(NOTE: I wrote this post a year ago. Since it was first posted, ebooks have continued to increase market share and traditional publishers have continued their struggle for survival. Now, more than ever, it’s time for authors to consider their options carefully before taking the traditional route to publication! – RDM 7-9-12)
BY ROBERT DAVID MACNEIL – On a recent flight out of DFW, I picked up a PC Today magazine and read an amazing statistic. The magazine reported that 12% of the adults in the US now own an e-reader. (Pew Internet Project’s May, 2011 survey)
I found that statistic impressive, but as I read further, I discovered three additional factors that make it nothing less than earthshaking…
FACTOR ONE: The 12% figure does not include tablet devices like the Ipad. If you add in tablets, the percentage owning an e-reading device soars to almost 20% of the population.
FACTOR TWO: Less than half of the adults in this country are avid readers. (Only 30% of Americans even visited a bookstore in the past five years.) So of the actual “reading” population, the number using e-readers is probably approaching 50%
FACTOR THREE: (And this is the kicker)…. That 12% rate in Pew’s survey is DOUBLE the e-reader ownership reported in Pew’s November, 2010 survey, just six months earlier. So e-reader ownership in this country actually doubled in six months! (Lots of people got e-readers for Christmas!)
That’s why e-book sales in America experienced a 202.3% growth in the last year while hardback and paperback sales fell 34.4%
That’s why e-books are now the single bestselling format in American publishing. (Apr 2011 Association of American Publishers)
As authors, we need to see that the publishing world is where the “horse and carriage” industry was in the early years of the 20th century. It has a long and glorious history, but it has passed a tipping point and will never be the same again.
That makes it a whole new world for authors. I’ve talked to many authors who have been where I’ve been for the past year. Do I stay with the old paradigm and seek an agent and publisher… or do I take a chance on this “new thing” that’s shaking the publishing world?
That’s one of the hardest decisions any author can make, and each author needs to consider the options carefully. I am fully convinced my SciFi thriller, Iona Portal could have done very well going the traditional route, but the more I looked at the publishing world, the more I saw that route as a dead end. So two weeks ago I chose to launch out into uncharted waters to e-publish Iona Portal.
If you are still debating the options of self-publishing, I encourage you to read my post, 6 Reasons Why It’s Foolish Not to Self Publish.