CoverCake, a service that tracks online conversations about books, is launching a new Web-based dashboard app tomorrow, turning its vast library of data into an analytics tool for publishers, authors and fans alike. The new analytics features will enable publishers and authors to measure the impact of promotion, publicity and social media campaigns by seeing the conversations they generate.
In order to speed up its search process, CoverCake is constantly running possible search permutations on its data and then vetting the results with humans. The clean dataset is then available to users with the analytics already done. Even the raw data is accessible, not just the processed charts. If you want to see 10,000 Facebook comments about a specific book, CoverCake likely already has them.
This makes CoverCake's data set valuable to anyone interested in the market for books. Boopsie, a mobile book discovery app for libraries, has already integrated CoverCake's data using its API. The new analytics tools now allow users to find or track books using CoverCake's own website.
We've been covering some experiments in publishing lately, and Web technology has enabled rapid innovation in this quintessential pre-Web industry. CoverCake's interface and data science could help bring more precision to a new way of publishing.
The company's business focus, says Business Development Director Todd Gibson, is "primarily on publishers and authors," who derive the most direct benefits from this intelligence. The only way for the rapidly shifting industry to get smarter, he says, "is for them to figure out what people really like, outside of sales figures." The byproduct of that also happens to be an interesting book discovery tool for consumers.
The consumer appeal of these analytics tools is not as obvious as it is for a social service like Goodreads, which helps users discover new books through recommendations from their own social networks, as well as some original content like book lists and interviews. CoverCake lets readers see what books are popular now, as well as who's talking about them, but it's up to the user to filter the data to find what he or she is looking for. But for authors and publishers, CoverCake has an advantage over other enterprise analytics tools, because it's focused on the market that matters to them. Its dataset has limitations, but those can be an asset.
CoverCake's book discovery capabilities can be accessed through its free iOS app. The Android app offers more features, letting users filter by genre and see what books are trending in online conversations. Future versions will include analytics capabilities. The company is also working on an algorithm to separate out conversations about different editions and formats, enabling users to distinguish between print and e-books, for example.