ePublish Yourself! Intelligence - 2016Market intelligence for indie authors and epublishers
An article in the Wall Street Journal in July of this year proclaimed that audiobooks have become the fastest-growing format in the book world. The Audio Publisher Association pointed to sales increases of 21 percent in the U.S. and Canada between 2014 and 2015. Smartphones and the need for instantly available entertainment are credited with much of the growing popularity of audiobooks and major publishers are responding to this trend by hiring experienced narrators from film and television to provide top-notch audio works.
The trend appears likely to continue. The Audio Publishers Association also collected preliminary data indicating that downloaded audio sales were up 37 percent in January and February of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015.
Barnes & Noble
As detailed in an article on The Digital Reader, Scribd has shut down their unlimited subscription service as of March 2016. Instead, readers get access to three ebooks and one audiobook per month, selected from choices in a catalog of bestsellers. Apparently, some customers responded to the digital equivalent of an eat-all-you-want buffet by gluttonously downloading large quantities of digital content.
Scribd’s subscription service demise follows the shutdown of Oyster in early 2016, with many of the team members moving on to Google Play Books.
Meanwhile, supporters of e-book subscription access say that publishers should not only want the model to succeed, but that they need it to. Consumer habits are changing in a mobile age dominated by smartphones and tablets. Quick and easy access to content is now expected. And as streaming services such as Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify fundamentally reshape consumer expectations, it is difficult to believe this shift will not impact the book business.
Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited subscription service continues on with most titles being provided by self-published authors who typically earn about a half cent per page read from Amazon or about a dollar for a 200-page ebook. The Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count, described here, has been a controversial change to the subscription service as of January 2016 with authors weighing in on both sides of the payment method.