By Evan Swensen
In the beginning of the eBook era, many of our authors asked, “What are you doing about eBooks?” This question was usually prompted by a trade article or a conversation with a fellow writer. It was at the front of our minds as well–and we didn’t have a firm answer.
It seemed that all the positive hype came from companies who would profit from an “eBook revolution.” The opposite end of the spectrum came mostly from traditional publishers, who banded with their writers to discredit the eBook prophets by pointing out the digital windfall would only benefit those prophets—book publishers sure were not making any money.
The eBook revolution crowd touted the numbers of eBooks being sold, signaling their belief that eBooks would replace printed books. Of course the response was that, “Yes, a few e-readers were being sold but the buyers were reading public domain books and no one was making money; and probably wouldn’t.”
I sided with the anti-eBook group and wrote an Author Update email letter to all our authors letting them know that we would not be engaging in the eBook publishing fad. We’d keep an open mind, but we didn’t think eBooks were going anywhere soon. We pointed out that eBook sales amounted to less than one percent of all book sales—a lot less than one percent.
Christmas came and went and sales figures for eBooks and readers were released announcing an almost 10% market share at Amazon. Someone wrote, “If you’re not prepared to do eBooks, get prepared to be unemployed.” And we got busy.
First, we repented to our authors and got them on board for eBooks. We talked to everyone we could that had anything to do with eBooks. We found an eBook conversion company, signed contracts with Kobo, Kindle, and Barnes and Noble. By summer we had 80 of our titles converted to eBooks and in distribution. And it wasn’t long until we started receiving payments for eBooks sales and mailing royalty checks to surprised authors.
Part of the business philosophy of Publication Consultants is that we are book publishers, not book distributors. With eBooks we soon found that our philosophy was sound and we needed to get out of the eBook distribution business. We narrowed our distributor search to only certified eBook distribution aggregators and we placed a call to INscribe Digital.
That call may have been the most important eBook telephone call we ever made. Partnering with INscribe Digital has been a pleasant, profitable experience. Each month our eBook sales have steadily increased. The amazing thing is that as eBook sales have increased, our pBook sales have also increased.
In the beginning, and even today, there doesn’t seem to be a standard way to spell eBook. Our style manual reads eBook along with pBook. And our manual also includes another new word, aggregator. We’re grateful that INscribe Digital is our eBook distribution aggregator partner, that eBook sales have contributed to our pBook sales, and that we have the privilege of writing monthly royalty checks to surprised authors who might not know how to spell eBook, but do know how to endorse their royalty checks.
Evan Swensen is the Owner and Publisher of Publication Consultants
“Publishing the works of authors worldwide”