12 July 2007

publishers using trumped-up focus groups

The Science of Success, by James Surowiecki, author of Wisdom of Crowds (via Freakonomics).

Apparently Simon and Schuster has partnered with a company called MediaPredict to set up a system in which consumers can evaluate book proposals.

This seems to me like one of the least surprising uses of prediction markets, because S&S is doing the evaluation and their purpose here is not to determine the book that the critics will like most, but the one that the people will like most. So why not ask the people? It strikes me as a fancy version of a focus group.

(By the way, "The Wisdom of Crowds" is difficult to find on Amazon if you don't limit the search for books, because Amazon assumes that "crowds" is a misspelling of "cords" and finds me all sorts of cordless devices. Sure, Surowiecki's book is a cordless device, but aren't all books?)

No comments: