The Effect of Word of Mouth on Sales: Online Book Reviews
The creation of online consumer communities to provide product reviews and advice has been touted as an important, albeit somewhat expensive component of Internet retail strategies. In this paper, we characterize reviewer behavior at two popular Internet sites and examine the effect of consumer reviews on firms' sales. We use publicly available data from the two leading online booksellers, Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com, to construct measures of each firm's sales of individual books. We also gather extensive consumer review data at the two sites. First, we characterize the reviewer behavior on the two sites such as the distribution of the number of ratings and the valence and length of ratings, as well as ratings across different subject categories. Second, we measure the effect of individual reviews on the relative shares of books across the two sites. We argue that our methodology of comparing the sales and reviews of a given book across Internet retailers allows us to improve on the existing literature by better capturing a causal relationship between word of mouth (reviews) and sales since we are able to difference out factors that affect the sales and word of mouth of both retailers, such as the book's quality. We examine the incremental sales effects of having reviews for a particular book versus not having reviews and also the differential sales effects of positive and negative reviews. Our large database of books also allows us to control for other important confounding factors such as differences across the sites in prices and shipping times.
|Date of creation:||12 Aug 2003|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://icf.som.yale.edu/|
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Mark Rosenzweig & Andrew D. Foster, .
"Learning by Doing and Learning from Others: Human Capital and Technical Change in Agriculture,"
_068, University of Pennsylvania.
- Foster, Andrew D & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1995. "Learning by Doing and Learning from Others: Human Capital and Technical Change in Agriculture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1176-1209, December.
- Karen Clay & Ramayya Krishnan & Eric Wolff, 2001.
"Prices and Price Dispersion on the Web: Evidence from the Online Book Industry,"
NBER Working Papers
8271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Clay, Karen & Krishnan, Ramayya & Wolff, Eric, 2001. "Prices and Price Dispersion on the Web: Evidence from the Online Book Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 521-39, December.
- Karen Clay & Ramayya Krishnan & Eric Wolff, 2001. "Prices and Price Dispersion on the Web: Evidence from the Online Book Industry," NBER Chapters, in: E-commerce, pages 521-539 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- A. Banerjee & Drew Fudenberg, 2010.
"Word-of-Mouth Communication and Social Learning,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
425, David K. Levine.
- Michael Smith & Erik Brynjolfsson, 1999.
"Frictionless Commerce? A Comparison of Internet and Conventional Retailers,"
Computing in Economics and Finance 1999
1022, Society for Computational Economics.
- Erik Brynjolfsson & Michael D. Smith, 2000. "Frictionless Commerce? A Comparison of Internet and Conventional Retailers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(4), pages 563-585, April.
- Paul Resnick & Christopher Avery & Richard Zeckhauser, 1999. "The Market for Evaluations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 564-584, June.
- Austan Goolsbee & Judith Chevalier, 2002.
"Measuring Prices and Price Competition Online: Amazon and Barnes and Noble,"
Yale School of Management Working Papers
ysm290, Yale School of Management, revised 12 Sep 2008.
- Austan Goolsbee & Judith Chevalier, 2002. "Measuring Prices and Price Competition Online: Amazon and Barnes and Noble," NBER Working Papers 9085, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ysm:somwrk:ysm413. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.