I read an amazing article this week called “Brave new e-world” by Sarah Sheard in The Globe and Mail. Sheard is the chairwoman for the contracts committee with the Writers’ Union of Canada. Her article talks a bit about how book publishing used to be before conglomerates reduced a variety of interesting publishing houses into big box manufacturers interested only in bestsellers.
Sheard discusses the changes now taking place as more readers buy electronic devices such as Kindle and the Sony 505 reader, devices that can store literally hundreds of books in a reader the size of a paperback. I agree with Sheard that this form of publishing is here to stay and has a huge role in the future of publishing.
Since my books have been made available in electronic format, sales have increased at a much greater rate than they have in print form, and why not? Fatal Encryption sells for $19.95 in print, but $6.99 on Kindle, and even then Amazon often discounts the price of my 370-page mystery to $5.59. A bargain indeed.
But what I found most interesting about Sheard’s article were the posted responses. As Sheard suggested in the article, some writers and publishers still refuse to publish work electronically. They don’t believe, and don’t want to hear, that e-books might one day outsell print books, and some of the comments I read reflect this attitude.
The thing is, one recent study revealed that while e-book sales represent only 1.5% of the total market share right now, sales of e-books increased by 125% in 2008. I’ve spoken with Kindle owners and, while all of them love to read and once bought print books regularly, almost none of these people will now spend money on what they call DTBs (dead tree books). First, the price is too high and secondly, many just don’t have the space to store books. Would it surprise you to know that 183% of all e-books sold last year were bought by people age 65 and over? It’s true. E-books are catching on fast with all age groups and if you writers out there want to gain more readers and royalties, jump aboard because from my vantage point, it’s a pretty good place to be.
To read Sarah Sheard's entire article go to http://tinyurl.com/np5tnl And don't forget to read those comments!