Last month, Amazon announced that for the first time, they were selling more ebooks than print books on their website. After less than four years of selling digital books, the online retailer said that from April 1 through the middle of May they were selling 105 ebooks for every 100 printed books. This number excludes free ebooks, which would have tipped the scales even further in favor of ebooks. Printed books included paperback and hardcover books.
Of course, these stats only take Amazon’s numbers into account, not every book sale in the country, and Amazon is the largest ebook retailer in the country, accounting for an estimated two-thirds of U.S. ebook sales. The popularity of Amazon’s Kindle has certainly propelled the retailer’s digital sales. Amazon reports they are selling three times as many ebooks as they were a year ago. But you can’t discount the importance of these numbers. They definitely are a landmark, indicating a distinct shift in book readers’ buying habits.
Anyone involved in reading or writing books has certainly seen the writing on the digital wall and braced for the day when ebooks might completely replace the beloved printed word. But few, if any, predicted sales figures like these so quickly.
As I work on completing my first novel, “The Truth,” I’ve been debating what route to take with getting it published. At first, I was pretty certain I was going to hold out for a deal with a publishing house, at least for a while, then possibly self publish if no deal was available. Now, as I’ve seen the paths many other authors have followed in the past year, I have started to reconsider that stance.
Given these sales numbers from Amazon and the sales success I have seen my fellow authors have on Amazon and other sites, I can definitely see publishing my book as an ebook once it is done. Of course that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t keep pursuing a publishing deal or pursue self publishing the book so people can buy physical copies. But given the opportunity to have my book available for sale on Amazon and other sites and getting my book into more people’s hands (even if not literally), I think that may be the way to go.
As a writer, what I really want, more than making boatloads of money, is to have people read my story. I have something to say with my work, and I want people to read my work and understand and appreciate what I have to say. With the paradigm shift under way in the publishing industry, holding out for a publishing deal is no longer the only option, and maybe it’s not even the best option anymore, to getting your work out to the public. As the landscape continues to morph and shift, authors have to continually reassess what works for them and how to publish. Some self-publishers have been lucky enough to land huge mainstream deals. Other authors who have previously published with major publishing houses have now decided to try the self-publish/ebook route. All this is just evidence that there is no one right way to publish. What works for one person may not fit the goals and plans of another writer.
By the end of the summer, I will have completed my book. So I have a few more months to think about what I want to do with the finished product. No matter what path I take with the book, I hope that many people will have the chance to discover “The Truth.” Can you handle “The Truth?”