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