Combine the AAP announcements with the news that B&Ns NOOK sales are still dropping and it is easy to believe that eBooks are losing steam.
How KU Effects eBooks Sales Data
But eBooks are not losing sales or momentum, they are being read (and paid for) more than ever! What is changing is which eBooks are selling and how they are being sold. Amazon and Kindle are (practically) forcing eBook authors and publishers to sign up for Kindle Unlimited. Kindle Unlimited allows subscribers to read eBooks for a monthly fee. Those fees are combined and distributed to the publishers each month, Kindle Unlimited payouts have been growing each month over the last few years.
These payouts are taking dollars from direct sales and watering down the profits of the eBooks. BUT, KU is also dramatically increasing readership of eBooks. 38% of Amazon’s Kindle books are available on Kindle Unlimited and their membership has grown 68% over the last two years. This program has its pluses and minuses and recently authors have reported that their reader payout reports were suspect. But no one can argue with the facts that Kindle Unlimited is paying a ton of money to a ton of authors.
Big Publishers Are Losing eBook Sales
The next factor the media is ignoring is that most eBooks being published now are not being published by the same AAP publishers who report that they are losing ebook sales. Why are the top publishers in the American Association of Publishers losing eBook sales? Because they are pricing them far above the prices most readers are willing to pay. Yes, their print books are selling better and better while eBook sales are drifting down. But print book prices are no longer as far above eBook prices as they used to be. Here is a recent listing on Amazon for a very popular new bestseller. This book’s hardcover is available for $18.00 while the eBook is almost $15!
Ebooks used to be under $10 across the board. There are no print or distribution costs for eBooks. Raising the prices to such heights is their right, but it is driving eBook readers to books and authors that price their work at a more reasonable level.
eBook Sales on the Rise
According to Smashwords founder, Mark Coker, eBook unit sales spike dramatically when the price points are between $3.99 and $4.99.
Amazon reports that their eBook sales grew 4% last year and even though they are only 80% of the eBook market, they are not alone. Kobo and Apple report readership growth. They make up 13% of the market and both show huge increases in the last year.
Please take all of these data points in before you next read that eBooks are in decline. They are not dropping. They are growing and making authors even more money than ever before. Don’t take your eye off the ball or your foot off the gas. Keep pushing your eBook sales as hard as you can.
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