Using Design To Sell More Books


ThirdScribe book pages are designed to sell books, not ads.  Here is a little bit of insight into how they've evolved and some strategies authors can use to improve sales.As ThirdScribe continues to grow year to year, so does the breadth of our data. As usual, we’re happy to share our data in order to better help authors and readers alike. This year, instead of just a data dump of statistics, we thought we would show how we use this data to improve ThirdScribe as well as how authors can apply these insights to get better results.

How Data Makes Our Book Pages Better

68% of clicks to purchase on the ThirdScribe network come from network book pages. That is huge, and far more than we anticipated when we first launched the system.


When we were originally designing ThirdScribe back in 2013, we thought that since the book cards and purchase links are embedded into every author’s page or website, the majority of purchases would be happening there, via the individual book pages, index pages, or embeds into blog posts. However, the data showed us that readers increasingly click through the book cards in order to get additional information about the books. That means more and more readers are landing (and buying!) on network book pages.

Side-by-side comparison of how much our book pages have changed from 2014 to 2017


As a result, we made a lot of changes to our book pages this year, with the express purpose of making them more appealing to potential readers. Shortly after that initial overhaul, we took it a step further and added header images to book pages to allow for more focus, depth, and branding of a book.

But this redesign isn’t just to make the page look a little prettier. If that many people are clicking through from author websites to see more about the book, then we want to give that book page, and the author behind it, every advantage.

By constructing the page around the principle of the divine ratio, the reader’s attention is gently guided towards the purchase button.

The images and color contrast naturally pull the reader toward the purchase button.


The wide header image, the nested cover art, and the “heaviness” of the main navigation all work together to pull the reader’s eyes towards the center left, exactly where the “Buy Book” button resides. To help improve the effect, authors can coordinate the header image with the cover art to tell a visual story that draws in the reader and encourages them to buy the book.

Here are a few Header/Cover combinations we’ve found to be very compelling.

Mixing the Old and the New

Covers change for a lot of reasons, but sometimes those original covers resonated so strongly it’s hard to just set them aside. With ThirdScribe, you don’t have to. Here are two examples where beloved, iconic covers were used as the header image to bring a little history to the updated cover art.

Part nostalgia, part hat tip, this design trick infuses the reader with a sense of the book’s enduring presence.


The Close Up

Some covers have some very strong imagery that, when enlarged, creates a very appealing layered effect that naturally draws the reader in.

This works particularly well when the cover art contains a key visual insight into the story or characters.


The Media Tie In

OK, now this one isn’t for every book out there, but for those fortunate enough to be adapted to the large or small screens, using the promotional art can be a powerful tool. Not only does it reinforce the idea that the book is so good it was made into film, but it also assures those who first heard about it from watching to adaptation that they are in the right place.

Extra points if you can tie the television season to the book!


Reinforcing the Brand

Branding can be a very powerful tool, and images can go a long way to reinforcing that. For a non-fiction work, an image of the author speaking can emphasize their expertise.

Another option is to use recognizable imagery throughout the reader’s experience, reiterating the book’s header image with the images used by the author in their website, profile, or promotional artwork.


Adding Some Context

Traveling back in time, to a foreign land, or into deep space? Using the header image to give the reader a little more information into what your book is all about can help them make the decision to buy a little quicker and easier.

This approach is about using the images as a tool to tell the reader more about what they’ll find when they read the book.

Books Featured In This Post

About Rob McClellan

Rob is the founder of ThirdScribe, a unique author services platform and social network. As a naval officer and diver, he spent a majority of his career doing a lot more than you would think with a lot less than you can imagine — a skill that has proven extremely valuable in the start-up world. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

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