I just finished reading a February, 2014 article from Forbes business magazine written by Jeff Bercovici. Talk about depressing…check out the following statistics:
1. E-books make up 30% of all book sales in the United States, and Amazon has a 65% share of that category. Apple and Barnes and Noble have most of the rest. All of my book sales have been through Amazon, as far as I know. I’m at their mercy.
2. There has been a 50% decrease in the number of independent bookstores over the last 20 years. Less than 10% of book sales are made through independent bookstores. They’re dying, and I won’t be surprised if Barnes and Noble eventually fails. Their Nook didn’t succeed, and I rarely see a lot of people actually buying books when I go in there. Mostly, they’re drinking overpriced coffee and sitting in a chair reading a book they haven’t purchased. It’s like they’re in a library.
3. Amazon employs 14 people for every 10 million in revenue. Brick and mortar retailers have 47 employees for every 10 million in revenue. Unless something changes, I think there’s a chance that bookstores will disappear in my lifetime.
4. Amazon receives a 53% discount on its books from Penguin Random House. The discount from small publishers like the ones that have my books is 60% or more. That means that when you buy one of my books, either print or Kindle copy, I make about a dollar, sometimes less if the price has been reduced.
They’ve got me and a million other authors by the balls. I could always self-publish, but I would still have to go through Amazon. I would still have to compete with a throng of other authors to be seen and heard. I would have to spend my own money to produce the book. I would lose the marketing support of my publisher, slight though it is.
If you’re reading this, you can make a difference. Visit your local bookstore, if you have one, and buy a book. You have no idea how much joy I feel when somebody buys one of my books. I’m sure small proprietors feel the same way when they make a sale. Buy a book from an indie author. I host a monthly event for authors on my Facebook page. The next one will be held from October 1st – 5th. I hope you’ll visit the page and check out the work from some excellent authors. If you see something you like, buy it.
Yes, they’ve got me by the balls, but that can change.