New Record: One Million Self-Published Books

Over one million books (both print and ebooks) were self-published in the United States in 2017! This is an increase of 28% from 2016, where 879,587 books were self-published.

These figures come from Bowker, the agency that issues ISBN numbers. Each year, the agency releases a report showing how many ISBNs were assigned to each self-publishing platform or company. Since 2012, CreateSpace has led the pack. Bowker’s report reveals that in 2017, the number of ISBNs assigned to CreateSpace grew 50% from 500,000 in 2016 to 750,000 in 2017.

one million self publishing books

Did you catch that? Independent authors published three-quarters of a million books via CreateSpace last year!

This means that the competition for eyeballs for your books keeps growing. Remember, the reading rate has held steady since about 2012 while the number of self-published books has grown by an average of 21% each year.

Unlike the number of books published, the reading population has not grown 156% since 2012. This means more and more books are competing for reader’s attention—yours included.

It is no longer enough to just publish a book. In today’s book publishing and reading climate, you must be more than an author. You have to become a marketer to effectively sell your book.

Don’t expect someone to do the work for you. There are numerous people and companies out there willing to take a large amount of money from you with the promise of promoting your book. Sadly, most of these services render little result.

If you are an independent author, then I encourage you to embrace the idea that you are not just an author, but you must also be a marketer. It’s really not that difficult. A little education goes a long way.

Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) exists for just that reason—to provide information and tools for success in publishing to small publishers and independent authors. CSPA has numerous educational tools, as well as affordable cooperative marketing programs, to give you the information you need to market your books effectively.

For just $90 for a year-long membership with CSPA, you will have access to numerous on-demand seminars and a monthly newsletter all packed with marketing information. CSPA Members also have access to a Book Launch Marketing Checklist and a List of Radio and Podcast Media interviewing authors.

You can become a Member today and receive Membership through December 2019 on CSPA’s website. Once you join, you will have access to the numerous educational videos, reference guides, and checklist to help you become a better marketer to find more eyeballs for your books.

Related Posts:
Your Book: A Needle in a Haystack
Making Smart Use of Your Marketing Dollars
Does Your Book Have a Firm Foundation?

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Photo courtesy of Laura Kapfer.

What Do Books and Music Have in Common?

When was the last time you purchased a music CD in a physical store?

Over the past decade, the music industry has undergone a huge shift. Consider the following:

  • Sales of CDs have declined while sales of MP3 music downloads purchased via the Internet have increased. Digital music sales overtook physical format sales in 2015.
  • Music streaming has become big business. Music subscription services allowing individuals to listen to their choice of music for a low monthly fee saw a 60 percent growth in 2017.
  • Indie music talent is growing. Artists are ditching the big label name records and attempting to break through to fame via streaming platforms.

When was the last time you purchased a print book in a brick-and-mortar store?

The book publishing industry is following the same movement as the music industry. Think about these trends:

  • Sales of print books in physical bookstores has greatly declined. The vast majority of books are now purchased on the Internet.
  • Sales of ebooks have stalled out to around 25 percent of book purchases, yet book subscription services continue to thrive—think Kindle Unlimited, Scribd, and Bookmate.
  • Indie authors are growing. Many authors are ditching the big publishing companies and publishing their works independently, taking them directly to consumers.

The big announcement in the news that recently caught my attention was:

With the popularity of digital music surging, Best Buy is officially pulling the plug on music CDs, and another retail giant (Target) may soon join them. Although CDs remain a relatively popular format worldwide, sales in the U.S. dropped more than 18% last year, prompting Best Buy to drop the format entirely. The retailer will stop selling CDs and pull them from shelves on July 1. Although Best Buy used to be the top music seller in the U.S., nowadays its CD sales generate a relatively low $40 million per year.

Most mass merchandise stores have already shrunk their book and music sections. Now some big box stores are dropping their CD sales. Since book industry trends appear to be following music industry trends, how long until these stores also drop their book sales?

Yes, print book sales are still strong, but don’t let that fool you. We are now in a digital era. Moving forward, the trend for the book industry is that a higher percentage of revenue from books will come via audiobooks, ebooks and subscription services.

Subscription services are on the rise. Audiobook streaming services are beginning to pop up—think Audible and StoryTel. Serialized books via apps will also grow—think Radish and Tapas. As publishers and authors, embracing digital in the coming years will be required to stay relevant.

Related Posts:
Publishing is Big Business
The eBook Subscription Model is Still Alive
Christian Retail is Struggling

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The Importance of Following Trends

Electric cars are catching on. Solar power continues to grow in popularity. Ponchos have come and gone. The number of people taking a cruise is increasing. Trends: they are everywhere.

The book industry also has trends: trends in book topics, trends in book cover design, trends in interior design and layout, and trends in marketing and book promotion.
As an author or publisher producing books, being aware of book industry trends is important. Awareness of these trends serves two purposes:

  1. It keeps your books from looking out-of-date, old-fashioned, or self-published.
  2. It helps you stay on top of the best book marketing techniques to help you generate more exposure and sales.

I watch the trends in the book publishing industry. Trends such as:

  • Using the blank pages at the end of a book to promote other books or services of the author.
  • Including the author’s Facebook page, blog, or Twitter feed in the author bio.

Whenever possible I incorporate these useful ideas into my books and encourage other authors and publishers to do so also.

available as an ebook logo

A new trend I recently have seen occurring is the addition of a little icon to the back cover of a book (near the EAN barcode) letting the reader know that the book is also available as an ebook (see graphic above). I think this is a really smart marketing move.

First of all, not every book is available as an ebook. Letting a reader know the book is available as an ebook is a nice courtesy. It can also trigger those buyers who prefer ebooks to purchase the digital version of a print book they discover by capturing the consumer right then and there. Additionally, about 60% of Goodreads users report they read in both formats. Many purchase both print and digital copies of a book they are reading, switching between the two formats depending on their location. In other words, by using an “available as an ebook” icon on a print book, publishers are reaching both print and digital readers.

If you are publishing a new book, I encourage you to let readers know that the book is available as an ebook by posting a notice on the back cover of the book. It costs you nothing and helps you reach both print and digital readers.

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