Frankly, I’m surprised this is even asked anymore. And yet, I did encounter the question a few days ago. I consulted Author Marketing Ideas, Vox.com and, of course, Author Earnings for some interesting statistics on ebooks.
EBooks are on the rise right now. Having an eBook allows you to offer your audience a new way of reading your book. Nowadays it seems just about everyone owns a tablet or some kind of eReader and prefer to read on these devices.
The healthy state of the book market owes a lot to ebooks, as the trendlines are negative for print. The data about e-book sales and print sales are never fully clear, but we do know that total book sales in 2013 was almost $15 billion, according to the Associations of American Publishers. That’s a 14% increase since 2008. E-books accounted for $3 billion. If we took e-books out, however, print book sales would be down almost 8% since 2008.
Even these numbers of book sales underestimate the profit e-books are making because they fail to include the revenue made from self-published books, because Amazon does not disclose those statistics.
Therefore, we have to take an indirect root: cover types for the adult market. Using that metric, a widely different image emerges: eBooks have already taken the top spot in cover types for the adult market:
- E-Books: $328.2 million (33% of the adult market)
- Paperback: $306.6 million (30% of the adult market)
- Hardcover: $226.5 million (22% of the adult market)
Whichever image is more accurate, the steady rise of ebooks becomes obvious when one considers eBook growth percentages in the adult market over the last three years’ first quarters. These were 23% in 2011, 28% in 2012, and 33% in 2013.
Ebooks and Genre Fiction
One thing that should also be taken into account is a book’s genre. For genre fiction (mystery/thriller/suspense, science fiction/fantasy and romance) ebooks are a clear winner:
I have made my books available in both formats. As you know, both Pearseus, my epic fantasy series and The Power of Six, my collection of science fiction short stories, are genre fiction. My experience with these has been consistent with the above. My print copies have been roughly 4% of my total. Which means that a full 96% of sales has been in ebook format.
However, I have now published a children’s book, Runaway Smile. As its illustrations are pretty much lost in Kindle, I’m curious to see if its sales will follow the above trend. I’ll let you know as soon as I find out! 🙂
To celebrate the holiday season, the last offer of the year is the best one so far: the three-book bundle of Pearseus will be on sale throughout December! Read all the books in my best-selling epic fantasy series for only 99c. If you bought Pearseus, Rise of the Prince in November, then just contact me and I will send you the bundle for free! You may also, read my children’s book, Runaway Smile, online for free!
I, too, think as Indie Authors/Publishers you need both formats, it makes good business sense and there are ways to do without cost of bucket loads of money. I do enjoy reading eBooks but still prefer the ole paperback or hardback. I’m a tactile person and turning pages is like discovering what is about to happen next.
Great article Nicholas 😀
Thank you! 🙂
I know what you mean about the beauty of the printed work. I occasionally read paperbacks just for the fun of it 🙂
Reblogged this on Today, You Will Write and commented:
In this day and age I think all books should be published in both formats. I love my novel reading on my kindle but for all my books on ‘writing’ I purchase paperback. I just can’t work without being able to dogear or highlight pages, and much easier to flip through than scan electronically. 🙂
I agree, it’s just that some people may not have the resources to do so 🙂
Just clicked the link on your children’s book. Thanks a lot!
Thank you so much for checking it out, I hope you enjoyed it 🙂
Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.
Another interesting, thorough, and informative piece. Well done.
Another kind comment by you. Readers like you inspire me to continue. Thank you! 🙂
I’ve sold about 26 paperbacks, only 2 online, compared to over 1000 ebooks. I would have been lost without Ereader News Today.
Lol – exactly!
I’d love a guest post on which ads/promos you have found effective, whenever you have the time to spare 🙂
I will throw one together and get back with you. I am about to do all my end of the year stuff, so I’ll have all the facts soon.
Smashing, I’m looking forward to that! 🙂
Reblogged this on chrismcmullen and commented:
Even if this isn’t an issue for you, it’s worth checking out these numbers. 🙂
Great points. 🙂 For novels, it’s a no-brainer. But I do find some illustrated children’s authors and educational authors, for example, who don’t find this such as easy choice. Partly it’s the formatting hurdle, but then there are also parents who favor print books for their kids (and even children’s authors who strongly prefer print). My educational print books overall far outsell my Kindle books, and some aren’t practical for Kindle (e.g. many of my workbooks). Yet I still sell a significant number of Kindle books per month, even if it does pale in comparison to print. So it seems to be worth doing.
An excellent point, Chris! I’ve recently come across this very question, with Runaway Smile (my children’s book) . So far, I’ve sold more hard copies than ebooks, no doubt because of the different genre.
I prefer my fiction in ebook format, and my picture books/illustrated books and non-fiction in print.
I think many people do. In fact, I’ve sold more hard copies of Runaway Smile (my children’s book) than ebooks so far!
Who knew? This sure is interesting. I believe it’s necessary to offer electronic as well as print copies. Electronic is immediate and lots more readers are receptive to this media. Great post.
I agree, it’s best to accommodate both kinds of readers. The real question is which one to prefer if you have limited resources and must choose only one.
That IS a hard choice since money is limited to most.
Οι άνθρωποι αγαπάνε το φόβο αλλά μισούν τα τέρατα
Ha ha. That’s because monsters are creepy-looking.
That was a note I sent myself, to use in another book! I had no idea it’d end up here – I jotted it down on my cell and sent it to myself (or so I thought). The fact that not only did it end up here, but you went through the trouble to translate it astounds me!!! 😀
Ha ha. Curiosity is an awful thing and I’m female… 😮
An encouraging, informative article. A beginner, writing self-help nature and dream books, how does a 99cent price affect sales? Love your title, Runaway Smile.
Thanks and welcome! 🙂
I have heard claims that 99c is the new free. According to this argument, people are tired of substandard books given away, so will prefer to pay a little something to ensure quality. In my own experience, free is still the best way to give away a lot of books, but it’s nowhere as effective as it used to be.
The simple truth, however, is that it really depends. There’s no silver bullet (at least not that I have discovered), and what works for one may not work for another, depending on the genre, platform etc.
Great information, Nicholas, thanks! I found the genre chart especially revealing.
I do still run into readers who claim eBooks are a fad or authors who refuse to use the format. Not as many as I used to, but the mentality is still out there.
Lol – amazing! 😀
Let’s be honest. We live in a world where there are still those who believe the Earth is flat, the sun goes around Earth, politicians are all honest, and someone other Queen sang the original Bohemian Rhapsody. In comparison, the eBook question seems rather expected. 😉
I know, it’s amazing. Some kind souls even accept my claim to be a successful author 😉
Same here. Maybe I should get a coffee mug in case somebody doubts the claim.
That’s a great idea! Who can doubt a mug’s wisdom??
Only thing more powerful is a poster with a cat. But we don’t want to go too far.
Reblogged this on Princess of the Light: Shining the Light For All and commented:
Valuable information for all authors! 🙂
Thank you for all the great information on e-books. The funny thing for me is that my book didn’t start to fly off the shelf until I made it available in both e-book and paperback. Isn’t that interesting? A majority of my sales are in e-book format. 🙂 I can always count on you for the rundown.
Thank you! 🙂
Yes, that is interesting – and unusual for your genre!
Most interesting post! I shall be interested to hear how your children’s book fares.