From Good EReader:
Over the course of the last two years the modern bookstore has been undergoing a resurgence in sales. The publishing industry have all reported that e-book sales are down between 2-6% year on year and 12% across the board. The funny thing is, publishers for the most part are making more money, primarily due to higher e-book prices, but most are seeing a modest increase in print sales.
Why are bookstore chains like Barnes and Noble enjoying a robust increase in book sales? I think the main reason is because they only stock physical books by new authors that the publisher is really hyping and of course, perennial bestsellers by recognizable authors. Simply put, it is far easier to discover a great book in a bookstore, than try and find one online. So why are digital sales truly down? The answer is too many e-books being self-published by indie authors.
Independent and self-published authors release more books on a monthly basis than the trade houses do. This creates an influx of new titles that fall by the wayside and pollute the search engine results, so it is almost impossible to casually browse and find something good. E-Books are immortal, so they never go out of print. Like cobwebs constructed of stainless steel, they will forever occupy the virtual shelves of e-book retailers. Every month there are more and more books for readers to choose from and there are now fewer eyeballs split across more books, this is the real reason why e-book sales are down across the board.
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Spamming out e-books is obviously working for indie authors right now. In two short years, the market share of paid unit sales between indie and Big 5 e-books has more than inverted. The Big 5 now account for less than a quarter of e-book purchases on Amazon, while indies are closing in on 45%.
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The big reason why indies are enjoying more success right now is because their titles are priced anywhere between .99 and $5.99, while major publishers tend to charge between $9.99 and $18.99.
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Indie authors might be doing well right now selling their under priced e-books, but the Amazon is making more money right now selling physical books. This is driven by steeply discounted hardcovers and paperbacks, which in many cases were priced even lower than the e-book editions. Things are going so great for print right now that in 2015 Amazon generated more revenue selling physical books than e-books.
I think indie authors days are numbered selling digital content online because of big new trends in the publishing industry that they are unable to capitalize on. One example are adult coloring books, which many credit them with saving the traditional publishing industry’s overall 2015 sales figures.
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Some of the brightest minds in the publishing industry also agree that there are too many indie e-books being published right now and this is leading to a decrease in overall digital sales in the United States.
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Chuck Wedig mentioned in a recent blog post “The sheer number of releases is an issue all its own. It becomes increasingly hard to stand out merely by publishing a book in either form. It’s like trying to get a droplet of water to stand out in an entire goddamn ocean.”
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Some people just don’t see why people should self-publish at all. Andrew Franklin, founder and managing director of Profile Books, blasted authors who self-publish. “The overwhelming majority of self-published books are terrible—unutterable rubbish, they don’t enhance anything in the world.” He ranted on by saying, “These books come out and are met with a deathly silence, so the principle experience of self-publishing is one of disappointment. I was very shocked to learn you can buy Facebook friends and likes on social media. That is what passes for affirmation in what I think is the deeply corrupt world of self-publishing.”
Link to the rest at GoodEreader and thanks to Dave for the tip.
PG says too much choice is a terrible problem. That’s why nobody buys anything from Amazon or reads anything on the web.