Some supplementary info for anyone who was interested in my “Ebook Apocalypse” post…
- Since 2002, about 500 independent bookstores have gone out of business, nearly 20% of them.
- Independent bookstores currently account for less than 10% of book sales.
- When Borders folded they closed nearly 650 stores.
- There are around 700 Barnes & Noble stores, all drastically reducing the number of books they actually stock.
- Barnes & Noble is projecting huge losses in revenue for 2012.
- Amazon holds 75% of the market for printed books online.
- Roughly 90% of all ebook sales go through Amazon (60%) and Barnes & Noble (30%).
- Ebook sales on Amazon outnumber printed book sales by roughly 50% and the ratio is growing sharper all the time.
- According to Publishers Weekly, publishing insiders predict that within five years ebooks will account for half of all book sales.
Clearly there’s a lot of change going on, and as I wrote earlier, I think it’s good for readers, writers, and independent booksellers (who have a better chance of holding their own in local markets with the crumbling of the big chains). The changes may be more dire for big publishing concerns, however, as more writers realize they can make more money and better handle their own careers by publishing themselves and as book prices fall, bringing less money in to pay for fancy Manhattan office space. Their edge as necessary distributors gets slimmer with each drop in physical stock made by hundreds of Barnes & Nobles stores, every bookshop that closes, and each ebook that sells.
Writers need to seriously consider self-publishing, focusing mainly on the digital market, with hard copy books as an additional option they make available. And, at least for the foreseeable future, they’re going to reach the vast majority of the available market by dealing with Amazon and B&N, though there is much to gain by working with independent bookstores on a personal level.