Book publishing is in an ongoing phase of disruption: how we manufacture, distribute, market, and sell books has changed radically in the past few years, and the pace of change does not seem to be slowing down.
A blog is a great place to keep the indie community updated about these changes, because it’s in all of our best interest to stay abreast of the changes that actually affect us, as indie authors.
I asked Contributing Writer Amy Collins to take on the task of bringing us reports each month on the most significant changes. Amy is an experienced book publishing professional with a wide array of knowledge and the desire to stay on top of this crazy business we’re all in.
This article is the first in her series, which will continue every month. Here’s her report:
Item: B&N announces that they will “start” selling independently published books in their stores.
“Barnes & Noble, with 640 bookstores in 50 states, is offering self-published authors the opportunity to sell their print books at Barnes & Noble stores across the country on a local, regional or national level, and online at BN.com. Authors can also qualify for the opportunity to participate at in-store events including book signings and discussions, where they will be able to sell their print books and meet fans, have the opportunity to sell their print books at Barnes & Noble stores across the country on a local, regional or national level, and online at BN.com.”
- Independently published books are stocked on the shelves of B&N all the time. This is not new.
- To take advantage of B&N’s “offer” to consider an independently published book for sale on their shelves, the book must be printed and distributed through the Nook eBook and Print publishing program that they offer.
- The books will only be considered if you sell a minimum of 1000 ebooks and 500 print books through BN.com first.
- BN.com is a TEEEEEEENY segment of the retail marketplace and getting that many sold there is a hard for even traditionally published authors.
There is no harm in signing up and submitting your book files to CreateSpace, IngramSpark AND Nook. Go ahead, but don’t pin your hopes on getting your book onto the shelves of over 600 Barnes & Noble Stores. That is not what they are promising nor is it feasible.
Item: Publishers Announce Book Sales Declined 6.7% in early 2016 vs. early 2015. eBook Sales Declined 25%
The Association of American Publishers released numbers that state that book sales are declining.
- This statistic comes from just over 400 publishers who belong to the AAP.
- A great many book sales are now happening for independent and self-published authors that are eating into the sales of the established publishers who belong to the AAP.
- The declines shown are DOLLARS. This makes sense when you think that the average price of a book and ebook has been declining sharply in the last two years.
- Print book UNIT sales are UP! Paperback sales are up and more than makeup for the decline in hardcover sales. It only LOOKS like a 6.7% decrease because the dollars of one weighs so heavily in the Hardcover side of the column.
- There are more independent bookstores now than there were a year ago. There has been a net GAIN of over 300 independent bookstores in the last three years.
With Amazon and online sales becoming a larger percentage of the marketplace and more and more sales of ebooks moving to self-published authors, don’t believe that books are declining. The profits for established publishers ARE declining, but they are often being moved into the pockets of small and independently published authors. Unit sales are up. Library traffic is up. Independent bookstore square footage is up. Books are fine. Honest.
Item: UK ISBN Store Opens In August
Nielsen Books announced that they are opening a portal in the UK to allow UK self-publishers and authors to purchase ISBN instantly online. This store will be opening in mid-August and will allow UK authors to get their ISBNs MUCH faster and more easily than they have in the past.
- US authors and publishers should still always purchase ISBNs from Bowker at https://www.myidentifiers.com
- The new Nielsen Store news is for UK authors only and can be read in its entirety at: https://nielsenbook.co.uk/
Just a reminder that we should ALL purchase our ISBNs from the legal entity licenced to sell them in whatever country we are residing. The problems that arise from accepting free or low-cost ISBNs from third parties is that they do not (and will never) truly belong to you. They belong to the company who sold them to you. They purchased the ISBNs from the licensed supplier, and the ISBNs will forever be under THEIR account… no matter what it says on the paperwork you get. Buy your own. It’s worth the investment.
Item: Audio Books are the Fastest Growing Book Format
The Wall Street Journal ran an article claiming that audiobooks are the fastest-growing format in the book business today. Sales in the U.S. and Canada jumped 21% in 2015 from the previous year, according to the Audio Publishers Association.
- Smart Phones have helped with the rise in audiobook usage as they are now VERY portable.
- Technology and the size reduction of files has made listening to audio books in cars and at the gym much more convenient.
- The cost of producing an audio is now (on average) $3,3000 as opposed to $6,500 in 2012.
- Amazon.com owns both AUDIBLE and BRILLIANCE AUDIO. This means, their ACX platform has a huge lead in distribution to this fast-growing market.
- https://www.acx.com/ is a great place to start to investigate doing your OWN audio book.
Audio books are also growing at libraries. While bookstores have done away with most of their shelf space for audio books, the download market is exploding. Pundits forecast that the growth in audio book sales will continue to climb. With Amazon owning such a large part of the market, it makes sense to investigate their products first.
Item: Holiday Catalogs
Many of the regional American Bookseller Associations (North East, New England, South East, Pacific North West, Midwest, etc.) have started announcing their holiday catalog deadlines for the 2016 Holiday Season.
Click below to be taken to the sites where you can find rates and details about promoting your books to bookstores and bookstore customers in their holiday catalogs. Inclusion in the catalogs does not GUARANTEE stocking in the stores, but my experience tells me it is easy to get a store to bring in stock for the holidays if you are in the catalog on their counter.
- https://www.caliballiance.org/ (not the holiday one, but this fall catalog info will get you there)
- https://www.pnba.org/advertising.html (arrow to the bottom for holiday info)
Again, getting into a Holiday Catalog in your geographic area is not a guarantee of anything, but it is a terrific way to get your book in front of 10s of thousands of readers and encourage bookstores in your region to stock your book. If your book is holiday-appropriate, investigate the possibilities at your local booksellers’ association.
Hope you found this wrap up of the recent news helpful. Please comment below if you have any questions or we can be of help in any way!