Selling Books in an Overcrowded Market

I recently wrote “Four Publishing Trends for 2017” to talk about what I believe the industry is going to continue to witness this year. One of the trends I mentioned was that the number of books published will continue to exponentially outpace the growth rate of reading.

This idea is not novel. After all, I reported that it was a trend. It is a trend that has been happening and will continue to happen. I am not the only person in the publishing industry who has noticed this trend.


Mark Coker the founder of the ebook publishing and sales platform Smashwords recently released his predictions for 2017. In these predictions, he states:

The glut will grow more pronounced. There’s a glut of high-quality low-cost ebooks. These ebooks are immortal and will never go out of print. Thanks to low-cost virtual shelf space, retailers can stock these ebooks forever—even if the books don’t sell. Although it’s great that your book will forever occupy the shelf, and forever be discoverable and purchasable by new readers, it also means that the virtual shelves are becoming more overcrowded every day. The major ebook retailers each stock millions of ebook titles in their online stores, with Amazon fast approaching five million titles. Every day from yesterday forward it will become more challenging to stand out.

This statement is not just true for ebooks; it is true for print books as well. Online bookstores have unlimited shelf space for print books, and since these books can sit in POD until they are ordered, no actual shelf space is needed to store the books.
In an overcrowded market, it is difficult for any one book to stand out and catch readers’ attention. Authors who want to sell books in this overpopulated environment must focus on developing an audience for their books.

If you are interested in learning more about audience development, I encourage you to watch my new on-demand seminar Develop an Audience for Your Books. This 50-minute streaming video walks you through the steps you can take to develop an audience of people who will purchase your books. Instruction covers what an audience is, the importance of an audience, and strategies to develop an audience. You can view this on-demand seminar for just $20 at

As always, members of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) have free access to this on-demand seminar on CSPA’s website.

If you want to sell books, audience development is not an option. It should be an integral part of marketing strategy, not an afterthought.

Related Posts:
Book Review Scare
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Announcing MCB University

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