the title, the correct book came up as well as the sequel.  Same for author.   However, if you had forgotten the title as well as my name and only that it was something to do with bees you would give up before finding the book.   Entering 'bees' in the search box leads to over 9000 possibilities with fiction and non-fiction interspersed with children's books.  Following conventional wisdom that most people will only search a few screens before giving up, I did not come across When Bees Die.  But specifying the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre did bring it up in the second position.  

Yay B & N.  Too bad that a search of 'bee virus' only brought up one book on the topic of various disasters including killer bees.

Kobo:   The book appeared under both title and author as well as the subject, Bees, but interestingly, not when 'Death of Bees was searched'.  But if you attempt to find the book under the Science Fiction genre you're in for some frustration.   The genre is not broken into sub-divisions like dystopian or post-apocalyptic and you'll have over 30,000 titles to sift through.  If you try to search by title (cleverly choosing z - a instead of a - z) you'll discover that all foreign titles come first for some reason.  A search for 'bee virus' produced a multitude of books with the word 'bee' in the title even Aunt Bee's Mayberry Cookbook.  But even in quotation marks, "bee virus" did not produce When Bees Die.

Amazon:   They are reliable at coming up with the book title first although various books that happen to have the word 'die' somewhere in the text (there must be a multitude of those) follow soon after.   Quite  a few books use an analogy of bees dying after they sting to compare it to an unpleasant, lethal type of personality that is still around.  A search of 'bee virus' will produce both books in the series and some others of interest including a novel with a plot involving the introduction of robotic bees for pollination after the world's bees had been wiped out.   Hmmm!

Various articles have been written on the topic book discoverability, for example here  but so far, no solution has been found.

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