Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The eBook Revolution in Full Swing

Absolutely fantastic article came out in the Wall Street Journal yesterday on eBooks. It was the first article I've read that made sense and the projections for the marketplace were absolutely unreal. They showed eBook sales projections through 2015 -- and the numbers were impressive. Today eBook sales comprise roughly $18 million of total book revenues; however, projections suggest that by 2015, sales will be in the billions. The article discussed the publishing business and cited legacy costs as the major difference for publishers in the market, with the buy-backs being the biggest issue. eBooks eliminate buy-back costs.

Publishers like 3L Publishing can ill afford the buy-back situation. In fact, we recently faced a terrible situation where we had not even received payments for books sold and the distributor was crediting buying backs $6 over the paid price (which as cited, we were not even paid). We were and are being held accountable to what is nothing more than fraudulent accounting practices -- and this is not an isolated incident. We wondered how major publishers coped with this situation. What occurred to us is that major publishers probably don't cull through the accounting of massive sales and end up paying it. The good news, we began last late spring making major decisions about the future of 3L that were prophetic.

Realizing that industry practices were sorely in need of reform and that the rise of eBooks would substantially impact the business, we made some policy changes for the better. While it will be a few more months before we finish this transition, we believe our decisions based on market indicators were right on. Without legacy costs to hamper business, we now look toward a future where eBooks dominate. I'm not suggesting print will go anywhere. I believe choices will always exist, but statistics clearly demonstrate the rise of eBooks. In fact, the momentum is building much faster than even we anticipated. I believe the Wall Street Journal's projection are slightly behind and that the market rise will become much more aggressive. An examination of our sales statistics already show an unexpected rapid increase in eBook sales.

What does this mean for authors? Well, it's a major bonus all the way around. Overhead costs for printing, storage and insurance substantially reduce. Royalties rates substantially increase. The cost per eBooks with the increase royalties rates actually tip to a higher royalty not a lower one. What authors ought to realize is that the publisher's role in the process will not go away. A publisher's brand name on a product will continue to lend credibility and open much-needed doors to the media to gain exposure. I believe the eBook revolution will actually help pull the publishing industry forward and eliminate costly processes that needed to be reformed anyway.

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