Some time back, I ran across Smith Publicity, a book promotional firm that has been around for awhile. Smith puts out a monthly newsletter they call “Power Book Publicity Tips” which I’ve now been receiving for about six months. It’s short, relevant, and I usually find what I read there to be useful.
Here’s an excerpt from the February update, which contains a data nugget that I expected would arrive some day, but not as soon as it has (after all, it was only a few years ago that we’d never heard of something called a ‘Kindle,’ the device that launched the armada):
- E-book sales have surpassed hardcover and paperback for adult fiction [emphasis added]
- E-book authors get up to 70% royalty as opposed to traditional 20%
- While people are buying online, they are not “searching” for new books online—simply going there to order them.
- 79% of ebook sales are fiction
- Only 3 of top 20 ebooks for 2012 were priced over $10
The logical questions to ask are whether there will be other categories of books that will follow, and if so, which ones?
I think that’s partially a question of how eReaders evolve (and indeed, whether the genre survives at all, now that tablets are becoming ubiquitous). Fiction is an easy and appropriate read on all kinds of devices, but how about technical books? Tables are still awkward to format without professional help, and the proprietary outlets have ensured that the EPUB standard hasn’t been able to achieve the goal of easy format once, display anywhere, on any device.
Logically, you would think that textbooks would be the next category to fall to the eBook tide – after all, who really wants to carry a sack of heavy textbooks from first grade through grad school? But first the books have to find their way to mobile devices, and those devices would need to support easy highlighting, annotation and the like. There are some good devices out there that permit just this, but they’ve been swept to the side by the tablet revolution, and the fact that the Amazon and Barnes & Noble readers are proprietary – and how many devices do you really want to own?
That said, there’s a huge amount of non-fiction that people read the same way that they read fiction. I expect that if these books were broken out (e.g., NYTimes best sellers) from other non-fiction titles, like text and technical books, that they have already crossed the line as well.
If you’d like to sign up to receive Power Tips, you can find a button to do just that on the left side of the Smith Publicity Home Page.