Sunday, July 29, 2012

Self-Publishing Explosion

Dear readers and writers,

I'm blown away by these numbers.  In 2010, there were 133,036 new ISBNs registered for self-published books, according to Bowker.  In 2011, there were 211,269.  It seems inescapable to conclude  that the main stream publishers have been acting as a dam holding back the words of thousands of would-be authors.  The niche market book needs of the US are now probably solved.  If we publish 300,000 next year, can they be sold to anyone?

Maybe.  After all, if you read about magazine markets, there are evergreen types of articles they discuss, ones that more or less can be updated annually and still interest people.

Here are a few more details about what kinds of books are self-published today.  Last year, fiction was 45% and nonfiction 38%.  The average price of self-published fiction is $6.94, but the average for nonfiction titles was $19.32.  E-books were 41% of self-published books but only 11% of sales income because the average e-book sold for only $3.18.

 You may have noticed that there are more ways to get reviews of self-published books now and self-published books have been generating awards systems, since most mainstream awards rule them out.  It looks like a whole parallel structure is growing out there, led by CreateSpace, Lulu, and others, and much larger and more lucrative than the mainstream publishers.  They are still claiming the quality high ground, although they've notably signed a few of the most successful self-publishers recently.  

Food for thought!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Laura,
I don't have much to say bout this, but it does make me wonder if there's a top to this mesa. Maybe we're at saturation level now. What seems clear is that people have found a way around the traffic blockage provided by agents/big publishers and they're taking the bypass by the thousands. What will happen to all these books? So may of the books of big publishers don't sell so I feel sad about the average self-published book. But some will succeed!