In the software world, it's easy to do A/B testing where a website introduces two versions of the same information to test which one users prefer.

I'm wondering if it's possible to do something similar with book titles: To create two books with the same content but different keywords in each title. Then, publish both and see which does better.

For example: Dish Washing for Authors vs. Dish Washing for Writers -

In the era of self-publishing, ebooks, and print on demand, the barrier to doing this seems minimal.

So, is this allowed? Is this sensible? Is this considered bad practice?

  • Software developers hardly invented test marketing. Publishers do this all the time but on smaller scales than a full release. This blog post has some further discussion and recommends one particular web-based service (caveat emptor).
    – Air
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 20:20
  • Fair enough - nothing's new; that's just the industry I'm aware of. Thanks for the link.
    – chrisbu
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 9:05

1 Answer 1


Yes! You can do this most easily with Adwords to see which title performs better. Tim Ferris did this when deciding which title to use for "The Four Hour Work Week". Source: http://boingboing.net/2010/10/25/howto-use-google-adw.html

This is a cost-effective channel with very clear definitions of success (e.g. which title got more clicks). You can also do this with Twitter or Facebook ads and see which text performed better among your targeted audience.

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