Self-Publishing Grabs Huge Market Share From Traditional Publishers

godzillBarnes & Noble re-launched PubIt! this week as Nook Press, a largely superficial makeover which failed to address some fundamental problems, like restricting access to US self-publishers only, and introduced new howler: updating existing titles causes the loss of all ranking, reviews, and momentum.

There were only two noteworthy things, to me, about this launch. First, the PubIt! brand had been closely associated with Barnes & Noble. This re-launch seems like an attempt to tie the Nook Press brand to their subsidiary Nook Media, probably in advance of a sale (Barnes & Noble already sold a stake to Microsoft, and a smaller slice to Pearson – Penguin’s parent company but maintain a controlling interest in Nook Media).

This re-launch is full of things that sound great in a corporate press release (innovative editing tools!) that most professional self-publishers won’t really care about, which makes me further suspect this is more about prospective purchasers.

Second, and this is what I want to focus on today, Barnes & Noble finally released some hard numbers regarding self-publishers. From their press release:

* PubIt! continues to attract 20% more independent authors every quarter.
* Titles from self-published authors continue to increase by 24% each quarter in the NOOK Store.
* Customer demand for great independent content continues to dramatically increase as 30% of NOOK customers purchase self-published content each month, representing 25% of NOOK Book sales every month.

That last point really caught me by surprise. Self-publishers have obviously grabbed a lot of market share on Amazon, but conventional wisdom was that (for a variety of reasons) they fare worse on other retailers. While I’m sure that’s still the case, it seems the phenomenon was overstated.

25% of Nook sales are self-published e-books. This is in reference to units sold not dollar amounts, but I’ll deal with that distinction in a bit. Nonetheless, that’s a crazy number! Aside from it being great to see how well self-publishers are doing, particularly on a venue that puts so many obstacles in their path, it also gives us an opportunity to look at the market as a whole.

In an interesting interview with Digital Book World last Friday, Kobo’s CEO Mike Serbinis revealed the following:

In some countries, our ebook units sold from Writing Life are on par with one of the big-six publishers. In one of our countries, self-published books [as a category] is beating the largest publishers.

Again, this is heartening. It’s amazing to me that self-publishers (as a whole) have grabbed a bigger piece of the market – in some countries – than the largest publishers. However, for the purposes of this piece, I’m more concerned with the American market – where Serbinis admitted Kobo’s market share was still in the “low single digits.”

The Kindle’s share of the US market is far larger – with most observers pegging it at between 60% and 65% (most of the rest is split between Apple and Barnes & Noble, with Google, Sony, and Kobo combined perhaps getting around 5%). But how much of that have self-publishers grabbed?

Amazon is famously tight-lipped about such matters, so we have to put the pieces together ourselves. As such, the method is necessarily crude, but it’s the best I’ve got.

The Kindle Indie Store

In August 2011, Amazon launched the Kindle Indie Store, which showcases hand-picked work in a variety of genres from KDP authors. It also has a Top 100 list, ordered by Sales Rank, just like the regular Kindle Store Top 100.

By comparing the position of self-published work in the Kindle Indie Store Top 100 with it’s overall Sales Rank, we can get a pretty accurate idea of what proportion of the top-selling books are self-published.

When the Kindle Indie Store first launched, I tracked the Indie Top 100 for a few weeks. Invariably, the book that was #100 in the Indie chart was around #400 to #500 in the overall Kindle Store – meaning that, at the time, roughly 20% to 25% of the top-selling items in the Kindle Store were self-published e-books (and those numbers held up throughout the list).

As I tracked those numbers over the next few months, that proportion varied somewhat, but never wildly – aside from seasonal effects (i.e. traditional publishers performed better after releasing their big books in October/November, and self-publishers’ performance improved when they put out their new titles in late December and carried that into January).

Today, you’ll see that the book at #100 in the Indie chart is #346 in the overall Kindle Store – meaning that 29% of the top-selling items in the Kindle Store are self-published e-books – and that proportion has been stable enough recently.

The Kindle Store contains more than just e-books, with things like digital subscriptions to the New York Times, magazines, blog subscriptions, and games regularly appearing in the Top 100. If you were to subtract all of those, and try and isolate e-books, that figure (easily) goes north of 30%.

This staggers me. 30% of the top-selling e-books on Amazon are self-published, beating out the biggest authors from the largest publishing houses in the world – as well as titles from Amazon’s own imprints (which aren’t included in the Indie Top 100).

This roughly tallies with the limited data we do have from Amazon, who recently announced the top-selling Kindle Books of 2013 (January to March). Seven of the Top 20 were self-published (and that’s not counting formerly self-published work, or Amazon imprint books).

Without more detailed numbers from Amazon, it’s hard to know whether these percentages hold true further down the rankings, but looking at the huge number of categories and granular sub-categories in the Kindle Store – which all have their own bestseller lists, filled with self-publishers – I think it’s safe to assume that is the case. If anything, looking at those genre bestseller lists, I would guess that proportion grows.

Now we can start putting the pieces together. When we factor in the respective market share of Amazon and Barnes & Noble (and Kobo), that leads to the following estimate (which might be conservative): self-publishers have captured 25% of the US e-book market.

I’m fully aware that there is a lot of guesswork involved in compiling an estimate like this. I don’t know if someone has attempted it before (if they have, please point me to it). I’m putting this out there to be poked and prodded, so please point out any flaws in my logic.

Obviously, I’m taking the numbers from Barnes & Noble and Kobo at face value, and using a very crude method for ball-parking the share of the market that self-publishers have grabbed on Amazon. In the absence of more detailed data, it’s the best I can come up with. If you have a better suggestion, I’m all ears.

Finally, please note that I’ve assigned a near-zero value to self-publishers’ market share on Apple. There’s no data and no reliable way to estimate that I’m aware of – which is why I’m pretty sure my estimate for the US e-book market is conservative.

Unit Sales v Dollar Amounts

I imagine that many will respond by saying that this is all in reference to unit sales, and the industry standard of quantifying market share is to refer to dollar amounts.

Quite frankly, I think that’s mistaken. Talking about things like e-book market share in dollar amounts might be important to traditional publishers – who are anxious to replace falling print revenue with new digital income – but it’s way less important to self-publishers (who price at the lower end of the range and don’t really care if readers are paying less for digital editions).

Talking about market share in terms of unit sales is, in my opinion, a much better metric for seeing where things stand and where they are headed – but I’m happy to debate that.

London Book Fair – Your Suggestions for KDP, Createspace and Kobo

LBF 2013 kicks off next Monday and I’ll be wandering around, kicking tires. I’m one of Kobo’s Authors in Residence and I’ll be at their booth on Wednesday from 12:00 to 12:30. If you are around, drop by and say hello.

I’ll also be talking with Kobo about their self-publishing platform and sharing ideas I have for improvements, and I’ll try and do the same with KDP and Createspace.

I already have a list of issues I’ll be bringing up. For example, I’ll be asking KDP to fix the category system, and offer us some way of changing price that doesn’t involve going through the whole publishing process again. If you have your own suggestions of issues to raise with Kobo, KDP, or Createspace, please post them in the comments.

About davidgaughran

David Gaughran is an Irish writer, living in Prague, and author of Mercenary, A Storm Hits Valparaiso, Let's Get Digital, Let's Get Visible and this here blog thing.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

147 Responses to Self-Publishing Grabs Huge Market Share From Traditional Publishers

  1. Great post, David. For me, the biggest issue with Createspace as a UK author, is that they refuse to print author copies here, even though they will print customer copies here. Add on the extortionate postage costs (even on the slowest post option) and it’s not affordable to bother with author copies.
    Have fun at the London Book Fair :)

    • That’s a good suggestion Clare. While the shipping prices have come down considerably, it’s only economical to get Createspace books shipped to the UK (in reasonable time, not like six weeks) if you order lots of them.

      And they actually have a printing plant here in the UK now, as far as I’m aware, which fulfills orders to UK customers. It would be great if we could get our author copies shipped from there instead.

    • Paul says:

      Have you tried 7write.com – we partner with peecho so that brings the cost down to a far more acceptable level :)

  2. Pingback: Self-Publishing Grabs Huge Market Share From Tr...

  3. Great article. I think 25% is a low estimate as you say. It’s hard to tell where it will go from here. In the next five years, I see publishing changing to compensate, with completely new companies developing to fill in the gap of work between writing a book and getting it to the retailer.

  4. Lambert Nagle says:

    Some general advice from Kobo on how best to promote work on their site would be good. Not made a sale on Kobo yet…. Alison – LN

  5. Linda Urbach says:

    You are a gift to us all. Thanks for a great write up/.

  6. I think the biggest hurdle coming up for self-publishers is the growing diversity in HOW readers are getting their content. I’m not sure the ebook file format is going to catch up with readers’ desire for more interactive content fast enough given the way apps are 100% portable across devices (Android, iOS) and a blank canvas for whatever your multimedia heart can dream up. As our devices get farther apart in specs, such as the Kindle Fire, the Kindle paperwhite, the Nook family, readers who just use their smart phone reading apps, we’re going to see another increase in the type of files needed optimized for different screen sizes and abilities.

    To hold onto this market share of overall sales and to keep growing, the new landscape is going to require us to aggressively pursue smaller and smaller pockets of readers. As much as people scream about Amazon having an effective monopoly on ereading (that contention that there is no market on Nook and Kobo) I don’t see that happening in actual readers I talk to. Many recycle older devices to their children or other family members. So now, you have Junior using an old Sony, Mom with the Kindle Fire, and the daughter reading on her iPod touch!

    With Amazon really undercutting their KDP Select free day program by yanking the Amazon affiliate incentive, the time to get your book everywhere is now. There are now years of perfectly good ereading devices running around, not to mention more people have access to a cell phone. Distribution spread is about to explode, but it’s going to take getting your book into more and more channels and different formats to stay competitive.

    • Nick says:

      Since publishers are currently debating the sense of a book app, which is insanely expensive to make (and that’s for one platform, porting the app can be pricey and very complex) and difficult to turn into a profit, I think self-published authors don’t have to worry about that…

      And if you take a look at magazines, publishers find themselves quite in a difficult situation: half of their readers don’t care at all about enhancementsm multimedia and interactivity. This number is actually growing as interactive magazines are done poorly and with no sensibility of editorial design. Those last months, they have constantly been humiliated by indie pubs like the magazine, the awl weekend companion and so on and so forth. They are doing things the simple but good way, no interactivity involved, just words. And to say those pubs target “digital natives”, those for whom big publishers designed their crappy interactive magazine which those people tend to despise…

      They are all using the same software, which philosophically turns the publication into an interactive PDF (average file size: 500mo).

      Which brings us to… Inkling, basically doing the exact same thing with textbooks, which vision will fail for the same exact reasons.

      Don’t worry, books as text is a safe bet. It is even what readers buy and expect today.

    • Paul says:

      Completely agree Elizabeth the increase of file types and all the different formatting required for every market place, that’s why we’re making http://www.7write.com – with 7write you can write your book once, 7write takes care of all the formatting/conversion and distribution to all major ebook reseller platforms.

      • Paul, what kind of fees to 7write charge for these services and/or what kind of cut do they take from royalties? This information should be easily available on your site, but I couldn’t see it (which is a major red flag for me). The FAQ is very thin, and I can’t see the terms and conditions anywhere (another red flag).

        Can you fill us in please? I would like to give you a chance before zapping these promo comments of yours/

      • Paul says:

        Hey David,

        Thanks for your question. I’d love to address these issues.

        The 7write team is a startup, not a large faceless soulless company who milk authors like some companies I don’t wish to name but everyone here knows who I am talking about.

        7write is extremely passionate about empowering authors, and providing great easy to use tools and helping them sell more books.

        One question for everyone here, do you guys think Smashwords is a good thing or a bad thing?

        Realistically, to get a book you’ve written in Microsoft Word on to all of the major platforms takes a serious amount of technical knowledge and time to perform the formatting, conversion & distribution.

        7write wants to provide a writing software that rivals Scrivener and also facilitate publishing & distribution to all the major ebook reseller platforms with a single click.

        We see ourselves as disrupting Author Solutions, and we want to create an amazing piece of software for the writing community.

        We want to help self-published authors sell books, and help them get in to new markets that they currently can not access. Such as retail markets, educational institutions etc etc. We’re currently negotiating with publishers to get self-published authors access to buying communities that they will never get access to by themselves.

        The reason there is no TOS or no pricing yet, is we actually don’t know what business model we are going to use yet. We’re very interested to here from the writing community what they think is reasonable. A small Monthly fee or 10% Royalties?? Something else?

        Yes, the FAQ is a bit thin, but that’s because we’re spending 14 hour days/7 days a week developing what we think is an amazing writing & self-publishing tool for the writing community.

        I really hope you like what we’re doing, and if you don’t, send us some feedback and I’ll likely listen :)

        Our beta launches shortly… Please get involved, send me feedback!!!

        Paul
        7write co-founder

      • Debora Geary says:

        Okay, Paul, I’ll bite (this is in reply to your reply to David below, but comments won’t thread that way).

        1) Don’t piss off one of the biggest indie bloggers by posting your link multiple times in his comments :)

        2) I adore Scrivener, so I’d be unlikely to switch.

        3) Scrivener’s biggest disadvantage for me is that it doesn’t have anything equivalent to track changes in Word. Which means I export to Word for editing and all steps beyond, because copy edits are really fast with track changes. Making manual changes in Scrivener (or your tool) is time consuming and fraught with potential for introducing new errors. So for professional indies who hire editors, the functionality of a tool without track changes stops at the point of editing. Unless I can import my clean Word doc back into your tool, the ability to create multiple formats with one blow isn’t useful.

        4) The ability to create an epub file that passes checks for iTunes, Overdrive, B&N, Sony, Kobo would be a very useful feature. But I want the file, I don’t want you to upload it. I want control over pricing (and fast changes), categories, uploading a new file if there are problems/errors. I’ve seen experienced companies run into tons of customer service issues over these kinds of issues, and I’d never trust a new company to have all those kinks worked out.

        5) I pay flat fees. Not monthly fees or % of royalties. Other authors might vary.

        6) Things like being in negotiation with publishers, and rolling out a beta soon, without knowing some really basic stuff about how your business will work, raises red flags for me. I want to do business with people who have their business model worked out – partly so I can see the details and know if they will work for me, and partly because I want some evidence you have your shiz together.

        7) Being better than Author Solutions is a really low bar. Aim higher :).

      • Deb pretty much has it covered there, Paul, but I’d just like to add the following in addition to her excellent points:

        1. Smashwords has done some great stuff (such as opening up new markets to indie authors) and it also has lots of stuff to work on (like improving reporting speeds). I think you might be referring to the model though, in which case, I have zero issues with paying Smashwords 10% for access to markets (such as B&N) I can’t reach myself.

        2. Generally, for other services (such as formatting/conversion), there should be a small upfront fee, rather than any ongoing percentage of an authors’ royalties.

        3. Wider distribution is always good but not if it’s coming at the expense of developing faster reporting on the primary sites, higher speed of metadata changes such as a price change taking effect, or if the distro network puts an authors work on a site like Google Books who will arbitrarily discount – causing Amazon to price-match, dropping you out of the 70% royalty zone on Amazon.

        4. The prospect of wider distro is much more exciting if it gets us in somewhere like Overdrive rather than somewhere like Diesel.

        5. I appreciate you’ve been working hard, and, if the homepage aesthetics are any indication of the quality of the back-end, your time has been well-spent. However, I would respectfully suggest that you decide on your fees and business model, beef up the FAQ, and post the TOS before approaching self-publishers to promote the site.

        Please take all this in the spirit it’s intended. Disrupting Author Solutions is a noble aim and something I’m eager to see transpire.

      • Paul says:

        Hey David,

        Thank you sincerely for your feedback. I really appreciate it, I’ve taking it on board and shown it to my team and we’re working hard to address the issues you raised as-well as following up on your advice. Points 3 & 4 in particular are really great points that we’ll be working very hard to address. I look forward to discussing 7write with you more when we make some more progress.

        Paul

      • Paul says:

        Dear Debora,

        1) My apologies to David, won’t happen again :)

        2) Scrivener is a great application, no doubt. Our development road map is very different to what Scrivener is though. The 7write platform will have a very different value proposition. 7write is focused around helping the Author build their own readership base whilst writing their book, helping them pre-sell books and market their books once it’s self-published, helping Self-Published Authors access markets they do not currently have access too. 7write is all about helping the author from a concept, to a best selling book.

        3) 7write includes track changes functionality. Would you still then want the ability to import the clean Word Document? Would love to chat to you more about this. Please feel to write to me directly on my “first name” dot “7write domain”

        4) Passing the ePub check is a core focus of our development road map. It’s actually quite difficult, but our CTO is a gun developer and he is working hard to create this.

        5) Thanks for the feedback.

        6) Fair point, watch this space because we really believe in making 7write the World’s most amazing writing and self-publishing platform. The more feedback we get from Authors such as yourself, the better we can make 7write. 7write is backed by Startup Bootcamp Amsterdam and Microsoft Bizspark and although I can’t reveal too much, I can say we are in the middle of creating some truly unique and special partnerships, right now as I type this :)

        I truly thank you for your comments/feedback. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

        Paul
        7write – co-founder

        http://www.7write.com

  7. Chazz says:

    Thanks for your analysis, David. I’d love to see KDP Select become more attractive to authors again. KDP’s devaluation is why I moved some of my work over to B&N. I’m not alone in getting away from KDP Select, so I’d expect they’ve had a bump lately. However, I’ll reconsider that move now that I see we can’t make any changes without losing reviews and standing. It seems ridiculous to take away ebooks’ advantage (an adaptable medium that can be changed and corrected easily) and saddle it the heavy disadvantage of paper.

    I have one concrete suggestion for KDP Select. Steal the one thing that makes Smashwords most valuable: Coupon codes so we can promote our work more effectively to sell more books.

    I’ve also found CreateSpace’s shipping to be unreliable from the US to Canada. I was told twice they’d investigate, but if they came to any conclusions, they didn’t share the results with me.

    I love what Amazon can do, but its competitors really need to step up if they hope to be a threat. You’ve illustrated very well why Nook Press is a half-measure that falls short of awesome. Other players aren’t so hot, either, and it’s easy to see why Amazon is on top by such a wide margin. I’ve also found it difficult, for instance, to upload to Apple and, once accepted, it’s sometimes hard to find books on Apple even though I know they are there!

    Thanks again for all the work you put into your posts.

  8. David Biddle says:

    Good guerilla analysis, DG. I’ll take your guesstimating as food for thought. To me, the question that seems the end-game is what level of market share does DIY need to become a non-issue? The more I think about the way the field is laying out, the more it seems this is really about the big corporate publishing houses vs. a full slate of independent publishing options. The meaningful piece to this puzzle, to me, is now the question of E-book sales. Since the marginal cost of an E-book is so much lower, and profits potentially more predictable, independents leaning on the digital side of the equation will slowly gain more and more capacity to compete. The big problem is that half the potential readers out there are still dithering about why they don’t want to buy an iPad or other tablet/reader. It’s only a matter of time (5 years?) before the field layout includes them as well. No matter what, at some point, self-publishing shouldn’t be a big deal at all…kind of like blogs have become. In fact, the argument can be made that books are just going to become extensions of blogs and FaceBook and Twitter and Google+.

  9. David Biddle says:

    Reblogged this on davidbiddle.net and commented:
    Quite interesting analysis here by one of the mavens of the new world of digital/independent publishing.

  10. Great article David. I’m a US indie author. I’ve never had any luck at selling books at B&N or Kobo or Smashwords. I did an experiment last summer. I took my first book, Laiden’s Daughter, out of the KDP select program and made it available everywhere possible — B&N, Smashwords, Kobo, etc — for two solid months. The results? I sold more than 4,000 copies each month at Amazon. I sold a grand total of 9 copies — yes nine copies — combined at the other places during that same time frame. Needless to say, I put Laiden’s back into the KDP Select program and all my other books are KDP Select as well. No, these are not free books. I’ve never participated in the free programs offered. I love, love, LOVE being an indie author! I was able to give up my day job last October and now write full time. ;o)

    I think the sky is the limit and as long as people put out good books, readers don’t really care who published them. At least, that is how I feel about it. ;o)

    Good luck at the book fair and keep posting good articles like this one! ;o)

    Suzan

  11. AGClaymore says:

    Indies are winning market share on price and quality. If you needed any evidence, just take a look at the 40th anniversary eBook of Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’ from Penguin.

    It’s probably just an OCR scan of the paperback. It’s riddled with typos, random text sizes (perhaps a nod to the merger with Random House?) and missing or misplaced spaces. I doubt that anybody even proofread the thing before loading it at Amazon.

    All for the bargain price of $18.43!

    For that money, I decided to pick up the next Evan Currie, a couple of Joe Konraths, Transfection(a great short) and I still have enough left for coffee.

    How they expect to maintain brand loyalty is beyond me. Sure, they’re getting lots of five stars simply because it’s an iconic story, but the one star reviewers are a very vocal bunch, and a few of them have indicated that they’ll steer clear of Penguin titles.

    • AGClaymore says:

      There I go again. Had no idea that link would turn into a gigantic cover image…

    • David Biddle says:

      Wow, AG, that is one messed up thing to do to Dune of all books. And pricing it at that level? Hello in there? Anyone home? Thanks for this insight. It says a helluvalot…

      • AGClaymore says:

        It’s not the first title I’ve seen the big boys screw up. Jean Auel’s latest was a huge mess and just as overpriced. Her ‘Clan of the Cave Bear’ is read in Alberta schools so my wife is a huge fan. The eBook was $16 and it was a mess. Again, I don’t think the publisher put any work into polishing it. (I’m not going to include another link :) )

    • Ugh that’s one fugly cover. How can they do that to such a famous book? Remind me who the guardians of our literary heritage are again?

      On a more serious note, that lack of care with backlist manifests itself in other ways too.

      I recently read Old Man’s War by John Scalzi for the first time (published by Tor/Macmillan). I really enjoyed it. At the back of the e-book there was a sample for the sequel. So far so good.

      But it was headed with something like “Coming in 2006.” The e-book edition was first published in 2009. It would have taken two minutes of someone’s time to put in a clickable link to the sequel – and they should really have links to all the other books, a mailing list, and so on.

      This is basic stuff, that most smart indies are doing. I can’t even begin to imagine how many sales that has cost them – particularly as I got the book as part of the Humble Bundle that tens of thousands of people downloaded (was it over 100,000? I can’t recall).

      A more recent example: to promote Dan Brown’s upcoming release, Anchor Books/Random House set The Da Vinci Code free for a spell, including a sample of the new book in the back.

      Again, so far so good. But did they include a link to the pre-order page? Did they have a mailing list sign up to collect email addresses from the tens of thousands of readers who downloaded the book? Of course not. The only thing was a link to generic Anchor Books website homepage – where there was no mention of Dan Brown or any of his books.

      Now, if this is how they treat their biggest writers, imagine how those lower down the foodchain fare…

      • AGClaymore says:

        David, is there a way for Indies to do preorders on the big A?

      • A very small number of indies have been hand-picked for a pre-order page, but if I was offered one I would decline. Why? Because I don’t want my launch week sales spread over the whole pre-order period. I want them pushing me as high as possible in the Best Seller and Hot New Releases lists.

        Why do publishers do them? Because (a) a lot (even most) of their marketing is done before a book’s release (as it’s directed at book-buyers for the chain stores etc.) and (b) as far as I’m aware, the New York Times Bestseller list dumps all those pre-order sales into the first week’s numbers for the purposes of calculating their chart.

      • blairmacg says:

        “This is basic stuff, that most smart indies are doing. ”

        Exactly.

        Not only are those pieces basic, they are EASY. Yet so many writers are completely convinced they either are incapable of learning such basics, or would lose months and months of writing time to learn and implement them. After all, if major publlishers can’t do it, how can a lowly self-publisher pull it off?

      • And to offer DaVinci free when the new book isn’t available … I get preorders were available, but still.

  12. Doug Welch says:

    I totally agree with your decision to use unit sales as a metric. I’m convinced that if the overall market percentage of ebooks compared to print books was in units sold, ebooks would hold a 50% percent share of the market.

    Most of the sites, including news sites like NY Times and Forbes, while not actually in thrall to the big six, still are mired in the traditional model so their comparisons are in dollar sales. Since the average price of an ebook is declining, it gives the false impression of slowing ebook sales.

    Seen another way, since the price of a print book is always greater than the ebook price, if you gauge the market in overall dollar revenue, print will always exceed ebooks.

    One note: Unlike others, a large share of my revenue comes from B&N and Apple (go figure). It’s a good argument for wide distribution. I’d hate to see B&N decline into obscurity.

  13. I’m still shocked — SHOCKED — about the Nook Press change that requires a complete “redo” of the project if any changes are made. I did get a faceless answer from Nook Press online chat that confirmed that (even for a typo, it starts all over again) but I’m waiting for an email answer from the “Business Group” at Nook Press. I just can’t imagine they would do that…the ability to modify/change an ebook is one of the biggest advantages to that platform, and one of the biggest advantages self-publishers have. Just…shocked.

    ~Steve

    • Apparently the ability to make changes without having to publish again is coming. But given that they said they would open up PubIt! to international self-publishers “soon” in December 2010, I wouldn’t be clicking refresh on that just yet…

  14. Doug Welch says:

    One other point. I see that B&N is adopting the totally unfair (in my opinion) Amazon model in setting royalty rates. I feel strongly about giving my readers a good deal in price.

    By lowering the royalties for a book under $2.99 or above $10.00, both vendors are engaged in a kind of price fixing, forcing authors to price their books higher (but not too high) to receive optimum revenue.

    My feeling is that a short novel should be priced lower than an epic and a short story should be priced lower still. With their royalty structure, it forces authors to adopt a one size fits all mentality.

    You might want to complain about that.

  15. laurenwaters says:

    Great post (as usual) David. I’m so proud of all the self-publishers that have been taking over the best seller lists everywhere. Threads proclaiming such successes are becoming old hat on kboards. Your percentages don’t surprise me at all.
    On another note, I have to say that since I got on a few free Kobo promotion sites, my Kobo sales have equaled Amazon for the last two months. Unfortunately, the promo site that increased my sales the most (epubdeals.com) disappeared. If there were a few more effective ways to market to Kobo users, the sales are certainly there once you can get some attention.

  16. Becca Mills says:

    The Amazon popularity lists (as opposed to the best-seller lists) might be the best way to calculate how many books sold on Amazon are indies. The popularity lists are *deep*: instead of stopping at the top 100, they go (so far as I know) all the way down, so you can see what books are ranked 1,000th in contemporary fantasy, etc. Doing a count on a selection of those lists and going quite deep into them should (?) generate a pretty accurate picture of how indie ebooks are doing vis-a-vis traditionally published books ebooks. Drawback: you could be catching some books whose ranking is inflated by Select giveaways. Perhaps those books could be weeded out.

    • Yeah the free books are a big problem as they totally distort the lists for our purposes. On top of that, there’s price-weighting in the Popularity lists – which would be a nightmare to untangle.

      • Becca Mills says:

        Ah, yeah. Forgot about the price-weighting. Hm. It sure would be nice if those best-seller lists went deeper. I have a feeling that indies account for more of the books selling in lower quantities. The big “must-buy” best-sellers are the ones folks are willing to buy at trad pub’s higher prices. But if you’re shopping around in the mid-list, and Unknown Book A costs $7.99 while Unknown Book B costs $3.99, well, why not buy Book B and another $3.99er to boot?

      • I suspect you are right and that the proportion of indies grows in the mid-range. Some of those sub-genre bestseller lists go quite far back, and indies are well-represented the whole way down.

      • And not just mid-list of course, but back-list. Much of that is priced at $7.99 – $9.99 (sometimes even higher). Those sales are being hit. But I would argue even the tradpub bestsellers are getting it in the neck too.

        It’s not about Joe Reader suddenly not becoming a Patterson fan anymore. It’s about him not buying Dan Brown anymore – who he was never crazy about to begin with, but it was all the airport store had. Now he has his Kindle, he can download whatever he likes wherever he likes – and a lot of that stuff he is buying instead of Dan Brown is going to be indie stuff, and some of Joe Reader’s dollars are no longer going into the large publisher’s coffers. In fact, I’m arguing that the proportion that will is going to drop over time.

        I haven’t stopped reading any of my old favorites – almost all of them published by large publishers. But, I’ve stopped buying stuff I was on the fence about. I’ve stopped taking risks with tradpub stuff. I would rather risk $2.99 on an indie. I simply spend far less on books from large publishers than I used to – far less – and I would be surprised if that proportion didn’t drop further over time.

  17. Thanks for all the hard work and interesting information David. I’m pretty sure your logic is flawed though, and that’s because of the unknown distribution in units among the top 500 sellers.

    Having said that, from your analysis it is safe to say that 25% of the titles sold are from self-publishers – my guess is this is substantially less than units sold, assuming that the units sold are heavily weighted to the top sellers.

    • Debora Geary says:

      Lawrence, I agree that’s an issue, Books in the top 5 on Amazon are moving 5000+ units a day, and someone just barely in the top 100 is moving maybe 500-700 copies a day. However, when I’ve checked, indies are generally fairly well distributed through the top 300-400 on Amazon, including the top 10. And I think they are more heavily represented than 25% in the 500-5000 sales ranks. So my sniff test says David’s number feels pretty solid, even with the issue of uneven distribution of sales.

      Another way to look at this is to look at Author Rank on Amazon, which is based on some kind of almagamation of pretty recent sales across an author’s entire bookshelf. The top 20 are more dominated by trad authors, but deeper than that, and on the genre-specific lists, there are lots of indies. A lot of these authors are people who rarely/never have a book in the top 100, but they have a lot of books in the top 2000 or so, and they’re prolific.

      • Thanks Deborah . . . that certainly “adds weight” to the 25% estimate in terms of units sold.

      • I think that’s pretty accurate. This is a first attempt at putting a number out there. I’m *sure* someone will improve on it, but I don’t think I’m too far off the mark, and if I was a degenerate gambler (which I am!) my money would be on lowballing it.

    • Here’s a rough estimate of sales numbers for the Top 500 ranks:

      #1 to #5 = 3,500+ books a day (sometimes a lot more).
      #5 to #10 = 2,000-3,500 books a day.
      #10 to #20 = 1,100-2,000+
      #20 to #65 = 650-1,100
      #80 = 850
      #90 = 750
      #275 = 325
      #500 = 180

      So yes, distribution is very uneven. However if we look at the Indie Top 100 right now, the book at #20 is at #83 overall, the book at #40 is #157, the book at #60 is #221, the book at #80 is #281 and the book at #100 is #347 (and don’t forget to factor in all those non-ebook items in the Kindle Store).

      I know from observing the list over a period of time that those proportions throughout the list stay relatively constant.

      Regarding the very top-sellers, Amazon’s own three-month totals show that seven of the Top 20 were self-published (including two of the Top 5, and three of the Top 10)

      • Debora Geary says:

        Yup. I’ve been watching these lists for a long time, and I wouldn’t bet against your numbers (and if I did, I’d take a higher one.) And indies at the top used to be 70% at $0.99, which has quite reversed itself over the last year. So I suspect there has also been some sharp movement in the indie share of the revenue pie in the last 12-18 months.

      • Thanks David. That’s really nice of to provide those stats, and it’s all very encouraging. I remember reading an article a long time ago about all the great authors who started off in what used to be called “vanity publishing” – it was an incredible list! I sure wish I still had that article.

        Keep up the great blog! :)

      • Self-publishing? “Proust did it. Sterne did it. Luther, Whitman, and Pound did it. Dickinson, Hawthorne and Austen did it. So did Walcott and Woolf. And what Marcel Proust, and Laurence Sterne, and Martin Luther, and Walt Whitman, and Ezra Pound, and Emily Dickinson, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Jane Austen, and Derek Walcott, and Virginia Woolf all did, at least according to an exhibition newly opened in York, was publish, or pay to publish, their own work.” That’s from the article linked below (though I most definitely disagree with its conclusions.) Others include

        Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn
        John Grisham, A Time to Kill
        L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetics
        Irma Rombauer, The Joy of Cooking
        Richard Paul Evans, The Christmas Box
        Jack Canfield and Mark Hensen, Chicken Soup for the Soul
        James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy
        Beatrix Potter, creator of the Peter Rabbit Classic Series.

        And more…

        Thomas Paine – Edgar Allan Poe – T.S. Elliot – Carl Sandberg – Gertrude Stein – Deepak Chopra – Upton Sinclair – D.H. Lawrence – George Bernard Shaw – e.e. cummings – Henry David Thoreau – Virginia Woolf – Margaret Atwood – Tom Clancy – Stephen Crane

        http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/how-the-great-writers-published-themselves-8053570.html#disqus_thread

      • My experiences do not match that chart. I sold 250 copies one day and only reached 768. Had similar experiences before. But it’s all relative, of course.

      • Yes, as Deb noted, these are estimates for the sales level need to *hold* a rank, not attain one (which requires more). It’s all down to how sales rank is calculated. Once a sale is more than a few days old it’s worth very little in the ranking algorithm. Most recent sales are worth most, of course, and yesterday’s sales aren’t worth as much as today’s. It’s pretty easy to witness the phenomenon. If you have an ad on a big site like ENT, you might hit #1000 overall, and hold that position the next day even though you are selling far less books.

        Also keep in mind that velocity is a factor. 250 sales over four hours will push you higher in the charts than 250 sales over twenty-four hours (or a week, obvs).

      • Debora Geary says:

        @David Alistair Hayden… the number of books you need to sell to reach a certain sales rank, and the number you need to sell to *stay* at a rank are very different. Based on my experiences, David G’s numbers might even be a little light for the sales required to stay at a given rank. More would be needed to get there in a 1-2 day push.

      • They might be a little light. These estimates were crowdsourced on KB about 6 to 8 weeks ago, and I didn’t get as much data for the higher end.

      • dahayden says:

        Velocity and holding … That makes sense to me. Mine was velocity and not holding. And my last two pushes were in December and January, when there’s probably more overall sales, I’d think.

      • All bets are off in late Dec/early Jan when all those new Kindle owners go on a buying binge. That phenomenon will be less pronounced going forward (as a majority of purchased devices are replacements rather than new entrants) but it’s still big enough to totally distort the market at that time of year.

      • I suppose we could assign those sales numbers to each book in the (overall list – KDP list) and the KDP list. For example, a book between #10 and #20 would get a sales number between 1100 and 2000. Then run a distribution of each list and superimpose them.

  18. Debora Geary says:

    I agree the B&N numbers for self-pubbed books are very pleasantly surprising. But I’m betting those sales are far more focused to a few authors and a few genres than they are on Amazon. Because B&N’s discoverability is poor (issues with search, poor categorization of a lot of genres, few ways to dig down beyond genre bestseller lists), I would expect sales to congregate on “easy to find” books (both trad and indie). So I’d bet we have some authors seeing 40% of their sales on B&N, and a much larger number seeing <5%.

  19. Great information again, David. Another interesting metric would be indie author revenues as a percent of all author revenues. Probably impossible to get the data on, but given that indie authors typically get a much higher percentage of the net per-unit price, this could be considerably better than 25-30% of total author revenues. In fact, indie authors who raise their prices closer to Big Six e-book prices might stand the most to gain. The 4-book Kindle set of my Homeland Connection novels (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ASQ7YFK/) is not selling lots of units, but, with its higher price, it generates more revenue than the first novel in the series, Bashert (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AP6UPKO/), which is consistently in the top 5% on the Kindle.

  20. Dan Meadows says:

    Nice work. I agree that it could be an underestimate. I think the big publishers’ problems stem from the fact that they didn’t actually believe the public would buy self published works at the volume they have. Everything they’ve done up until very recently when they realized huge ebook margins were staving off a snowballing print revenue decline on their bottom line, was to slow or discourage ebook use. Lousy scans, high prices, Agency collusion, slow rollouts, ignoring backlist, paying insulting ebook royalties all look like nearly purposeful acts of sabotage. And it probably would have worked, too, if Amazon’s KDP hadn’t opened the floodgates and mainstreamed an entire community of people who actually wanted to sell ebooks.

    Publishers were far too comfortable in their imagined cloak of superiority. I still don’t think many of them truly understand they’re where they are only because they were perfectly positioned to control distribution, not because of any inherent superiority. Ebooks have shown if other players can get their works to readers, readers will buy them in great numbers. One of the more awful business decisions I’ve seen in a while, especially when you consider they kept trying to handicap ebooks even after it was clear self published works were gaining significant traction. Sometimes, I almost want to send them a thank you note.

  21. Another great post.
    If your tyre kicking gets to the KDP stand would you mind asking them to do something about removing the $2 Whispernet charge for non US authors who want to gift books to someone in the US. I begrudge paying $2.99 to gift a 99c book to someone!

  22. This is such great news, but it actually doesn’t surprise me. As a self publisher I’ve been thinking it’s only a matter of time that Nook and Kobo caught up or at least started giving Amazon a run for its money. My weekly Kobo ebook sales are now starting to surpass my weekly Kindle sales! I think this is because I have alot of Canadian readers, and they prefer Kobo, but it’s interesting to watch. I didn’t want to give Kindle exclusivity for this very reason. I’m not sure about Nook, but Kobo is definitely upping their game. I’m just sitting back and enjoying the e-wars! Popcorn, self pubbers? :)

  23. Kindle “Indie” store doesn’t seem to have any direct contact info, and I don’t remember seeing it on Amazon DTP either. Is there some technique for getting your titles featured there? I meanbeyond having pockets deep enough to pay for positioning?

    • I don’t think you can submit. KDP choose the titles they want to feature. To be honest, I’m not sure how much traffic that page gets. I don’t know if there’s an easy way to navigate to it from the homepage, and I’m not sure if Amazon push many customers towards it (but don’t really know tbh).

      • Yeah, I find the “Indie Book” bestseller list a little weird. It doesn’t actually seem to reflect much in terms of the real bestsellers. The indie books I see on the fantasy list (my genre) don’t appear to mirror the books on the Indie list. I’m not even sure why they started that list, as it doesn’t actually seem to mean anything and it doesn’t seem “findable” by anyone who doesn’t already know the direct link.

        I totally agree about not having to “republish” for pricing changes. I would love that!

  24. Linda Welch says:

    Hi David.

    When you chat with Kobo, please tell them they need to seriously revamp their search program so that it doesn’t only bring up top selling authors in results. For example, a reader who types the name of my book Along Came a Demon into Kobo’s search bar gets display results for “lark.” If they type in the name of my second book, The Demon Hunters, the results are books by Lori Brighton. Type in my name, Linda Welch, and they get books by Hugh Howie. That’s right, even when a reader goes to Kobo specifically to find my books, they can’t. As another author said (on a forum) it’s as if Kobo is saying, “No no, silly reader, you don’t want that book, you want THIS book.” ;)

    Kobo may be interested to know (or maybe not) that these readers promptly go to another etailer for my books. No doubt this applies to works by many authors.

    • Search is a mess, and I do wish they would invest time and energy in fixing that (and categories) than on fancy-sounding initiatives (of dubious merit) like social reading. Same goes for Barnes & Noble and this tarted up version of PubIt – I think most self-publishers would have preferred if they fixed search, categories, and book recommendations so that we had a better (or fairer) chance of being discovered.

      As for Kobo’s search and those weird results, I think a lot of it is because the search engine doesn’t just return books triggered by your keywords, but the also boughts as well. This is actually the case on Amazon too, but because they populate their results with much more stuff (example: they have keywords, Kobo, weirdly have none), it’s not as noticeable because those results are deemed less relevant and pushed down the rankings.

      Search is the *first* thing I’ll be mentioning to Kobo. Allowing us to select relevant keywords in KWL for our titles is only part of the solution (search will need a lot more work on the back end too), but it’s a necessary step IMO. (And free downloads numbers is #2 on the list)

  25. Where do “free” books factor into all this? Because I have a few free titles on Barnes and Noble and they are in the thousands are far as “sales” are concerned.

    I like the idea of not having to re-published on amazon to change the price. I think they do that so they can control and check for cheaper prices. BUT another nice idea would be the ability to change the prices of more than one book at a time, a sort of “select all.”

  26. Excellent article, David. I bought LET’S GET DIGITAL (and reviewed it!) last spring right after I self-published for the first time. I appreciate the hard work you put into the business end of our industry. Your insights and representation of our industry are incredibly valuable. Keep up the good work.

  27. This seems to be turning into a more general e-publishing discussions, which is great for someone like me, who just made his first self-publication a few days ago.

    I signed on with Amazon exclusively for the 90 days for a few reasons:
    their overall market share,
    the Prime lending program,
    and perhaps most importantly, a desire to keep it simple, at least for starters.

    I haven’t used any of my “5 Free Days” yet, but I’d like to get my book read by some reviewers, so my question is whether the whisper program facilitates that . . . I don’t mind paying for a few copies if it means getting some exposure that way.

    David, I sure hope your book(s) cover a lot of those basic first steps, and in a lot of detail – by the way, if you love gambling, my novel has an aspect of that beyond your wildest dreams . . . but it is it gambling or a skills competition? Wish I could say more, but of course I can’t spoil the story.

  28. The last time I was editing a title on Kobo, it kept trying to re-enable DRM. If I don’t want DRM, I don’t want it – period. If a book has DRM, I can see the option of disabling it. Once it’s been released without DRM, the horse is out of the barn anyway and enabling DRM at that point shouldn’t be possible. Even if it is an option, though, it should not be an easy accident to make to enable DRM when you never wanted it to begin with. The point behind this rant is that if you have the ear of Kobo, please encourage them to verify that this DRM problem is either already resolved or will be soon!

    • I didn’t realize that Stuart and I’ll be sure to mention it. On the face of it, that should be easy to address. They just need to make the DRM field a one time option like the ISBN field (you can’t change that after the first time you publish a title). I’ll certainly bring it up.

  29. D.L. Kung says:

    Good luck at the London Fair, David and please follow up with Amazon.

    About the KDP category system, I’ve just had an interesting experience. Authors of mysteries based in Asia published by bigger houses were using a category, “International Mystery and Crime” that wasn’t on the KDP drop-down menu. It was perfect for “The Handover Mysteries” based in China, Hong Kong and Tibet in the late 90′s, so I queried it and in the process, found that the BISAC code for this categoy had only been introduced in 2012.

    KDP very nicely changed the category manually and promised to look into the matter further. At the same time, we saw that someone at KDP (certainly not anyone at our publishing end) had put these China-based mysteries into the category “Literature-Native American” out of the assumption that the Tibetan on one cover was a Native American.

    Surely it’s time for KDP to do a serious overhaul of their categories; this one experience tells us that KDP isn’t offering the most up-to-date range of BISAC (library catalogue) possibilities open to the Big 6 publishers and that there can be some well-intentioned “creative” assistance at their end that can inadvertently damage rankings and sales.

    I was pleasantly surprised at how swiftly and pleasantly the correction process with the KDP staff went.

    • The category system on Amazon is a bit of a mess right now (and still light years ahead of its competitors which shows you where they’re at), something which is being exacerbated by the… how do I say this kindly.. uneven customer service many people are experiencing from KDP.

      The list we can see in our KDP interface is (a version of) the BISAC list (which for anyone who doesn’t know is the industry standard subject list). However, the BISAC list is hugely different from the actual list of categories and sub-categories in the Kindle Store.

      This leads to the situation where we have (a) phantom categories – which are selectable but don’t exist, (b) Book only categories – which exist but only in Books not in the Kindle Store, (c) country specific categories (for reasons beyond me, the UK has a different set of categories/sub-categories, and of course (d) Kindle-only categories which don’t exist on the Book side and aren’t selectable in KDP.

      Also, there are some huge categories (like historical fiction with 25,000 books) with no sub-categories at all, which have obvious and natural dividing lines – this is a personal bugbear of mine – and obvious omissions from the list (Women’s fiction was recently addressed, but there are other obvious gaps in things like YA etc.).

      For me, the solution is simple: make the list selectable in KDP identical to the list in the Kindle Store (with obvious restrictions like Kindle Singles etc.). Why are they showing us the BISAC list anyway? There’s no need. Just give us the same options to choose from as actually appear in the Kindle Store (while restricting ones like Kindle Singles etc.). Also, they need to greatly expand the sub-categories and fill in the gaps where needed. It’s something that will benefit authors, publishers, readers, and Amazon.

      On a personal level, the lack of sub-categories makes it nearly impossible for an indie to gain traction in Historical Ficton. In fact, pretty much all the indies I know who have done so were only able to get things moving when they switched to another category like Action & Adventure or whatever. From a reader perspective, that category is a hot mess. It’s filled with stuff I would never want to read (like Historical Romance, which is truly a sub-genre of Romance *not* of Historical Fiction). And there are easy dividing lines too. It’s one of the few areas where Barnes & Noble has a superior system – they have 21 sub-categories in Historical Fiction (I can’t get into them, but that’s another matter!). Amazon have 0.

      • Sam Torode says:

        Exactly– this is my biggest peeve with KDP. You have to set your book as “non-classifiable” and then write customer service to place you in proper categories. Even then, it’s a crapshoot. I lucked out and got the categories I wanted, after a few e-mails, but it’s impossible to change and experiment with other categories.

        But, that’s better than my peeve with the Apple iBookstore, which is that they never responded to my application to sell my books with them (completed about 2 years ago).

  30. Pingback: Writing Resources 13 April 2013 | Gene Lempp ~ Writer

  31. excellent work, David. Thanks for this piece. I’ll give your page a link in my blog.

  32. Pingback: Pan and Fan and life and a link | franceskaywriter

  33. Becca Mills says:

    “It’s not about Joe Reader suddenly not becoming a Patterson fan anymore. It’s about him not buying Dan Brown anymore – who he was never crazy about to begin with, but it was all the airport store had. Now he has his Kindle, he can download whatever he likes wherever he likes – and a lot of that stuff he is buying instead of Dan Brown is going to be indie stuff, and some of Joe Reader’s dollars are no longer going into the large publisher’s coffers. In fact, I’m arguing that the proportion that will is going to drop over time.

    “I haven’t stopped reading any of my old favorites – almost all of them published by large publishers. But, I’ve stopped buying stuff I was on the fence about. I’ve stopped taking risks with tradpub stuff. I would rather risk $2.99 on an indie. I simply spend far less on books from large publishers than I used to – far less – and I would be surprised if that proportion didn’t drop further over time.”

    I agree completely. All it takes is a reader stumbling unto a lower-priced indie once, and their eyes will be opened to all the inexpensive but high-quality choices out there, and that effect will snowball, encouraging more people to begin ereading.

    I also spend far less on trad pub books than I used to, though I still read my faves. Paying $7.99 or $9.99 on an ebook now feels a bit like highway robbery to me, since I know what producing an ebook can cost (not much, if you don’t have to support a superstructure of New York executive salaries).

  34. Christa says:

    Another point – which may have been made in the comments (sorry! if so), on whether unit sales or retail price should be the measuring stick for percent of market captured by self-pubbed titles, I would argue that — for AUTHORS — the percent of market captured is better measured in royalties (rather than retail price). So we can look at units sold or royalties gathered, and I think we (self-published) are doing very well in capturing market share. :D

  35. Paula Cappa says:

    This is really helpful post. Thanks, David! Lawrence’s comment above about KDP Select and book reviews struck me. There are some well known “book reviewers” out there that refuse to consider s/p books/novels because they feel these books/novels are of poor quality in story, writing, and execution. This general prejudice against s/p authors is unhealthy for everyone. I’m hoping we can change that reputation and show readers, buyers, Amazon and B&N, etc, and “book reviewers” that many s/p authors are skilled in their craft and dedicated writers worthy of book reviewers’ considerations. The better book reviews we get, the better deals and respect s/p authors will receive.

  36. Kevin Finley says:

    Reblogged this on The Business Side of Books and commented:
    Nook Press sounds new, but has the same old issues.

  37. Thanks for another great post. Masses of information here shared by all and much to think about. I’m on the fence about KDP Select and haven’t yet published an eBook, but my createspace print copy, Hiding in a Cave of Trunks, is doing exceptionally well, mostly by my own efforts when speaking and marketing wherever possible. Please say more about KDP Select for those of us who aren’t as tech-savvy as some of your followers. I agree that indie authors are making great progress in getting recognition, and I’m so happy and proud to be one of them!

  38. Lynne Pierce says:

    If quantity equated to quality, I’d be a lot more impressed with the indie figures. While there are some excellent books out there, there is also a lot of drivel and trash. Granted traditional publishers also put out poor quality books, but the percentage isn’t as great. If you charge $.99 or $2 for a poorly produced book, most people won’t complain, but small niche books are being seriously hurt by this drivel. Once someone reads a few of these indie books from a small genre that are just plain trash, they get turned off to the whole genre. When indies start talking as much about the “quality” of their books as they do about how many they’re selling, then I’ll pay more attention.

    • We have had several years for that phenomenon to play out. It hasn’t. Sales of independents keep rising. I won’t dispute the existence of poor quality books, but I will dispute the notion that these are the ones selling. Consumers are paying attention. They keep buying.

  39. I couldn’t agree more with that Lynne.

    Now as far as the impact of e-books, I really had my eyes opened last December. I was looking for a gift in a second-hand bookshop, one that’s been here forever. It was really quiet, so I had a nice little chat with one of the staff, and we got onto “how’s business”.

    She was pretty worried about the way things were going. Then out of the blue, I asked her if e-books had anything to do with it. The answer was a resounding, emphatic and troubled “Yes”.

    That was my qualitative research.

  40. Pingback: Self-Publishing Grabs Huge Market Share From Traditional Publishers | The Passive Voice | Writers, Writing, Self-Publishing, Disruptive Innovation and the Universe

  41. Pingback: Self-Publishing Grabs Huge Market Share From Traditional Publishers | Cubbys Corner

  42. I’d never dispute the importance of sales dollars in any market analysis. But I’d never discount a measure of consumption. The number of books indicates consumption and tracks consumers’ tastes and preferences. Consumer preferences change first. Their dollars follow.

  43. If you could get KDP to have a YA category, that would be wonderful.

  44. Pingback: Where Should You Publish Your Book? - Girl None

  45. Pingback: Self-Publishing Grabs Huge Market Share From Tr...

  46. Jane Risdon says:

    Really thought-provoking article, thanks. Enjoyed it. London Book week this week and I guess we shall see the trends from there emerge. Apparently they are waiting for New young Adult/Erotica to take off like 50 Shades – Hmm.

  47. Pingback: Changing the Way Readers Buy and Create Books | Digital Book World

  48. Pingback: “Gli editori sono aziende di tecnologia…” di Giuseppe Garnieri | Valerio Tagliaferri

  49. simpklu says:

    Reblogged this on Simpklu and commented:
    David covers some useful information regarding B&N along with Indie trends.

  50. Pat Fitzhugh says:

    Reblogged this on Pat Fitzhugh and commented:
    This is nothing I didn’t already know. Each month, each quarter, each year, independently-published books make a bigger and bigger splash!

  51. Pingback: Friday Features #52 - YESENIA VARGAS

  52. Pingback: Trends: Zelf-uitgeven groeit ten koste van trad...

  53. Don RN says:

    AAP data that I saw with Dean Smith and the passive guy indicated adult ebook sales 2012 was $1.25 billion based on 1200 publishers of course doesn’t include indie or many small press.

    If we assume $10 per copy would be 125 million titles. with your 25 percent suggests to me about 41 million indie titles.

    Assume at least $2 royalty per title?
    Indie royalties at least $82 million?

  54. Just read this article, I am curious for comments on the companies mentioned: 16 April 2013 – New Publisher Authors Trust: Themselves
    By LESLIE KAUFMAN

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/business/media/david-mamet-and-other-big-authors-choose-to-self-publish.html?ref=lesliekaufman

  55. Paul says:

    Just read this article and I’m interested to see what you think of http://www.7write.com

    It enables self-publishers to write and self-publish their books with just one click. It automatically handles all of the formatting and conversion issues and distributes the book to all the major ebook market places including Amazon Kindle Store, Apple iBookstore, Kobo, Nook, Microsoft Windows 8 book store, Google play and more

  56. Pingback: Wednesday Wrap: A Writer’s Potpourri | ACT Communications | Frances Caballo

  57. Pingback: What Keeps Publishers Up at Night

  58. Pingback: Indie Publishing - Goldman Case Files - By Crime Writer Joel Goldman

  59. Pingback: Guest Blog: Where Should You Publish Your Book | Elli Writes

  60. Tony Panama says:

    Great article. I’ve been stuck in the “amazon” world b/c i’ve never heard of pubit, I will def check it out.

  61. Pingback: Lazy Literary Agents In Self-Publishing Money Grab via Argo Navis | David Gaughran

  62. Pingback: When Books and Social Networks Mate

  63. Pingback: Lazy Literary Agents In Self-Publishing Money Grab via Argo Navis | David Gaughran | Shangri-La

  64. notionpress says:

    Really a good article and i really enjoy it. Now here in india also tradition is changing and hope that grow so fast so that the ideas of new generation can be share early in quickly. thanks a lot David

  65. Pingback: Link Feast For Writers, vol. 46 | Reetta Raitanen's Blog

  66. Pingback: Westrope Leadership Inc. - Self-Publishing Grabs Huge Market Share From Traditional Publishers - Westrope Leadership Inc.

  67. Pingback: Where Should You Publish Your Book? by Erin Elizabeth Long | Silk Screen Views

  68. Pingback: Self-Publishing Grabs Huge Market Share From Tr...

  69. Pingback: Self-Publishing Grabs Huge Market Share From Traditional Publishers | This College Dropout

  70. Pingback: 15 Ways Amazon Can Improve Kindle Direct Publishing | David Gaughran

  71. All I can say is go us! Proud to be a self-published author and having the time of my life doing what I love.

  72. Pingback: The Future of Content Delivery (is here) - Scott SiglerScott Sigler

  73. Pingback: Where Should You Publish Your Book? | Biblio/Tech

  74. Pingback: Bloomsbury Seeks Deal With Author Solutions | David Gaughran

  75. Pingback: Panic Censorship by Amazon, Kobo and other ebookstores | Stillpoint/Eros

  76. dmwlewis says:

    Reblogged this on Depths of DMW Lewis and commented:
    Self Publishing Grabs Huge Market Share

  77. Pingback: Il prezzo di un eBook | Andrea Wierer

  78. Pingback: Meeting Places: BookLikes.com | A Blog By Any Other Name

  79. Pingback: Blogs for self-publishers April 7 – 13, 2013 — The Book Designer

  80. Pingback: Indie Authors - 2013 In Review

  81. Pingback: Astroturfing: The Source of Zombie Memes in Publishing? | David Gaughran

  82. Pingback: A Hodgepodge of Useful Bits & Pieces – Mid-April 2013 | KD DID IT Takes on Books

  83. Pingback: The Current Industry Landscape

  84. tfboyle says:

    Perhaps this is a little off topic, but for self-publishers there is an underutilized tool that I think can help generate additional sales and/or simply add value to your published word. The tool is the QR code and for publishers it could be used in various ways, for example, you might place a QR code at the end of the book so that when someone finishes they are prompted to scan the code and purchase another one of your books. Or perhaps throughout your book you place QR codes to take the reader to online content, perhaps to a video that forwards your story and makes it more real and believable, or if it is a non-fiction book perhaps you use QR codes to connect sources, interviews, etc. all providing the reader with much more value. I think the uses are pretty fantastic. Here’s an example I found recently… http://qfuse.com/blog/scribner-the-publishing-industry-and-qr-codes/

  85. Pingback: 15 Ways To Improve KDP – Progress Report | David Gaughran

  86. Pingback: This Is The Kind Of Competition Publishers Want | David Gaughran

  87. Pingback: John Brown – the author's official site » Blog Archive » Indie Thoughts: The Kind of Competition Publishers Want

  88. Pingback: Who’s Afraid of Very Cheap Books? | David Gaughran

  89. Pingback: Who’s Afraid of Very Cheap Books? | MARSocial Author Business Enhancement Interviews

  90. Pingback: Die bestverkauften deutschen eBooks von Self Publishern (April 2013) | Die Self-Publisher-Bibel

  91. Pingback: How Has Self-Publishing Changed In The Last 2 Years? Interview With David Gaughran. | The Creative Penn

  92. Pingback: David Gaughran on Publishing & ‘Astroturfing’ |

Release Your Word-Minions!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s