Where the Sales are for Indie Authors

The Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) newsletter for September 2011 (published in paper and many of its articles will not be available in virtual form) had a piece about E-book publishing and where the sales are going.

The result of information gathering by “Sourcebooks” reveals that for paper printed books, 42.3% of sales were adult nonfiction, 25.2% were adult fiction, 7% were juvenile/children (both fiction and nonfiction) and 25.5% were calendars/audio/journals, etc.

Of the 42.3% of paper books that represented adult nonfiction, sales were broken down further into the top five largest categories: reference 15%, general nonfiction 12%, health/fitness/medicine/sports 11%, religion/Bibles 11%, and biography/autobiography/memoir 9%.

However, the pie chart representing sE-books reveals that about 82% of sales were adult fiction (narrative), while adult nonfiction was maybe 15% and children/juvenile maybe 3%.

This tells us that the strongest place for independent authors that are either self-published or published by a small indie press is to focus on adult narrative fiction, because the small, indie author’s best market is E-books.

And this is because the largest and mid-sized traditional publishers have the brick-and-mortar bookstore market pretty much locked up. When the average brick-and-mortar bookstore carries between 20 and 50 thousand titles and the average super sized brick-and-mortar bookstore carrieds about 150,000 titles while more than 3.3 million new titles were published in 2010 (over 3 million from indie authors and about 300,000 from the traditional publishing industry), we discover there isn’t enough shelf space in brick-and-mortar bookstores for indie authors.

In addition, only a limited amount of shelf space in brick-and-mortar bookstore is available for new titles. Visit a local indie brick-and-mortar bookstore or a Barnes and Noble superstore and count the new titles that are displayed on the new release shelves/tables. The rest of the book in that bookstore are mostly old titles that still sell well months/years after being released and most of them are from traditional publishers.

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for doing the research on this! It tells me I made the right choice.

  2. […] analysis all begs the question:  What types of works sell best in which formats?  How have I used budget analysis plus market trends to help me make publishing decisions?  To […]

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