Recently I asked for feedback on my first eBook, Diesels on Prince Edward Island. I used SurveyMonkey to write the survey and collect the responses, and I’d like to share the eBook feedback responses here. At the bottom of this post, I’ll share the link to the survey results so you can look at them in detail if you wish.
As an aside, I really like SurveyMonkey and I’d recommend it to anyone looking to gather feedback or issue a survey. It’s super easy to use and its free version is enough for my current needs.
I took the list of emails that Gumroad collected from everyone who bought the book, and pasted that into SurveyMonkey for the survey invitation emails. I received 15 responses, which is a 58% response rate. Great!
I asked seven questions. I didn’t want to ask too many, to respect everyone’s time, but I did have a few things I wanted to cover.
1. How’d you like the book?
- It was great! – 8 / 53.33%
- I liked it – 6 / 40%
- It wasn’t as good as I had hoped – 1 / 6.67%
Good feedback. I’m glad most people either really liked it or liked it.
2. How was the purchase/download experience from Gumroad?
- Quick and easy – 14 / 93.33%
- It was OK – 1 / 6.67%
- Annoying / troublesome – 0
Well, that was great! I’m glad Gumroad worked well for everyone.
3. On a scale of 1 to 5, please rate the book on a few attributes
- Photo quality – 4.21/5
- Photo uniqueness/interest – 4.50/5
- Text quality/readability – 4.57/5
The photo uniqueness/interest really stood out for me as 9/15 rated it a “5”. I’m glad they liked the photo selection and I was glad to get some great photographers to send me their photos.
4. How was the length of the book?
- Too short – would have preferred more photos and more detail – 8 / 53.33%
- Just right – 7 / 46.67%
- Too long – needed some editing – 0
Good feedback here, too. Half of the readers felt it was a bit short. One of the comments here was helpful:
Perhaps just a bit more detail on the various branches
Good to know for the next book!
5. How was the value of the book for the cost of it?
- Great value – you should have charged more! – 5 / 33.33%
- Good value for its length – 8 / 53.33%
- A fair price – 2 / 13.33%
- A little overpriced – 0
- A ripoff – 0
Looks like the price point is where I want it to be. I want people to believe they received good value for their money and the survey says the price was right.
6. How did you like it as an eBook?
- I like the eBook / PDF format – 10 / 66.67%
- It didn’t matter to me – 1 / 6.67%
- I prefer a printed book – 4 / 26.67%
The full question was actually “How did you like it as an eBook versus a print book, considering that eBooks are cheaper to buy but possibly harder to read?”
I’m glad two-thirds liked the eBook format. One of the responders commented with a note that really reflects my own opinion on railway books:
the lower cost of eBooks, IMO, is a real advantage. I do not need any more hard cover books, BUT I am always interested in more information.
It is interesting that a full quarter prefer a printed book. I may consider offering the next book on Blurb or another print-on-demand service.
7. What should be the topic of my next eBook?
- The New Brunswick East Coast Railway – 4 / 30.77%
- The New Brunswick Southern Railway – 3 / 23.08%
- New Brunswick shortline railways – 5 / 38.46%
- Manitoba shortline railways – 3 / 23.08%
- Manitoba grain elevators – 3 / 23.08%
I allowed multiple responses here so the percentages don’t add up to 100%. There was a wide spread here, which was unfortunate for me as I wanted a clearer direction! I am writing an article for Branchline magazine about the New Brunswick East Coast Railway right now, so I was planning on turning that into an eBook at some point. The feedback seems to indicate that I should write a book about all of New Brunswick’s short lines rather than one on each railway.
Someone suggested in the comments that they’d like information on VIA Rail operations in Winnipeg. I think that might be more appropriate for a blog post series, but it’s a great idea!
A few of the commenters were really enthusiastic about shortline railways. Good to know!
The response to my eBook was generally very positive, both in this survey and in messages and emails to me. I’m glad people liked it and it encourages me to write more eBooks.
The link to the SurveyMonkey analysis is here.
Thanks to everyone who did the survey!