Poll results — ebooks v. print

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tncaleIn the post below, I asked you to respond with some information about your purchase of The Erevis Cale novels.  Specifically, I wondered whether you purchased them in print, ebook format, or some combination of the two.  My thanks to all who responded.  The response was almost entirely uniform among the 100 odd respondents — print purchases only.

Of course, The Erevis Cale novels have been available in ebook format for only a few months.  And most of the folks who hang around my site are likely to be long time fans, which means they had no choice but to buy print versions as an initial matter.  And only a very few of you, it  seems, have also purchased a digital version (what’s wrong with the rest of you, btw?  Do you love me or not?  :-)).

Anyway, why not generalize from an unscientific poll with a self-selecting sample that is far to small for generalizations?  Rock on.

So why’d I ask the question to begin with?  Well, as I mentioned, e-book sales of the Cale novels that are available in digital format appear to be fairly brisk (not JA Konrath brisk by any means, but somewhat brisk by industry standards).  So I wondered — Is the availability of ebooks increasing my readership (because ebooks are more readily available to more  people, particularly the international audience), or increasing overall sales but not readership (because the current readership is buying both a print and ebook copy), or doing nothing to sales or size of readership (because ebooks are simply substituting for print sales).

The answer is — Who knows?

If the poll were actually representative, I’d conclude from it that strong ebook sales were not strong because dedicated fans were buying digital copies to accompany their print copies.  After all, that’s barely mentioned at all in the responses and most of you are longtime, dedicated fans.  So option two is out the window.  Option three seems unlikely, too, since aggregate unit sales seem to have gotten a pop (above trend) since the ebook versions were made available.  So I suppose I’d conclude that strong ebook sales are probably due to sales to new readers, new readers who do not frequent my website and respond to polls.  If true, I like that muchly.  Of course, even if it is true, it’s an open question as to whether those new readers gave the Cale stories a try because they were available in digital format, or whether they would have tried them in print if the digital version were unavailable.  But, you know, either way, new readers.  Whee!

Also, all of this could be completely wrong.  But it’s still fun to write ‘Whee.’


(and thanks again to everyone who responded).

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12 thoughts on “Poll results — ebooks v. print

  1. I think you should ask this question again late in August of 2015. Then you’ll have a little more than 5 years’ worth of ebook sales, and if there are new readers coming to you via ebook, they’ll have found your blog. Of course, by then you’ll probably have the question answered via your royalty statements!

    • Heck, Phil, if my various novels are still actually in actual print form in 2015, I’ll be more than pleased by that alone. 🙂

  2. For me, buying an ebook version of a book I already own in paperback is like buying a Bluray version of a movie I have on DVD – yeah it’s newer and shinier, but it’s the same movie I already have! Unless there were some sort of extra incentive to buy the ebook version (ie, including out-of-print or original short stories) then I would have no reason to buy a copy of something I already have. Based on that, I would say that the majority (65-75%) of your ebook sales are new readers whereas the remainder are die-hards buying it out of being loyal/obsessive or tech geeks who like to have all the newest gadgets.

    I could also just be talking out of my @$$.

  3. Books are meant to be in hard copy!!!!!!! After being read and then placed in a honored spot in a bookshelf so that oneday it may be picked up again or shared and passed down to another.

  4. I bought the omnibus in trade paperback, but I had a really good Borders or B&N coupon. I love paper, but I also love my nook. (Yes, I know that sounds naughty…) Both e-books and print books have their places. Reading omnibus editions on my nook might be more convenient because the darn things are so unwieldy. (I recently bought a Terry Brooks omnibus for my nook — not just because of the rhyme.) E-books are also better for books with smaller type because I can adjust the size of the type — we can all think of times we wanted to be able to do that in a print edition. And I can certainly understand why people with wrist problems often prefer e-readers because they reading a print book can be more painful.

  5. I posted this on the poll, not realizing that it was already over. Please think about your international readers. I’m an expat, and sorely missing the availability of books, not to mention the lower prices. I’ve pretty much resorted to using the libraries here, something I haven’t done since my high school days. Your books, however, I’ve purchased on the Kindle. Please keep putting books out in ebook format. From me you’re guaranteed at least one ebook sale for your Erevis Cale books 🙂

  6. i don’t know about anyone else but as far as i’m concerned epics like this deserve a place in the shrine called my bookshelf, not on my harddrive. I have the Sembia Series, Erevis Cale trilogy, and the Twilight War w/ realms of war. I’ve even bought the omnibus so i can read them over again without damaging my originals. I-books be damned. 😛

  7. I like the feel of a real book in my hands. I will never have one of the Ereaders inless they stop printing books.

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