Is it the End of Self-Publishing Success?


North American GC cover art
North American GC cover art (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Is the self-publishing bubble about to burst? Suspense writer Russell Blake thinks so. Passive Guy (better known as PG) does not, read his post here:


http://www.thepassivevoice.com/05/2012/we-are-seeing-the-not-so-slow-motion-popping-of-the-amazon-self-publishing-bubble/


In my opinion, Blake's post is VERY convincing: the self-publishing bubble IS slowly popping. For once I don't agree with PG's reading of this post (I usually always agree with him...). PG sees it as a cop out in praise of legacy publishers. I don't believe Russell Blake is on the side of traditional publishers in any way. He's just based his conclusions on a series of (in my opinion) very acute observations. 


PG disagrees: he says most sales on Amazon occur in the range between the 99 cents and $5.99 and that is where the real volume is. Since this is the favorite price range of self-pubbed authors, he argues this is proof that the self-pubbed bubble is NOT about to pop. But I believe he's mistaken in claiming that legacy publishers haven't noticed. They sure have! Now all of a sudden one can buy recent books of many of the big NYT best seller names in that very range, something that wasn't possible some time back. 


This change seems to have started last month and was perhaps linked to the fact that 3 Big Publishers have already gotten out of the Apple-induced price collusion that led to the so-called "agency model" . A DOJ case is currently on-going and as far as I know, at least two Big Publishers are still stuck in the deal and their prices I believe haven't changed. They're still in the above $14 range but this of course would need to be confirmed over time and with more data... 


All this suggests we should expect an outburst of real competition for indies on the very terrain where they were acting as kings. To fight back, indies will need to make sure that their books are not only cheaper but tops in quality: no more bad editing, inconsistencies, mistakes, typos... So, unless indies are able to improve their act quickly, I really do think that we are about to see a slow pop in the self-publishing bubble!







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