A new article in Publishers Weekly reveals bookstore sales numbers for 2015, and they’re great. For the first time since the 2007, bookstore sales went up 2.5% for the year. That’s excellent news for writers and for readers! However, the reasons why print sales are rising and ebook sales are falling might not be so great for readers and writers.
The rebounding of print–a number of major publishers have reported that their print sales rose in 2015, while their e-book sales declined–no doubt helped bricks and mortar outlets last year. The rise in print sales comes after a period of marked decline, when e-book sales were surging from 2009-2010.
So why do you think ebook sales are down while print sales are up? I can only speculate based on my own experience, but I think I may be like many other readers. I am personally a book junkie, reading a couple books every week. When ebooks first hit the scene, I got a Kindle and loved the ease of browsing and purchasing new books. However, in the last few years, I’ve noticed that the price of ebooks for new releases has slowly started to creep up. Now, a new release ebook from one of the big five publishers often costs over $13.
Here’s a good example. All the Light We Cannot See won a Pulitzer prize and is on my to-read list. Let’s say I want to get the ebook so I bop over to Amazon and look it up. The ebook price is $13.99 (seriously?). I can get a paperback for $6.93 or a hardback for $15.99. Um, I’m getting the paperback. If it’s a book I really want, I’ll just get a hardcopy at my local bookstore.
For me, high ebook prices have shifted my book buying habits back towards print. I think this is one of the main reasons bookstore sales have bumped up in recent years. It’s cheaper to just drive over to your bookstore and buy a real book. That is good for bookstores, so I am happy about that. However it’s not so great for authors. Publishers that set ebook sales so high that they turn off readers like me are not doing their authors any favors. If you are an author looking for a book deal, be sure to set a maximum ebook price for your book, something that you think average readers are willing to pay to discover your fantastic book.