What is the future of book sales? I will give you one hint: it starts with the letter “e” and I am not talking about my first name. E-books are rapidly becoming the preferred format for new book sales. With the unveiling of three (three!!) new Kindles this year, Amazon is aggressively pushing forward with its e-book platform. That should not be a surprise to anyone, since e-books outsell all other types of books on Amazon. Let me repeat that last fact, just to make sure you really heard it. Amazon sells more books in electronic format (e-books) than ALL OTHER VERSIONS COMBINED. Here are the stats that Amazon put out in a press release in mid 2011:
July 1995- Amazon starts selling books online
November 2007- Amazon debuts Kindle and starts its push towards e-books
July 2010- Kindle book versions outsell hardcover books
December 2010- Kindle book versions outsell paperback books
May 2011- Kindle book versions start outselling all other books combined
(See Amazon’s press release from May 19, 2011)
These Amazon book sales figures should make any writer pause and consider. Even if e-books STOP GROWING today, they will still be the top format for book sales at America’s top bookseller outlet. However, with three new Kindle models, e-books will just grow ever faster.
How does the rise of e-books affect writers? Soon (if not now) electronic rights will be the MOST IMPORTANT right for any book. Any writer who gives away such rights just to get a traditional publishing contract is being foolish. It might be a matter of pride to have a hardcover or paperback to show off to others, but the money is going to be in e-books.
These book sales statistics also make the idea of indie publishing more attractive. With all the turmoil in traditional publishing, a writer should consider becoming his own publisher. I know that I am giving it serious thought. To some, self-publishing still has the stigma of “vanity press” associated with it, but that is quickly fading. The future of book sales is now here and it is e-books. It opens so many new avenues for a writer to connect with readers.
What do the new Kindle releases mean for readers? Wow, for the reader this is an open invitation to either “try it out” or move up to a more sophisticated version. Amazon now has two versions under $100, making them very affordable. Why not get into e-reading now? The reader’s “investment” is less than many spend each month on cable, video services, or high-speed internet. As for the upscale Kindle Fire, it will open whole new media avenues and will probably take a bite out of Apple’s iPad. Does it have as many bells and whistles as the iPad? No, but it is also only HALF the price. You can now buy a His and a Her Kindle Fire.