In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, author and publishing consultant Joanna Penn posits that ebooks have finally gone mainstream.
Ebook sales have been steadily growing over the last 2 years and those of us readers who converted early are almost entirely ebook consumers now.
For authors, the global ebook sales market has meant we can sell direct to customers and every month receive a cheque from Amazon. We can log on and see our sales by the hour. It has been life changing for me and so many others.
But ebooks have been far from mainstream. Until now.
These new Kindle devices change everything.
Amazon has unveiled a new family of Kindles including one at the magic price of $79. This is what happened with the iPod when the price came down low enough that it was a no-brainer purchase. Those people who had been on the fence about new-fangled digital music went out and got one, just to see what the fuss was about. I was one of those people (with the ipod) and it hasn’t left my side since.When did you switch to digital music?
Kindle sales growth almost vertical (Image source: Business Insider)
I was one of the first people in Australia to buy the Kindle when it (finally) become available. I converted to 90% ebook reading within weeks and the number of books I bought at least trebled. I am unashamedly an Amazon fan but this is a massively exciting development for any author who can see what’s round the corner.
These new Kindles will ship in October and November. There will be many of them in Christmas stockings and ebook sales go up over Christmas because people have time to read, and of course, play with their new gadgets.
So what does this mean for you?
- If you don’t have a Kindle yet and you are a writer or want to be. Get off the fence and buy one of these (affiliate). Experience for yourself what the digital revolution means. Even if you still love the smell of a new book, there are millions of people converting to ebooks and you want to sell to them. You are not your market. You have to see this to believe it.
- If you are a writer with a back-list that you have the rights to, get your conversion sorted before the Christmas rush and then publish your ebook on the Kindle. This will show you how to do it. Seriously, you are late already and you will miss out on sales.
- If you are an author with one book that’s selling well on the Kindle, write some more books. I need to take this advice right now!
- If you are a traditionally published author and your publisher has not put your book on the Kindle with global rights, then go see an IP lawyer and see what you can do to get the rights back or ask the publisher to get your books up there. It’s not rocket science.
Trust the market
People want to read. They want to find books that will inspire them, entertain them, educate them, take them out of their world for just a few minutes. These book lovers are people like me. I devour Kindle books. I download samples several times a day. My biggest entertainment expense is ebooks. I love reading. Chances are, so do you, and so do millions of readers. Maybe they will like your book. But they won’t find it unless it’s on the Kindle platform.
I’m sure there will be the usual lamentation that this attitude will flood the market with more self-published books of bad quality, but I trust the market. I am a heavy Kindle user. I am the market. I always download a sample unless I trust the author. I always delete the sample and don’t buy if the formatting is bad or if the book is not enjoyable or useful. I only buy books that pass this sample test. I go by reader recommendations and how many stars there are. I buy based on recommendations from my friends on twitter. Crap books with crap covers do not sell. They don’t rank on the bestseller list. They do not get recommendations.
Stop with the excuses about why you think ebooks will fail, or how they are destroying publishing. Enough already.
This is no longer the future. This is right now. You need to act.