Traditional Book Publishing Is NOT Dead
Book Sales Near All-Time Highs: "According to Nielsen's BookScan—a sales-monitoring service widely regarded as representing 70 to 75 percent of trade sales—Americans bought 751,729,000 books in 2010. Excepting 2008 and 2009,"--read worldwide recession--"when sales reaches 757 million and 777 million, respectively, that's many millions more books sold than in any other year BookScan has recorded. (Five years earlier, in 2005, the total was just 650 million.)"
"The good news is that there isn't as much bad news as popularly assumed. In fact, almost all of the news is good, and most of it is very good. Book sales are up, way up, from twenty years ago. Young adult readership is far wider and deeper than ever before. Library membership and circulation is at all-time high. The good news goes on and on.
But still, perceptions persist that in a few years there will be no books printed on paper. That e-readers will take over the industry, and perhaps soon after, some other trend will kill books dead.
Sales of e-books still represent a small percentage of the overall book market. Depending on who's counting, the portion of the market is between 8% and 10%. When Amazon reports that their e-book sales are now larger than their paperback sales, it's easy to extrapolate this to encompass overall reading trends. But that would be a mistake. Amazon is an internet company, and it follows that their sales would favor electronic delivery of text. They are but one of many ways people get books, and the ratio of printed books to e-books changes drastically with each venue."
And for those of you in need of snide and sarcastic in your daily reading, may I link you to Paperback Writer, who rather humorously responds to a SPAM trying to help her self-publish:
I have worked with traditional publishing houses, and I have self-published. Quite frankly, I have found that self-publishing is more fun, more satisfying, and more lucrative!
Really? Because we're both published authors, that means I, too, could have more fun, more satisfaction and make more money self-publishing. Wow. I should call New York right now and tell them to tear up my latest contract. Tell you what, you hold your breath while I do that.
And far be it from me to ignore Joe Konrath, who, naturally, will probably disagree with these articles in time, but presents his POV here:
"Kindle readers are still buying overpriced bestsellers because that's how they're used to shopping. However, the many of the ereader owners I've spoken with are changing their buying habits."
Which makes me say, "Wow! You mean I bought a $9.99 e-book by John Gilstrap or Lincoln Child and Doug Preston or any number of other writers simply because that's what I'm used to, not because I think they're f***ing great writers and wanted to read their books on my Kindle? By all means, let's just give up all our reading habits and favorite authors and buy books by unknowns simply because their books are cheap!"
Honestly, I'm not against self-publishing on the Kindle--obviously, I've done it and expect I'll continue to do so. I also hope to continue publishing books in paper and through traditional publishers, big and small. There are good reasons for both, I think, but maybe we could keep all the hysterical smugness to a minimum while we do it (ha, like that's going to happen).
Well, I don't have all the answers and today my publishing crystal ball is cloudy and my Ouija Board keeps saying, "Sorry, this number is disconnected."
Anybody out there have all the answers? Please, share them with me.