Ebook Stats Reason To Rejoice

T'is the season to be jolly, but it seems that the majority of ebook authors, especially those who are indie published, aren't very jolly. Why? Because just about everyone is out shopping instead of home reading. Sales are declining -- ask any indie author, and he or she will gladly moan about the downward spiral.

Print Book Sales Rise

This is the season that book buyers hit the stores for glossy print books chock full of photographs. You know, the so-called coffee table books that get stacked on that piece of furniture and are rarely read. The books on the NYT bestseller's list sell well too -- usually by people who don't know a particular person's reading taste but who know that the person reads. Therefore, a NYT hit is the perfect gift. Right? Well, not usually.

Reality Check

Sales are cyclical. There are always peaks and valleys, and a literary Death Valley usually begins the week of Thanksgiving and stretches to just past New Year's. Take heart. Sales will begin to pick up after Christmas when all the proud new Kindle, Kobo, and Nook owners begin filling their devices with ebooks.

Market Share

Another reason to take heart is the continued growth of ebook sales according to a new BookStats joint report from the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group. That study, released back in the summer, revealed that digital books were the "dominant single format" in adult fiction.

To give you a point of reference, in 2008, ebooks captured .6% of the trade market, and two years later, in 2010, ebooks took 6.4% of that market (that was 110 million of the 2.57 billion books sold).

GalleyCat quoted from the BookStats report: "In 2011, ebooks took 30% of net publisher sales." That's all publisher sales!

What This Means

Rather than declining, there are more books sold now than ever. Ebook sales will continue to grow, but people will still read print books. More books will be read -- print and digital -- and that's a very good thing.

With every ebook reader sold, the demand for ebooks will increase. The really great thing about this is that readers have access to a lot of different kinds of stories. Where once publishing houses decreed what readers wanted, i.e., historicals set mostly in England in the Regency era, no hero who's a rock star, or no "chick lit" books, in the indie ebook world, you find stories that you really want to read.

don'to romances that who or anywhere but is niche-oriented fiction and more and more people will use ereading devices that are sold, the bigger the demand for ebooks of every type.

Takeaway Truth

Don't be discouraged. Selling successfully is a marathon, not a sprint. To quote another aphorism: a rising tide floats all boats.


  1. Thank you for saying this, Joan! I worked in a book store ages ago, and in a way, I'm so thankful for that job because I saw first-hand the sales cycles that different types of books go through.

    Personally, I'm getting tired of the wailing and gnashing of teeth. Writers should be working feverishly on their January and February releases in order to capitalize on the money and gift cards that will be used during those months!

  2. Suzan Harden ... Hey, Suzan! What excellent advice YOU give: work feverishly on Jan. and Feb. releases.

    That's what I'm doing!

    Happy Holidays!