Monday, 18 April 2011

Advice for Indie Authors: eBooks & The London Book Fair

The London Book Fair, Advice for Indie Authors,
I sat on the tube this morning and read with great interest the headline story in the Metro titled Ebook piracy ‘is colossal threat’ – especially after my visit to the London Book Fair last week.

During my visit to the Earls Court show, I took in a Self-Publishing Masterclass seminar, and the full extent of the eBook revolution was laid out with some impressive stats:
  • Amazon now sell more eBooks than physical books for its top 1,000 titles
  • In 2010, Amazon sold more Kindles than printed copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • There are 115 eBooks sold for every paperback
So it is perhaps not a great surprise that eBooks are now suffering the same fate as the music industry did when iPods and MP3 players first took off. However, it is not all bad news. As Leila Dewji, editorial director at Acorn Independent Press Ltd, said during the presentation: “During this same period of growth for eBooks, paperback and hardback sales have increased.’

And it was only last week in a article that self-publishing giant said it expects its print-on-demand sales to grow almost as fast as eBooks.  Self-publishing is a global phenomenon, and not only is this good news for the printing industry, but it is great for indie authors like me.

I spoke with Danny Bowman, marketing manager at Pen Press Ltd where I am publishing my first novel, and he said:

“The energy of this year’s book fair was palpable, with representatives of many fine companies visiting our stall and visibly keen on getting involved with us. While all our titles received a great deal of interest, it was fascinating to note that Party People by David Jamilly was a very popular focus point for rights’ buyers from the Asian Pacific Market.”

“Also very noticeable this year was the sheer amount of authors stopping by to express interest in our services. We found on perusing some of the samples shown to us that the overall quality of these authors was very high indeed. Several of the authors we spoke to had, in fact, been published by mainstream houses before but were keen to consider self-publishing with the flexibility and artistic control this option affords. This just goes to show that self-publishing continues to shed the stigma that has previously been attached to it and becoming an increasingly popular choice for those serious about getting their books read.”

Digital technology is certainly revolutionising the book printing industry, as PrintWeek editor Darryl Danielli pointed out in his comment piece on Friday. Self-publishing has given book printing a new lease of life, and clearly this is being recognised by some of the major players in the digital sector, with both HP and Kodak exhibiting at the London Book Fair for the first time this year.

At the Dispelling the Myths of Self-Publishing seminar, Simon Potter from Fast Print said: “Authors are now in control of their own destiny and technology has allowed this change. Print on Demand is taking over the publishing world. In the US, more than half of the books published were self-published.”

HP put on a series of seminars to highlight the printing capabilities of their digital technology, including a talk from Teresa Pereira from Blurb, who highlighted the affordable nature of self-publishing for things such as photobooks. Kodak, meanwhile, had an impressive display of POD samples. For someone like me, it was exciting to see the quality of a self-published product – it makes the whole purpose of self-publishing more worthwhile to know that a product I created will be printed to the highest possible standard.

Today I emailed the final copy of my manuscript to Pen Press. Over the next few weeks, all of the hard work that goes into creating a successful printed product will engulf my life. And I can’t wait!

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