Current eBook Series: Short Vowel Shorts

1,000 Downloads: The Power of Round Numbers

By Tate Johnston on October 16, 2013 in News, Self Publishing

Hey, d’ these blow up into funny shapes at all?  Well, no … unless round is funny.

Fat Cat vs. Bad Bat just crossed the 1,000 download mark!

And I’m having an informal little celebration and also want to say thanks.

So … Thanks!!!

Giving the books your endorsement with personal and specific fb shares and personal recommendations to friends have made a huge difference! (I’ve seen the tangible evidence of their effect.)

So what is it about 1,000 that makes me feel like celebrating, like I’ve crossed a threshold, a hurdle, a milestone?

Why do we like round numbers?

Or maybe it’s not necessarily that we like them, but that they feel significant.

There is something about hitting:

  • 50 facebook page likes (mostly friends, let’s be honest, but you gotta start somewhere)
  • 100 twitter follows (though I’m pretty sure that over 59% of them have no actual interest in what I have to say but are just hoping for a followback (I ain’t no followback girl) because they want me to buy their ebook publishing advice or social media consulting service. And yeah, okay, I only have 92 people following me … See, that just sounds less impressive, doesn’t it? … maybe I should be a followback girl! @t8johnston)
  • 1,000 downloads (even if it is of a free ebook: Download your copy here! It’s currently free for an unlimited time!)

There’s just something about Mary … and round numbers.

  • At least in Hollywood, the Facebook office doesn’t put fireworks on screen and clap it up until after they hit refresh and cross a million users.
  • In cricket, if you bat for 99 runs, you fell just shy of hitting for a century.
  • And BNL don’t sing If I Had $999,999 Dollars.

It’s just easier to sing and to say “a million,” “a thousand,” or “50 hundred” (that’s the biggest number I know).

What’s a number if it’s not round?

Square? Quite pointy in parts? I’ll call them unround.

Unround numbers just feel smaller. And feelings matter. Big time. It’s why:

  • iBooks are $0.99
  • Gadgets are €99.99
  • And cars are £9,999.99

Psychologically, these all cost less.

But what’s a penny? Last time you saw one on the ground, you probably didn’t even bend down to pick it up.

When we cross round numbers on the way down, we “break” them.

The four minute mile.

A twenty-dollar bill.

Still Not Convinced?

And if you’re still not convinced that there’s something psychological about a round number that makes us feel different, just consider the difference between 29 years 364 days and 30.

Prince may have partied like it was 1999, but that’s only because the world was going to end in Y2K.

Hey, Hey, Two thousand zero zero. Party over. Oops. Out of time.

Zero: the Mighty Milestone Maker.

Zeros are milestone makers. Not just markers. Makers. They create milestones, which can either be good or bad, depending.

Milestones can also come in unround numbers:

  • 13 – Mazel Tov!
  • 15 – Quinceañera
  • 16 – #mysupersweet #candles #dadcaniborrowthecar
  • 18 – months or years
  • 21
  • 65 1/2
  • 5 and 1/2
  • 5 and 3/4
  • Even 2131 and 4,256
  • (Got another unround milestone? Share it with us in the comments. We’d love to hear!)

But that’s because those are culturally, developmentally or longstanding recordly significant in their own right. Zeros make milestones where no milestones were before.

So give a little respect to My Hero, Zero, but don’t be fooled by the rocks that she’s got.

If you’re conscious of her powers, you aren’t at her mercy.

And if you’re feeling celebratory yet frugal, go ebook thrift shopping and buy one of my books:

They’re only 99¢.

(P.S. My current favorite is Bup Pup vs. Ug Slug vs. Hug Bug.)

For some more insight and hard data on the power of 9, check out this post by Gumroad: A Penny Saved: Psychological Pricing. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

What’s up with round numbers?

Share your thoughts or experience with us in the comments.

Currently, I’m on the fence about being a follow back girl (@t8johnston)

But, send me a tweet, and I will holla back if I can.


[Image by Woodlouse]

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