Free and Discounted Books
In this world of readily available, downloadable ebooks, the reader is clearly the beneficiary.
More and more titles are sent straight to the ginormous Amazon bookshelves and offered via WiFi and datastream to a voracious reading public worldwide.
In fact, Amazon offers estimates of book numbers sold daily on the World Wide Web, and they’re startling. The giant etailer is far and away the preference for self-published Indie authors of every stripe.
Over 1 million ebooks are sold daily
Here are the latest numbers compiled by David Johnson, author, publisher, and creator of www.TheEverydayGenius.com:
- 1,064,000 average ebooks sold daily
- Roughly $5,755,000 a day spent by consumers
And, since most of these ebooks are sold at huge markdowns over their print brethren, consumers win.
Readers are the beneficiaries
Never before have so many books been available at such huge discounts.
Here’s what Don Sloan, creator of JustFreeAndBargainBooks.com has to say on the subject:
“We’re seeing a huge upturn in big-name authors making their books available on Amazon at significant savings,” Sloan says. “Bestselling writers like Nora Roberts, Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Nicholas Sparks have recently made their titles available for a fraction of what they normally cost.”
Sloan adds that his site offers up a daily sampling of books in 12 genres at either very low prices or totally free of charge.
“We check Amazon hourly for the best deals for our website visitors,” he adds.
Free downloads benefit both author and reader
“Many authors see a real benefit in making their titles free for download on a regular basis. It boosts exposure to their work. It also has the effect of garnering more reviews, and additionally dangles the added benefit of a ‘coat-tail’ effect. This results in higher Amazon rankings even when the sale is over.”
The Washington Post says the move from print to digital is having a drastic impact on the country’s many libraries, where bound books have crowded shelves for more than 200 years.
“The hallmark of public libraries — the printed book, bound by covers and centuries of page-turning — is being shoved aside by digital doppelgangers,” the Post says.
“Around the country, libraries are slashing their print collections in favor of ebooks. (This is) prompting battles between library systems and print purists. This includes not only the pre-pixel generation but digital natives who represent a sizable portion of the 1.5 billion library visits a year. (Interestingly, these library patrons) still prefer print for serious reading.”
Millennials prefer print
And, the Post reports another surprising finding by librarians. Millennials also favor print books over digital books by far. The reason? Books have a certain tactile advantage over ereaders.
“I like the feeling of a book,” one college student said, reading under natural light in a campus atrium. His smartphone lies nearby. “I like holding (the book). It’s not going off. It’s not making sounds.”
And, at libraries, the books are still readily available for checkout at no charge — something Amazon and other eretailers have yet to embrace widely.
However, web-based estores like JustFreeAndBargainBooks.com have been quick to fill the void left by libraries’ static brick-and-mortar footprint. The fact remains that in order to get a book from a library, you still must get in your car and go there.
Web-based book promo sites offers readers huge discounts
“On our site on any given day, you’ll be presented with a mix of titles that run the price range gamut from zero to $3.99,” Sloan says. “And, of course, the advantage of instantly downloading them as opposed to checking them out from a library is that you don’t have to return them by a certain date.”
This radical revolution in the rapid delivery of prose, poetry and all things digital is also impacting the income of writers worldwide.
The advent of Amazon Unlimited — a subscription service that makes available virtually all of Amazon’s inventory for a set price of $9.99 a month is one example. It’s knocking down the amount of revenue going into the pockets of authors great and small.
Still, it’s a win-win for both Amazon and its authors. Most writers would never otherwise be “discovered” and made popular if the Big Five publishing houses still acted as the gatekeeper between storytellers and their intended audience.
Questions remain about Amazon’s march to dominance
Questions still remain, though, regarding Amazon’s eventual domination of the book industry.
To help answer these questions, Mashable.com sought the opinion of one small publishing house on the future of print retailing. Here’s a small portion of their findings:
“Morgan Entrekin is happy with the relationships he’s developed with Amazon,” writes Jason Abbruzzese and Katue Nelson on Mashable.com.
“As the president of independent publisher Grove/Atlantic Books, he witnessed the industry change. Amazon’s introduction of the Kindle helped publishers like him embrace the digital revolution that has battered other industries.
“However, it’s the future that he’s worried about.
“’Right now [Amazon] is allowing me a perfectly fair margin, but what happens when they have total control or twice as much of the market share than they have now?’” he asks.
What lies ahead?
For many years big publishers enjoyed the luxury of being able to charge just about whatever they liked for their authors’ work. And their idea of a “discount” to attract readers was to run a $9.99 special every now and then to boost sales.
That marketing tactic is disappearing fast says Mashable — and whether publishers can remain profitable is still up for debate. There are several factors in play.
First, publishers need to figure out how to manage a $9.99 price point. Then, adds Mashable, they must deal with the reality of Amazon’s market dominance. And even so, the whole issue may end up being a footnote in history if self-publishing continues to grow.
Authors, attracted by the prospect of keeping 70 percent of sales as long as they price their books at or below $9.99, have begun to sign up with Amazon, skipping publishers altogether.
“’It is only a matter of time until this has a serious impact on the balance sheets of the big publishers,” says David Vandagriff. He’s an attorney who has spent decades representing both authors and publishers.
“’We’re at the point now where the publishing houses are being undercut by the river of indie publishing. At some point in time the front porch is going to drop in the river. And at that point maybe they’ll have to acknowledge it. But right now they just don’t want to,’” he says.
The long-term answer remains unclear for both publishers and writers. But one thing is certain.
Readers will continue to benefit from lower prices as they pursue their passions — still curled up with a good book, either in print or on their ubiquitous Kindles.
Published 12-6-2016 by JustFreeAndBargainBooks.com