Trends for 2013

The New Year, 2013, is just around the corner. The Internet is already full of predictions of what will happen next year.

Trends

Some of the predictions I have read include that mobile spam will increase in volume, that Smart TVs will become a target for hackers, and that some online retailers will begin offering e-readers for free to entice customers to purchase more ebooks.

Most of these predictions are based on current trends. I, too, believe that based on current trends the following trends will continue in 2013.

1.       Small presses and self-publishing will continue to expand.

The number of self-published books produced annually in the U.S. has nearly tripled, growing 287 percent since 2006 according to Bowker. This study, recently released by Bowker, also estimated that over 235,000 books were self-published in 2011. Bowker’s report showed that CreateSpace dominated the print segment, with the creation of 58,412 titles (39% of self-published print books).  The leading ebook producer was Smashwords with 40,608 titles (nearly 47% of total self-published ebooks). Interestingly, Bowker’s report also included a small press category which showed that nearly 34,107 self-published books were from small publishers who produce 10 or fewer titles per year. In addition, print book production by small presses increased more than 74 percent between 2006 and 2011. Many new authors will join the ranks of self-published authors in 2013, as technology continues to make it inexpensive and easy to do so.

2.       Sales of ebooks will continue to grow.

eBook sales have been growing steadily since 2009. For most of 2012, ebook sales growth more than double over last year’s sales. This year, ebook sales made up about 25% of all book sales. Predictions indicate that they will make up 50% of all book sales by 2016. Even with sales of e-readers declining, people will continue to increase their digital reading. Tablets and Smart phones all offer users the same access to digital books with easy portability.

3.       The number of physical bookstores will continue to decline.

I recently wrote a blog post on “The Demise of Bookstores.” This post detailed the closing of physical bookstores over the past two years. Barnes & Noble recently reported that they will close about seven stores at the end of this year. They closed about seven stores at the end of last year also. Bookstores are no longer the primary method for getting your books into the hands of consumers.

4.       Online sales of books will continue to increase.

Some reports indicate that up to 49% of all books are purchased via the Internet. As ebook sales have grown and as physical bookstores have declined, the Internet has become the go to place to purchase books. This trend will grow in 2013.

We do not know the future, especially when the Lord will return and the world will end. Luke 12:40 states “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” I am not claiming to be a prophet and these are not predictions. However, I do believe that these trends are here to stay, at least for the next year, if the Lord tarries.

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eBook Price Trends

The Wall Street Journal recently noted that the many people receiving e-readers as gifts at the end of 2011 would find that “the price gap between the print and e-versions of some top sellers has now narrowed to within a few dollars.”

Many big publishers have adopted the agency-pricing model (where publishers set the price of the ebook, not the retailer) in rebellion against Amazon’s $9.99 pricing strategy for ebooks. Publishers were scared that Amazon could gain control of pricing and then continue to drive ebook prices down, eventually paying less to publishers and decreasing their profits. As a result, many publishers are now pricing the ebook version of a new book only slightly lower than the price of the print version. For example, Walter Isaacson’s best-selling biography of Steve Jobs sells for $14.99 in the ebook version and $17.40 in the hardcover edition.

Interestingly, some experts are claiming that by increasing ebook prices, publishers have slowed the ebook market growth. However, it appears that this may not be true.

One market research firm, Yankee Group, found that, on the whole, ebook prices are falling. They report that “the average price of a consumer digital book had fallen to $8.19 by the end of 2011 from $9.23 in 2009.” This firm also forecasts that the average ebook prices will drop to $7 from the current $9 over the 2012 year.

Whether ebook prices rise or fall, I highly doubt that higher ebook prices will slow the growth of digital reading significantly. After all, digital reading is not just about price. It is about a new way to easily store and read books. eBook sales have grown and are still growing. The Yankee Group expects ebook sales to be 4 times higher by 2013 then they were in 2010.

If these conflicting reports leave you wondering what the best price for the digital version of your next title should be, take heart. There is no new hard and fast rule for pricing ebooks. I believe the old rule is still valid. Price your book within the price range of its competing titles. Pricing it significantly lower or higher than similar titles will curtail your sales.

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eBook Sales Keep Going Up

For the past few years, ebook sales have grown and grown and grown. Then, in February, ebooks outsold all other formats of books (paperbacks, hardcovers, religious, etc).

Some people are predicting the demise of the print book. However, there is still a segment of people who have not yet embraced ebooks.

Watch what Andy Rooney has to say about ebooks.

How about you? Do you read more ebooks than print books yet?

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