Quite some time ago I put most of my self-published books up on Google Books – another source of paid or free ebook distributio (in my case, free). I’ve made my books free in several places, including Smashwords, Feedbooks, Liibooks, Obooko, Xii, Lulu, and Google (on Kindle, some of them are free, but that’s Amazon’s decision – I had to make them 99 cents by default there).
Anyway, every now and then I go and check on them in these various spots to see what they’re up to. Most of these sites give you a reasonable summary. Feedbooks is the simplest and easiest. Smashwords dashboard shows you downloads but only from their main site – from their distribution network (Apple, Sony, B&N, etc …) you have to look at messy spreadsheets, some of which, like Apple, don’t even account for free copy downloads, so you kind of have to guess.
Google Books, however, is something of a mystery. At books.google.com/partner, you can track things sort of (there were 335 book “visits” in November, but 166 pages were viewed? what does it mean?), but just going to each book’s page, there is wildly conflicting information. Zombie Nights tells me it’s had 100 reviews and that the average review is 4, but when you click in to see the reviews, there are only 5 of them. The same pattern continues for other titles. The number of reviews claimed is always wrong. Clicking through sometimes brings you in to Goodreads reviews, sometimes not. I have no idea what they’re doing. The partner page tells me that Zombie Nights was “visited” 97 times in November, for a total of 6 pages viewed. For the year it’s been 1,417 visits, 69 visits with pages viewed and 507 pages viewed. I wish I knew what they considered to be a “page”. Did anyone read the whole book there or what? Hard to tell.
Altogether I have to be content with the “knowledge” that for 2012 to date, my Goobgle Books entertained 6,279 visits, of which 1,430 involved pages being viewed, for a total of 5,764 pages viewed . My books average around 90 “pages” in book-length which is probably not the same thing as web page length. If anyone has any idea what these things even mean, I’d be glad to hear it.