The Business Rusch: The Changing Playing Field



“In the past five years, e-book sales in the United States have gone from zero to (conservatively) 706 million, with no sign of slowing down.


About 30% of those e-book sales come from independent (self-published) authors. That’s about 210 million ebook sales that did not come out of traditional publishing.  The bulk of those sales, as we all know, came in the last few years, not in the early years.


Our industry is growing. We are getting new bookstores, new readers, new writers, and we haven’t hit the peak of the market yet. Why not? Because traditional publishers dropped the ball decades ago. Traditional publishersforgot that they sell books to consumers. Instead, they changed their business model to sell books to bookstores. When the independent bookstores declined at the turn of this century, traditional publishers started marketing to the big distributors and to the chain bookstores, which was why you heard such industry-wide panic when Borders went down. It wasn’t because the readers went away; it was because traditional publishers had no idea how to sell their books to people other than the ten to twenty buyers for national distributors and chain bookstores.”