Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The State of e-book (2010)

There is NOTHING going on in publishing right now that is more exciting than ebooks. Period. What is most amazing to me, is that it still is so much in its infancy. Here are some recent numbers from Publisher's Weekly's article based on numbers from the 3rd Quarter Report from Bowker PubTrack.

  • 20% of readers reported in October that they are likely to buy an e-reader compared to just 10% in the 2009
  • just over 10% of readers in September and October said they read e-books on a daily or weekly basis compared to only about 3% a year ago.
  • e-books accounted for 4.2% of sales in Q3 (up from 3.2% from Q2, and 1.7% from Q3 2009)

4.2% -- Seriously? As someone through publishes through the "indie" venues (ebook and POD) my sales are are highly skewed toward e-books and reflect almost 180 degrees from those numbers. Looking at December MTD sales for Michael's books shows

  • 2,829 Crown Conspiracy (187 Print, 2,642 ebook: 6.6%/93.4%)
  • 1,740 Avempartha (96 Print, 1644 ebook: 5.5%/94.5%)
  • 1,700 Nyphron Rising (73 Print, 1627 ebook: 4.3%/95.7%)
  • 1,527 Emerald Storm (94 Print, 1,433 ebook: 6.2% / 93.8%)
  • 1,527 Wintertide (147 Print, 1,380 ebook: 9.6% / 90.4%)

Michael should break 10,000 book sales in December mostly ebooks priced at $4.95 and the latest one at $6.95. Looking at ONLY ebook sales his December income (not gross) from ebooks could be as high as $34,000 - in a single month. (It depends on how many of those sales turn out to be from overseas purchases which are at a 35% royalty rather than the 70% royalty).

Amanda Hocking is tearing up the self-published e-book space selling more than 50,000 copies in December alone and her total sales now top 100,000 books!

In a rare move, Amazon (who is notoriously tight lipped about the number of kindle ebook readers it has sold) reported that in the first 73 days of the holiday seasons it sold "Millions" (that's plural) of kindles which surpassed ALL kindle sales for 2009.

I think 2010 will go down as the real starting point for ebooks. The fact that kindle now has multiple competitors (nook, Sony eReader, iPad, etc.) shows that finally the tipping point has been reached but at only 4.2% there is so much opportunity for growth.

If you don't have ebook versions of your books on Kindle and B&N you should be running...not walking to get these out right away. To ignore doing so is leaving huge untapped revenue that could produce enough income to make writing full time more than just a dream for many new authors.


wannabuy said...


I enjoyed the read and agree authors should run to publish on Amazon and B&N. Then figure out how to get it on 'everything else.'

My next blog (which I'm not ready to write) will probably be on the number of people I know reading on Ipod touchs. Several friends and coworkers noted that is their 'device of choice.'

Ebooks are almost (not quite) ready to go viral. Exciting times ahead.


I've enjoyed your posts on JA's blog as well as Ia thank you for your numbers on my blog.

Robin Sullivan said...

Thanks wannabuy - I just recently discovered your blog and have it bookmarked now. It is indeed exciting times.

Reading J.A.'s blog (and more importantly the comments) is great entertainment.

Lindsay Buroker said...

I keep thinking... if I'd just started this last year! I had a novel and several stories done at that time, but I was only peripherally aware of the kindle and ebooks then.

I'm hoping we're still early in the evolution and a year from now I'll be thinking, "I'm so glad I started last year!" :)