Writer's Notes

Another take on ebooks vs print books

Another stellar Redwood Writers’ meeting! The speaker was Peter Beren of the Peter Beren Agency. Beren is a Literary Agent and Publishing Consultant who came to our chapter armed with solid information about the future of publishing. He proposes a different scenario: e-publishing will support, not eliminate printed media. He predicts this will evolve in the next five years. Amazon’s sales of “singles” or novella-length stories have been hugely popular and seem to be indicators of changing markets. There is talk of “bundling” which include purchase of an eBook bundled with a print book-the theory being that one can read their eBook during their commute to work but read the paper copy in bed. He expects “how-to” books to be enhanced with video.
The majority of eBooks are mass market paperback-types. 26% is fiction, 17% is YA, 29% is sci-fi with juvenile bringing in the least—only 7%. Parents are reluctant to grab eBooks for their kids as they want them to experience color, print copy like they did as children.
Beren said both Simon and Schuster and Penguin e-published their backlists which accounted for an 11% profit in that media for S&S last year.
For authors, there is still the traditional means (time consuming, limited author control and lengthy process), self-publishing (pricey if you want to do it right), and epublishing. In all three methods, authors will still have to work like hell: promotion and platform. Discoverability remains the biggest issue. EBook authors who want to attract a brick and mortar publisher generally need to sell over 5000 units (books). Most eBooks top out at 1000-2000 units.
How do people discover books? 50% is word of mouth, 35% is store experience or employee tip. Reviews and social networking comprise the balance.
In the meantime, I have a book to publish. On to the agent queries, contest entries, and research into epublishing!

By Thonie Hevron

Mysteries to keep you reading through the night.

One reply on “Another take on ebooks vs print books”

Welcome to Thonie's world!

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