Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ebooks: Still the Way to Go

If I needed any more convincing that ebooks are the way to go for the books I’ve written, the newest BookStats report is it.

Though I’m too cheap to buy the full report (and why charge for such a thing anyway?) there’s enough detail provided in the New York Times to show that ebook publishing is gaining and not going to disappear any time fast.

Fiction ebook sales rose 42 percent to $1.8 billion from 2011 to 2012, whicl non-fiction ebook sales grew 22 percent, to $484.2 million. Books for children and young adults (my niche thusfar) increased a startling 117 percent, to $469.2 million.

Ebooks now account for 20 percent of traditional publishers’ revenue, up from 15 percent in 2011.

But what about independent authors – how fare they in ebook sales, without the aid of a publishers’ marketing clout and their own authorial name recognition? Those numbers appear harder to find.

Nathan Bransford, however, believes there is no “ebookbubble” and that authors getting into publishing would be foolish to ignore the advantages ebooks offer, especially to new authors.

David Gaughran is also bullish on ebooks (and he’s apparently got a new book out on getting your ebooks more visible to the raving audiences; maybe that’s what I’ll spend my freshly-minted Amazon coins on).

Given the splintered nature of independent authoring and sales, it’s not hard to figure out why the numbers are more difficult to come by. But you’d think someone would be tracking this. If you know of any good, recent studies, sound off in the comments.

Finding lots of good advice for ebook publishing, though. Such as this advice from Robert Niles, a former Online Journalism Review editor and author.

Here’s the gold:
Unfortunately on Apple, you need to stay on those category bestseller lists to keep moving product. Apple lacks the recommendation features readers find on Amazon, meaning that once you drop off the bestseller lists, there’s no easy way to browse to your book any longer. So, yep, even though I still link to Apple, sales have dropped to just a few copies a week now.
So, as an independent eBook publisher, I say, thank goodness for Amazon. With Amazon’s recommendation engine pushing my title to readers of books similar to mine, sales of my book on Amazon have remained healthy four months after it debuted. And Amazon offers bestseller lists in many different subcategories that drill down much deeper than “Travel,” allowing would-be customers to browse to my book even after it has dropped down the main Travel bestseller list. Amazon mixes eBooks and print books in category bestseller lists, too, exposing my book to readers who don’t think to look exclusively for eBooks, too. That gives it a sales edge over Apple, which sells only eBooks.


carl g said...

I was told by a publishing VP at Deseret Book that increasingly authors are retaining (or at least trying to retain) the digital rights to their books. It not just about sales, in pure numbers, but the fact that they can usually keep almost 100% of the revenue from sales. You can make more on one ebook that 10 print books. For that same reason, DB is becoming more insistent on retaining ebook rights, even if they have to pay out much higher royalties. I've seen rates as high as 50%.

Also, couldn't agree more that iTunes and iBooks is abysmal, both for buyers and sellers. Amazon may be homely and overcrowded, the internet's Walmart, but they are very, very good at connecting books to readers.

Mister Fweem said...

From what I can tell traditional publishers kind of burned some digital bridges when ebooks first came into being. Authors have been, in general, more quick to see the writing on the wall.