Update on the astoundingly wide open and possibly lucrative frontier of publishing. Want to write a book? Anyone can.

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com
Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

One of the most amazing open frontiers today is the ability of anyone to publish a book and get it on the market. If you have ever wanted to write a book and see in print, you can do so easily and oh so inexpensively. The wide open doors to opportunity are right in front of you.

Lots and lots of people are publishing. No longer are huge New York publishers an insurmountable barrier for unknown writers.

9/15 – The Arts Mechanical – How To Win the Battle and Lose the War – Huge battle last year was between Amazon and Hachette. Amazon wanted to deliver books at prices customers were willing to pay. Hachette wanted to price e-books far higher, near the same level as print.

Amazon conceded. They were correct. Sales of high-priced e-books have collapsed.

Personally, I have skipped buying a number of newly released E-books which were priced at the same level as the print hardback. It is silly to pay $14 or $18 for an e-book when that is the on-line price for a hardback. I have done it once or twice but skipped a dozen or two. There are sooooo many books on my to-read list that I don’t need to pay 50% or 80% more for this one compared to that one.

Yesterday, wanted to start reading a new book. Looked at my wish list and noticed three books on a particular economics topic I am interested in. Those are books I’ve seen mentioned favorably or read a review. Thought enough of them to consider buying each of them. By the way, I am familiar with and enjoy the writing of all three authors.

One was $4 and the others were $14 or $16. Guess which one is on my Kindle this morning and which two I deleted from my wish list?

Apparently a huge number of people agree with me…

~9/15 – Author Earnings – AAP Reports On Shrinking Market Share, Media Mistakes it for Flat US Ebook Market – This is the research driving the previous article I mentioned.

Article is published under Creative Commons license so I will give a couple of quotes.

Sales from the “big 5” publishers are collapsing. Here is a drop from 2/14 through 9/15, or the last 18 months:

…their collective share of the US ebook market collapse:
from 45% of all Kindle books sold down to 32%
from 64% of Kindle publisher gross $ revenue down to 50%
from 48% of all Kindle author net $ earnings down to 32%

Between Indie self-published books, small publishers (I think that means just a few titles) and Amazon published, over half of Amazon Kindle’s unit sales are from nontraditional publishers:

These “non-traditionally-published” books now make up nearly 60% of all Kindle ebooks purchased in the US, and take in 40% of all consumer dollars spent on those ebooks.

Check out the graphs. Sales of traditionally published books were roughly flat in 2014 but are collapsing in 2015.

One of the astounding things is the huge number of books that don’t have an ISBN number. I’m guessing those would be from really, really small players who don’t plan to do much more. Or those are people who didn’t spend a lot of time understanding the technical details before they went in print. Good for them!

Think of the massive number of people who now have voice who have never, ever had a chance to see their work in print.  Think of all the voices that would forever remain silent if the traditional publishers had their way.

9/4 – Forward Reviews – I Will Not Join in the Snooty Trashing of Self-Published books; Here’s Why – The author of the article edited his grandfather’s self-published autobiography. His grandfather was an eyewitness to anti-Jewish programs and escaped Europe before getting swept up into the Holocaust. Traditional publishers declined his book because it didn’t have enough sex. Without self-publishing his voice would never have been heard.

The author’s father self-published a book on his experiences in Vietnam as a combat surgeon. The author declares it is no masterpiece. Yet it is a voice, now in print, that historians will be looking for in another century. Traditional publishers have no value for him.

Short version of my publishing journey

Self-publishing provides an opportunity for anyone to have a voice. Before self-publishing you had to be incredibly lucky and astoundingly talented to even, maybe, possibly, get a thin sliver of a chance.

As for me, I am absolutely thrilled that Amazon provides obscure, barely talented, work full-time, wanna-be authors like myself the opportunity to publish and distribute my words and ideas. To date, my books have only sold a few copies. That is a reflection on my skills and the extent of my marketing effort.

The point is that today, right now, I can go as far as the effort I want to apply can carry me. Fifteen years ago I would have had absolutely zero chance to ever be available out on the ‘net.

Of the six short books I have written, four are available in PDF and three of those are available through on-demand printing.

Thank you Amazon.

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