I had an interesting conversation with my dad last week. He’s 69, retired, and has had some health issues lately. He has always been an avid reader. I can remember him sitting in the living room each night, his shoes on the floor, his feet on his ottoman, a cold Schlitz on his cork coaster, his glasses perched on his nose, and a large hardcover book in his hands. He read quite a bit about history and he enjoyed suspense novels. We had a large living room and one entire wall was floor to ceiling bookshelves. I loved that room.
Anyway, when I was talking to my dad last week, I asked what he was reading. He told me he’s reading two books right now – both novels. He had them both next to him and read the titles to me. I asked him if he ever read ebooks. He guffawed pretty loudly. He said he had never read an ebook and he never would. He likes visiting bookstores, enjoys the smell of a new book, and likes holding it in his hands. He also loves his bookshelves.
The fact is the vast majority of Americans (around 75% based on the most recent studies) don’t own ebook reading devices. With all the press ebooks have been getting the past couple of years, some authors assume that everybody either has an ebook reader, or that they read ebooks on their computer. Nothing could be further from the truth. The majority of the population does not yet own an ebook reader and some of those, like my dad, never plan to buy one. And, like my dad, many retired folks have more time to read now. They also have more money to spend on books.
Another reality is that print book sales still FAR outpace ebook sales. According to Publishers Weekly last month, only 22% of book sales are currently for ebooks. That means 78% of book sales are for print books. With all the hype about ebooks, you might be pretty surprised by those numbers.
Libraries buy print books and so do other retailers. In fact, retailers that sell books, but don’t specialize in books, sell print books, not ebooks. Ever seen an ebook for sale at the airport gift shop? Probably not. What about that little specialty shop downtown? They have plenty of books for sale but it’s highly unlikely they’re selling ebooks. And, let’s not forget the many indie bookstores across the country. It’s still far easier to buy a print book for someone as a gift than it is to buy them an ebook. Most grandparents don’t buy ebooks for their grandchildren. They go to the bookstore and buy the bright, shiny picture books to give as gifts. I myself bought several books as gifts this year but they were all print books. It’s too difficult to determine if someone has an ebook reader and, if they do, what kind it is, which file format they need, how to get the ebook loaded onto their device, etc. Ever tried wrapping an ebook up in birthday, Christmas or Hanukkah wrapping paper? Yeah, me neither.
Authors who choose to publish their book in ebook format only are making a HUGE mistake in shunning 75% of the market. It is wrong to cut off the majority of book buyers by simply assuming that print books are a dying market. Dying? Not quite. Shrinking? Sure…but print books are still far outselling ebooks. I believe there will always be print books. Book lovers LOVE their books and they aren’t going to give them up for a long, long time – if ever.
Three Times More People Prefer Print Books to Ebooks
Our POD Secrets Revealed Series is HERE.
Angela Hoy is the co-owner of WritersWeekly.com and BookLocker.com. WritersWeekly.com is the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker.com is: “As close to perfection as you’re going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I’ve ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can’t go wrong here. Plus, they’re selective and won’t publish any manuscript just because it’s accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors’ books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know.”
Read a price comparison of the most popular POD publishers HERE.
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