Amazon Kindle The Fire. Ebooks Go Mainstream.

    Categories: Ebooks and Technology

OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn

This has got to be the moment.

Ebook sales have been steadily growing over the last 2 years and those of us readers who converted early are almost entirely ebook consumers now.

For authors, the global ebook sales market has meant we can sell direct to customers and every month receive a cheque from Amazon. We can log on and see our sales by the hour. It has been life changing for me and so many others.

But ebooks have been far from mainstream. Until now.

These new Kindle devices change everything.

 Amazon has unveiled a new family of Kindles including one at the magic price of $79. This is what happened with the iPod when the price came down low enough that it was a no-brainer purchase. Those people who had been on the fence about new-fangled digital music went out and got one, just to see what the fuss was about. I was one of those people (with the ipod) and it hasn’t left my side since.When did you switch to digital music?

Kindle sales growth almost vertical

I was one of the first people in Australia to buy the Kindle when it (finally) become available. I converted to 90% ebook reading within weeks and the number of books I bought at least trebled. I am unashamedly an Amazon fan but this is a massively exciting development for any author who can see what’s round the corner.

These new Kindles will ship in October and November. There will be many of them in Christmas stockings and ebook sales go up over Christmas because people have time to read, and of course, play with their new gadgets.

So what does this mean for you?

  • If you don’t have a Kindle yet and you are a writer or want to be. Get off the fence and buy one of these (affiliate). Experience for yourself what the digital revolution means. Even if you still love the smell of a new book, there are millions of people converting to ebooks and you want to sell to them. You are not your market. You have to see this to believe it.
  • If you are a traditionally published author and your publisher has not put your book on the Kindle with global rights, then go see an IP lawyer and see what you can do to get the rights back or ask the publisher to get your books up there. It’s not rocket science.

Trust the market

People want to read. They want to find books that will inspire them, entertain them, educate them, take them out of their world for just a few minutes. These book lovers are people like me. I devour Kindle books. I download samples several times a day. My biggest entertainment expense is ebooks. I love reading. Chances are, so do you, and so do millions of readers. Maybe they will like your book. But they won’t find it unless it’s on the Kindle platform.

I’m sure there will be the usual lamentation that this attitude will flood the market with more self-published books of bad quality, but I trust the market. I am a heavy Kindle user. I am the market. I always download a sample unless I trust the author. I always delete the sample and don’t buy if the formatting is bad or if the book is not enjoyable or useful. I only buy books that pass this sample test. I go by reader recommendations and how many stars there are. I buy based on recommendations from my friends on twitter. Crap books with crap covers do not sell. They don’t rank on the bestseller list. They do not get recommendations.

Stop with the excuses about why you think ebooks will fail, or how they are destroying publishing. Enough already.

This is no longer the future. This is right now. You need to act.

Image source: Business Insider

Joanna Penn :

View Comments (58)

  • "Even if you still love the smell of a new book, there are millions of people converting to ebooks and you want to sell to them. You are not your market."


    Thank you, Joanna, for injecting a little sanity into the debate. ;-)

    • I'm glad you agree Belinda - unfortunately, there's no arguing with a lot of people on this. But I think even they will succumb in the next 6-18 months. I waiting for my Dad to crumble as he is very old school on the print book!

      • I like the tactile experience of paper myself, despite the Kindle beside my bed. On the sitcom The Middle the other night, the 9 year old boy Brick was frantic when told to surf the internet instead of going to the library. "But I like books!" he wailed, holding out his hands in front of him and twitching his fingers. "I like the feel of paper in my hands!"

        Heck, even sitcom writers are making fun of me now. (I laughed, sure, but in an outraged kind of way. ;-) )

        But hey, I want to share my words with everyone who likes to read, no matter how they like to read - not just people like me. Ebooks, here we come!

  • I've been resisting the tide, but am sorely tempted to try out Kindle and see how it is for myself. The urge has been dancing around in my mind since I made my daily visit to Amazon this morning, and your excellent post has convinced me I have nothing to lose. Thanks for giving me a new way to look at the e-book phenomenon!

    • Toby - you won't regret it! Really, you will enjoy the reading experience and it will transform how you see ebooks. For that price, it's worth a life-changing moment :)

  • Great news - thanks for the post! I already have 5 books up on Kindle and am working on a 6th as fast as I can, plus more on the slate. Kindle really is a game-changer. I know there are other formats out there and other sites like Smashwords, but I put my energy on the Big One (Kindle), knowing I can add the other formats as time permits.
    Thanks again for all your great posts!

    • That's awesome Evelyn - I need to get my backlist hammered next year. I also have most of my sales on Amazon. In a way, it is concerning to only have 1 major source of income but equally, I don't think they will be going away anytime soon.

  • Excited that the kindle is now so cheap, i want an ipad for christmas and didn't think i could justify the $280 odd and $1000 for an ipad. Now I can have both!!

    • I haven't really been using my iPad, but I use my Kindle every day. I would definitely have the Kindle over the iPad but awesome if you can have both!

  • I must say it is an advantage to be an author these days given that a number of techniques can be used to create and market a book. Ebooks are simply an alternative to traditional books and with the age of technology, people would find something digital and of course convenient. (not to mention cheaper) that's why they sell.

  • Joanna would u go for a kindle fire Over an iPad (web searching etc) and a separate kindle. I thought of just getting 1 device to read and web surf etc but in one in 1 of ur posts u said u hv separated the two so ur not distracted when reading??

    • Hi Nicky, I don't know much about Kindle Fire and it's not available outside US as far as I know. Re the iPad, I don't read books on it. I use it for surfing, video and as more of a laptop replacement - whereas the Kindle is just for reading. 2 different purposes. So really consider what you want it for before buying. Have fun!

  • I was one of those people saying, 'I just love the feel of the book in my hand, the experience of reading a book. ' Well, I caved when Barnes & Noble came out with their new reader, which brought their "1st Edition" price down into my range (with the help of a gift card). It's true: price is one of the biggest factors in the decision, even for those of us who love the feel of the book. As the price comes down, e- readers will become ubiquitous.

    And I still read print books, but I'm loving my nook more and more. Especially since I can borrow from the library (yes, Kindle finally got on that bandwagon). And I know, people love their Kindles, but I prefer the nook where you're not restricted to one store and format.

    Whichever you prefer, as a writer, you can't ignore the power of the e-reader.

  • Big sigh from Canada...no Kindle Fire on the horizon in time for a Christmas gift of the Kindle Fire, yet...I got a Sony Reader last year...but choices appear limited...However, I signed up to download Kindle ebooks to my PC and in three days I bought three books, including Jack Canfield's The Success Principles (thanks for the tip Joanne) and it was great to be able to have it right here in moments. Back to my book....

    • There's no Kindle Fire anywhere but US Mae - but hey, we still get the other Kindle :) I'm glad you got Jack Canfield's book. That's one of the books that changed my life. I think principle (1) is Take responsibility for your life and your choices. You are where you are because of you. I like that, it just takes a good few years to change direction!

  • Hi Joanna
    I am a fan of yours since listening to you at a course at the Brisbane Library last year about publishing. Currently, I have a second world war biography, almost complete, with the agent Curtis Brown. They are finding it very difficult to get a traditional publisher. I am in the process of setting up a web site to most likely start the process of self publishing. Looking forward to a 10% royalty less 15% of that to the agent—if I get a publisher, is just the encouragement I need to make me work hard at ebooking and other ways of selling it myself.

    • Hi Brian, of course I remember you!
      I'm glad you're considering other options especially with a book that will resonate with people all over the world. The ebook market makes it much easier for you to sell to people in Europe and America who are also interested in WWII books.
      Just let me know if you have any questions. Joanna