If more books are selling than ever before, why aren’t indies selling more books?
June 30, 2013
I hear the hue and cry over the state of the publishing industry.
Can’t say much about the hues.
But the cries are fraught with panic.
The writers of books are caught somewhere on a swinging bridge between frustration and confusion, and half the planks in the bridge are missing.
Publishing has changed, I read.
So it has.
We no longer have to rely to big publishers, I hear.
Where are the agents?
They are a vanishing breed.
Where are the gatekeepers?
Their phones don’t ring much anymore.
That’s the conundrum.
Everything is wrong, and nothing is wrong.
The digital evolution has begun, and the sale of eBooks is taking the nation by storm. Digital books, in fact, remain the fastest-growing part of the market. In fact, last year 457 million eBooks were sold, which is up a staggering 4,456 percent since 2008 when only ten million eBooks were sold.
And yet, paper books aren’t dead either.
Last year, 557 million hardback were sold.
The industry has suffered some serious blows. Paper books need bookstores, and bookstores are dying away, but some analysts are saying that book buyers didn’t give up on bookstores, their own corporate hierarchy did.
They took too much.
When Borders declared bankruptcy and started liquidating its inventory, more than 200 of the chain’s 400 stores were, according to the company’s CEO, “highly profitable.”
Books weren’t the culprits behind the untimely demise of Borders. Blame it on movies and music and management. The company invested heavily in CDs and DVDs while the rest of the world was going digital.
Borders woke up one day, looked over its shoulder and saw Amazon coming on the dead run. To keep Amazon from running over it, Borders simply dropped out of the race.
Revenue from brick-and-mortar retail stores bgean suffering last year, dropping seven percent, and online retailers, such as Amazon, rose twenty-one percent.
Paper books are holding their own, and that scares people. Paper books aren’t growing anymore.
And neither big-time publishers, indie publishers, indie authors, book marketers, book strategists, book publicists, nor booksellers have been able to break the code of selling eBooks. It’s as though everyone is on the wrong side of Stargate and fumbling to find the key, which may not even exist.
Digital is definitely the future.
The sale of eBooks rose almost forty-four percent. And don’t look now, but audiobooks have made the wild jump into the publishing fray, becoming a force to be reckoned with. Audiobooks last year had a revenue bump of twenty-two percent.
So where does that leave authors?
Mostly, it leaves them scratching their heads.
At the moment, we may not like it, but reality is fairly simple to understand.
Once upon a time, in the golden age of publishing, an author might sell a million books.
Now, in the world of indie publishing, digital publishing, and eBooks, a million writers are selling one book apiece.
The total number of sales are the same.
They may even be higher.
The royalties are just split far too many ways.