Monday, November 06, 2006

Monday debate: Ebooks – are they worth it?

The ebook market in 2005 was worth $11 million U.S. dollars* and if growth trends continue should break $15 million in 2006. A multi-million dollar industry then, but still small fry. A small UK publisher with 11 staff and producing 100 titles a year has approximately this turnover.** The ebook market in 2005 published 5,000+ new titles. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that there’s less in the total pot per title. My ebook has brought in a few pennies. Kate Johnson, aka Cat Marsters, tells me her etitles earn significantly better. So what’s in it for the epublished author? Riches, if you promote? Or is the cost of promotion too high for the possible returns? * Source: International Digital Publishing Forum ** John Blake Publishing


At 11/06/2006 04:26:00 pm, Blogger Cara Preston said...

From Cara Preston, author of LIPSTICK LADIES AND DOODLING DIVAS and co-author to ACROSS A CROWDED ROOM, both at
I realize that on Mardi Gras, the "shelf life" where the book cover is on display is only two months. One month on the coming soon page and then a month on the new releases page. I equate this to a book being on a shelf two months. I made bookmarks, sent them to other states where romance writers hold conferences, I had a video clip made and posted on youtube and myspace and joined varous yahoo chat groups. I spoke with a bookstore manager yesterday who told me that in a few years Waldenbooks will be able to have customers order ebooks online. This should help with ebook sales. We all hope so anyway.

At 11/06/2006 04:39:00 pm, Blogger Cat Marsters said...

Some e-books earn very well, but some may only gather a few hundred over their earnout period. A big e-publisher like Ellora's Cave has very good sales, but they can drop off sharply after the first few months. It also seems to be the case that erotic romance is the biggest e-market--but that's not to say that other genres are losing out. I know a couple of authors with Samhain Publishing (all genres of fiction) who are pretty pleased with their royalties.

It's clear that promotional efforts are not unrewarded, but the jury's still out on whether you get out as much as you put in.

Still, e-publishing is a great market for books that might be considered too risky by a conventional publisher. With much lower overheads, they can afford to take a chance on more books, and offer new authors a foot in the door of the publishing world.

At 11/06/2006 10:20:00 pm, Blogger Nell Dixon said...

I'm published with Samhain and also some smaller presses, Moonlit Romance and By Grace publishing. I write tender romance and romantic comedy. The benefite to me of being e published have been enormous in terms of getting my work out there, building up a readership, the experience of being edited and also what I've learned in terms of promotion. My earnings are growing steadily and I've been quite pleased so far with my sales. I've also managed to sell e book rights to one of my print titles so that is especially nice.


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