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January 12, 2012
Joe Konrath Claims USD 100,000 E-book Profits in Jan
writes the blog "A Newbie's Guide to Publishing". In yesterday's post, called simply "$100,000", he lays out his facts and figures to support his hundred K in profits
(not sales, mind, you that's profits
) on his self-published e-books on the Kindle platform.
He is, naturally, happy to crow about how much he's making on books that major publishers rejected but the deeper points here are what I want to dig into. For one thing, Konrath is actively managing his sales, with data gathering and experimentation around good pricepoints. For himself the sweet spot seems to be about USD 4 or UKP 1.5. This is interesting as other authors have found different pricepoints to work better and worse. What we don't know is what are the factors that make those pricepoints the winners for one author and the losers for another author.
Second, Konrath is clearly pleased at being pulled along in Amazon's wake. All the marketing and expansion of Kindle sales into new countries is expansion of his potential market. For English-language (or at least English language-reading) countries this is a zero-cost expansion, which is important in an environment that features shrinking markets and shrinking opportunities for physical books.
And that leads to the last interesting point, which comes up a bit in the comment thread below the blog post: what happens when the e-reader market saturates? Or more likely, what happens when the Kindle market saturates to be replaced by Kindle Fires or Kindle Novas or whatever comes next? Will Konrath's books still be available on those new platforms? At what cost to whom? How many highly successful e-book authors can the market support? And so on and so on.
More and more the e-book business is starting to remind me of the stories I've read of gold-rush California. A few people got very rich, a lot of people made some money, and a whole lot of people went broke or got hurt along the way. If someone has a formula yet for telling the likely winners from the likely losers I have yet to see it. 2011 saw the outlines of such a guide, compose largely of personal experiences; I expect by the end of 2012 we'll have some really good and decently tested principles. Until then...
(h/t +Mathew Murphy for the pointer)
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