Tag Archives: trends

Ebook news digest: 2018 developments in books and self-publishing, trends for 2019, Obama’s favorite books

2019-01-01

News on books, writing and publishing

people reading books at Frankfurt book fair

Self-publishing News: New Year New Predictions

Alliance of Independent Authors takes a look at developments of 2018 that are likely to strengthen in 2019. Subscription platforms, artificial intelligence and blockchain are the usual suspects in the blog post.

France, Not Waiting for European Union, to Tax U.S. Tech Firms as ’19 Starts

The New York Times has an excellent photo of President Macron and Mark Zuckerberg having a serious moment at a balcony of a chateau in this article. The root cause for this tax initiative is that some European countries have attracted big internet businesses with low tax rates. Other EU countries, however, generate the big revenues for the companies but can’t tax the tech giants. EU is preparing new policies to set this straight, but France doesn’t want to wait.

Why Writers Have a Love-Hate Relationship With Technology

Writer’s Digest explores the pros and cons of dealing with technology for writers. We at Klaava Media have worked with lots of writers – some are so tech-savvy they can design and lay out books themselves, whereas others send their manuscripts to India only for getting it into Word format – they don’t like to tap the keyboard themselves. The thing is that every writer should have basic skills for conducting research and typing on a computer.

Traveling in Scandinavia

In travel related news, Christmas was a huge success for Lapland’s snowy tourist destinations. Hotels, especially in Rovaniemi, reported record numbers of visitors. Download the free ebook for getting a little bit of background information for other Nordic destinations as well.

Barack Obama reveals favourite books of 2018 – and Becoming tops list

Concluding from his favorite book list, Barack Obama seems to be a nonfiction reader. Although his wife’s memoir gets an honorable mention in Obama’s list, he also reads technology books and a variety of other themes.

Why & How to Build a Book Project Plan

John Wagner-Stafford of Ingenium Books takes a fresh approach of planning a book project. He has a background in game industry, and perhaps it has allowed him to take another view to traditional book planning process. He writes how authors should really create a business plan for the book before writing a word into the manuscript.

Forget Books, Helsinki’s New Library Has Laser Cutters and 3D Printers

“Books are important, but it’s not the whole library.” In the capital of Finland, Helsinki, a new library has become another masterpiece of modern architecture. Finns have always been heavy users of library services, and the new Oodi library in a central location in Helsinki is likely attract also people who never visited one.

Audiobooks, inclusivity and #MeToo … how books changed in 2018

The Guardian assesses the development of books in 2018.

Trends in book business: small publishers win big traditional publishers in specific ebook genres

2018-10-12

A new report on the state of the ebook, audiobook and print book markets in the US was recently delivered by the number-crunching wizard Data Guy at Digital Book World Conference 2018. The statistics – that cover almost the entire online books sales in the US – indicate that readers of different book genres have vastly different preferences on book formats. Let’s analyze book publishing trends that can be identified from the Data Guy’s statistics.
ereader on top of stack of books

Strong sales of ebooks and audiobooks continue

The Author Earnings report measures ebook, audiobook and print book sales in the US online bookstores from April 2017 until September 2018. The total sales during these 18 months were:

Ebooks 4.0 billion dollars, 781 million units
Audiobooks 2.6 billion dollars, 145 million units
Print books 7.3 billion dollars, 407 million units

Roughly half (54%) of print books are sold by brick-and-mortar bookstores in the US. Even if we add print books sold by physical bookstores to the numbers that were achieved by online stores, ebook unit sales nearly match print book unit sales in the US.

The trend identified in the Author Earnings report is the decline of sales via brick-and-mortar bookstores, reduction in the number of physical bookstores, and increasing sales via online stores. Amazon is a dominant player that is still growing its market share in all book formats, also print. In fact, for some nonfiction genres, Amazon accounts 70-75% of all print book sales in the US.
bookshop of antique books in Spain

Ebook vs print book market share is highly dependent on genre

Erotica and mystery genres have been regarded the most successful categories in ebooks, and Data Guy’s report confirms the wisdom for mystery genre, at least. Business & Money titles in nonfiction category are more popular as ebooks than print books. The following numbers indicate sales only at online bookstores in the US.

57% of Business and Money category unit sales are ebooks and audiobooks.

59% of these ebooks are published by other than big publishers (such as indies, self-publishers, small publishers). The situation with audiobooks is completely different: 80.6% of audiobooks were made available by big publishers, and 56.5% of print books are from big publishers.

50% of Health, Fitness and Dieting unit sales are ebooks and audiobooks.

62% of these ebooks were published by small publishers, indies and self-publishers. 81.6% of audiobooks were produced by big publishers. 54.7% of print sales were made by big publishers.

73% of Teen and Young Adult unit sales are ebooks and audiobooks.

A massive 71.6% of these ebooks were published by small publishers and self-publishers, whereas 74.7% of audiobooks came from big publishers, and 65.2% of print books were by big publishers.

93% of Mystery, Thriller and Suspense category unit sales are ebooks and audiobooks.

52.9% of ebooks by big publishers, 93.1% of audiobooks by big publishers, 89% of print books big publishers.

Small publishers see opportunities in book formats and genres where the upfront investment is low – often ebooks. Audiobooks and print require more upfront investment, and large companies can afford financial risks better than small businesses.

Data scraping

Ever since Data Guy published his first report on ebook sales that included statistics never seen before, book industry experts have been discussing about the true state of digital book market versus print market. Independent of what you think of Data Guy’s number collection methods (that he calls data scraping), there is plenty of demand for his statistics in the book industry. Bookstat provides detailed reports on book sales for publishers without months of delay. When Bookstat numbers were tested against NPD PubTrack statistics that measure the ebook sales of big publishers in the US, the numbers matched within 6% accuracy.

You can listen to Data Guy himself explaining the data scraping method and other details in a podcast by Mark Dawson.

Ebook news digest: best tools for nonfiction writers, large screen ereader, insight from failed book

2018-02-01

News on ebooks, writing and ereaders

Amazon Kindle ereader on laptop keyboard
The Best Writing, Editing and Publishing Tools for Aspiring Nonfiction Authors
Book Ghostwriter

The emphasis of this article that lists tech tools and books for nonfiction authors is on editing. Tools and books for other stages of the writing and publishing process are mentioned as well. Experienced writers should check out the article – I am going to buy one of the books listed.

Closer Look at 10.3-inch Onyx Boox Note (Videos)
The Ebook Reader

The Onyx Boox Note is an anticipated ereader because Onyx is one of the leaders in the trend for large-screen devices. This model also has plenty of features for note taking. Take a look at the videos.

Why did my first book fail? Let me count the ways
The Irish Times

The author learned his lesson, and is willing to share the important insight. Every writer who is planning, or is already writing his or her first book, should read Michael Mullooly’s analysis on his failure. We have written about the same topic as well, only from a different angle.

Top Ten Publishing Trends Every Author Needs to Know in 2018
Written Word Media

The article sees positive vibes for indie authors in 2018, but the cost of success may be increasing.

Planning a trip to Scandinavia? Read the tips and get the pointers to right direction
Klaava Travel Guide

A collection of writings for travel guides written about the Nordic countries.

The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2018
The Write Life

A long list of writing and publishing related web pages grouped into relevant categories.

Walmart is teaming up with one of the world’s biggest e-commerce companies to take direct aim at Amazon
Business Insider

Kobo has strong presence in North America (Canada) and a few other countries across the world, but so far, it has not been visible in the US. This will change after Walmart retail giant starts marketing Kobo ereaders and ebooks.

Independent booksellers could join forces to compete with chains
The Guardian

Independent bookstores in Britain are fed up with the way big publishers treat them and favor large book chains when bestsellers are launched. More than 100 small bookshops have already signed up for an initiative that is planning to establish a united representation for them when negotiating about key products.

Google Play now sells audiobooks, includes voice support for Google Assistant
Venture Beat

Audiobook sales has been growing recently, and Google has realized it is time to join the game.

Publishing year 2017 in review: trends, analysis, developments

2017-12-16

It is not business as usual in the world of digital media. Ebooks and other digital media content products are still taking their first steps in the global and local markets. Many things in book business and digital technology changed in 2017 and will change in the coming years. It is only 10 years since the launch of Amazon Kindle, but 500 years from Gutenberg’s invention.

Book as a concept has proven it has its place – independent of the format. Year 2017 didn’t challenge that, although new ways of enjoying a book became more popular. The following key development points in publishing are reviewed primarily from the digital side of book publishing.

a speaker and audience at Frankfurt book fair

Ebook markets continue to grow

One publishing industry expert claims that the ebook market is shrinking, whereas another expert says it is growing. Both experts can be right when they only look at their own data sources. Big US publishers have lost ebook market share to small publishers and self-publishers. No one knows the actual sales numbers of indie publishers and self-publishers, but one can always estimate, and it looks like a large, growing market that is eating market share from big publishers.

Data collected from other than English-language markets indicate a healthy and innovative digital market development, for instance, in Continental Europe, Spanish-language markets and China. Even France is accepting ebooks and ereaders.

Audiobook is the fastest growing format

Book lovers in English-speaking markets are familiar with Audible audiobooks, but in many others parts of the world, Swedish startup Storytel is the reason for rapid growth of audiobooks. Storytel has been so successful that it has acquired traditional books publishers in order to secure rights for as many books as possible.

A key development that will have an effect on audiobook market is computer applications that can read aloud texts. They may be individual applications running on a tablet or smartphone, or voice assistants, like Alexa or Siri. The technology is pretty good already, and as it develops, it may lower product prices.

Attempts to automate writing may be more common than we are aware of

For years, we have heard of projects that have tried to automate the reporting of sports results and simple news reports. Meanwhile, the development of artificial intelligence (AI) software has reached a level where it can be applied to simple writing tasks. The Washington Post is already using a robot writer, and clever programmers have created an algorithm that can imitate Harry Potter fiction.

Should a writer be worried? No. Someone must produce the source material for writing robots and review their output, among other things.

Ereaders are still here and still wanted by avid readers

I am the first one to admit that I expected tablets and large screen smartphones (phablets) to replace ereaders as ebook reading devices, but it hasn’t happened. In some markets, like the US and the UK, people who want an ereader already have one or two, and the market is saturated. In many other large markets, such as Germany, France, Spain and China, the market for ereaders is growing because the market for ebooks is still growing.

A key development during 2017 was the emergence of large screen ereaders. Devices from 7 to 13 inches are now available. Some of these have a stylus for making it easy to jot down notes on documents and books. A development path from one purpose device (reading ebooks) to a device that is designed for working with documents maybe going on.

Reading has moved to mobile devices

An ereader and a tablet is a mobile device, but the big hype of recent years has been reading on smartphone screens. Wattpad, a reading and writing community of young generations, says about 90% of its users read on mobile devices.

Digital reading is most popular from 5-inch smartphone screens to 10 tablet screens. It means that fixed layout ebooks still face challenges that reflowing ebooks can manage.

EPUB3 didn’t take off (and probably won’t next year, either)

Two ebook formats dominate the digital book markets: Amazon’s proprietary Kindle format and the industry standard EPUB. The advanced, multimedia-enabled EPUB3 ebook format was announced years ago, but is hasn’t made a commercial breakthrough. In February 2017, the organization behind EPUB, IDPF (International Digital Publishing Forum), was merged into the W3C (the organization that sets the standards for the World Wide Web). New working groups, committees and strategies have been formed, and the result is that a high level agreement for the next standard EPUB4 is in the works. EPUB4 is defined as a subset of Portal Web Publication that merges HTML and EPUB.

The euphoria of self-publishing is settling down

In large English-language markets, a small number of self-publishers have made it big. Their books have been produced into successful Hollywood movies and publishers are competing for their next manuscripts. The laws of economics haven’t changed, however, as indie authors are discovering that it is just as difficult to write a bestseller as it was before. Interest in self-publishing may be settling down in the US, but in many other large markets, such as Spanish-speaking countries, Continental Europe or in China, self-publishing is only beginning to take off.

Newspapers and magazines that have reinvented themselves are making it

Attempts to turn a newspaper or magazine web site visitors into subscribers who pay for the digital content on a web site have largely failed. Only a few strongest brands have become successful when they have started to charge readers for digital content. Newspapers and magazines, like The New York Times and The Economist deliver so much value to readers that visitors are willing to pay for news stories, and especially, long reports, analysis and background stories of major events. Some other publications have discovered their own strategies for thriving in the digital era while maintaining their valuable printed heritage.

Book publishers believe ebooks will dominate book sales in 5 years

2015-10-31

British book industry newspaper The Bookseller has published the results of its annual Digital Census survey. The survey asks publishers (also outside Great Britain) to assess the major trends that are affecting the business of book publishing. The results for year 2015 indicate that publishers have accepted the fact that digital books are the future.

bookseller digital census 2015

Source: The Bookseller


21% of book publishers believe ebooks will make up more than half of their book revenues by 2020. In other words, in five years one-fifth of book industry depends their businesses on digital products.

38% of publishers expect ebooks to be so significant part of their sales that they would be in trouble without digital products. These enterprises anticipate ebooks will bring 21-50% of sales by 2020. Altogether, 59% of publishers believe that their businesses will rely on digital products in five years.

bookseller digital census 2015

Source: The Bookseller digital census 2015


If we look at the situation today, where the publishers are regarding their ebook sales, next five years will mean a massive transformation for the publishing business. 59% of publisher get less than 20% of their sales from digital books today.

Somewhat surprisingly, publishers expect ebook subscription services to be the most important channel to reach customers by 2020. 37% of publishers regard subscription services as a key business model for the future of book.

bookseller digital census 2015

Source: The Bookseller


The Bookseller Digital Census 2015 also unveiled five strong trends that are shaping book business in the near future.
1. Smartphones become more common ebook reading devices than tablets or dedicated e-readers.
2. Sales of digital books is still growing, but at a slower rate (we believe this concerns markets like US and UK, because in markets like Germany, France, Spain, Netherlands ebook sales are still in their early stages).
3. Self-publishing is slightly losing its appeal (amount of work, costs, marketing, poor sales the primary reasons).
4. Ebook pricing, amount of author royalties and copy-protection of products divides the opinions of publishing professionals.
5. Half of publishing professionals fear that they are not ready for the next big thing in the digital revolution (whatever it happens to be).

More details at The Bookseller.