I’ve been scouring the web to see what happened at BookExpo America 2010, the book industry’s annual trade show, and what it might mean for food writers. Here’s my 4 most interesting trends, quotes, and statistics:
1. DIY publishing is changing fast. Kindle has most of the e-book market. Can you come up with a Kindle e-book and sell it directly to Amazon?
From a Publisher’s Weekly report: J.A. Konrath, blogger of A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing, said on a panel that he self-published on Kindle a number of the books he never sold to publishers. “He priced those books at $1.99, thinking they would be loss leaders to bolster his print sales. Instead he said he made $3,000 on the titles in the first month they were available. Now, he said, he’s selling 220 to 250 Kindle editions per day and that, in July, when Amazon’s royalty rate on titles authors self-publish to Kindle goes up to 70%, he’ll be bringing in roughly $170,000 per year (assuming his volume doesn’t abate) on a bunch of books the New York publishing establishment wasn’t interested in.”
2. Bowker and the Book Industry Study Group did research that showed the computer is still biggest e-reading device (37%); then Kindle (32%); iPhone (10%); iPad (3% after 3 weeks in market!).
More than 2 million people already have the free Epicurious Recipes & Shopping List iPhone/iPad app. It’s got to trickle down to food writers releasing inexpensive apps and e-books. Got a plan? If you have a recipe database and videos, it’s a start for an e-book. Apps usually require more interaction, such as entering info.
3. According to an article in Publisher’s Weekly, Cursor’s Richard Nash said on a panel that success in the digital age is no longer about securing lifetime monopolies associated with copyright, or controlling the content pipe, but about “your moxie.”
While the digital realm brings with it a degree of uncertainty, there is also greater opportunity, he said. “There are so many ways to monetize content, more ways to consume it.” He said the real challenge for authors is negotiating the “signal-to-noise ratio,” in other words, helping users find quality, and offering visibility to authors and publishers.
What I get from his message is: stop worrying about putting your recipes online. Instead, focus on visibility and quality content.
4. Diane Gedymin, founder of The Publisher’s Desk blog, said: 7% of published books generate 87% of book sales. And 93% of all published books sell less than 1,000 copies each. I knew about the first statistic. As for the second, if your book sold more than 1,000 copies, you are in the top 6 % of published authors. High five! Today is your day to feel successful.