Saturday, September 25, 2010

July Sales

July Sales Figures are out with a nice spike in sales. I've added a few more captions as to why sales might have changed. We're back to growth. I believe due to the e-reader price war started in June. The market should be price conscious. A spike in e-ink reader sales should spike e-book consumption.

To me, the impact of the publishers going to the agency model in February is obvious; there is an instant cut in e-book sales instead of the prior (nearly) constant growth trend. Just as lower prices will spike sales, the sudden increase in 'hardcover' prices stunted e-book sales. :(

It is only recently that Indie authors on Amazon have been treated to 70% of revenue (for books $2.99 to $9.99). With the agency model becoming universal, the number of excellent Indie author e-books is exploding. I do not know about others, but starting in August, most of my e-book purchases have been from Indie authors; in this I include 'publishing houses' that sell only one author. ;) The few others have been from small publishers who dropped prices below $5.

There were a half dozen authors I was willing to pay high e-book prices on. One just published a lousy book; a book I paid $14.99 to download. I'm now gun shy on e-books above $5.

JA Konrath has a post on e-book sales versus pricing. Look at how pitiful sales are for higher priced e-books. The only reason to price e-books high is to protect p-book sales. Too late.

SciFi and Rommance sales are apparently two of the hardest hit groups. I'm not surprised, it is among the genres that are the hardest to explain when someone sees the cover and asks for an explanation of 'why are you reading that?'

Book stores are losing the best customers at an accelerating pace. We keep hearing about more an more authors putting their backlist up on Kindle. I think it will be a year before the majority realize how many good books are available in e-book form only.

I'm excited e-book sales are back on the growth trend. I'm bummed the data trails by so long. For I would bet e-book sales are exploding in this month (September 2010). Oh well, we'll find out at the end of November...

Got Popcorn?

Late edit on 9/26/2010: I should have mentioned that July is when Amazon reported e-book sales exceeded hardcover sales.


  1. Nice chart, Neil.

    Predicted sales certainly look eye-opening for the end of calendar year.

    Amazing growth.

    A year ago I was suggesting - stupidly - that an Apple tablet would kill the Kindle. But I'm swallowing my 'wisdom' today because I think Bezos is right on the money with Kindle and its companion app. Hard to beat once you combine it with the whole retail behemoth that is Amazon proper.

  2. Chris,

    Nothing to worry about. I'm looking like I'm going to have to eat one of my major predictions; that the 'knee in the curve' happens at 20% of the market (by dollars, not book volume). We're trending more towards e-book hitting the 'tipping point' at 10%.

    By 'tipping point,' I mean the growth is unstoppable. That is, until you hit the 'die hard' fans a la vinyl records. Albeit, a larger fan base of p-books than vinyl records. The only question is, how large? One of my current 'thought projects' is trying to estimate at what fraction of the market e-book growth will 'hit a wall.' It will be in the 60% to 80% of the book market range. Yea... I hear it already: 'huge window' and 'way to put yourself out on a limb (NOT!)' But I do not yet have a better 'numbers based' estimate.


  3. I like the 'dollars' clarifier. I think this is a very important point.

    I will be interested to note how important a role Google will play in all this as well. If only for the larger payouts for authors.

    From an author's perspective that 'wall' at 60-80% is a massive money pit. The final die-hard 20% can be reached via print sales funded by ebook revenue - if a title warrants it.

    Great future for savvy authors. I've always thought that the next decade will be a wonderful time for authors. The barriers are down, the revenue is immediate and within grasp. Plus all the relevant analytics are at an author's hand.

    Which is why I'm trying to quit my internet addiction and focus on my endless bloody novel...!