posted by jph on September 1st, 2011.
Category: TheBiz || Tags: industry, marketing, the-lodestone ||
“Since April 1, Amazon has sold 105 Kindle books for every 100 print books sold. The company has sold more than three times as many Kindle books so far this year as it did at the same time a year ago.”
So says a Wall Street Journal blog post. The article mentions Amazon’s big competitors are also growing, with a total market of almost a billion dollars in 2010.
We are at a tipping point, one that surprised most folks. Not that it happened, but that it happened so fast. Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, has stated surprise that it took Kindle only four years to outpace Amazon’s amazing print book business.
I’ve got a manuscript, and I’ve shopped it with some agents. I’ve got a full sample out to an agent right now who would be phenomenal to work with if he likes what he reads. It feels good to try my hand at the publishing game, and see a few glimmers of hope.
But the more I read, the more I think the world has tipped, and the print publishers no longer present the best option for many authors. First off, let’s deal with, “but how will anyone ever hear about the book?” Good question, and one I’ve considered as well.
The ugly truth is that the big publishers don’t market their mid-list books anymore. I’ve seen reference to this simple fact over and over. Google it. See for yourself. “publisher mid-list marketing“. Ouch.
The other issue is the insane contracts for digital editions that follow the precedent of the print editions. The digital editions end up overpriced, with very little money going to the author due to ridiculous royalty structures and depressed sales volume.
The world is in motion, and we are tipping away from all that paper that comes at too high of a cost — obsolete contractual terms, poor marketing, ever more limited distribution channel, etc. Where is all this going? Fodder for another post. Hint: most of this has to do with authors and publishers. Agents, in my opinion, have the opportunity to play on both sides of the see-saw.
For now, my wife and I have agreed we’ll see what happens with the current submission under review. As I said, it is a big deal agency, so no need to be hasty. However, I’ve stopped sending out query letters, and have a version of my manuscript formatted for the Kindle.