What should you publish as an e-book?

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Are you wondering if your book should be an e-book, since it’s common knowledge that they will soon conquer the publishing world? I mean, why bother to print an old-fashioned paperback or, heavens, a cloth version?

Take a breath. That’s common wrong knowledge, and there will still be a sizeable ink-on-paper market (plus other digital variations) for a long time to come, though it’s anybody’s guess where and how you will buy (and sell) them.

A point-on article by Dominique Raccah, CEO and publisher of Sourcebooks, in the September IBPA Independent does a great job of telling what kind of books are selling right now. See “Ebooks: How Far, How Fast?”

Adult nonfiction comprises 42.3% of the physical books sold; 25.2 % are adult fiction, and only 7% are juvenile/children’s nonfiction and fiction (from Bookscan). Yet among the 100 (paid) bestsellers in Barnes & Noble’s Nookbook and the top 100 (paid books) from Kindle, the nonfiction e-books were only 12 (12%) and 16 (16%), respectively. Raccah concludes that less than 20% of the bestselling e-book titles were nonfiction. “What’s selling in e-book formats is primarily narrative.”

Add to that her own firm’s (Soucebook) numbers: most sales of physical books for adults were nonfiction, and e-books for adults were overwhelmingly fiction.

She says that the most difficult to get right in e-book format are reference and children’s books.

What works as an e-book is fiction.

What kind of nonfiction is selling in e-book form? Stories and all linear reading experiences, like memoirs, biography, and history.

My reminder is that in memoirs, biography, and history (for example), it’s a small step to produce both a physical book and e-book, and print the physical books modestly unless or until the demands dictates otherwise. It’s not an either-or.

Best wishes,

Gordon Burgett

www.gordonburgett.com / Monthly free newsletter at www.gordonburgett.com/free-reports / glburgett@aol.com / Tweet at GLeeBurgett

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