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    Publishing a Book: What’s Best e-Book or Print? 

    We are in Tucson, Arizona this weekend for the Tucson Festival of Books. It’s always a great event. (If you are in the area drop by our booth, #155.)

    One of the topics I know we’ll be discussing with authors is e-books. It seems like everybody wants their book in digital format.

    Courtesy of Mark Anderson under Creative Commons

    If you are making decisions about the best publishing format for your book – e-book, print book or both – here are some things to consider.

    E-book sales have increased dramatically. Guy Kawasaki, in his recent book  APE: How to Publish a Book reported that e-book sales in 2011, the last year for which complete totals are available, accounted for $2.1 billion.Wow! That’s a lot of e-books. However, that accounted for only 8% of total sales; print books were still 92% bringing in $24.8 billion.

    The results are not the same for all types of books in digital format. Technical books that are heavily hyperlinked have done well. Genre fiction has done best of all. Adult fiction trade books accounted for 97% of all e-books sold.

    David P. Vandagriff, at The Passive Voice broke the results down further in a study of the top ten websites, including the Kindle store, selling ebooks. Here is what he found:

    Top Ten Best-Selling eBook Genres List for 2011

    1. Romance Fiction
    2. Thriller Fiction
    3. Fiction stories with/about Weddings (Romance Fiction)
    4. Paranormal Fiction
    5. Fantasy Fiction
    6. Historical Fiction
    7. Detective/Spy Fiction
    8. Techno Guides/ Manuals/ ____ for Dummies
    9. Historical/ Biographical
    10. Literary Fiction

    Derek J. Canyon ,at Adventures in ePublishing posted his own research on e-book sales in The Keys to ePublishing Success. He looked at the genre of books written by authors selling 1,000 or more Kindle e-books per month. Here’s a percentage breakdown:

    Romance                   16%

    Paranormal                15%

    Thriller                        12%

    Mystery                       12%

    Fantasy                       8%

    Science Fiction             7%

    Young Adult                 5%

    Comedy                       4%

    Horror                          3%

    Crime                           3%

    Nonfiction                     3%

    Historical                      3%

    Urban Fantasy             1%

    Occult                          1%

    Contemporary             1%

    Dating                         1%

    Commercial                 1%

    Biography                   1%

    Canyon also found that of the authors with a thousand or more sales per month 67% had three or more titles available, 17% had 2 titles and 16% had a single title.

    So if you are planning to publish, take some time to determine whether a digital format suits your book. Print might be better. Both print and e-book might be better still. Then again if your book is genre fiction e-books might be right up your alley. Your choices should be driven by your target audience and their reading preferences.

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