Saturday, September 24, 2011

E-books vs. P-books: What's the Latest Score?

Last weekend I was walking through a local mall when I saw a Waldenbooks store -- empty. The lights were still on, but the shelves were cleared and it was obvious that the manager was taking care of final details before closing the store for good. Recently the last of the Borders stores throughout the country also closed. 

Last November when I began this blog, these closings were still rumors. Strong rumors, yes, but many people thought certainly someone will save the day and somehow the chains will survive. But no. It's been quite a year for publishing and bookstores -- a year where e-book sales continue to climb while p-book (print book) sales continue to fall. 

This week's newsletter from Dan Poynter of Para Publishing shares some interesting facts:  

--According to Association of American Publishers (AAP) sales figures for June 2011, net revenues from adult paperback sales plunged nearly 64 percent compared to the same period last year. At the same time, eBook sales were up 161 percent.

--Eight of the top 20 titles on the USA Today’s Bestselling Book List this week are ebooks.

--Ereader shipments will increase 167% this year compared to 2010.

Through this transition, traditional publishers have been amazingly slow to respond. I met editors and publishers at a conference as recent as this past summer who were still cautious and skeptical about e-books and spoke to writers about them with a very "doom and gloom" attitude. When I told them I wasn't interested in pursuing an agent or publisher for my middle grade books, but that I was going to e-publish on my own, I caused quite a bit of eyebrow raising and head shaking. 

We'll see. I expect to have my book on Amazon within two weeks. They say it's easy.... I'll put it to the test and tell you if that's true. That Waldenbooks store would have given me a market of the few hundred people that would enter it each day, between their business hours of 10 AM to 9PM. And that's only IF it was chosen by an agent, and then by a publisher, and if I was willing to wait a few years for it to hit the shelves. The internet makes my book available to the world, 24/7. Instantly. Readers, not agents, will decide if it's worthy of a good review and recommendation to friends.

It's an exciting time to be an author!

Check the updated Kids' E-Book Bestseller List where you'll see some new authors breaking into the top ten!