From Book Business:
First published in 2014, the second edition of the controversial “Author Earnings Report” was released this week. Written by the mysterious “Data Guy,” the report claims that traditional publishers, particularly the Big 5, have experienced a significant slump in ebook sales on Amazon in 2015 while indie-published authors surged ahead. According to Data Guy, “The Big 5 now account for less than a quarter of ebook purchases on Amazon, while indies are closing in on 45%.”
The report also claims that indie authors are earning more on Amazon than traditionally published authors. These earnings are measured as daily revenue to authors from ebook bestsellers on Amazon. Data Guy reports that of the roughly $1.7M generated in author earnings from ebook bestsellers, indie authors earned 44% while traditionally published authors earned 43%. The report states: “Is it any wonder that the traditional publishing media and historic author advocacy groups are reporting declining ebook sales and shrinking author incomes for their members? We humbly submit that, for author earnings, these organizations are looking in all the wrong places.”
The report and its research methodology are problematic for a number of reasons, which Porter Anderson explained extensively in a recent article on Publishing Perspectives. The report is also clearly driven by an anti -traditional and pro self-publisher agenda.
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Simply put, the report and its results are suspect, not least because of the mysterious methodology, anonymous authorship, and the myopic understanding of indie and traditional publisher earnings based on only on Amazon sales. It would be better, which Anderson also asserts in his article, if a third party conducted this research.
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Because the Author Earnings Report focuses only on Amazon sales, it ignores publishers’ increased efforts in D2C bookselling and their purposeful participation in a greater diversity of distribution channels. So could a downtick of Amazon sales actually be an indication of a successful pivot in sales strategy? It’s worth considering.
Link to the rest at Book Business
PG was going to comment, but decided to let the visitors to TPV do so. PG has to make one exception, however: He expects that publishers’ D2C (Direct to Consumer) bookselling revenues will not merit a line on their financial statements. Ever.