To the traditional publishers who believed that self-publishing was a phase, a fad, perhaps a short-lived new-fangled method of doing things, recent numbers revealed in the UK have shown that this opinion is in fact the opposite of the truth.
Many traditional publishers are still very much against the idea of self-publishing becoming an accepted part of the industry, but it has done exactly that thanks to recent developments. With the Guardian’s new self-publishing literary prize, Publisher’s Weekly’s latest commitment to review self-published works, and so many other well regarded thought leaders taking similar viewpoints, it should come as little surprise that the self-publishing market is booming.
According to statistics recently published by Steve Bohme, research director at Nielsen Book, self-published books’ share of the UK market grew by 79% in 2013, thanks for 18 million self-published books that were bought by UK readers. Despite book purchasing as a whole falling by 4% and print books falling even further by 10%, eBook sales individually have continued to grow and have shown a 20% improvement in the UK within the 12 months to December 2013.
The eBook market is certainly making strides as it becomes more and more accepted that the concept of reading on a screen is not as taboo as some may have thought, but it really is the improvement in the self-publishing market that makes the most impressive figures. £59 million worth of self-published titles were purchased last year, and despite that making up for only 3% of the total £2185 million spent on books last year, the encouragement for self-published writers or would-be self-published writers should be phenomenal.
Releasing the figures at the beginning of this week, Mr Bohme of Nielsen Book predicted that although self-publishing only accounts for approximately 5% of the overall market currently, the astonishing 79% rise in sales makes it easy to predict that this figure will continue to rise, and possibly quite dramatically. Mr Bohme predicts that the better the figures, the more confident writers will be in taking a chance on self-publishing, allowing the industry to grow even more: “It’s a growth market in the industry,” he said, continuing to say that he expects authors to consider self-publishing as an option more so now than ever.
The figures also show that self-published authors are beginning to gain their own followings as they get more established, and readers’ figures have shown the best way for a writer to do just that. According to Mr Bohme readers have cited recurring characters and series as reason for choosing self-published works, and so as these authors begin to become popular, the self-published market becomes more and more like the traditionally published market.
Thanks to the growth in establishing a following as well, self-published authors have been able to harness a better price for their eBooks, and 2013 saw the beginnings of the self-published market bringing their prices more in line with than of mainstream publishing.