Wednesday, July 2, 2014
More on e-book publishing
Following my article last night about how the 'Big 5' publishers are deluding themselves if they think e-book sales have plateaued or are stagnating, I had a couple of questions from readers about how big the e-book market really is. The answer can be found on Amazon.com's Kindle Store.
That's a screen capture from an Amazon search for all e-books in the Kindle Store this evening. With well over 2½ million e-book titles to choose from on Amazon.com alone, there's plenty of variety! Other outlets probably offer titles that Amazon doesn't carry, so my best guess is that there are approaching 3 million e-books available right now to prospective readers. Many are free; 'indie' books are usually very affordable; and those of the 'Big 5' are typically the most expensive. With so many to choose from, why would anyone want to pay high e-book prices, except for a select few authors whose work one particularly enjoys?
My primary writing genre - military science fiction - is, of course, a much smaller subset of the store:
That means I'm competing on a much less crowded playing field. At the time of writing my latest novel is 6th from the top in Amazon's 'Hot New Releases - Military Science Fiction', and 9th from the top in its secondary genre, 'Hot New Releases - Space Opera'. It's priced to sell, and is doing so very nicely, thank you! I make less per book than 'big-name' authors, but I sell more books than quite a few of them - at least in the short term after release. Works for me . . .
I may increase my book prices a little once I get to the point of being fully self-supporting from my writing, but not by very much. It'll all depend on the market and what it will bear. If a recession hits, of course, I'll lower my prices instead, to help those who can't afford much in the way of entertainment to afford my books. That way I help them buy books, and they help me keep body and soul together. (That's another way in which indie authors are much more flexible and able to respond much more quickly than old-style publishers. They have all that overhead to support. We can adopt a simpler lifestyle by cutting back overnight to accommodate a lower income stream. Let's hear it for ramen noodles . . . )