Pub Rants

Ebooks Gone Wild

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STATUS: I don’t know what to do with myself! I’m literally caught up on all queries, all sample pages, and I’ve responded to every full we’ve requested. Maybe I should just revel in the moment….

What’s playing on the iPod right now? SEX ON FIRE by Kings Of Leon

We are getting our latest round of royalty statements. Our biggest months are Feb/Aug and April/Oct.

All I can say is whoa. Who turned on the ebook sales? In five years, I’ve never seen numbers like I’m seeing from the past 3 or 4 months. Ereaders were THE gift this holiday season is what I’m thinking. About 6 months ago I said the tipping point was near. I think it’s here.

31 Responses

  1. Kristi Helvig said:

    Your iPod update made me laugh, because my 6-yo son and his friends think the song is called “Your Socks Are on Fire.” They belt it out and it makes me smile–if only this innocence lasted longer. 🙂

  2. Quill2006 said:

    Both my mom and I got ebook readers for Christmas; I’m a die-hard library user (libraries are still struggling to get ebooks), and my mom’s a technophobe. If we’ve got them, the tipping point is definitely here! I’m actually surprised by how much I enjoy reading on my iPad; something about it is just relaxing.

  3. Amy said:

    Hurrah! Unfortunately I’ve heard that writers actually get less from ebook sales than from non-digital sales, which makes me sad, since producing and distributing an ebook is cheaper, but writing it isn’t! (Is it true that royalties on digital stuff are less, and is there a good reason for this happening?)

    Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t love my nook – I just do it with a bit more shame.

  4. Tara Maya said:

    I got my first kindle last year. I never noticed anyone else reading one in public. Last week, I took my kids to the park and was shocked to see three or four other ereaders being flash around. And two or three people came up to me as I was reading mine to ask about it and mention they were thinking of getting one. Definitely a sea change.

    A tingle went down my back and I thought that in a thousand years, historians will be speculating what it was like to live through this transition.

    Tara Maya
    The Unfinished Song: Initiate

  5. Maria Lima said:

    Interesting news!

    @Amy – I can’t speak for other authors but I make a lot more per ebook sale than I do for my print sales.

    That said, my ebook sales have been minuscule in past royalty statements. We’ll see what the next one (due in June) holds.


  6. M.E. said:

    Yep – I got my Kindle for Christmas…it’s addicting to purchase books so easily. My Kindle library is already stocked past 1,200!

  7. Paul said:

    While I’m a die-hard physical book lover as a reader, if e-readers are causing this much of an upswing in sales for publishers, they can only be a good thing.

  8. Nicole Mc said:

    It was hard for me to finally break down and buy an ereader. I think I only did it because it intrigued my husband and he wanted me to have one. Well, anything that has my husband actually encouraging my reading habit was a plus…so we got one. However, for some reason when I purchase e books I never really feel like their mine. I know that’s odd. I mean, I feel like the file is mine. I know I paid for it, but It does not fulfill the part of me that likes to stack, shelve, and admire my books. Needless to say, I still buy more “real” books than ebooks which really annoys my husband! 🙂

    I have heard-from others of course- that ereaders are convenient for purchasing those books with less than “public friendly” covers. But I know nothing about that!! (wink)

  9. dldzioba said:

    I can tell you I wanted an Ereader for Christmas(I’m tired of using the kindle app on my phone,the screen is just too small), but money being tight I didn’t bother seriously asking for it. Congratulations on being caught up, I can’t imagine how rare that is.

  10. the epic rat said:

    Totally – but I admit that I was already ahead of the curve on that one 🙂 But the eBook market is BOOMING and making its niche quite nicely. Publishers using e-galleys that expire on or near the release date. Even libraries are lending e-books with the caveat that you’ll never have a late fee! It’s remarkable, but I truly hope that books continue to be on print because I love holding the book in hand and seeing what covers are designed next!

  11. Sierra Gardner said:

    I’m curious to see how e-books will change the industry and whether more authors will consider self publishing. Also – from a personal perspective, how do you think the shift to e-books will affect agents and their role in the publishing process?

  12. K. C. Blake said:

    Very exciting. Three years ago my agent suggested I publish my book as an ebook and I said no way, but I’m doing it now. I wish I’d listened back then.

  13. Lucy said:

    I know this discussion is drifting toward e-readers (another sign of the tipping point, perhaps?) but where the Inbox is concerned, I have to take a few seconds to interrupt with–

    Congratulations, Kristin! Enjoy the awesome, if utterly ephemeral moment. *grin*

  14. Keary Taylor said:

    This is sooo true! My e sales have gone CRAZY the last few months since Christmas, I couldn’t even believe my UK sales number for last month when I saw it. I was hesitant about getting and E-reader but finally broke down and bought one the other day. Still waiting to get it but excited to try it out. I think we’re seeing a change in the way the industry works. It will be interesting to see where things go in the next 5 years or so.

  15. veela-valoom said:

    I got a Kindle for Christmas. Two of the ladies in my knitting club both got e-readers. A lot of people in my goodreads group got them as well.

    Since then I’ve been a little frustrated with all the people who think e-readers are evil and e-books the enemy.

    For me personally I’m buying more books because I don’t have to wait for them or worry about if the bookstore has them. I have trouble seeing how that can be so bad.

  16. Liesl said:

    Do you see a particular genre/age-group where the e-book sales are doing really well? I’m curious how e-book sales do with kids books, particularly middle-grade. Are you seeing a big shift there too?

  17. Sean said:

    So is it good news or bad news for an agent when they are all caught up? This is the first agent post I have ever seen where they aren’t busier than Charlie Sheen at a wedding reception with an open bar.

  18. Anonymous said:

    It’s not only here, it just turned on the afterburners and hitting Mach 3. At this rate in a year or two it will be escaping the pull of gravity and heading outside the solar system.

  19. Dara said:

    It was the gift over the holidays–I got one and LOVE it. I haven’t bought a lot on it, but been borrowing books from my local library on it.

    That tipping point is defintely here! And while it may be scary for many, I think there’s a lot of promise too.

  20. Stephsco said:

    You’re right, I think it has caught on!
    I think lower price points on the kindle, the release of the ipad, and updated versions of smart phones with kindle and ebook apps have all contributed. I wanted a kindle the second it came out, but I’m not an early adopter. I always wait until at least 2nd gen for the price to go down and the kinks to be worked out.

  21. Michelle Black said:

    I bought my first ebook reader in 1998–the Rocket eBook–so I feel I have earned the privilege of smugly boasting: “‘Told ya so,” to the publishing world.
    Not even that history prepared me for the delighted shock when, last August, I re-published my novel, An Uncommon Enemy, as a Kindle edition (originally pubbed by Macmillan in hard cover with little fan fair in 2001) and watched it come back to life, eventually hitting #1 on Amazon’s rankings in its genre across all formats, paper or pixel. All thanks to a single positive review on an influential blog.
    The power of the Internet and digital publishing so limitless, it is impossible to comprehend, much less predict.
    I’m a believer, always have been, always will be. (now own a Kindle and an iPad ).
    Michelle Black

  22. Rebecca Stroud said:

    As an author who bypassed the traditional publishing route altogether and went straight to Kindle, I’m very glad to see the boom in e-reader sales.

    Ironically, I have yet to buy one but that day is coming soon because – sad to say – I’m finding the search for what I consider good “paper” books becoming harder and harder.

    Rebecca Stroud
    The Animal Advocate

  23. Davd Kuzminski said:

    P&E endorsed the Rocket eBook reader when it came out. We’ve also endorsed the Nook.

    We believe this will cause books to sell more but it’s basically bad news for bookstores because it won’t increase their sales.

    Authors should be careful. So should agents. Some small publishers are paying to have their ebooks listed on online retailer sites and that’s not mentioned in the contract with the author. Basically, they’re just holding royalties to pay the site fee in order to have that book listed. Check on that before you sign.

  24. Anonymous said:

    The fiction publishing industry will not be recognisable this time next year.

    We haven’t seen anything yet.

    Note that a high proportion of ebook sales are driven by indie publishers — and readers don’t seem to care.

  25. Anonymous said:

    I was given a Nook in July. My wife kept borrowing it so I bought her Nook in November. My daughter wanted the color one – Christmas; got my sister one as well. My other daughter decided she wanted one (e-ink, not color) after reading several books on her phone and complaining eye strain.

    Five nooks in less than 7 months; dug around for software to convert kindle to epub so we can buy books from either seller.

    I’m very fond of paper books but the future is ebooks.

    I’ve found that for every book I consider buying at $6.99 and up, there are two or three $2.99 or $0.99 ones that interest me. The ratio of greater-than-$5 to less-than is probably 1:6. Sadly (for authors), most of the less expensive books are self-published or have reverted rights. It’s unfortunate publishers insist on such high prices for ebooks.

  26. Slush said:

    Another thing that may benefit is that with NOOK you can download software to your PC. You don’t have to have the NOOK itself, just a computer to get your hands on tons of titles. You can purchase online and download instantly to your computer. I am addicted! Also, as several others have mentioned paying $6.99 or even $7.99 for instant gratification and the chance to devour your favorite author’s latest work is worth it!

  27. Jeanne Tomlin said:

    Will more authors self publish? Or indie-publish to use the current term?

    You might ask newcomers Amanda Hocking or Victorine Leiske. Or maybe midlist writers like Joe Konrath and Dean Wesley Smith.

    It might also be worthwhile to take a look at the USA Today bestseller lists for the last several weeks. Just a thought. 🙂