Morning Coffee – 3 July 2019

Here are a few stories to read this Wednesday morning.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder 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. Gordon Horne3 July, 2019

    A couple of thoughts on the Guardian article:

    7% decline in print sales not offset by 4% increase in digital sales. Overall 3% decline in fiction sales.

    The percentages are derived from different bases. 7% – 4% = 3% only works if print sales and digital sales are the same size (by units or revenue, however “sales” are measured). Therefore, either the print and digital markets are roughly the same size, or The Guardian in innumerate.

    They also claim everything is going to be fine because Big Name Author will release another book, and it will be adapted to TV or film, and book sales will rebound. Increase, even. They are really banking on the blockbuster model. What happens in years when the BNA in a publisher’s stable doesn’t produce a new book? When the BNA suffers terminal existence failure? If the BNA is accused of being a horrible person in some way?

    The article did not reassure me that the road ahead of the big publishers is smooth sailing. Yes, I know that’s a mixed metaphor, but the image of the big publishers trying to sail a boat on a road is apt.

    1. Nate Hoffelder3 July, 2019

      heh – that is a good metaphor

    2. Disgusting Dude4 July, 2019

      Most of the big name authors are rather long in the tooth.
      Sooner rather than later they will retire.
      For one reason or another.

      As for the percentages, simple algebra is required.
      Big publisher numbers are currency based and Big publisher ebook sales have been declining from a peak of 25% of total to under 20% of total.
      So, generously allowing ebooks to be 20% of the total means 7% of print is 5.6% of the total and the 4% of ebooks is 0.8% of the total. Once you express the changes in total revenue numbers you find revenue dropped by a net 4.6% of the total. Offsetting this requires a 28% growth in ebook sales which isn’t happening any time soon.
      In simpler terms: each percent of print sales is four times bigger than a percent of ebook sales.

      Mind you, ebook sales are more profitable than print sales but it is doubtful they are four times as profitable. And of course, their numbers never factor in inflation which was 2.3% in the UK.

      Their real inflation adjusted decline is closer to 8% which isn’t terribly easy to wave off with smoke and mirrors.

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