So I have this team of experts working on a marketing plan for me, and I was telling them the sales history of my book, 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Portland.
The basic history goes like this: Came out in 2001, did fine. Second edition in 2004, also did fine. Third edition in 2007, did fine, and then two years later, summer of 2009, it went to #1 on the Powells Books nonfiction list. This was ahead of Michael Pollan and Barack Obama! I was blown away. It stayed on the Top 20 list for months, many of them at #1, and became the best-selling book nationally for Menasha Ridge Press — two years after it came out.
In 2010, when the Fourth Edition came out, it simply took its place on the Top 20 list and has mostly stayed there. 60 Hikes is now the best-selling hiking book in the Portland market, with something like 18,000 copies sold for the current edition.
And that’s really cool, thanks!
So here’s the question: Why?
And here’s how you can help. In a comment below, let me know why you bought my book instead of any of the others. What do you like about it? Did you used to buy another book and then switch to this one? I know 2009 is a long time ago, but what do you think happened? How do you approach the decision to buy a hiking book, and where do you wind up buying it?
A lot of questions, I know. Just post whatever comes to mind, and you’ll be entered to win a $25 REI gift card. Easy cheesy!
Okay, have at it. And I’ll go back to working on the 5th Edition.
Looking for a little feedback on my book. If you’re willing to help, you just might win a $25 REI gift card. http://t.co/5UnGdLaoI2
My boyfriend and I bought this as our first hiking book when we started dating. The three biggest things that made us choose this book over others were:
1. Knowing that each hike was within the range we wanted to drive (60-100 miles at most)
2. Dynamic table of contents
3. Simple trail maps with each hike
We knew they would be close enough to get to, and I really like being able to say, “I feel like a 3-6 mile hike this weekend” or “I want to see waterfalls today” and being able to narrow down the choices. I usually try to find an official trail map but we always bring the book just in case. The descriptions are really accessible and the whole book is just organized really well.
Thanks, Jessica! I’m especially glad the dynamic TOC is working for you, since it was mostly my idea! Beautiful pictures on your site, too.
I bought your book because my hiking buddy owned it and I wanted to do planning during the week. I also liked the concept of getting to trail heads within 60 miles. Previously I relied on the Sullivan Guides. What I like about the book is that you spent time curating destinations so I don’t have to do as much research. My decision to get future books will be based on whether it will provide me with fresh ideas and the quality of the “data” such as trail length and elevation gain. These days I buy nearly everything on Amazon.com and plan on getting the Kindle version of your next version.
Thanks, Adam. I do try to narrow it down to just the best ones — a hard part of my “job.” And keep rocking on those 52 hikes!
My good friend and hiking buddy got it, and we decided to try to do them all within the course of 5 years. So far we’ve probably done about 10. We’re not from here so it was great to have a reference for places that weren’t just tourist traps.
Cool, Heidi. I hope you get to the rest of them!
We actually bought it to complement our other hiking books. We liked that most of the hikes were within 60 miles of Portland, including some urban options. I also like the range of difficulty from very easy to very difficult and the easy to read format.
I bought your book over the others for a number of different reasons:
1) Being new to the area, I wasn’t familiar with the surrounding area. The fact that every hike was within an easy drive of Portland was a big sell to me.
2) I’m an avid hiker so 60 hikes seemed like enough to get my feet wet, but few enough that you, as a hiker, could be discerning, and weed out the ones that weren’t worth it.
3) The book is easy to navigate. I really like the fact that it is organized by location.
4) The book has maps, pictures, descriptions of the hikes, and bonus features. Most books exclude one or more of these in order to include more hikes.
I think it just comes down to the fact that this book is so much more accessible for people who are either new to the area, or want to get into hiking. It’s a great place to start.
We moved to Portland in 2010 and wanted to get out. The distance (and colorful cover) is probably what drew me to pick it up (I think I was at REI, not Powells). 60 miles makes for a great day trip. I flipped through and really liked the simple map and the elevation chart was a great addition. The logical organization and personal preference (“favorite hike”) gave us the info we needed to start hiking. The summary of what you need to know, when you need to go, if there’s backpacking, etc makes it easy to flip through and identify the next day’s hike.
Once we purchased it and used it for the first time, we found the driving directions to be great, we don’t bother with the internet. We also found the hiking times and directions to be spot on.
For all of those reasons it’s the only local hiking book we use. If others who use it are like us, they too probably recommend it to others whenever someone moves to town or asks about a hiking book. That’ll help keep it at #1.
We bought the breakfast book (mmm breakfast) because we liked 60 hikes so much.
Keep up the great work!
Cool, Rick, thanks. I put so much effort into those driving directions, it’s really gratifying to know they work so well for you!
One of my best friends in Pittsburgh bought your book for me for Christmas 2012 off of Amazon.com. I live in Portland and had recently moved here, so I am guessing she did a search about Portland and it came up. She sent other Portland books, but yours ended up being the most useful and for sure my favorite.
Honestly, it wouldn’t have been something I would have purchased for myself, as I have never been a “hiker” before. I decided to try to do as many hikes as I could for 2013. I saw a ton of the state and so many beautiful things. So……..I’ve been telling stories to people and there enthralled…I have made copies of my hike itinerary for several friends. Also, some people became so interested, I bought them the book as a gift!!
So, it seems lots of gift giving has been involved.
PS–thanks for making it a great year for me.
Hey, that’s cool Laura. So glad to help you have a terrific 2013. I hope 2014 is even better for you.
I moved to Portland in 2010, and knew I needed to find a hiking guide. I don’t have specifics about what I look for in a hiking guide, but yours just popped out at me on the shelf in Powells!
Good ol’ Powells!
Hey, Paul! I’m not an avid hiker, so I just assume most hiking books are for the hardcore fans. However, I kept seeing 60 Hikes at New Seasons, which made me think it might be a little more… populist. When I finally did open it up, I loved how it seemed to have a lot of options for hikers of all abilities – and was very honest in its evaluations of hikes (i.e. I could easily gauge if heights would be a problem). It’s also got a clean, well-organized look to it – it’s easy to scan and find the places that would appeal to me. I’m so glad I bought it. I may only go out a couple times a year, but it’s been a big help at those times.
Hey, very glad to help! Thanks.
I sat by you at one of the Portland Hikers Winter Meet-n-Deet gatherings. We had some great conversation, and when the fourth edition of your book came out I jumped right on it. Most appealing aspect of your book is that it nicely documents hikes that are close to home. Gives me plenty of hiking ideas that won’t take a tank of gas to get to.
I came to your book searching for information about the Salmonberry Corridor. I’ve been repeatedly checking out various years of your book out of the library, waiting for a nice fresh edition to purchase. I am in the strange position of being both frugal and an e-book doubter. If your new book becomes as well worn as my girlfriend’s copies of all of Sullivan’s books, I will be happy. I enjoy bike touring with http://www.cyclewild.org an organization that encourages people to use the MAX to increase their “rideshare” IE- how far they can camp from town without driving to the start. I was attracted to your book’s ample evidence of great hikes that aren’t a full tank of gas away from town. I enjoy your multiple blogs when they pop up in Feedly.
I bought the book in 2009 – however it wasnt until 2011 that I started referencing it. This was in part due to the fact that I lived in Oz in 2010-2011.
I was amazed how few Aussies I encountered that year, had been to the Outback or Great Barrier Reef. – which in turn made me think about all the places I had left undiscovered back home.
So – once I was back in PDX, I unpacked your book, and have been trail blazing since. Your book, offers diverse hikes, and to me reads as a who’s who of hikes in the area – which is why I love it.
Bought 3rd ed. in ’07 looking for more places to hike. Book quickly became my reference hike guide. Like the writing style, relaxed and genuine. Useful for maps, elevation profile, key info. Have bought books since but still go for this one. Look forward to new edition. Generally buy my books at Powell’s, where else would I?
Point of clarity: the question is only for people who bought *the third edition in the Summer of 2009*.
The goal is to isolate the reason for the spike in sales of the third edition in Summer 2009, not to simply find out why people buy the hiking book generally,