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I've said it many times before but ebook revolution really started in November 2010 but the principal players were indies. People like my husband Michael J. Sullivan, Ridan author's Nathan Lowell, Marshall S. Thomas, Leslie Ann Moore, and fellow indie authors like David Dalglish and H.P. Mallory really saw a jump in their sales that was down right mind blowing.
From trying to piece together information from articles and blogs it would have appeared that that big publishing houses weren't seeing the types of huge increases at that time - and in fact many of the top spots in the genre Amazon Bestseller lists were held by the indies attracting the ebook reading population with their free, $0.99 and $2.99 books.
But I knew that would not always be the case the big-six would eventually see a large percentage of their sales moving digitally. I was astonished that each time I saw an industry report with findings from "the big boys" that their numbers were in the 10% - 25% range with regards to percentage of ebook sales.
But I think we are finally starting to see a major shift in this regard. A good way to gauge what is going on at the big houses is to watch the bestseller's lists. After all the vast majority of the titles on lists such as NYT and USA Today are generally published by the large houses although an incredible breakout indie will show up from time to time.
So to me this graph really tells the full story. USA Today aggregates sales of all formats when determining their best sellers. So they'll lump together ebook, paperback, and hardcover sales...but...they also report of those three formats, which sold the most copies. Well below is some fascinating data about the number of titles where the ebooks are outselling print.
If you find this graph hard to read let's give you a blow-up of the important part 2011 - 2012. So what can we see. About 20% of the USA Today Titles were selling more ebooks for most of 2011 and in some cases that raised to as high as 40%. As the Christmas buying season started, paper came back in a big way as physical books were bought for presents. But there was more under the tree then just book. eReaders were also given and the people receiving them flocked to the "big names."
So what does this mean for indie authors? Well I think it's safe to say that your exclusive hold on that portion of the market is getting encroached upon by the big boys. I also noticed that Orbit, Harper Voyager and Angry Robot all offered $0.99 - $2.99 pricing of popular titles over the holidays. More on this particular environment over the next few days.
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