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Digital and Self-Publishing are now Profitable Words

Posted by Tom Chalmers on April 11, 2016 at 10:05 AM

Digital and self-publishing were once words often be disregarded by some quarters of the publishing industry, questioned by others and looked upon as being the future by a few. Since then they have continued to raise as many questions as answers in terms of how to get the best out of them, but what is clear is how they have grown in prominence to become key words within the publishing world.

The current self-published e-book market is clearly in a period of quite sustained growth. At the recent Nielsen BookInsights Conference Steve Bohme, research director at Nielsen Book UK, noted that sales of self-published e-books rose from 16% of the e-book market by volume in 2014 to over a fifth of the market (22%) in 2015. Although the overall price paid for e-books was said to have fallen by around 1% in 2015, self-published titles were still thought to be, on average, roughly half the price of mainstream publishers’ e-book titles.

Focusing more on the e-book market, data taken from the Nielsen Books & Consumers UK survey showed that sales in the UK grew by 5% in volume in 2015. This is a positive figure but does highlight a lower growth rate than in 2013 and 2014, leading to the e-book share of books rising only marginally last year by 1% to 27% of the market from 26% in 2014. There is some evidence to suggest that this increase, in part, could be due to a rise in the purchasing of Amazon/self-published titles. This is especially apparent when you take into account the fact that e-book sales from mainstream publishers was slightly down on 2014 figures.

It’s obvious that success in self-publishing – print, e-book or both - is much more than just being able to write. In the modern publishing arena getting your work out there is easier than it’s ever been. The plethora of self-publishing companies and portals life make the process simple and relatively inexpensive.

But the big question remains - how to make all this hard work profitable? Whether digital or in print it takes hard work and the exploration of all potential avenues to generate decent levels of revenue. Of course rights and licensing will continue to play an important role in this and with the digital sector developing at such a rapid pace it’s clear that these can work hand in hand to break down more sales boundaries on a domestic and international level now and in the near future.


Categories: Sales, Lessons Learned and Tips from Authors, Marketing & Promotion

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