Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Digital Leads Price Deflation For Books

A recent Publishers Weekly survey of best-selling books showed, according to publisher-provided information, that e-books make up about 50% of the sales of such books when it’s fiction, and 25% when it is non-fiction.  Some publishers did not contribute information and the study was only of “best-sellers.”  

Does this mean anything to authors or publishers other than they should publish in both formats or risk losing a chunk of sales?  Unless you publish children’s picture books.  

Several Dr. Seuss books made the best seller list without a single digital copy for sale.

The bigger issue is not format, but price.

Publishers are seeing consumers pay less for books today than in 2009, according to the 2013 US Book Consumer Demographics & Book Buying Behaviors Annual Review.

E-books took the biggest tumble.

Consumers purchased a digital book in 2009 for $10.49 and in 2012 the e-book cost consumers $5.65.

Audio books also fell off a cliff, going from $17.87 to $11.50 – over a 35% decline.

Paper books flat-lined.

Hardcover was down 16 cents to $15.50.
Trade Paper fell 22 cents to $12.56
Mass Market Paperback fell 3 cents to $5.72

Did book prices fall because content was uninteresting?  No.  In fact, there was more choice in the stores than ever before.

Did prices fall because of The Great Recession?  No.

Did they fall because authors and publishers are giving away content and selling creations for a few pennies as a way to lure readers?  Yes!

The industry simply needs to stop seeing “free” and “discount” as the leading way to build readers, because one day the fans won’t have time to buy a book after reading all of the deep-discounted or free content.

Interview With Gloria Zachgo

What type of books do you write? Although my first book, The Rocking Horse, is usually listed as a mystery, it is more about the characters than it is about the mystery.  It’s my goal to develop characters that my readers can identify with.  A friend of mine gave me a t-shirt with these words written on the front, “BE CAREFUL! OR YOU WILL END UP IN MY NOVEL”.  That’s pretty much the gist of it. I like to write about ordinary people. And if I’m successful, the people I write about won’t recognize themselves, but they will relate with my characters.    

What is your newest book about?  I’m currently working on a book with an 1860’s setting.  It too, will be about the characters, not only living the hardships of that time, but their loves and personal struggles.  

What inspired you to write it? I challenged myself to write a novel, after attending a writing workshop.  About seven years ago I joined a writing group to improve my writing skills.  I discovered my love for writing fiction. One of the stories I had written kept haunting me, so after that workshop I decided to see if I could develop it into a novel.  The result was The Rocking Horse. 

What is the writing process like for you? The Rocking Horse was a secret mission.  Only my husband and a writing friend of mine even knew I was attempting to write a book.  I wrote in the early mornings after my husband left for work.  My friend critiqued what I wrote, gave me suggestions and lots and lots of encouragement.  It took me a full year.  I then shared it with my writing group, a chapter at a time.  It was so well received that I finally decided to publish the story.

The book I’m working on now, is taking much more research.  I’m also working with a novelist group.  We critique each other and learn together.

What did you do before you became an author? I grew up in a small farming community in the middle of Kansas, attending one of the last one-room school houses in the country.  I married my high school sweetheart (we’re still married today), and while my two children were young, I ran a small snack business out of my home.  After that I did volunteer tutoring with ESL students for a while and tried my hand at becoming an artist.  When I over-loaded my walls with paintings, I found my passion in writing. 

How does it feel to be a published author? After two years of my book first being published, I still get excited when I receive a review or feedback from my readers.  When I first held a proof copy of my book, I got a sense of accomplishment that I hadn’t felt since the birth of my children.  Now I’m  busy trying to promote my ‘baby’.  This part of the journey is like riding a roller-coaster – or kind of like raising a teenager.  It definitely has its ups and downs, but I’m meeting new people every day and having the time of my life. 

Any advice for struggling writers?   Join a writer’s group and/or an author’s club.  They are wonderful for giving support.  Also, write what’s in your heart and be willing to hear honest critiques of your work. 

 Where do you see book publishing heading?  I hope it’s not totally headed for e-books only, but that seems to be the direction it’s going right now.  I’m very new at this business, and like so many others, I’m learning every day.  For about six months I tried to find an agent. I received the proverbial rejections.   My husband had just retired and I had a finished manuscript.  He encouraged me to ‘go for it’ on my own.  I told him if I did, he would have to act as my agent.  It’s been an exciting, mutual adventure for us ever since. 

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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