If Ebook Sales Are Declining, Should I Be Worried?
I will be answering if ebook sales are declining, should I be worried in this blog post. However there are a couple of other questions that deserve some thought and will be included here.
Have Ebooks Had Their Day?
Why Create Ebooks If I Write Blogs?
But before we do that, we need to clarify what an ebook is and break it down to a very basic level so we can build from there.
What Is An Ebook?
The work ‘ebook’ is short for ‘electronic book’ so that should give some clues…lol
Electronic meaning the ebook can be viewed on mobile devices such as smartphones, ipads, tablets, computers and e-readers like Kindle, Kobo, Nook. And what is good about this is, you can have hundreds or even thousands of books stored on your mobile devices or computer and they are all at your fingertips so there is no need for bookcases taking up space in your home or office!
But not everyone embraces the ebook phenomenon. And that is ok. Some people just like the feeling of holding a physical book in their hands and reading that way. And often, it is therapeutic to read this way.
Why Are There So Many Ebook Formats?
The many ebook formats have been developed as open formats which can be read on multiple devices and others as proprietary which means the ebooks can only be viewed on their specific devices.
eBook formats can be very confusing especially for the end user. So let’s take some time to explain the different ebook formats and where they are used.
We are basing this discussion around the e-readers specifically.
EPUB – Electronic Publication
- This is the most commonly used ebook format. It will support colour images, graphics and videos. This format is not supported by Kindle (Only Kindle Fire can read epub files)
- This format does NOT support sound or video. It is supported by most e-readers on the market however it is not supported by the Barnes and Noble Nook.
AZW & AZW3
- These are specifically Amazons ebook formats with AZW3 the most advanced. It supports more styles, layouts and fonts and they do support video and sound also. However they cannot be read on a Nook or Kobo e-readers.
- This is the Apple version for ebooks written in the ‘iBooks Author’ app. Although this is similar to epub, it cannot be read on all e-readers. (I want to make this clear though – all ebooks purchased through iTunes for iBooks will be delivered in epub format) Therefore the same customisations apply as epub.
PDF – Portable Document File
- Although this is a widely used format for ebooks, it does NOT allow for ‘native reflowing’ which means that the file does not adapt it’s presentation according to the screen size of the device used. The other formats using ‘native reflowing’ are epub, mobi and AZW3.
Have Ebooks Had Their Day?
There has been some bad press out there in the digital world that ebooks sales are slipping. And while the sale of ebooks across the board may be slightly on the decline, this doesn’t suggest to me that ebooks have had their day.
So, my answer to this question in one word is – NO! Definitely not!
And why do I say that, you might ask?
It is very simple…ebooks account for slightly less than 20% of book sales in the USA and Australia is following this trend.
That is a HUGE market share – slightly under 20% of all book sales in the U.S. And this is across all categories and not specific to any particular market.
And there are more advantages to ebooks than just the market share. It is their portability and the much lower purchase price of ebooks that is in their favour. Plus because of their digital or electronic nature, they offer some great features over physical books such as hyperlinks, fonts, text sizes and audio.
All of these features can be included in your ebooks and should be considered so you can highlight and promote different opportunities to your audience and take them directly to your offers.
This makes creating ebooks for your business a huge benefit over publishing physical books. But we will not get that debate on this blog!
Why Create Ebooks If I Write Blogs?
In answer to this question as a blog writer, you will have developed a content marketing strategy around the needs of your ideal audience.
This is great but is it enough?
So let’s start by defining the difference between a blog and an ebook.
- A blog is essentially a short piece of writing, specific to a subject, easy to read and digest and up to 1000 words. Blogs can also boost your SEO score and help potential customers find your website. (In a content marketing strategy, this would be called ‘Top of the Funnel’ or the beginning of the buying cycle)
- An ebook will contain more complex information than a blog. These can be used as an incentive for ‘lead generation’. By that I mean you offer a free downloadable product in exchange for an email address. It is a win/win! The ebook should provide valuable information for the end user. This can be in the form of case studies, checklists, layouts, Q & A’s or typically anything that will serve your audience. Depending on the type of information you are providing will determine the length of your ebook.
Having made these comparisons, ebooks are a great enhancement to your blog content where you can offer more in depth advice in your niche. This is also good to position YOU as an expert in your field, building credibility for you and your brand.
You could develop a series of blog posts that are connected by a theme that you can use as a basis for an ebook. Research and expanding your content will be beneficial in the overall finished product.
Ebooks can be inexpensive to create however you should be aware that standards need to be maintained so as not to damage your reputation.
- Do your research
- Write your content
- Proofread your content thoroughly
- Design a visually appealing cover
- Decide on relevant images
- Choose a layout that works for the content
You can download my free ebook here that explains what to include, what is important and what the layout of a typical ebook looks like.
To summarise this post, it is agreed that although ebook sales have declined by a small percentage over the past 3-5 years, it is not enough to convince me that anyone who produces ebooks should be concerned by this at all.
The advantages to creating and distributing ebooks by including hyperlinks to your website or best offers far outweigh any decline in sales.
Plus ebooks are far more likely to be shared electronically easily and quickly which means your material is being passed from person to person without you having to do anything!