Friday, April 8, 2011

Catching Up -- about ebook sales

We are working on payroll. It is taking more time this quarter as a higher percentage of authors have sold books than ever before. That's the good news.

Again, e-books are outselling print in vast numbers. The bad news is that most authors only sold one or two copies each, meaning that we must write many more checks, because we DO pay every penny due, every quarter. It's a time-consuming process, but a welcome one. Actually, paying authors is the thing we like best to do. The good news is that one enterprising author sold more than 2200 copies of her several titles. We can only hope she is as pleased as we are proud of her efforts.

Sales are up overall at every sales site, yes, even at Write Words, though we sell very few books directly from our own site anymore. Each sales site has it's own advantages and disadvantages.

Amazon (Kindle) sales are up the most by far, which is a good thing, as they pay the best royalties. Their "loan a book to a friend" policy--much bemoaned on some authors' lists as costing sales and so on -- qualifies for a MUCH higher royalty per sale. If the publisher does not check the block to allow a "loan" the book is only eligible for a lower royalty (about half). Also it means only that Kindle owners can share a purchased book with a friend (who also has a Kindle account) not distribute multiple copies of them to anyone, anytime, anywhere, and NOT sell them over and over again as "used books" on eBay. This whole policy is meant to get customers to urge their friends to buy Kindles, a strategy that will provide a wider customer-base to all of us. Average Kindle author payment (with loan checked) comes to $1.62 per title.

Barnes & Noble (Nook) sales are up, though they continue to be the poorer-paying market, and most of those are "library" sales, which are considered a 2-week "loan" of the book. The "library" file is downloaded by the customer, then disappears from the Nook reader automatically after two weeks, and if the buyer has not finished it, he must pay the full price to get it back as a keeper. Loan copies pay only a quarter of the book's List (whatever B&N decides to list it for) which the publisher and author then have to share. Average author payment for a Nook loaner is $0.69 while a permanent purchase goes for, again on average, $1.10.

Fictionwise sales for the quarter, are down. Some publishers have speculated (on the publisher's lists) that this may be due to Smashwords (a new distributor site that concentrates its efforts on self-published authors or publishers with very few titles). We do not participate in Smashwords, as they but duplicate the services already available through Fictionwise (making books available to customers and affiliates in many different formats) and do not have nearly as wide a list of affiliates as FW, though they do prepare files for listing in the iBookstore. We believe the sales drop at FW is caused by the number of people choosing to buy the new Kindle, or Nook, machines and thus moving to B&N or Amazon for direct sales. These two new machines, along with the iPad, each with it's own exclusive format, are presently dominating the e-book sales markets. And thus most new customers are buying books either in Kindle or Nook formats. Amazon lists all Kindle titles at iBookstore, as well.

Kindle has a free downloadable e-reader application for iPads (which are portable computers and are sold with no in-place e-reader software). In fact kindle (like its predecessor, Mobipocket) has free downloadable applications that will allow MOST Brands of e-book readers and almost all computers, to read e-books in kindle format.

Mobipocket continues to be our weakest large-distribution seller, as most customers are European (payment is in Euros) and we only sell books in English. Still, it's a worldwide market and one we will continue to pursue.

All Romance E-books/Omnilit continues to pay the highest royalty -- 70% of the list price (this was recently matched by for those publishers who approve their customer loan policy. Also AR does very little discounting of publisher's list prices It is primarily a romance-readers site, still concentrates highly on erotica, and our sales there are not overwhelming, but still well worth the effort of listing your titles there. Average author payment for an AR sale is $1.90.

Coffee-Time continues at the bottom of the distribution lists, having sold 1 book for us in the last three months and none at all in the preceding quarter.

As always, our policy is to make our author's titles available to as wide a readership as possible, giving them opportunity for sales over a wide range of markets.

No comments:

Post a Comment