I have just been reading an article in ‘ The Atlantic’, an American magazine, which confirms my own views where the ebook is concerned, at least in the UK.
I spend many an hour at the sharp end of book buying ie undertaking national book signing events etc. I see what readers are buying, what they look for and what impact the ebook is having on print, at least where commercial fiction is concerned and after all, this is where all the bucks are for the publishing industry.
I do not believe that the ebook is having such a devastating effect on publisher’s profits as has hitherto been the fear. Pricing of ebooks may well remain in the doldrums, but as I have always maintained the ebook has never been a threat per se. It merely demands a different kind of business model.
Publishers can easily exploit the ‘remainder’ nightmare of print, the sale or return losses and thus all the administration costs involved therein. The ebook may well retail at less than print (which is only fair, there are negligible set up costs etc) but this is offset by low-cost production and distribution.
Having been out there as it were, I estimate that the ebook now has about 30% of the book buying market and for now, in my own view, it has peaked. I reach this conclusion by noting the number of comments I receive eg are they on Kindle? are they on Kobo? (and Kobo is catching up on Amazon, again judging by my own experience, having done countless signings in WHSmith stores – and Waterstones – , with more to come) and the reduction in print copies sold – recessionary influences notwithstanding, which where book buying is concerned I would maintain is minimal.
NB It should however be noted here, that hard-backs are apparently taking a bit of a pasting from the ebook, at least this is what mainstream book store managers tell me.
One final observation. I have seen minus zero evidence that social media sells books, be they print or electronic. The internet market place is saturated with books by established, mainstream and aspiring self-published authors. Frankly if you’re a new author, do not be fooled by the internet delusion. Facebook and Twitter are most certainly not the answer and neither will sell your books.
I firmly believe (and I have ample evidence to prove this) that only one thing sells a book.
Word of mouth – and providing of course, it’s a good read in the first place!