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IndieReaders Have a Dream

INDIEREADERS HAVE A DREAM

I have a dream that one day all books will be judged by and on their own merits regardless of how or by whom the book was published, and how sexy the author looks in his/her headshot.   I have a dream that traditionally published, hybrid published and self-published books can share the same table.   Author John Green publicly dismissed self-publishing as an option at the Association of American Booksellers and he is completely free to do so.  We must remember, however, that not everyone enjoys that same luxury.   Some books are seen as “too solidly mid-list,”  “too risky,” or “too ethnic.”  Through self-publishing, Indie Readers have been able to discover more books written by authors of color.  One such reader is bestselling thriller writer Clive Cussler, who was so impressed with IndieAuthor Russell Blake that he invited Blake to co-author Cussler’s next novel.   Dreams can come true.

And on another note, IndieReader In-Store had a terrific launch last week.  So far we’ve had announcements in:

* Publisher’s Lunch
* Bookselling this Week
* Shelf Awareness

And more importantly, we’ve had feedback like this from Tony Herr, from Cape Atlantic Book Company in Cape May, New Jersey, “I love this idea very much and want to utilize it completely.  We’ve had an indie section since we opened 2 years ago, but it hasn’t been very diverse since I cannot review everything that comes my way, and so far the indie selections from Ingram have only been offered at 25-30% discounts, (I would happily take more chances with titles if Ingram offered them at my regular discount).  I definitely believe this service will go a long way to getting these selections properly reviewed and on bookstore shelves.”

O BOOK, WHERE ART THOU?

With bookstores and bookshelves reportedly disappearing, one question immediately emerges:  Where, pray tell, will be the best places to find and buy books?  Will it be your neighborhood Seven Eleven where kids are rewarded with free Slurpees for every book they read?

Will it be retail stores like Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters where the books are set and designed to catch your eyes?  Websites like IndieReader?  Perhaps we will come to rely on algorithms – if you liked V, you might enjoy the rest of the alphabet W X Y Z.  There’s also a new social networking app Books I Love where readers can recommend books to friends.

With all these possibilities, I’m beginning to feel that reports of the bookstore’s death, to paraphrase Mark Twain, have been greatly exaggerated.

What have we learned, so far, in 2014?

TEENAGE WASTELAND 

New data suggest that fewer teens aged 13-17 are reading for fun.

All may not be lost because as these teens “age,” they may very well rediscover the joys of reading, and e-books.  It could happen as research shows that more Americans are reading e-books.

I’D LIKE TO BUY AN “E”

That’s right, 28% of Americans read an e-book in 2013, up from 23% in 2012.  Print is still very popular, not to be put out to pasture, but e-book sales and e-reader ownership are on the rise.  According to a new study two-thirds of U.S. children aged two to thirteen now read e-books, up from 54% in similar study conducted last year.  Fifty percent of Americans own a tablet or e-reader.  And some of us are reading these e-books on our cell phones.  Our poor eyes.

WHEN THE PRICE IS RIGHT

Earlier we reported that cover design can affect sales by as much as 30%.  Well, getting the right price can be tricky too.   Especially with e-books when you see prices vary from $1 to $10.  The most popular range in the U.S. is between $1-2.  The books that earn the most revenue, perhaps not surprisingly, sell for $9-$10.  The books that earn the most in the U.K., however, sell for £ 1 or less.  Fierce!

I CAN’T GET NO SATISFACTION

Rumor has it, writers are an unhappy lot.   Certainly if you believe the latest studyfrom Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest.  Surely, these statistics skew and lie.   Thankfully, Joanna Cabot decides to deconstruct

author dissatisfaction and finds more creative control equals more satisfaction.

OUR BOOKS, OUR SHELVES

Women read more.  Women buy more books.  And there is such a genre called Women’s Fiction, or Chick Lit.   So, the question arises should women have their own bookshelves?  While there may be some pros to having a shelf of our own, history has taught us “separate, but equal” is fraught with land mines.   How does one define women’s fiction – by the author, the protagonist, the subject matter?   If some books are labeled for women, does that mean others are not?  Who gets to choose, and why?  After all, fiction is highly subjective.

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