Smashwords’s New 2014 Survey Shows the Value of Pre-Orders

smashwords_logoLast night Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords, posted the slides from the talk he gave at the RWA Booklovers Convention back in May (yes, that convention).

The slides make up the report for the annual Smashwords “Money, Money, Money” survey. The report is based on 12 months of Smashwords’s sales data, and it reveals a few clues as to how self-published authors might best make money in a turbulent market.

I’ve gone through the slides, and there are really only a few new details which we didn’t have in last year’s report.

For example free ebooks aren’t moving at nearly the same rate as they did last year. In 2013, free ebooks in iBooks were bought 91 times as often as paid ebooks, while this year the ratio has dropped to 38. It’s not clear why free ebooks are less popular, but I suspect that the price point is saturated with junk, leading readers to buy ebooks. Curiously, free still seems to be working as away to promote a series. Or at least the series which sold the most also had the first book in said series as a freebie, but there’s no way to really tell from the SW data whether it had any effect.

The report also gave an explanation for Hachette being upset over the loss of pre-orders in the Kindle Store. The report shows that pre-orders, when they are available, can boost sales. Few indies have this option in the Kindle Store, but it can be used in iBooks to hit the best seller list.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

1 Comment

  1. Valentine7 July, 2014

    Series. Liked that one, but my attention wanders after the 5-6th book in the series. Also, some people just don’t know when to stop.


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