Tuesday, March 15, 2011

E-Books, Self-publishing and Disintermediation of Publishers

It's time to dust off that great American novel that's been sitting in your closet!

Two great stories on how independent authors are making a good living by self-publishing their works directly to Amazon - at a fraction of the cost of publisher e-books. The low cost generates volume. This trend should lead to more authors (and wannabe authors) opting for self-publishing, as well as pressuring publishers to lower the cost of e-books. More authors, more variety, cheaper books - all good for the consumer.

This 26-Year-Old Is Making Millions Cutting Out Traditional Publishers With Amazon Kindle:
Welcome to disruption. 26-year old Amanda Hocking is the best-selling "indie" writer on the Kindle store, meaning she doesn't have a publishing deal, Novelr says.

And she shouldn't. She gets to keep 70% of her book sales -- and she sells around 100,000 copies per month. By comparison, it's usually thought that it takes a few tens of thousands of copies sold in the first week to be a New York Times bestselling writer.

The comparison isn't entirely fair, because Hocking sells her books for $3, and some $.99. But that's the point: by lowering the prices, she can make more on volume, especially impulse buys. Meanwhile e-books cost nothing to print, you don't have to worry about print volumes, shelf space, inventory, etc. And did we mention the writer keeps 70%?

Crime Writer Makes a Killing With 99 Cent E-Books:
Hugh Pickens writes writes
"Joe Konrath has an interesting interview with independent writer John Locke who currently holds the coveted #1 spot in the Amazon Top 100 and has sold just over 350,000 downloads on Kindle of his 99 cent books since January 1st of this year, which, with a royalty rate of 35%, is an annual income well over $500k. Locke says that 99 cents is the magic number and adds that when he lowered the price of his book The List from $2.99 to 99 cents, he started selling 20 times as many copies — about 800 a day, turning his loss lead into his biggest earner. 'These days the buying public looks at a $9.95 eBook and pauses. It's not an automatic sale,' says Locke. 'And the reason it's not is because the buyer knows when an eBook is priced ten times higher than it has to be. And so the buyer pauses. And it is in this pause—this golden, sweet-scented pause—that we independent authors gain the advantage, because we offer incredible value.' Kevin Kelly predicts that within 5 years all digital books will cost 99 cents. 'I don't think publishers are ready for how low book prices will go,' writes Kelly. 'It seems insane, dangerous, life threatening, but inevitable.'"

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