My book The Art of Freelance Blogging was released in print just over a week ago. I didn't expect to sell any copies. Truly, I didn't. The book I released is targeted towards people who are internet-savvy, therefore most will own an eBook-reader or tablet of some kind. Plus, every year there are reports that sales of printed books are plummeting.
A bigger issue was the price of the book. Due to the book being over 580 pages long, CreateSpace did not allow me to price the book below $19.53. So the sales price of $19.99 I am selling the book is out of my hands (though Amazon does seem to be selling it for $17.99 at the moment). Twenty dollars isn't a lot for an informative non-fiction book that shows you how you can make money, but the digital version sells for between $2.99 and $4.99. I suspected that even the most old-fashioned reader would choose the digital version that pay six times more for the physical copy.
I am happy to report that I was wrong. The book sold a few copies within its first week of release. I only make a few dollars per sale, therefore I am not going to make a huge amount of money from the printed version of the book. It is, however, encouraging that there is still a market for printed books. As I said before, releasing a printed version of a book you have already written does not give you much more work, as the book is already written. Therefore, it makes sense to release a physical copy of any books over 100 pages long you write.
There is no doubt that sales of printed books are going to drop again in 2013, however I do not see eBooks generating the majority of book sales for at least another 5 years, perhaps even more. The BBC article I read noted that eBooks account for 13-14% of all book sales. It also mentioned that people are generally buying more books but they are paying less for them.
So more and more people are going to purchase their first eBook reading device this year. Once someone starts reading books through an e-reader, I believe they will read most books that way, which is why printed book sales will drop again this year.
I had it wrong. I believed eBooks accounted for a larger chunk of the market than they do. I am sure others have this misconception too, as a quick look on Amazon shows that many books are never released in print form, only the digital version.
If you have ever considered writing a book, my suggestion to you is simple: Do it! There has never been a better time to release a book and whilst the printed book market is shrinking a little every year, it still accounts for over 85% of all book sales. It's a potential goldmine!