A smashing example of how data can both clarify and obfuscate. On balance this is a fantastic piece that brings much-needed information to the discussion and what is more provides a free download of that very data. That’s almost unheard of! On the downside, I have some misgivings about the section dealing with income estimates based on unit numbers which are themselves estimates. This is further compounded by the fact that the royalty split is never as easy to assume as the current model assumes, for instance non-US authors may not earn 70% on all sales that would appear to be 70% sales for a variety of reasons. Even allowing for these complications the data gathered is very impressive indeed.
One of the most fascinating sections though is this conclusion here:
Our first thought was that top self-published authors can put out more than one work a year, while Big Five authors are limited by non-compete clauses and a legacy publishing cycle to a single novel over that same span of time. Indie authors are most likely earning more simply because they have more books for sale. Was this skewing our results? We ran another report to find out, and to our surprise, it turns out that only the handful of extreme earners have this advantage. Most self-published authors are, on average, earning more money on fewer books:
This suggests that the earnings discrepancy will grow greater over time, as self-published authors develop deeper catalogs.
via The Report | AuthorEarnings.com
I’ve been doing most of my reading (books, magazines and websites) on my mobile for some time now (since I first got hooked on Kindle on an iPod Touch). I’ve felt that mobile is too easily dismissed as a platform for reading books for some time and this timely piece caught my eye. It’s interesting too in the light of Pew’s most recent data which found that “About a third (32%) of e-book readers still say they sometimes read e-books on their cell phone, reflecting both the ubiquity of mobile phones and the convenience of these phones as supplementary reading devices“:
Earlier this month, Buzzfeed published a piece called “Why I Bought a House in Detroit for $500.” The story ended up getting more than a million pageviews, which is notable because it is also more than 6,000 words long. The other notable thing: 47 percent of those views came from people accessing the story on mobile devices. And while people who read the piece on tablets spent an average of more than 12 minutes with the story, those doing so on phones spent more than 25 minutes—a small eternity, in Internet time.
via Sit Back, Relax, and Read That Long Story—on Your Phone – Megan Garber – The Atlantic.
Baldur Bjarnason (@fakebaldur) is in the middle of a writing spurt, which is good news for anyone who is interested in thinking about books, digital, readers and publishing. He’s a good thinker on these things and while I don’t always agree with him, I do enjoy reading his material and the thinking it generates. I also wish that I had the discipline to write a series of posts, there’s a lot on my mine.
Anyway, several of the posts have really interested me greatly, but I like very much this section and have quoted him wholesale:
“The publishing industry has bought into this idea wholesale. Some publishing markets are, according to this worldview, further ahead on the progress timeline than others. It also implies that advancement along the timeline is inevitable, even if it progresses at varying speeds. Romance and other genre fiction tend to dominate ebook sales and so must have more ‘future’. Non-fiction less so and must therefore have less ‘future’ and more of that crippling ballast called ‘past’. Big mainstream titles hit the ebook market in seemingly unpredictable ways. Some garner decent ebook sales while others seem to sell only in print. There, the ‘future’ seems to be randomly distributed, like a stress nosebleed over a term paper.
This, obviously, implies that the ebook will either eventually dominate universally or at least capture the same large percentage uniformly across the market.
I don’t think that’s going to happen.
The various publishing markets differ in fundamental ways that won’t be changed by ebooks. As others have said, ‘ebooks are terrific and haven’t changed a thing’.
Some will switch entirely to ebooks. Some partially. Some almost not at all.”
via The unevenly distributed ebook future | Studio Tendra.
There is literarlly NO accounting for taste:
She branched into other genres, penning ebooks like “Taken By Pirates” and “Seduced By The Dark Lord,” but her “Cum For Bigfoot” series was the biggest money-maker. “I started cranking them out,” she says. “If there was a market there for monster sex, I was gonna give it to them.” She even brought in her family to help with the workload. “My dad, who’s an English instructor, was my editor,” Wade says. “My mom did the German translations” — including the equally popular “Komm für Bigfoot.” “I even had my own 401k. It became a cottage industry.”
via MONSTER PORN: Amazon’s Crackdown On America’s Latest Sex Fantasy – Business Insider.
Not sure I agree with all of this and certainly sure that his vision for the future is perhaps a little more simple than is likely, but worth reading:
With luck we’re entering a world in which readers have access to any and every book for a flat fee; authors get paid depending on how much they’re actually read; publishers remain a vital but decreasingly visible part of the process; physical books are still available via online print-on-demand and niche physical stores; and zillions of CC-licensed books are freely available to readers in the poor world who can’t yet afford books or subscription services. Call me Pollyanna, but it seems to me that that’s a win for absolutely everyone.
via It’s Almost Time To Throw Out Your Books | TechCrunch.
PS: For more on Amazon MatchBook, I wrote a piece here
It will be fascinating to see if big retailers (as distinct from booksellers) can further ebook adoption. I suspect they can and probably will, publishers should be hoping so anyway:
Sathianathan said it was a good time to join Tesco and lead its digital book service. “Technology is changing how people read,” he said. “Offering a digital book service is an example of what Tesco does best – focusing on the customer and anticipating their needs as the market evolves.”
via Sathianathan to head Tesco’s blinkboxbooks | The Bookseller.
Think of it like the horseless carriage! I think that line about the real innovation is where it’s at:
“The real innovation in e-readers has been giving consumers a convenient way to buy books, wirelessly, without even having to use their computers,” says Sarah Rotman Epps, a Forrester Research analyst. “Giving consumers a digital storefront right in their hands, that’s what really made e-readers a phenomenon.”
But tastes and technology have moved on. People haven’t stopped reading. They are just increasingly likely to read e-books on tablets rather than e-readers, according to a recent Pew Research Center report. The polling firm found that 23% of Americans said they had read e-books in 2012, compared with 16% in 2011
via The E-Reader Revolution: Over Just as It Has Begun? – WSJ.com.