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54 Comments on "5 Valuable Charts That Show How Publishing Is Changing"

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Massim0Marin0
1 year 10 months ago

Great information, Jane. Thanks for sharing.

Dina Santorelli
1 year 10 months ago

This is EXCELLENT! Thank you for posting, particularly the key takeaways.

[…] Jane Friedman writes You’ll find this name popping up everywhere when you venture into writing web […]

1 year 10 months ago

Fantastic! About a year and a half ago, I’d wondered about the eCommerce vs. brick-and-mortar sales percentages. Thanks for finally answering that question! :)

I’d love to see even more updated numbers on that aspect, so if you happen to see them, let us know!

simonepdx
1 year 10 months ago

I was interested to see that the “independent bookstores” category increased and held steady as a percentage over the three years in the first chart. The increase in e-commerce sales wasn’t on their backs, as many people fear, but rather on the giant bookstores’ sales among a very few categories. (I am curious what might have happened with book clubs two years ago that cut their share in half ….)

1 year 10 months ago

Good graphs, thanks!

Russell Blake
1 year 10 months ago

The reason ebooks are so much more profitable for those intermediating (not writing the books) between authors and readers is because they take more than in the format where they actually have substantial manufacturing costs. Doesn’t that sound suspiciously like acting as a cartel to use an unfair royalty rate established when ebooks were an afterthought (if 25% was fair, that’s what they’d be paying in hardcover, too) and as an industry, stiffing authors on ebooks when the value of the publisher (printing presses, ink, paper, trucks, shelf-spacing returns policy) is limited to cover design, editing and pressing upload? Am… Read more »

Deborah Smith Author
1 year 10 months ago

There should be a Business 101 plaque posted at the start of all these discussions: Publishers, like all businesses, have overhead and costs that go far beyond what you continue to state as simply “manufacturing costs.” Please educate yourself. Publishers, whether as mega companies or running a small ebook press that has a 50-title list, do *not* make large profits, period. And by the way, falling in love with those mega corporations that control every penny you make (if you make any) sell ebooks as a so-called “independent” author is a very very unwise thing to do.

Russell Blake
1 year 10 months ago

Deborah, perhaps you can explain to me, in simple language an obvious neophyte like me can understand, why the publishers, whose models did just fine with their fixed costs when it was just hard copy, suddenly require 25% more gross profit on ebooks to cover those identical fixed costs (actually fewer if you think it through)? And while doing so, perhaps you can also help me apprehend what book vendors, which are a channel (you know, B&N, Amazon, Kobo, Google +, Apple…), have to do with manufacturers/publishers? Beyond that one manufactures ebooks and sells them through the store, and the… Read more »

Deborah Smith Author
1 year 10 months ago

As a hybrid author who sold through Big 6 for years and now runs a small press that sells mostly ebooks while still maintaining print sales, my point is: the statement that “traditional publishers have nothing to offer except the manufacturing of print books” was the discussion here. Not an accurate statement even for authors who are solely competing in ebooks and who, like yourself, are very capable of handling the publishing side of their own ebook business. If trad publishing had nothing to offer ebook indies, then the Hugh Howeys of the world would not be in partnership with… Read more »

Russell Blake
1 year 10 months ago

None of which answers my direct question: Why is it reasonable for trad pubs to get significantly more of the net on ebooks as opposed to paper? Simple question. Very long non-answer. A follow-on: I never said “trad pubs have nothing to offer, blah, blah”. See my above actual question to you. To clarify, Trad pubs have value for authors who can’t or won’t manage their own publishing business, and are willing to give away 75% of the net for someone else to do it. They also have value for authors who favor the advance over the actual book profits.… Read more »

Dam Spahn
1 year 10 months ago

Proofreaders hired by publishing companies? Really? I’m skeptical, since I constantly stumble across typos that could only be missed by Microsoft Word’s spell check.

Massim0Marin0
1 year 10 months ago

Well, what publishers have to offer to new authors today has little to no interest. Their standard contracts are impossible to sign. Talking from personal experience.

Times changed. The moment when a publisher offers you a contract and makes you jump to the roof with joy is over. You read it, you look at the clauses and you go “These guys are crazy” and use the contract to fill the garbage bin.

Geraldine Evans
1 year 10 months ago

Interesting information. Thanks, Jane. Must click on your Pinterest link.

1 year 10 months ago

Fascinating, thanks for sharing these visuals. I was suprised to see how tiny the share of independent bookstores is… and I wonder why book clubs have lost so much ground– or rather, why some savvy entrepreneur(s) have not revived them. As a long-time blogger and blog reader I do not see how book blogs have quite filled that old niche. My own sense of things is that too many corporate players (large publishers and chain stores) have tried to treat books as a commodity. They are, of course, but they aren’t, of course.

1 year 10 months ago

Thanks, Jane, excellent information. The big question for me is where we will be in five years. Will ebooks reach 50% of the market? Will indie published books reach 40%? If that happens a tipping point will be reached, IMO, and what we know today as a publishing industry will be radically different.

The challenge ahead for writers is real too. We must create books that compete well with apps and TV series.

willentrekin
1 year 10 months ago

The big question for me is whether we’re already there. Just looking at that first chart, from Bowker–I’m trying to figure out what they’re measuring by. I know Bowker issues ISBNs, so that’s my first guess, but even after following links and clicking around the Nielsen Market Research site I can’t figure it out. If it is by ISBN, it’s incomplete (and if it’s self-reported it’s likely even more so). While corporate publishers generally use them, none of the digital retailers require them for distribution when authors go through them directly. Most of the indie ebooks sold on Kindle don’t… Read more »

[…] Each of these five charts from industry respected sources provide critical insight into the change underway in book publishing. (Some #publishing industry trends all #writers & #authors should be aware of (similar in Cda).  […]

William Ash
1 year 10 months ago

Great series of charts. One question I have about ebook royalties is that we are looking at simply the physical cost of book production, but we are not looking at other costs in the chain–I assume editors and designers should be paid, hopefully well enough to make a living. Then there are things like rent and investing in equipment, etc. Are ebooks just making up for shrinking margins? The editing and design work is part a parcel of the ebook cost. I am not sure separating print books and ebooks of the same title is a useful way of looking… Read more »

[…] Each of these five charts from industry respected sources provide critical insight into the change underway in book publishing.  […]

Elizabeth Lang
1 year 10 months ago

Some good points but also makes a few assumptions that miss some of the facts. A good article but needs to be a bit more rigorous in its logic in order to be more accurate in its conclusions.

William Ash
1 year 10 months ago

Was this an article? It seemed to be a sting of comments based of some industry data. The author seems to be clear that this is a random set of information that she found interesting and wanted to share. It is not complete. It certain has no conclusion.

[…] 5 Valuable Charts That Show How  Publishing Is Changing, a blog post published on JaneFriedman.com, offers some fascinating information about how people buy books. I’ll attach my favourite chart here (if you click on the image you can see it on Jane’s site where it is easier to read): […]

1 year 10 months ago

Daily, I still hear resistance from authors and their use of Amazon due to the “discounting” and cost of getting books to the warehouse when Amazon emails an order to the author/publisher. eCommerce will only continue to grow–a huge majority of the population uses it. Amazon as a primary distributor for we authors in a variety of ways and there are ways to simply contact Amazon with a “stock up” request of at least 5 or 10 books vs the one or two at a time which is its MO. The shipping cost to them is reduced. Thanks Jane… I… Read more »

1 year 10 months ago

I miss the Book Club power. As someone who has had several of my own books featured in clubs in the past, including as the feature of the month and even the “gift” to new members–the exposure, and sales, were terrific.

Judith Grout
1 year 10 months ago

It reinforces what I suspected. These will continue to change and one doesn’t need much imagination to see where things are going.

1 year 10 months ago

Great! All those self-published e-books flooding the market, filled with typos, poor grammar and syntax, a lack of integrity. Just a big pile of crap–destroying books and publishing!

Dam Spahn
1 year 10 months ago

So, over half of “adults” have tablets or ebook readers. Considering how only around half of adults read for pleasure, I’d say the ebook readers have penetrated quite well into the readers’ world. P1 readers, in my experience, often have a ereading device, but still read print books. P2s and 3s are often the ones who don’t have a dedicated ereader, since they’re not frequent users of the written word.

Debbie McClure
1 year 10 months ago

This has proven to be not only a great article, with some really relevant, interesting information and key take-aways (which I love), but also as fodder for some great conversation here. I’ve learned as much from other reader’s comments as I have from the article itself. Thanks Jane and everyone else who has contributed. I’ll be sharing this with my circles. :)

[…] is evolving at lightning speed, and Jane Friedman has 5 charts that show how publishing is changing. Alison Coleman wonders if the rise of small publishing means a return to niche publishing, while […]

Kathy Miles Wheeler
1 year 10 months ago

Thanks for sharing Jane. The door is still wide open for self-publishers. eCommerce is the place to be.

[…] expert Jane Friedman offers five charts that show how publishing is changing. Go […]

[…] Bowker chart, copied from Jane Friedman’s blog post “5 valuable charts that show how publishing is changing” highlights the trends in retailing. How long does it have to go on before the column is all pale […]

[…] 5 Valuable Charts That Show How Publishing is Changing – Jane Friedmann zeigt mit Hilfe von 5 Statistiken auf, wie sich der Buchmarkt in den USA verändert. Sehr interessant. […]

[…] include Finding Big Opportunities with a Small Press by Kendel Lynn, owner of Henery Press, and 5 Valuable Charts That Show How Publishing is Changing by Jane […]

[…] Rid Of Stuff Baen Books Catalog Now Available For Kobo PW’s Fast Growing Indie Publishers Charts Illustrate Publishing Changes Tolkien’s Beowulf On Sale Now Prediction Or Crappola?:  DeNardo’s Part 2 New P. J. […]

1 year 10 months ago

[…] I don’t have a lot to offer today – This is quite a good set of charts to look at. It certainly show how large retailer bookstores are suffering and how print itself is […]

[…] sind nach wie vor fest in der Hand von Apple. Jane Friedman versammelt auf ihrem Blog fünf ganz unterschiedliche Perspektiven auf Teile der US-Verlagsbranche, die zeigen wie sehr sich der Markt dort verändert. Für […]

[…] 5 Valuable Charts that Show How Publishing is Changing https://janefriedman.com/2014/03/21/5-valuable-charts/ […]

Jane Freund
1 year 9 months ago

I am both a numbers geek and entrepreneurial author, this article and information is very helpful. Thanks so much!

[…] is what makes this book awesome. Obviously, the whole book industry is changing and has changed drastically in the past decade, and will probably continue to change forever. But it’s been a somewhat reluctant change, I […]

[…] Over on my Pinterest account, I keep tabs on data, charts, and infographics related to the media industry—and every so often, I reflect on what the most recent stats are telling us. (My last roundup was in March 2014.) […]

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