#Paperback or #eBook? That's the big question for authors. How do you most enjoy reading? I know a lot of people who prefer to hold a book in their hands. But someone is buying all those eBooks! Reports show far more digital books are sold than paperbacks in adult fiction. My guess is lower prices and convenience drive these sales.
Traditional publishers still make more off paperback sales than digital, although that percentage has shrunk in recent years. It's the indie authors pushing the eBook numbers over the top.
Paperback sales have increased in some markets, however. Just not in physical bookstore. Amazon increased their market share in print sales in 2016. Whether this trend will continue into 2018 remains to be seen. Read the article I linked above. It made my head spin with all the facts and figures.
How does all this effect me and other authors? Up to now, I've pushed my digital sales because that's where my profits were. No one but my mom was willing to pay $15 for a POD book. But with the release of BURIED TRUTH at the end of this month, I'll have my very first mass market paperback available. The price is an extremely reasonable $4.99 vs. the $3.99 price for a digital copy. For an extra buck, readers can hold it in their hands. I actually make far more off digital sales, but there's the potential to actually see my book on a bookstore shelf. That counts for something, right?
The thing is, I'm learning that mass market doesn't necessarily mean bookstore shelf space. Publishers produced more inventory each month than stores can carry. Individual stores actually have to order your book. BURIED TRUTH won't automatically go out to every Walmart, Target, and Barnes & Noble in the country. Stores tend to order books from big name authors because their goal is to actually sell those copies, not ship them back. I have a feeling I might not make the cut!
So, we're back to the question posed at the top...digital or paperback? How do you prefer to read? Would you spend $4.99 on a paperback in a genre you enjoy with a cool cover (I have that going for me!) from an author you aren't familiar with? What if you had to order that book from Amazon, not impulsively pick it up off the shelf while you're buying dog food and paper towels or browsing in B&N? Stats show that is happening. If you're shopping for books on Amazon, do you always go for the instant gratification of downloading it onto your Kindle or will you order the paperback version?
There's a catch to the excitement of having a mass market contract. Sure, there's the potential my book could reach a whole new market and sell very well. That's what I'm hoping, of course. But if it doesn't sell well, this series will be the last one I have in print. My pub is waiting to see how BURIED TRUTH does before considering my next project. That's kind of scary, but I get that they're in the business to make money.
So, when BURIED TRUTH releases on January 30th, make my day by showing my publisher I'm a good risk. Buy my book if you see it on a bookstore shelf, or order a copy online. Pre-order your PRINT or DIGITAL copy now. Oh, and don't forget to leave a comment. How do you like your books?
Wow...more proof that Amazon is taking over the world. (I love the Pac Man graphic in the article.) :-) I'm glad to see, though, that indie bookstores are coming back. That's great news for authors and readers. (My dream job, outside of full-time writing, would be to own a bookstore...you know, like Nora!) Anyway, while I love the feel of a book in my hands, I have succumbed to the Kindle and haven't read a print book in ages. I have one of the first generation models, so it's clumsy and cumbersome by today's standards, but it has a case that opens like a book and has a built-in book light! (It's worth it for that if nothing else.) I love the ease of downloading books (including borrowing from the library...another win for authors and readers). And I can slip the Kindle in my purse if I have to go to the doctor's office or the DMV or something. I have already pre-ordered BURIED TRUTH and can't wait to read it! Wishing you many new readers. :-)
That was a LOT of information to digest. Like Leah, the Pac Man graphic kind of summed it all up for me. I’m waiting to run across Buried Truth on a store shelf in the real world to get my copy. Maybe I’ll mail it back to you for an autograph. Keep a positive attitude about sales. You don’t know what the cut off for your publisher is before they offer another print book contract. Who knows what all the algorithms are or what they mean. Hang in there and keep writing those entertaining, satisfying, spine tingling romances and you’ll be fine! Although it’s better to look forward than back, look how far you’ve come in a relatively short time. My two cents for the morning.
Can't wait to hear how this turns out for you - best of luck.
For me, however, I've come to rely on the Kindle. I'm the sort that use to pack an extra suitcase full of books for vacation. Now I can tote an entire bookcase around in one little device that handily slips into my bag. Also, as I age, I've discovered the convenience of changing the font size as needed - very handy.
Leah, thanks for your support! I have a non-Kindle eReader that is horrible. I actually read ebooks on my computer, and that just feels like "going to work" for me. I want to edit everything. Maybe I should get a new one and reevaluate!
Margo, I liked the Pac Man, too! I thought about using it. If you do see a copy of Buried Truth out in the wild, please take a photo for me. Hmmm, maybe I should make that challenge my next post!
Robin, it sounds like the stats are correct, and digital isn't on the downswing. Kindles certainly have their advantages. The only thing I dislike is that you can't easily "flip" back through the pages to check something like you can with a paperback. Maybe that works to our advantage when we accidentally change the color of the heroine's eyes halfway through the book! LOL
Love stats, Jannine, even if I don't always know what to do with/about them. Since my bookshelves are full and, like R.E., font size matters, my new lighted Kindle is my bestie these days. I get paperbacks at conferences; I don't succumb to buying paperbacks anymore. Still I love to see my own books in PB and I enjoy selling/autographing them. I'll enjoy hearing about your mass PB journey...happy sales with BURIED TRUTH.
Really interesting stats! Honestly, I'm a mixture of both. I am much more inclined to buy a paperback if the price is lower--like yours is. I purchase e-books when I want to try something and not spend a ton of money (I know, it's terrible for me to say as an author, but it's the truth). So really, if the story sounds good, I'll buy it however it makes the most sense. Good luck with your book--it really does look good. Looking forward to reading it.
Rolynn, there's something about the feeling we get holding our own books in our hands that digital can't provide. I'm seeing a trend with the bigger print comments. Maybe as our generation ages, we're willing to give up paperbacks for convenience!
Jennifer, thanks for stopping by. I'm one of four authors who are new to print launching the new Lyrical Mass Market line. Kensington is hoping to give us a boost since we're all relative unknowns with the $4.99 price point instead of their usual $7.99. I sure hope it helps. Thanks for the good wishes!
I love my e-reader. I've had a Kindle for 8 years. Now I read on my iPad. I love that when I go on vacation, I only have one thing to carry--not 4 or 5 paperbacks. Like you, Jannine, my income comes mostly from my ebooks, very little from the trade paperbacks, even when they're $13 apiece. I do the work putting my work into print because most of my family don't have e-readers. It's mainly a convenience for them and anyone else who want to read my books. Plus I use them for signing events. Looking forward to hearing how the mass market pb works out for you. And I'm looking forward to read Buried Truth.
I must admit, I prefer reading on my kindle, but I am in love with owning and smelling print books. And, yes, seeing your own book in print is a thrill! I'm very happy for you, can't wait to see how you do and I hope you are a major success! I have my copy of Buried Truth pre-ordered. Yep, the print book is definitely a bargain. I would love a signed copy...maybe we can work that out. :) I could ship to you via Amazon and send you a stamped SASE to return the signed copy, maybe? You know, some of the big time authors' ebooks are as much or more as the print! Very frustrating.
Diane, I agree POD paperbacks are basically for family. They're a tough sell at the high price point. I will definitely update everyone on how Buried Truth does, although it'll be next October before I see a royalty check, so I'm not sure how much info I'll have before then.
Ally, I'm pretty sure I can get a signed copy to you without all that hassle!! Yes, it's crazy that some eBooks by the big names cost as much as the paperback. There is zero production cost, so the pub makes a killing...or they don't want to sell the e-format and price it to make the paperback more attractive. There's an interesting thought.
I'm excited and nervous along with you for this new venture. As a reader, I prefer ebooks. I'm at the stage of life where I don't want any more clutter in my house. If I travel, my Kindle fits in my purse and holds all the books I'm likely to need. That being said, I'm thrilled to have a print version of Buried Truth on my shelves, largely because of that gorgeous cover! Pricing is certainly a consideration, but your publisher has made the paperback very attractive. It infuriates me when big pubs charge as much, or sometimes more, for the ebook. I don't care how big an author is, I WILL NOT pay $13 or $14 for an ebook, and I'm sure I'm not alone.
I so HATE Amazon is taking over the world! I've always preferred print. But alas I've fallen into the ease and cheapness of digital. I did recently buy a print book by an unknown but it was non-fiction for research. I'm pulling for you though and will preorder tomorrow when I'm back at my computer.
Alison, I agree that $14 for a digital book is crazy! I expect a hardback for that price! Which is also why our POD books don't sell. I was always a huge fan of secondhand bookstores, but at this point I feel guilty buying from them since I know the author is losing out on sales. I read and returned to avoid the clutter, which only meant someone else bought that copy and the author lost out again. At least with digital we get paid!
Brenda, Amazon does seem to have a monopoly. My girls go straight to their site to buy absolutely everything. The world has changed so much, and while I appreciate convenience, I do worry about what they'll do with their power.
A Mass Market paperback! Go you!!! How exciting. I read everything on my Kindle although I recently ordered a paperback copy of "Fire and Fury" figuring Calvin might enjoy reading parts of it. I'm kind of possessive of my Kindle. I ordered the paperback 2 weeks ago and just received an email from Amazon it'll be here on the 20th. As a best seller, I suppose orders have been through the roof, but 3 weeks is a long time to wait. If I'm buying books for research, I go with paperback so I can write notes in the margin and highlight. I have over 600 books on my Kindle, so I'm set for a while. But awesome writers like you keep putting out new owns that I MUST have.
That's why I wonder about people ordering paperbacks from Amazon, Vonnie...the time factor. Of course I probably won't be selling as hot as Fire and Fury, so the wait would be a little shorter. Did you hear about the Canadian guy who's book has the same title? He saw a huge upsurge in sales from people ordering his book by mistake. LOL I could live with a problem like that!
When eBooks first started, I thought what a great idea--for traveling. Rather than slinging 9 books in my suitcase, with increasingly strict air weight restrictions, I now have one reader (used to be a kindle but it's an Ipad these days--combines more items in one device) and I also no longer have to worry about shelf space in my home. Then I realized the problems, the main one for me being the difficulty in checking back on something, finding it--pain in the backside. And that's the problem for me, it's not a question of holding a book in my hands, it's holding a story in my hands and the ipad or ereader does that. But when it comes down to my own work, yup--one day I'd love to see my book on a bookstore or Walmart shelf. Maybe younger authors wouldn't think of it, but with a bookstore downstairs from my apartment, and having been brought up with BOOKS, I do. Good luck with Buried Truth!
Thanks, Andi. I feel the same way. I'm just hoping a store somewhere near me will carry it!
I buy paperbacks at my newest indie bookstore, download ebooks from Amazon, and check out audio books from my local library. I'm a multipurpose reader...
You're a well-rounded reader, Betsy! Hmmm, now I'm picturing a ball. How about adaptable!
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