7 January 2013 - 5:59 pm

Wayward sales

The last few weeks have been a worrying time for me when it comes to ebook sales.

I sell through a number of retailers. Through Smashwords distribution, my Apocalypse Blog ebooks are available at all the major stores: Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, and more. These dribble a few sales in every month but not a huge amount. They’re fairly steady and have seen a slight increase lately (though nothing to get overly excited about). I haven’t crunched the numbers properly yet, so the exact patterns here are hard to see.

The other retailer that I sell through is Amazon. This is far and away my biggest earner (the sales volumes are several times all of the above retailers combined), and so variations here are both more obvious and have a larger impact. And, to put it bluntly, my sales lately on Amazon have sucked.

I don’t know why. From my end, nothing has changed. Both sales and rankings have plummeted, so it doesn’t look like a general slump in book sales; it’s my books specifically that are not doing well. The books continue to get positive reviews and rankings.

It could be a simple blip in spending habits. After all, I don’t have a lot of data about this time of year to compare it with, so this could be perfectly normal. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned.

It could be due to some of the changes that Amazon have been making. In his (free!) ebook, The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success, Mark Coker has some interesting insights into Amazon’s attitude in the marketplace and their worrying lean towards forcing authors to be exclusive (through the KDP Select program). He also has some interesting predictions about the future of indie, digital, and traditional publishing over on the Smashwords blog. The marketplace is changing. Could this be a part of it?

I’m waiting for the December sales reports to come through before I do a look at 2012 as a whole, and I’m planning to do an analysis towards the end of this month (here on this blog). Hopefully that will give a clearer picture of what’s happening.

In the meantime, I shall cross my fingers and hope the sales pick up. I’m also pondering options for how I can rejuvenate my poor, struggling books. Watch this space: there’s more to come on this!

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  1. Kunama says:

    Ah Sales numbers. I have great admiration for those with the patience and analysis skills to deal with those.

    January 10th, 2013 at 2:26 pm

  2. Mel says:

    I mostly plan to make pretty graphs and go ‘ooooo’. And then squint to see if they mean anything. Like a Rorschach test.

    January 11th, 2013 at 8:35 am