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E-Reader Ownership Continues to Dominate Over Tablets


According to a recent study by Pew Internet, adults in the United States are buying e-readers at a much faster rate than tablets. The number of adults who own an e-book reader doubled to 12%, compared to only 8% who own a tablet.

Both numbers have seen growth over the past six months, but the e-reader owners jumped by a much larger percentage. Adults owning an e-book reader were at 6% in November 2010 and tablet owners were at 5%.

E-Readers Over Tablets

Other interesting growth statistics from the last six months include:

  • E-reader ownership among parents has grown more rapidly than it has among-non-parents.
  • E-reader ownership grew at a faster pace among Hispanic adults over white or African-American adults.
  • Ownership among adults ages 18-49 grew more rapidly than any other age group.

The study also tracked how many people owned both an e-reader and a tablet. 5% say they own a tablet but not an e-reader. I’m assuming they mean a physical Kindle or Nook. But … why would they when they can just download the app for free?

There’s definitely still a debate brewing over whether to purchase an e-reader or a tablet. While I personally would rather own a tablet with the Kindle app, I think it ultimately depends on what you plan to use it for, what you’re looking for, and how much you’re willing to spend. CNET has a great article that discusses the pros and cons of both.

So, tell us – do you own an e-reader, a tablet, or both?

Self-Published Author Joins ‘Kindle Million Club’


John Locke has reportedly become the first self-published author to hit the Kindle Million Club – selling over 1 million Kindle books. Locke is the eight author to receive the distinction, joining Stieg Larsson, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Charlaine Harris, Lee Child, Suzanne Collins and Michael Connelly.

Russ Grandinetti, Vice President of Kindle Content, says in a press release, “It’s so exciting that self-publishing has allowed John Locke to achieve a milestone like this. We’re happy to see Kindle Direct Publishing succeeding for both authors and customers and are proud to welcome him to the Kindle Million Club.

Locke himself says that Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) has provided an opportunity for independent authors to compete with the rest of the book selling agency. Not only did KDP give me a chance, they helped at every turn. Quite simply, KDP is the greatest friend an author can have.

Locke attributes his success to his $0.99 eBook sales model, having said, “I saw that a self-published book could be offered on Kindle for 99 cents, and still turn a 35 cent profit. I was stunned! I walked around in a daze for, well, days, trying to explain to people what that meant.

He is now the internationally bestselling author of nine novels including “Vegas Moon,” “Wish List,” “A Girl Like You,” “Follow the Stone,” “Don’t Poke the Bear!” and the New York Times bestselling eBook, “Saving Rachel.” Locke is also the author of the marketing book for self-published authors: “How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months.”

Get a Signed eBook Copy of Your Fave Book!


I’m a sucker for book signings and signed copies of novels (I just went to a midnight book launch with Cassandra Clare and Holly Black last week), and I know there are a ton of people out there who feel the same way.

But what about the fans of eBooks, who don’t want hardcover novels lining their wall? What are they to do? There have been various workarounds – things like having an author sign a postcard or bookmark or even digitally signing a photo of their book – but there’s a new app in the works that sounds like the best solution of all … and it will debut at BookExpo America in May!

Autography Autography is a new tool that allows for a signed photo to be inserted IN to the eBook itself. Here’s how it works: A fan poses with the author for a photograph. The image immediately appears on the author’s iPad. The author uses a stylus to sign the photo and include a message if they choose. The author then taps a button that sends the fan an e-mail with a link to the image, which can be downloaded into the eBook.

It takes about 2.5 minutes, which is a little more than a normal autograph … but let’s face it, most fans want to sit and talk to the author for a minute anyway!

Autography also promotes the virtual tour, which is becoming pretty popular, especially with children’s book authors who do Skype tours with various schools. Now an author can have the tour and provide digital autographs, all without leaving their house.

And the app doesn’t just have to be used for eBooks. It can be a picture of concert tickets, a baseball card, a comic book, or whatever you want signed.

Some authors feel this further promotes a distance between themselves and the reader, but I think it can only help those who have already jumped on the eBook bandwagon. What do you think?

E-Book Author Signs $2 Million Deal in Traditional Publishing Sale


You may not have heard of Amanda Hocking – but as a YA author, I certainly have! The 26-year-old author has seen amazing success as a self-publisher of her young adult series. And now she’s about to enter the traditional publishing world.

Hocking began self-publishing her books last year through online retailers, after she reportedly attempted to shop them to traditional publishers without success. In ten months she sold over 900k digital copies of her books.

But now she’s decided she wants to try her hand at traditional publishing and just last week St. Martin’s Press won the rights to publish four books in a brand new series – for over $2 million.

So what’s her reasoning? If she’s doing so well in the e-book space, why does Hocking want to lose a significant portion of her sales?

I do not want to spend 40 hours a week handling e-mails, formatting covers, finding editors, etc,” Hocking said on her blog. “Right now, being me is a full-time corporation.

Hocking admits that it’s difficult and time consuming, and even with her success as an e-book author she stands up for traditional publishing. She writes, “This is literally years of work you’re seeing. And hours and hours of work each day. The amount of time and energy I put into marketing is exhausting. I am continuously overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do that isn’t writing a book. I hardly have time to write anymore, which sucks and terrifies me.

I think this is an important point to make for those authors interested in jumping into the e-book arena. You can’t just write a book, throw it online, and expect it to do well.

You have to be the publisher. You have to edit your book, market your book, and sell your book (or pay someone to do it). Because your book won’t be visible on display at the bookstore or the library. You’ll be buried in a list of other e-books, so you have to differentiate yourself by contacting book bloggers for reviews, using social media to connect with readers, and much much more. This can be time consuming. Very time consuming as Hocking points out. But it may be lucrative. As Nathan Bransford blogged today – if you don’t have a huge publishing house to back you – it may make more sense monetarily to go with e-book self-publishing.

So in this time when e-books are starting to significantly increase in sales and exposure – an author has to decide if she wants to spend her time writing or publishing. That may be the most important decision.

E-Book Sales Up Over 115% but Overall Sales Are Down


Last week the Association of American Publishers (AAP) released news regarding January 2011 book sales – saying that e-book sales are up 115.8% since January 2010. Downloadable audio books also rose, but at a much smaller rate (8.8% over the previous year).

Overall, total book sales dropped on all platforms by 1.9%. The biggest hits were to the adult mass market (down 30.9%) and adult and children’s paperbacks (down almost 20%).

The two areas that seemed to grow over last year were sales of religious books and professional/scholarly books.

While e-book sales are definitely still on the rise, they still account for less than 10% of total book sales. I’m sure this will change over the next few years as the publishing industry attempts to work out pricing models and licensing models for the e-books.

Do you use an e-book reader?

Why Nobody Cares about Your Free Product


Creating a free product to give away is a great technique for getting people on your mailing list so you can actually sell them products in the future. Monetization, FTW. Most commonly, bloggers give away ebooks. I’m sure you’ve seen it on blogs before – sign up and get a free copy of “How to Make your Life Perfect.” Or whatever.

So you’ve created a free product. You signed up for Aweber or another list-managing service. You tweeted and emailed and otherwise promoted your product. Fantastic.

And then, crickets. Sure, a few of your friends signed up to get your ebook, and maybe even one or two readers took a chance and subscribed to your making list. But all in all, no one cares about the free product you gave out.

Why not? After all, it is free. Shouldn’t people be lining up at your door, breaking down the door even, to get a copy? People love free stuff! So why doesn’t anyone care about your product?

  • Your product was pointless for your market.

You didn’t solve a problem or help your readers any way with the product you created. Or, you do solve a problem, but it isn’t right for the experience level of your community. If your ebook is too advanced or too 101-level for your target market, it doesn’t matter how well-written it is.

  • Your title was vague.

I once wrote a free ebook called The Rule of Three: How to Reach Salary Goals as a Freelance Writer. Initially, I simply called the ebook The Rule of Three. While this makes perfect sense if you actually read the ebook, it doesn’t tell the reader much about what they’re getting if they download it. If I could go back and do it over with that ebook, I would name my product something better from the start, but the subtitle does get the job done.

  • The information can be easily found on your website.

If you have the information available and they don’t have to sign up for a mailing list to get it, why would they sign up in the first place? People download a free product because they can’t get it elsewhere online. If you’re just repackaging something easily available on your own site or commonly available on someone else’s site, they’ll pass. It’s too much effort to sign up for the product. You can repurpose content, but if the benefit is that all of the information is collected in one place, then don’t also collect it in one place on a single page of your site.

  • The benefit doesn’t justify the costs.

Your product might be free, but there is a “cost” – signing up for your mailing list. Some people just aren’t interested in getting a billion emails a day from you. If you’re not having luck getting people to download a free product in exchange for a daily newsletter, change the frequency of your emails to weekly or even monthly and make sure they know that unsubscribing is easy.

  • Another similar free ebook is available from someone else.

Before you start working on a project do your research. If another person in your niche is releasing a free ebook – or even a paid ebook or print book, releasing one of your own that covers the same topic isn’t going to be as interesting to the community. You can certainly write your own spin on things, but it’s much harder to launch something so similar.

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