I don't think it's a slow year for ebook publishing at all though August and September have shown declining sales for the majority it seems. I think the economy, and, by extension, the proliferation of experienced professionals going freelance may be an answer.
People are scared. They're holding onto their discretionary income so book sales are down along with sales of a lot of goods and services that are large and small luxuries.
Thousands have lost jobs. Many of those were authors and authors' spouses. Many others were professionals in the publishing industry. The end result?
- A lot of authors scrambling to make up income shortfall by publishing as indie authors and being very conservative for what publishing tasks they will pay.
- A lot of experienced publishing insiders like book cover artists and editors who are turning to freelance work.
Readers aren't buying as much so established authors have declining incomes.
Many publishers aren't taking on new books from their stable of authors like they once did so these authors again are scrambling when an expected book contract doesn't come through or it does, but it results in a smaller advance and subsequent royalties. Many of these authors are trying to make up income shortfalls by indie publishing books.
Authors who once tried to be print published have even greater odds stacked against them so they go the indie route faster.
A lot of these authors described above do the publishing tasks themselves rather than outsourcing it. For established authors, because they have a following, they can usually make do with less than stellar covers because readers aren't as interested in what the cover looks like. They just want a new book from their favorite author.
First time authors may try to do it all themselves too–often with mixed results.
For those who recognize that they don't have the publishing industry skills needed to put together a successful ebook or print self-pub package, they turn to professionals. However, they're apt to shop around for the best deal on cover art, editing, etc. They want low prices too. So they go for the good deal that still allows them, hopefully, to maintain high quality.
You don't have to be a Wall Street trader to be effected by the economy. Anyone who is an author, or who seeks work from an author, needs to have an action plan to get them through this downtime.
Don't think what's happening with the economy won't effect you. That's an underestimation you can't afford to make.