Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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New study finds self-published titles a ‘fairly large presence’ in ebook market

A new Enders Analysis report has found self-published titles have become ‘a fairly large presence in the ebook sector’ but its market share is mostly limited to romance and speculative-fiction genre series, reports the Bookseller. In March this year Enders found 40 of the 100 top-selling ebooks on Amazon US were self-published, with these titles carrying an US$2.41 (A$3.36) average selling price compared to US$9.10 (A$12.68) for ebooks from the ‘big five’ publishers. Of the self-published titles examined 65% were romance or erotica, and 22% were science-fiction or fantasy, ‘usually with a strong romance theme as well’. ‘Readers are more sensitive to price than reputation and read in high volumes,’ the report finds, adding that ‘the general lack of literary fiction or nonfiction success in ebook format suggests there is still a stigma among readers’. While stating self-publishing is the ‘largest threat to incumbent publisher businesses in the medium term’, because of the possibility of ‘a virtuous circle … where acceptance by readers leads to more authors taking that route, attracting more readers, and so on’, Enders says ‘a wholesale move of the book industry to self-publishing will not happen’. ‘The unique advantages of print books’ in traditional publishing means that self-publishing via print-on-demand will not be as successful as self-publishing via ebooks, according to Enders. ‘We expect this to remain the case’. The report concludes that publishers need to ‘emphasise and protect’ its unique assets include ‘talented, discerning editors’ and close relationships with physical booksellers. ‘On the reader side, there is little scope for publishers to become fully consumer-facing brands, but with the growth of an unfiltered, uncurated market of self-published books, there is an opportunity for publishers to become guarantors of quality—as some imprints already are within genres,’ Enders said.


Category: International news