What is the future of the book? - Lynne Garner

My first ebook
Around 2007 I began to take interest in ebooks and started reading the reports of booming ebook sales. Seeing sales were increasing month on month I decided to join this revolution. So in 2011 I published my first collection of short stories as an ebook. Based on my sales I followed this ebook with others.

Then came the print on demand (POD) revolution, where authors like myself and the Author Electric team could publish a physical book without holding stock. So in 2014 I decided to combine my two Anansi ebooks and release as a POD book. At first sales were slow, then they started to match those of my ebooks. Now they outsell my ebooks.

This made me wonder if it was just my ebooks or if ebook sales were down generally. So I did a little research. I discovered sales of ebooks have been falling for the last couple of years. Some of the large publishers have given figures in the region of a 12% fall from 2015 - 2016. I found several reasons being suggested for this fall in sales. These being:

  • Large publishers sell their ebooks at the same price or very near to the physical book. This really annoys readers, so they are turning away from the larger publishers and are buying from writers who self-publish. 
  • People are becoming fed up with spending so much time staring at a screen (computer, TV, phone and the eReader) so are returning to physical books. Great for those or us who also offer our books as POD.
  • The audiobook is taking readers away from books and ebooks with a reported 31% increase from 2015 - 2016 in audio book sales.

So although my ebook sales are down, I'm not the only one. However this research has made me decide I should undertake some research into turning my books into audiobooks. If it's another avenue I can sell my books through then I'm willing to give it a go. I'l let you know what I find out.

If you've already gone the audiobook route then any tips would be greatly appreciated. Simply share below.



Now for a blatant plug:

My latest short story collection Coyote Tales Retold is available on Amazon in ebook format. Also available Meet The Tricksters a collection of 18 short stories featuring Anansi the Trickster Spider, Brer Rabbit and Coyote is available as a paper back and an ebook.    


Umberto Tosi said…
You put it well: keeping ahead of the curve(s) - ebook, POD, audio. It helps to stay informed and to help each other with the big lift.
Chris Longmuir said…
The problem with ebook statistics is that they are worked out through ISBNs. The majority of self-publishers do not use ISBNs for Kindle books because the Amazon measurement is taken from their own ASINs. However, as Amazon never release figures of sales, these sales are never recorded. So, in the main, the figures relate to sales of ebooks made by the traditional publishers and, as you so rightly commented, they keep their prices of ebooks high. I am blessed with a very suspicious nature which makes me think that the traditional publishers are doing this to ensure sales of their paperbacks which is their main focus of business. I don't think fewer people are reading ebooks but I feel Amazon's lending scheme is probably having an effect on sales. However, I have a thrawn nature and refuse to allow Amazon to bully me into going for KDP Select!
Lynne Garner said…
Chris - When I was doing my research I did realise the figures were not a true reflection of what is happening. Like you I've not put my books with KDP Select. I want to be able to use other avenues to sell my books (even if those sales are very small) so don't want to sign an exclusive contract.

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