Sunday, March 23, 2014

Interesting Info on the State of Publishing

Author Jane Friedman is a woman after my own heart. She loves stats and charts, and recently shared five of her favorites on her blog. By the way, she is also the co-founder and co-editor of Scratch Magazine, which focuses on writing and money. She’s also an editor at Virginia Quarterly Review and was the publisher of Writer’s Digest for more than a decade.

For me, the charts didn’t provide any earth-shattering information, but basically confirmed what I’ve read elsewhere. Basically, it comes down to this: 

 By the end of 2012, nearly half of all print and ebook sales were happening online. In fact, bookstore retail share dropped from 31.5% to 18.7% by the end of that year.

.  Sales of adult print books peaked between 2008 and 2009, however, children’s books are still holding their own. In other words, they still rely heavily on physical stores for sales.

.   Mobile and tablet devices are growing more popular while e-readers are lagging well behind the pack. Friedman’s right when she states that this has had an important impact on where and how we buy books, let alone how we read them. 

Ebooks are far more profitable for publishers than print books. The standard rate of royalties is 25% but will it remain so? Apparently, Hugh Howey of is stating publicly that royalties will have to go up. He has raised an interesting point. After all, how long will authors put up with 25% when Amazon pays 70% to indie authors?

The link between metadata and sales is clearly defined. This means that books that are specifically tagged, for instance, will have an easier time finding readers than a work of fiction that is put under the category of ‘General Fiction’. Properly tagged books sell more often in both nonfiction and fiction. It’s a no-brainer, right? 

If you want to take a look at the colorful and easy-to-read charts, you can find them at

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