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Data Analysis to Support the Rise of Self-Publishers


Posted on 2013-Apr-18

by Panich Choonhanirunrit (Google+)

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In years to come, one might have a full explanation why eBook sales could be a much more preferable choice to the paper sibling. Traditional publishers and authors who are resistant to digital technology might frown upon the versatile and skillful indie fellows who relentlessly research and study the rising domination of self-pubbers and keep reporting how and why they will deliver to readers. So far, the “guesstimate” is perhaps your best bet to decode the complexity of sophisticated commercial secret that the Big A hesitates to share. Excuse my colloquial language, this post is meant to make sense in the great post uploaded by the one and only David G, who has spent every ounce of intelligence collecting available information regarding eBook sales in different stores and compile it in such a comprehensible way you and I can digest and write home about.

Dissecting the Data

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First thing first, David is not attempting to pinpoint the success formulae to change any author’s mind in shipping their best content to the retailers. Instead of cracking the secret code to, he takes the liberty in breaking the analyses of significant figures down in the digital publishing industry who have claimed their performance is faring well in the tidal wavs of competitive challenges. Nook Press is exemplified in David’s case study how the hype around the new service could pave ways to their courtship with future investors. Unfortunately, it seems like this effort of renovating the ailing brand is too little, too late yet the publicly released figures intrigue his analytical mind.

eBook Sales Percentages

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David posits that the press release might overstate the fact how self-published works enjoy the market share on Nook at the staggering pace of 30% of all book sales. While Nook sales remain confident about their sales progress, Kobo is another contender to report their success outside U.S. territory. They even boast of how eBooks sales have triumphed over the largest publishers’ books. On American soil, David suspects about Kobo’s eBook sales report that it can be “low single digits” as opposed to international growth. Without a doubt, Amazon dominates the market share between 60% and 65% according to several observers leaving the rest of competitors fighting to stay relevant in the eBook business. Nevertheless, one question prevails: how much can self-publishers benefit from those sales?

Self-published Success

Obviously, trade deals shall forever be sealed under the oath of confidentiality but we can obtain useful information elsewhere. Citing the Kindle Indie Store, David looks closely how self-published works have climbed up in the bestselling chart over the course of several months. Although external factors do affect the sales of self-published works, the sales have remained stable enough according to the store’s data analysis. In the Kindle Store, eBooks have to compete with other products such as magazines and games yet it is appropriate to say that 30% of the top-selling eBooks on Amazon are self-published. Although David cannot confirm the accuracy of this data or whatsoever regarding the actual unit sales, his closest assumption is 25% of self-publishers garner eBook market share in the US.

Traditional Publisher’s Adjustment

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Why these numbers and percentages matter? First of all, the repetitive lesson about Amazon conquering the eBook marketing world is reassured, yet it is a significant discovery how self-publishers are progressing everywhere. Despite the fact that online retailers are hesitant to share any information related to sales, their press release combined with sales rank can tell us the rough the estimation of self-publisher’s increasing success. The fight for survival seemingly and perfectly fits the situation what traditional publishers are facing at the moment. According to Teleread, they need to adapt themselves to data analysis for marketing approach. Metadata is the main interest SourceBooks are improvising and practicing. That is what its CEO, Dominique Raccah, said. Open Road Integrated Media, the digital publisher and multimedia content company, similarly reflects the same effort to prioritize data and marketing campaigns for authors.

Social Media and Kindle Singles as Creative Outlets

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Social media is undeniably their reliable tools to gather relevant information in relation to their customer’s need. StumbleUpon and Twitter are the two ideal platforms to attract new prospects. Atavist, a media and software company, directly links arms in arms with Kindle Singles to sell their digital products apart from social media. Being featured on the front page helps boost their discoverability of text-based products. Atavist CEO, Evan Ratliff, said that they were willing to experiment in different ways to reach their audience. With media elements incorporated into their projects, they are ready to think outside the box as opposed to what traditional publishers are trained to do.

Still More to Offer

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If the obscure stats and figures have undermined your decision to self-publish your works, you can take heed of the trend reported by the retailers and veteran indie authors. Although data analysis has been practiced for sometime among the indie gurus, it seems that the interpretation gradually becomes the wake-up call for the publishers to adjust themselves to the ever-changing world of digital production. For indie authors, instead of abandoning the telling signals and numbers, you must remain open to the availability of data that can help create a suitable marketing campaign to target your audience in the right place, right time. Beyond the “new term” defined by traditional publishing industry, eBook within the boundary of endless technicality will be the legitimate form for all to make profit and instantaneous deliver to their readers. You can see for yourself what eBooks can offer in our online statement.

Label: Self-Publishing

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