This presentation was given by Mark Coker at the Edinburgh Publishing Conference held June 12, 2013 at the University of Edinburgh business school in Scotland. The conference examined the innovation, disruption and new business models that are helping to shape the future of publishing. In this presentation, Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords (a global ebook distributor serving over 60,000 indie authors and small publishers), examined ten trends that are shaping the future of publishing.
I imagined millions of other writersjust like usSilenced
I Concluded…• The old model of printpublishing was broken• Print publishing had becomeharmful to… Writers Readers Publishers Books
The Culture of “NO”• Risk mitigation leads to a “Cultureof NO”• Most authors rejected• Publishers unable to take a risk on everyauthor• Publishers rejecting “Black Swans,” booksthat would have become hits and classics
I contemplated the opportunity• What would happen if someonecould say YES to EVERY writer?
My Answer: SmashwordsLaunched in 2008• FREE ebook publishing platform• FREE ebook printing press• Distribution to major ebook stores• Share best practices secrets
How Smashwords Works1. UPLOAD• Upload a Microsoft Word file, formatted toour Smashwords Style Guide• Ready for immediate sale online1. DISTRIBUTE• Distribution to major retailers1. GET PAID• Author receives 85% of net
050,000100,000150,000200,000250,0002008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013Ebooks published at Smashwords1406,00028,80092,000191,000230,000June 2013
Enough about me.Let’s talk about your future as an author orpublisher
A blast from the past: US ebookmarket share in 2008Source: Association of American Publishers, publishers.org.00.20.40.60.811.22002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Ebooks as a percentage of USwholesale trade marketSource: Association of American Publishers, publishers.org. 2012 Smashwords estimate0510152025302002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012
Ebooks to overtake printPrint booksEbooksUnitsDollarsPrint booksEbooks
Why ebooks are hot• Screens offer better reading experience thanpaper•Changeable font size A B C D• Ebooks offer better consumption experience• Lower cost than print• Convenient sampling and purchasing• Huge selection
Publishers Once ControlledPublishing• Publishers controlled the…• Printing press• Access to retail distribution• The knowledge necessary forprofessional publishing
Today, authors have free tools toe-publish• FREE ebook printing press• Ebook distribution available to all• The knowledge of professionalbest practices is free andavailable to all
Publishers losing their monopoly• Writers no longer need publishers topublish, distribute and sell• Writers asking two dangerousquestions:1. Do I need a publisher?2. Will a publisher harm my ability to reachreaders?
TREND FOURSelf Published Ebook AuthorsGaining Competitive Advantageover Publishers
Benefits of Indie Authorship• Indie ebook author advantages• faster time to market• greater creative control• lower expenses• better distribution to global market• immortal ebooks never go out of print• lower prices to consumers• earn more per book
Indie Ebook Authors Earn HigherPercentage of List Price• Indies earn more at lower prices• At $2.99, indies earn ~$2.00. Trad. authorwould have to price at $10-$15.00• Lower price = reach more readers = moresales at higher profits per sale• Higher price = reach fewer readers60-80% 12-17%Indie Traditional
TREND FIVETraditionally published authorssuffering from high prices
What Price Yields the GreatestAuthor Earnings?
TREND SIXPrint is Dead for Most Self-Published Authors(and will become less and lessimportant to traditionally publishedauthors)
Print is Dead• Brick and mortar bookstores disappearing• Most self-pubbed authors don’t have accessto brick and mortar distribution• Customers choosing low cost ebooks overhigh-priced print books• Exceptions:• Face to face print sales will continue• Some books are meant for print (for now)• Specialty souvenir books sold in non-traditionaloutlets
The Global Ebook Opportunity• Countries outside the US are entering theexponential growth phase of their ebookmarkets• Ebook retailers going global• Apple iBookstore (51 countries), Amazon (12), Kobo(14+), B&N (US, U.K.+)• 44% of Smashwords/iBookstore sales global
TREND EIGHTBig NY Publishers getting into selfpublishing
In July 2012, the parent company ofPenguin acquired Author SolutionsAuthor Solutions earns over 2/3 of itsincome selling over-priced services toauthors$25,000 publishing packages!Blood sucking parasites
TREND NINEThe Previous Stigma of Self-Publishing is Disappearing
Stigmas to reverseAspireTraditionalAspireIndieToday?AspireIndieAspireTraditional5 yrs ago Future?
TREND TENIndie Authors Are Beginning toOutsell Traditionally PublishedAuthors
Indies are Now Out-PublishingBig Publishers• Self-published ebooks scaling allthe bestseller lists• Every week, indie ebooks in retailerbestseller lists of every retailer• Multiple Smashwords authors havehit New York Times bestseller list inthe last year• Prediction: Within three years, mostbestselling ebooks will be self-published ebooks
June 11, 2013 at AppleiBookstore• Abbi Glines withForever Too Far• #1 Worldwide today
The 10 Trends Create a Future thatBenefits Self-Published Authors and…Disadvantages Publishers
The Plan Forward for Writers• You’re in charge now• You decide when you graduatefrom writer to published author• Honor your readers• You have the opportunity topublish…• Faster• Smarter• More profitably• at lower prices
The Plan Forward for Publishers• The good news: You’re still needed• Not all writers want to self-publish• The bad news: It’ll get more difficult toadd value in excess of your toll• Do for authors what they cannot andwill not do for themselves• Abandon culture of NO
Final Thoughts• There’s never been a better time toreach readers with the magic of books• Traditional Publishing vs. Indie is notan either/or• There’s never been a better time to bein publishing• Add value!
Free Ebook Publishing Resources• Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (best practices ofsuccessful authors)• Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (how to market anybook)• Smashwords Style Guide (how to format an ebook)
Thank you for considering thefuture!Q&AConnect with Mark Coker and Smashwords:Web: www.smashwords.comBlog: blog.smashwords.comLinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/markcokerFacebook: facebook.com/markcokerHuffPo: huffingtonpost.com/mark-cokerTwitter: @markcoker