The Relentless March of E-books

The AAP released their monthly figures (for May) on Thursday, and the same trends that we have seen all year have continued. Print is in freefall. Adult hardback dropped 38.2% year-on-year, adult trade paperback fell 14.3%, and adult mass-market paperback plunged 39.4%. By contrast, e-books grew 146.9% year-on-year. Children’s YA paperback bucked the trend by growing in May 2011 by 4.7% year-on-year. However, when we look at how all categories are performing in the first five months of 2011, these kind of spikes tend to flatten out. Print is being hammered. Adult hardback is down 23.4% from the same period in 2010. Adult trade paperback is down 17.9%. Adult mass-market paperback is down 30.1%. Children’s/YA hardback is down 6.3%. Children’s YA/Paperback Read More…

What About The E-Reader Everyone Owns Already?

A lot of my friends don’t own e-readers and most have no intention of buying one – for now at least. Some are curious about the iPad, and a couple have one, but most don’t see the point of owning that, a laptop, and a smartphone. When I tell them that I am publishing e-books, they often ask if there will be a print version. Many don’t realise that you can read e-books on your computer. But even when I explain this, I can see the resistance. They have jobs where they stare at a screen all day, and doing the same when they get home from work is not their idea of relaxation.

Print Continues Its Death Spiral

JK Rowling’s announcement that she is self-publishing the Harry Potter e-books pretty much drowned everything else out yesterday, but there was some other news that should be highlighted. The American Association of Publishers (AAP) released figures for April 2011. Adult Hardback was in first position again this month, with $111.4m in sales (a sharp drop of over 20% from $142.9m in April 2010). Adult trade paperback was in second position again this month with $95.9m (down from $128.2m or a drop of 25%). Ebooks held steady in third position with $72.8m (an increase of 165% on last year’s $27.4m).

Why Traditional Publishers Will Go The Way Of Travel Agents

Over the last six weeks or so, we have examined the various aspects of the publishing industry, and assessed how the different parts are functioning (or in most cases, malfunctioning) in the face of the changes brought about by the internet. As any travel agent will tell you (if you can find one), the internet is an unstoppable force which revolutionizes every single business it comes into contact with. In publishing, change hasn’t seemed as quick, but the internet has been quietly eating away at all the pillars of traditional publishing.

Amazon: E-books Outselling All Print & Ad-Supported Kindle Is Top-Seller

On the same day that the American Association of Publishers (AAP) announced a rebound for print in March, and that e-books had dropped back to third place (behind trade paperback and hardback), Amazon declared that they were now selling more e-books than print books. Yesterday, I covered the limitations of the AAP figures, namely that they only include a small number of publishing houses, they ignore more e-focused small and independent presses, and they don’t include self-publishers.

AAP Figures Released: E-Books Keep on Truckin’ But Print Isn’t Dead Yet

The American Association of Publishers (AAP) have released their figures for March. The headline figures were that e-books grew 145.7% year-on-year from March 2010 (in revenue terms), and print bounced back after a terrible start to the year, with two categories showing gains. Adult Hardcover was up 6% year-on-year and Adult Mass Market Paperback grew 1.2%. Adult Trade Paperback fell 7.7%. Despite that drop, Adult Trade Paperback was the #1 selling format at $115.9m, followed by Adult Hardback at $96.6m, e-books at $69m, and Adult Mass Market Paperback at $55.2m.

Are Amazon Ripping Off International Customers?

I have been alerted to some inconsistent and unfair e-book pricing policies by Amazon in certain countries. If you read e-books, and live outside the US, this information could drastically affect how much you pay. If you are a writer, and are selling internationally (and you should be, this is a global $80bn business), this is harming your sales right now. When you go to and search for my e-book, you will see a price of $0.99, $1.16 or $3.44, depending on which country you live in. Whichever price you pay, I still get $0.35. Aside from 15 percent in sales taxes, Amazon keep the rest. Let me explain.

Could Piracy Be Good For You?

When music industry revenues collapsed after the introduction of MP3s, many writers became worried. While musicians have been able to find alternative income streams – including touring and merchandise – writers generally have one: their stories. Not even Stephen King or J.K. Rowling would fill a stadium for a reading, and most mid-list authors and new writers are lucky if there is a decent turn-out for a free bookstore appearance. In my last post on piracy, I covered how the measures the publishing industry has undertaken to combat piracy have only served to alienate their paying customers, but today I want to look at piracy from a different perspective: its benefits. While I don’t condone piracy, I think it’s an Read More…

Do You Prefer Print Books? Enjoy Them While You Can

While I might beat the self-publishing drum at times, I don’t celebrate when I hear publishers are in trouble, or bookstores are closing down, because there are always people behind the headlines, and it has ramifications for the entire book world. The closure of bookstores, in particular, is disheartening. And when people say – as a lot of my friends do – that they have no interest in e-books, and can’t imagine ever using an e-reader, I get it. People have an emotional attachment to print books. You see them in bookstores, wandering the aisles in a daze, stroking the spine of a book as if it were the photo of a lost love. They take it from the shelf, Read More…

Will 99-Cent E-Books Destroy The World As We Know It?

There are a lot of people getting worked up about cheap e-books. But I am here today to tell you the sky isn’t falling. Let’s rewind. When an author or publisher uploads their work to Amazon (and the rest of the e-tailers), they are free to choose the price that they sell at. With most companies, the minimum price you can sell at is 99 cents. Until recently, only a small portion of writers were choosing to sell their work at this price, mostly new writers, without an established audience, hoping to build a following. On paper, that’s a good strategy, although other writers have complained that this was a race to the bottom, and that they were being priced Read More…