Please welcome Douglas Corleone.
Publishing Hardcovers During the E-Book Revolution
Book lovers (or rather physical book lovers) worldwide are panicking about the possible end to the publishing of hardcover books. The predictions are grim. Experts say that in 2011, e-books will account for 25% of all book sales, and that by 2014, that number will rise to 50%. We’ve already seen publishers cutting back on the number of paperbacks they’re putting out. My debut novel ONE MAN’S PARADISE is a victim of this cutting. Over the past half-century, authors who published with major houses could expect their novel to live a second life with the release of their book in mass market paperback. Nowadays, that’s no guarantee. Indeed, for me, it’s a harsh reality: I will never see a single paperback sale for PARADISE.
It’s to be expected, we’re told, because of the so-called e-book revolution. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against e-books. I own a Kindle and I use it. I’ve read at least 50 books on my Kindle over the past two years, and I have at least 50 more waiting to be read. Still, I love physical books…especially my own.
That’s why my first real royalty statement filled me with mixed emotions. E-book sales accounted for only 2.5% of total sales. According to industry experts, e-books currently account for approximately 17% of all book sales. So why such an anomaly on my royalty statement?
The only reasonable hypothesis I could formulate was a frightening one – that it’s even more difficult for new authors to be discovered by e-book readers than it is to be discovered by readers who still search the aisles of brick-and-mortar bookstores!
Wasn’t it tough enough already?
Then again, it makes sense. How many books do you see when you go to Amazon.com to make a purchase? I’d venture not nearly as many as when you walk into your local Barnes & Noble bookstore. How long do you linger on Amazon’s pages? I’d venture not nearly as long as you typically take strolling through the aisles of your local independent. As a reader I’m worried about losing the brick-and-mortar bookstore experience. As a new author, I’m absolutely petrified.
I see a lot of bad advice given to aspiring authors, both on the Internet and in the pages of writing magazines. But none worse than this: “You don’t need an agent or publisher. You don’t even need a physical book. Go to Amazon’s CreateSpace , put your book out there for $2.99, and market away.”
If you already have a genuine platform, maybe. (In fact, bestselling author Barry Eisler is doing just that). If you’re not so concerned about sales figures and just want a book out there, okay. But if you’re serious about the business of publishing – and if you’ve written a full-length novel, I assume you are – then I still urge you to take the traditional path.
for your Kindle.
Thank you Douglas.
To learn more about Douglas Corleone, you can visit his website. But before you link over, leave a question or comment for him.
I’ll start the questions: Douglas, you mentioned publishers cutting back on issuing paperbacks. Do you think it may eventually come down to hardbacks being printed for those who love them and will continue to pay the high cost to have them, while e-books will become the “new” paperbacks?