Global publishing company Hachette have announced the launch of their new Facebook app called ChapterShare. The app will allow authors and publishers to post exclusive chapters from upcoming books on Facebook. Avid readers will then be able to sample the chapters and, if they like them, share them with their Facebook friends. This will hopefully get people talking about books online and will drum up publicity and free advertising for the author and publishers.
However some critics have noted that while the idea of sharing books online like this will be generate good publicity, this all relies on getting initial interest in the app. If nobody knows about the app and the excerpts available then there will be no one to share them with their friends. Hachette need to make enough of an initial splash with this idea to get the word around. If they can get some viral advertising out there then interest in the app should snowball with more and more people using it and sharing it with their friends.
The app doesn't just let you get a sneak peak at future releases, it also allows readers to instantly preorder the books that have taken their fancy. This could give books the sales bump that they need although there is nothing to stop users reading the extract on Facebook and then, rather than buying through Hachette, heading over to sites like Amazon to pick up the book at a cheaper price.
Despite the flaws, this idea is definitely on the right track. Publishers are already embracing online opportunities, with big names such as Penguin holding competitions for readers using Twitter and Facebook, this app will be the next step in harnessing social media to help raise the profile, and sales, of books both in print and available for e-readers.
The app had it's debut last week with some of the first extracts coming from the new James Patterson novel NYPD, due for release in October, and Michael Connelly's The Black Box which will be officially released in November.