From the Guardian: Self-published ebook sales reach 20% of genre market

John thought you might be interested in this link from the Guardian: Self-published ebook sales reach 20% of genre market

Self-published titles accounted for over a fifth of crime, science fiction, romance and humour ebooks sold in UK in 2012

Alison Flood

Tuesday 11 June 2013


Self-published books accounted for more than 20% of crime, science fiction, romance and humour ebooks sold in the UK in 2012, according to newly released statistics.

The figures, from Bowker Market Research, show that while self-published books made up a tiny proportion – 2% – of all books purchased last year, this figure increases dramatically, to 12%, when print books are removed from the equation.

When just adult fiction and non-fiction ebooks are looked at, self-publishing’s share increases to 14% of the market, and in the crime, science fiction, romance and humour genres, self-publishing took more than 20%, according to Steve Bohme, UK research director at Bowker, which tracks book-purchasing trends by interviewing over 3,000 book-buyers a month. Only 3% of children’s ebooks, by contrast, were self-published.

Bohme was speaking at the Literary Consultancy conference Writing in a Digital Age, where self-publishing came in for a slating from Andrew Franklin, the managing director of Profile Books. “The overwhelming majority [of self-published books] are terrible – unutterable rubbish,” said Franklin. “They don’t enhance anything in the world.”

Franklin said there were “now unmeasurable numbers” of books being self-published. “These books come out and are met with a deathly silence, so the principle experience of self-publishing is one of disappointment,” said Franklin, who was speaking on a panel about literary values in the digital age. But just as there is a one in 14m chance of winning the lottery, he said, so writers think they will be the ones to hit the self-publishing jackpot.

“I was very shocked to learn you can buy Facebook friends and likes on social media. That is what passes for affirmation in what I think is the deeply corrupt world of self-publishing,” he said, stating his belief in the need for the publisher as “gatekeeper”. He added: “I think there is a process of the professional making of books which does make a real difference to the reader and the writer.”

Bohme said that price was the reason most cited by readers for the purchase of self-published ebooks. By contrast, price was only the third most important reason for choosing to buy other ebooks, and books as a whole, behind “author” and “subject”.

And Bohme revealed that women are more likely to buy self-published ebooks than men, with 68% of buyers of DIY ebooks female – more than the 58% of female readers buying books as a whole. Those who bought self-published ebooks were also more likely to be heavy readers, with the statistics from Bowker showing that 61% of buyers of self-published ebooks said they read daily, compared to 37% of buyers of books as a whole.

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