#SWYW: You spoke, we listened!

More than five hundred authors, professors, and readers spoke their minds in our Say What You Want campaign. And we listened. So, what did we learn?

Well, first of all, that people are not averse to answering surveys, at least not if you can offer a good reward for it. Cleo O’Brien-Udry was the lucky winner of our $250 in #CornellPress books raffle, and was excited to share the news on her Twitter feed:


Second, that authors will prioritize quality, overall prestige, and reputation in their specific fields as the most important attributes when choosing a publisher for their books. The relationship with their acquiring editor and the marketing efforts and resources available for promoting the book are also extremely valuable, and some authors even pointed out the preference for a specialized series that make sense for their book.

Third, we learned that almost 60 percent of readers and CUP customers find their next reads in blog posts, book reviews, or articles in digital newspapers or magazines, and that more than 58 percent of them do so through social media. This finding indicates that our digital efforts are not in vain and suggests that ads in printed media have little value in the discovery of books. Moreover, we found out that our customers are price sensitive, and when it comes to buying a book, considerations of subject matter and cost are at the top of their list. Last but not least, it turns out that 98 percent of the readers appreciate special discount and promotions, saying that campaigns like Pay What You Want and our End of the Year sale help them get their hands on their wish-list books!

Regarding professors, we found out that 90 percent of those who took the survey assign books for course adoption, and that only 12 percent of them would consider assigning an ebook to their class that costs more than $30. Students matter to them and they are aware of the fact that books they choose need to be both affordable and accessible to that public.

Authors, readers, and professors spoke. And we listened.

Based on these first takeaways, and because your Say What You Want responses mean a lot to us, we are happy to announce that we are slashing our ebook pricing by 50%!


All in all, #SWYW helped us discover trends that speak of the publishing industry and where academic publishing is going, and that there is much ground for improvement in what we do here at CUP too. Looking into the future, we are excited to continue to analyze these results and act on the insights that we gained from this campaign; always striving to become the best University Press that we can be.

About the author of this blog post: Adriana Ferreira is the Social Media Coordinator at Cornell University Press. Ebooks helped her hour-long train commutes when she was living in Madrid seem short, fun, and even eventful!

#SWYW: You spoke, we listened!