Saturday, February 26, 2011

Five Signs That E-Books are Here To Stay

According to a recent article in the Christian Science Monitor, there are five signs that e-books are “here to stay”. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll see most of these signs have already been covered in some of my older posts. The five signs are:

1.  Amazon sells more e-books than paperback or hard cover books.
2.  The New York Times will add e-book bestseller lists.
3.  The establishment of the KindleLendingClub, which matches lenders with borrowers, allowing people to share their books.
4.  E-reader ownership tripled last year.
5.  Google’s in the game.

As a writer, the key sign for me is #4. Last November and December, e-readers were repeatedly touted as the top gift idea for the holidays. Amazon had their highest e-book sales day on Christmas day of 2010. As I watch the news on e-books come through my newsfeed (along the left side of this blog), I notice more articles about library systems taking on e-books to lend and about school systems buying e-readers to eliminate the need for expensive and heavy textbooks.  This means not only will more adults have e-readers in the future, but also more children.

Last night I met a 9-year old boy who had a i-Pad given to him by his grandmother as a combo birthday/Christmas gift. I’ve had parents ask me about the advisability of buying an e-reader for children as young as 7 years old. And it’s clear that the gadget-factor of e-readers has caused in increase in reading among children, even among reluctant readers. Most parents would love to see their children read more. After all, “Readers are leaders!”

While young adult books have been hot in the e-book format, I believe middle grade fiction is the next market to benefit, and that’s the age I write for. I want to be ready with at least one e-book available on Amazon by Black Friday of this year. I’m convinced that even more people will have e-readers on their Christmas list, and even more parents will be purchasing them for their children. Will you be ready?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Changing Face of the World of Books

As promised back in December, on February 11th the New York Times announced the addition of two new bestseller lists: one for fiction e-books and one for non-fiction e-books. 

Nothing for children's e-books yet, unless a children’s or YA e-book sells enough to make the fiction list. When Harry Potter did that back in 2000, it prompted the New York Times to finally add a children’s bestseller list to their categories – an action that was met with mixed reviews. 

At the very bottom of their bestseller lists, they state:  E-book sales for advice & how-to books, children’s books and graphic books will be tracked at a future date.  

Another big change was announced on Wednesday: Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  They will be closing almost one third of their stores by the end of April. If you're here in the Tampa Bay area, we're losing the Clearwater Mall store, the Brandon store, and two on Dale Mabry.  For other areas, check their list of closings.

The article  lists several reasons for the demise of Borders, but two of the biggest are that they were slow to develop their own online store, and they were slow to react to the growing popularity of e-books and e-book readers.

The world of publishing is changing fast thanks to the e-format. Keep checking back here for the latest developments and the latest Kids E-book Bestseller list.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

News to Use

Last week I talked about Amanda Hocking and her success in the e-book format. This week she was featured in a USA Today article,  "Authors Catch Fire with Self-Published E-Books."  While most of the article is about her, it also mentions other authors who have found success in e-books, such as H.P. Mallory. She sold 70,000 e-books since July, catching the attention of Random House which resulted in a three-book contract.

I’m often asked, “Are kids really reading e-books?” The New York Times answered that with a resounding “Yes!” in their article, “ E-Readers Catch Younger Eyes.” E-books sales continue to rise fast in the young adult/teen market, and younger children are catching the trend too. Adults are finding that children who were reluctant readers when given traditional print books are now becoming eager readers when given e-books. In my opinion, middle grade books will soon be in greater demand as the e-book technology becomes more prevalent, cheaper, and in greater demand by younger children.

Conclusion? It's an exciting time to be a writer for children!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Momentous News, and More Help for Authors

Back in July, it was big news when Kindle book sales overtook hardcover book sales on Amazon. At that point, they predicted Kindle books would go on to outsell Amazon’s paperbacks sometime in the second quarter of this year. Well, the future is now.

Announced on January 28th, “since the beginning of the year, for every 100 paperback books Amazon has sold, the Company has sold 115 Kindle books.” Read the full article.   

Moving on to another author who’s been willing to share her steps to e-book success...

Have you noticed the last two weeks, Amanda Hocking has dominated the Amazon part of my my bestseller list by having a book in 7 of the top 10 spots? Wow! My first question is, “How did she do that?” My second question is, “How can I do that?”

Amanda has freely shared her journey on her blog. In January, she posted "Gratitude and Fact" where she announced that she sold a half million books at that point.

There are two amazing parts to her story, told in her post, "Epic Tale of How it All Happened." First, she didn’t have a traditional publisher. Her books were rejected and revised and rejected again, over and over. Second, she just started online in March, 2010!  Yes, just 11 months ago. She self-published My Blood Approves through Lulu.com and put it up for sale on Amazon as a print book. In April, she published it as a Kindle book, and a week later she did the same with a second book, Fate.

Her post is long but very interesting, telling the full story. I recommend reading it all. If you want to skip the details and get to what she believes are her primary reasons why she did so well, scroll to the bottom of the post.

Thanks, Amanda, for sharing your experience!