Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The last of our e-book survey

Blechta at the wobbly controls of his keyboard.

Sorry about my electronic travails of last week. They still continue somewhat but that’s not due to my Internet Service Provider pooping out on me, but on my computer just getting old and creaky. Guess it’s time to move on from steam-driven to something more modern...

It’s good that I was delayed, though, because two more people I’d contacted weighed in on the remaining questions. Here are the results once again in point form:

5. For authors: I would prefer my work to published in electronic form only. (Y/N)

The common response from 15 authors was that we all seem to want our works to come out in book form. Most (13) said they wouldn’t mind if e-books were also published, but several wouldn’t want an either/or situation. In other words, we want to sell books first, e-books second.

Many thanks to everyone who took the time to send in their thoughts. Some of you took a lot of time on it, too, with very considered responses!

6. For authors: I would prefer my backlist to be available in electronic form only. (Y/N)

This was a resounding yes! And based on what the few publishers who responded are telling me, they’re thinking in this direction, too. Let’s face it, it only makes sense. When you have “live stock” sitting around in a warehouse, it costs money, and if you’re only selling a few books per year out of that stock, it makes no sense to keep it around. At a certain point, you must realize that it’s costing more for fulfillment than you’re making from these reduced sales. With e-books, all those costs are pretty well gone, certainly down to a profitable level.

7. For authors: If I’m going to be published, it’s books only for me! (Y/N)

The answer to this is above. Only 2 authors wanted nothing to do with e-books. That’s sort of silly from where I’m sitting, but there you go.

8. For publishers: We already publish e-books. (Y/N)
9. For publishers: We are planning on publishing e-books. (Y/N)


Two out of 6 publishers who responded answered yes to this, and 1 said they were already working on it. All indicated that books are still solidly in their line of sight, but that e-books are looking more attractive, especially for non-fiction. This could be a growing trend. Self-help books are already strongly in the e-book camp. Fiction less so.

10. For publishers: Our backlist will only be available as e-books. (Y/N)

Four of the publishers indicated that this is completely an economic decision that they are going to be forced to make. All used the word “forced”. I think that’s very interesting...

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