07-07-2012 08:11 AM
The reason for declining ebook sales has been extensively discussed on the KDP Forums, and the consensus of opinion, which I agree with, is as follows.
The Amazon.com Select program, which allows Select members (it's free to join) to make their ebooks available as free downloads for 5 days every three months, is the reason. Many authors report thousands of free downloads each. One reader said they had downloaded "35,000 free ebooks." New sites exist just to let readers know what Freebies are available. Authors are asked when they will make a particular ebook free, so it can be acquired free, etc.
I posted an article on the KDP Feedback Forum titled "Why buy the cow when you can get so much milk free?" It does the mathematics, and shows that with market saturation by free ebooks, paid sales will decline to almost nothing. The article has had 4,300 hits, and the number continues to increase.
With thousands of downloads there may be a small temporary increase in paid sales, for Newbies. Due to this the process continues. On it goes, and more and more free ebooks become available every day.
I very much hope that my conclusion is wrong, and paid sales do not keep falling, but so far it appears they are still falling, for most everyone.
If anyone might like to help with my sales, you have my blessing to do so. Please search by author name Phillip Duke, and perhaps you will see something of interest among my eight B and N titles? Good luck to us all. I fear that as ebook authors we need it.
07-27-2012 12:40 AM
07-28-2012 12:59 PM
Thank you for your comment. A reasonable number of free ebooks would not be so bad, but numerous KDP authors post that they have many thousands of free downloads each. Sites have sprung up that specialize in advertising free ebooks. Some posters are reporting now that they cannot even give their ebooks away- the numbers downloaded free have very markedly declined. Some readers post they have so many free ebooks, like 15,000, that they will never have time to read them.
This enormous glut of free ebooks must make itself felt, at least to a certain extent, throughout the ebook world, as well as with KDP Indie authors, most of whom now agree that the Select free ebook program is responsible, for the mass decline in ebook sales.
I am not trying to blame, I am just trying to understand what is happening.
Please know I have 10 titles published with Barnes and Noble. For fun, I am posting the cover of my most recent ebook, fiction genre Horror.
Please keep in mind this is a fiction ebook.
07-28-2012 10:51 PM
I'm really not convinced Kindle Select has had any impact at all. First of all, no one has borrowed ANY of my over 20 titles, even the ones that sell best, so I don't see that draining off sales. Also, people buy the books they want to read. I could spend the next decade reading everything on Project Gutenberg - which after all includes some of the world's greatest literature - but I hardly ever read any of that material. I've even got books of content which is available free on my Web site and people still buy them. Never mind the books which are available for two different prices on some outlets and people buy the version at the HIGHER price.
You could go crazy trying to figure this stuff out.
North Hollywood, CA
"Monologues for Teens and Twenties", "How to Kill a Peacock", "Paris Poems", "August Zang and the French Croissant", "Suicide Monologues for Actors and Others", etc.
07-30-2012 09:43 PM
I'm grateful to Amazon, B&N and Smashwords for my sales but I am an author who wants to see her books read. If I have a book that B&N is only selling 1 or 2 copies a month of and Amazon gives me the option to see if giving some books away will cause increase sales for me, I am going to take that chance.
I definitely want to get paid for my work but I also believe in my work. I write Christian fiction and if giving some copies away is one of the ways I can get something I believe in into the hands of people who will read it and be moved by it, then I will try that way. Money is important but being read is important too.
When I am lying on my deathbed, I will not be ashamed of the words I have put on paper for my readers to digest. I believe our words have a great effect on others.
You may think I am getting away from the subject at hand but I'm not. I'm just sharing another perspective about giving our books away. If you're just in it for the money, it may or may not be a good thing to put your book in the KDP program and use the giveaways offered there. But if making money is not your only goal, then the free program does have its advantages and it may also help sales in the long run too.
08-04-2012 10:15 PM
Hello doowop-dancing: I am not against giving a reasonable number of books away. On the KDP Forum Posters routinely brag about how many thousands of ebooks they give away on every promotion. I started a thread "Why buy the cow when you can get so much milk free"? that does the market saturation math.
The majority of Posters agree that the marked decline in paid sales is due to the great increase in free Select program Indie ebook downloads. There are sites now that list freebies in advance, and notify sign ups when freebies will be available. Authors report being asked "When will your book be available free, so I can read it? Some freebie collectors post they have like 25,000 free ebooks.
One thing is certain; while a person is reading a free ebook, they are not reading a paid for ebook. The reason for the marked paid sales decline, is of course still an open question.
Thank you for your post it is appreciated.
I am a newbie here, and on the KDP Forum where I come from Posters routinely post on their books, If this is against the Rules here, I apologize. This is a recent publication.
"Jack The Ripper versus Sherlock Holmes."
The cover image is a Ripper victim crime scene photo.
08-05-2012 11:44 PM
Does B&N do any promotion? Like Kindle does the free days? I know Nook has a list of free books, but do we just set the price as free then change it back? Do they post on Facebook feeds, do referrals like "you might also enjoy"?
08-06-2012 07:59 AM
You are asking excellent questions, that I would like to know the answers to also. I will mention that the promos available from KDP did not help me. The more experienced authors there have withdrawn their books from the Select program, in the realization that very many free downloads are harmful to long term sales.
Here are three books I recently made available on Barnes and Noble.com for the Nook.
"HEROIN God's Own Medicine" Horror, Addiction, my best seller on Amazon.com>.
"TALES Of The Cage" Body, Mind and Spirit. Everyone is a prisoner in the cage of the body.
"KARMA" Eastern philosophy, Religion. Karma determines all your life experiences, and also what happens after life ends.
08-06-2012 11:50 AM
There are a lot of valid statements here and I agree with them for the most part. I actually started my self-pub journey through PubIt but had no sales to speak of so when Amazon offered KDP Select I thought it was a great way to get my name out there - and it was. It worked well for a few months where my free downloads spurned a lot of sales (by my standards) and the trade off was a good one but then it started to fade and I received requests via Twitter, email, and FB to post my books on Smashwords and B&N so I figured it was a good time to pull my books and I am very glad I did. My sales are still nothing to write home about but I am reaching a larger audience and hoping things will pick up again this fall. I just wish that B&N would do more for their indie authors by way of promos/exposure.
The only other thing I would like to add is that these people may have thousands upon thousands of free books to read but how many are they going to complete? How many reviews have you seen where the person complained about grammar, boring story lines, formatting, etc interfering with their ability to even complete the book? How many of those freebies are utter crap that should not be published?
08-06-2012 03:36 PM
Thanks for the post. The large number of freebies that as you say should not have been published bring disrepute upon all Indie authors. There are people who say the quality of Indie books is so poor they will never look at them. The number of free downloads is so great that I expect it is beginning to influence both Barnes and Noble and Smashwords ebook sales. And, newbies keep arriving and publishing new books, and oldies keep on publishing new books. But people also keep on buying ebook Readers. Where it will all end up no one knows, but it is hoped that eventually the better authors will get at least decent ebook sales. This is the cover of my most popular Barnes and Noble ebook, Jack The Ripper versus Sherlock Holmes. It has 6 illustrations.
08-06-2012 03:54 PM
Customers are given good samples of each book to read before purchasing a book, which, if read, is a clear indication if the author can write or not. If they do not read the sample, it is their own fault if they do not find the book to their liking.
08-06-2012 07:45 PM
Elaine, I think you misunderstood my post. I was simply saying that readers may discard several hundred books because they don't like them for whatever reason - poorly written, poor formatting, not their style, etc. I completely agree that people should read the sample before selecting a book but I am also aware that there are authors who will make sure their first 20% is pristine but let the rest of the book go. Or, maybe the first two or three chapters show promise but then things take a serious turn (I had that happen to me). I was just trying to offer some hope that readers will siphon out the sludge and the cream will continue to rise to the top.
08-06-2012 08:00 PM
I didn't misunderstand your post. I was commenting on Einstein's comment about quality of books.
I also know there are famous authors who get one and two star reviews by readers saying this book or that book is full of grammatical and spelling mistakes, etc, when they aren't. It also happens to perfectly fine authors who are not so famous. Because there are some not so well-meaning folks who go around basically attacking perfectly good books that really have nothing wrong with them. Why? Because they want to eliminate the competition as much as possible, hoping to spoil as many sales as they can for authors they consider as competition.
However, I apologize for interruping your thread. I was simply addressing the other subject that came up within it. That, in itself, hurts sales for some.
08-06-2012 08:33 PM
Okay, I just wanted to make sure it was clear that I was by no means attacking indie authors. I love indie authors and prefer the creativity and "out of the box" thinking that comes with indie work. I agree that "haters" blast any work they please and I am pretty certain it takes miserable souls to do such things. One of the best reviews I have received is from a woman who pointed out things she did not like about one of my books and proceeded to say she would not seek the sequel noting that the book is solid but not to her tastes. She was not malicious or hurtful with her review and I wish more people would take that perspective. It takes a lot for somebody to put themselves out there and I wish readers would realize it and start taking that into consideration when they write reviews....just my two bits.
And you didn't interrupt the thread! Really, you didn't, it's not even my thread. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't misunderstood. I didn't want there to be a big blow up over a misunderstanding (it happened so often on the amazon forums that I stopped going there).
08-07-2012 10:59 PM
As long as we are all good then I think it is okay, right?