Rise Of Ebooks - Self Publishing Book Expo 11-7-09


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Conference presentation from Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, titled, "The Rise of Ebooks." Presented Nov. 7 2009 at Self Publishing Book Expo in New York. Examines the past, present and future of ebooks, and provides authors advice on how to publish, promote and distribute an ebook.

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Rise Of Ebooks - Self Publishing Book Expo 11-7-09

  1. 2. The Backstory on Smashwords <ul><li>Hell knows no fury like an author scorned </li></ul><ul><li>Launched Smashwords 18 months ago </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ebook publishing and distribution platform </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>4,300+ ebooks published </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Over 200 million words published </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1,950+ authors </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mission: make ebook publishing fast, easy, FREE and profitable for authors/publishers </li></ul></ul>
  2. 3. Will ebooks replace print books?
  3. 4. Ebooks are just another format <ul><li>Each format offers packaged units of words </li></ul><ul><li>Each delivers words on a substrate medium </li></ul><ul><li>Each represents a different way to enjoy a book </li></ul>
  4. 5. The Past and Present of Ebooks
  5. 6. Ebooks bombed in the ‘90s <ul><li>Made poor first impression on early adopters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Screens poor substitute for paper </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Overpriced </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>DRM = confusion, frustration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limited selection </li></ul></ul><ul><li>… yet the failure of ebooks was greatly exaggerated </li></ul>
  6. 7. Wholesale ebook revenues 2002-2009 Data: AAP http://www.publishers.org/documents/S12008Final.pdf plus recent sales data. 2009 is an estimate based on YTD percentage growth rate Jan-Aug 2009, multiplied by 2008 sales
  7. 8. Year over year monthly sales growth, ebooks vs. all books, 19 months Data: AAP http://www.publishers.org/
  8. 9. Ebooks as a percentage of overall book sales
  9. 10. Stats understate what’s really happening <ul><li>Build it and they will come </li></ul><ul><ul><li>AAP - stats US-only, don’t include all publishers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Amazon - For books available in both e- & p-, in October ‘09 Amazon reported 48% of sales were ebooks </li></ul></ul>
  10. 11. Why ebooks are hot <ul><li>Early adopters new evangelists </li></ul><ul><li>Screen reading now rivals paper </li></ul><ul><li>Proliferation of great ebook devices and apps </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dedicated devices: Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, B&N Nook </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mobile phones: Ebook-ready smart phones, including iPhone, Blackberry, Android phones </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ebook apps: Stanza on iPhone (2.5 million users) and Aldiko on Android phones (100,000 users) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Free books are gateway </li></ul><ul><li>Greater content selection </li></ul><ul><li>Prices dropping </li></ul><ul><li>Impulse buying </li></ul>
  11. 12. Why ebooks will become more popular than paper books <ul><li>Superior reading experience </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Screens will become better than paper </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Customizable reading experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limitless library in the cloud </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lower costs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Instant gratification </li></ul></ul><ul><li>E-reading device costs dropping </li></ul><ul><li>Ebooks as hubs and spokes for richer, more immersive content experiences </li></ul>Photo credit: http://alittlehut.blogspot.com/2007/12/decorations-la-tinker-toys.html
  12. 13. The ebook opportunity for authors
  13. 14. Ebook opportunity for authors and publishers <ul><li>Fastest growing segment of book publishing </li></ul><ul><li>Digital = instant worldwide market </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shelves everywhere, instant sampling/purchase </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ebooks never go out of print </li></ul><ul><li>Favorable economics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Faster, easier, cheaper to publish an ebook than a print book </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Little to no incremental cost to go from P- to E- </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No printing, inventory, returns, shipping </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lower retail cost + worldwide availability </li></ul></ul>Image credit: http://photography.cemalkin.com
  14. 15. The virtuous cycle of ebook economics Larger available market Low Cost More sales & profit
  15. 16. Ebook Production
  16. 17. Planning your move to ebooks <ul><li>Forget (some of) what you know </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t try to make e- look like p- </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ebooks consumed differently that print </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Less = more with ebooks </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Liberate text from complex formatting and layout </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ebooks are shape shifting creatures (see next slide) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  17. 18. Ebook devices (and customers) shapeshift text <ul><li>Example of Smashwords novel, All Good Things Die in L.A. by Anhoni Patel </li></ul><ul><ul><li>iPhone, using the Stanza reader. User-selected options: Font: Verdana; Background pattern: Stone carving; text color: Dark Violet; Font size: larger than normal </li></ul></ul>
  18. 19. Planning your move to ebooks <ul><li>Migrate your easy books first </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fiction/Poetry/Biographies easy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>picture books, complex layout, more challenging </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Avoid DRM Copy Protection </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Adds complexity and expense </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>DRM treats law abiding customers like criminals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use DRM-free as competitive advantage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lead the inevitable change, don’t be victimized by it </li></ul></ul>
  19. 20. Multi-format is essential <ul><li>There are many different ebook formats </li></ul><ul><li>Why multi-format matters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PDF does not = ebook anymore </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multi-format lets customer enjoy your book their way </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expands your distribution options </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expands selling opportunities </li></ul></ul>
  20. 21. Ebook format primer <ul><li>EPUB - An open standard for eBooks. Critical format. </li></ul><ul><li>PDF - A good format if your work contains fancy formatting, charts or images. Horrible for straight form narrative. </li></ul><ul><li>Plain Text - The most easily read format, works on virtually any screen </li></ul><ul><li>.MOBI - For Amazon's Kindle reading device, others </li></ul><ul><li>RTF - Cross-platform document format supported by many word processors and devices </li></ul><ul><li>LRF - Used on Sony Reader ebook devices </li></ul><ul><li>PDB - PalmDoc is primarily used on Palm Pilot devices, but used on other devices as well </li></ul><ul><li>Learn more in the Smashwords Style Guide: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52 </li></ul>
  21. 22. Most popular ebook formats Learn more: http://blog.smashwords.com/2009/03/why-multi-format-ebooks-matter.html
  22. 23. Preparing conversion from p- to e- <ul><li>Preparation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Most print books originate in Word, InDesign and Quark </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Simplify formatting and layout, see Smashwords Style Guide at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>From This to That </li></ul><ul><ul><li>From MS Word to ebook: Easy to convert directly into multiple ebook formats using conversion tools or free services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>From InDesign/Quark to ebook: Export to intermediate format (usually RTF or Word .doc), then clean up prior to conversion, or export directly to one or two ebook formats such as PDF or EPUB. Quality may disappoint </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>From PDF to other formats: For masochists only </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For super-complex books, hire an ebook formatter/coder </li></ul></ul>
  23. 24. Multi-format conversion options For Brave Souls - Google: Conversion Tools which leads to first result: http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/E-book_conversion Smashwords – One to many
  24. 25. Ebook publishing, distribution, marketing and selling
  25. 26. The print book supply chain compared to ebook supply chain printer Print Publisher Shipper/w/d customer bookseller customer ebookseller customer ebookseller E-distributor customer E-publisher E-publisher E-publisher remainder pass along Used bookstores PRINT BOOKS EBOOKS
  26. 27. Ebook distribution <ul><ul><li>Distribution channels </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Online retailers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Amazon </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Barnesandnoble.com </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sony </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hundreds of smaller, specialized retailers </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mobile platforms </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Stanza </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Aldiko </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Shortcovers </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Others </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  27. 28. How Smashwords publishes and distributes ebooks More logos coming!! author
  28. 29. Ebook pricing <ul><li>Price lower than print </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The higher the price, the smaller the market </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Non-fiction supports higher prices than fiction </li></ul><ul><li>Price is not sole determining factor </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Create insatiable desire and price matters less </li></ul></ul><ul><li>High prices encourage piracy </li></ul>
  29. 30. The power (and danger) of FREE <ul><li>Free as a strategy for audience building </li></ul><ul><ul><li>eliminates friction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>conversion opportunities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>opportunity to sell things that go with your free stuff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>builds goodwill </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Danger </li></ul><ul><ul><li>can devalue content </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Alternatives to free </li></ul><ul><ul><li>free samples that lead to sales </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>contests with free ebook prizes </li></ul></ul>
  30. 31. Ebook marketing <ul><li>Marketing begins BEFORE you finish book </li></ul><ul><li>You are the brand, your book is your product </li></ul><ul><li>Word of mouth most important </li></ul><ul><li>Go viral with social media </li></ul><ul><ul><li>make easy for fans to share links to your book via social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>shareable samples and coupons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>blog tours instead of book tours </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>support community reviews (bloggers, Librarything, Goodreads, Shelfari) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>widgets (shareable, interactive ads) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>more ideas in the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/305 </li></ul></ul>
  31. 32. Final words <ul><li>Develop and implement an ebook strategy now </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your readers want ebooks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Experiment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Digitize easy books first </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Design for plain and simple </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Get closer to your customer </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Enlist readers and fans as your sales force </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Don’t abandon print </li></ul>
  32. 33. Thank you for listening! Q&A Where to find Mark Coker: Web: www.smashwords.com Blog: blog.smashwords.com HuffPo: huffingtonpost.com/mark-coker Twitter: @ markcoker Email: first initial second initial @ smashwords.com