Is 4,000 reads a lot?

Kontax has been read by 4,000 people in it’s first 10 days on MXit. I asked a friend in publishing to put that figure in context in terms of regular teen books sales in SA: is that low, high, ok? While we can’t really compare m-novels to printed books — they’re so different in so many ways — her response is still very interesting:

I can’t testify about teen books in particular, but a typical trade book first print run is 3,000, and a book publisher is usually satisfied if that sells through, particularly for fiction. Figures are much higher for prescribed school books of course, but you’re talking about a voluntary sign-up here. Also, you need to consider the time-frame: the equivalent of 4,000 copies ‘sold’ in less than a month? A publisher might expect that kind of performance over a year to 18 months.

I think this project overcomes so many of the problems of book publishing (language, relevance, distribution, cost) that comparing it with book sales is the ultimate apples-and-oranges. But, as a book publisher, I’d be seriously impressed with these figures.


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