For this episode I did a quick little solo update about some interesting info I ran across this week in the world of children’s publishing. Listen to the episode, or you can read through my notes below, which cover most of what I talked about on the show.
Please let me know if you’d like me to do more of these “in the news” updates! I like sharing this stuff with you since I know it’s hard to keep up on everything going on in our industry.
Hope you enjoy!
I have 2 interesting trends/updates to share with you today, and they’re especially exciting for self-published authors!
The first comes from an interesting article in Publisher’s Weekly. It has all kinds of sales data for children’s books over the past few years, and I noticed some interesting trends I wanted to mention.
1. The move to online buying of children’s books
The first is that in 2012 & 2013, the #1 place where children’s books were purchased was e-tailers. This is a huge shift from just a couple of years ago, when big bookstore chains dominated. Obviously part of this is Borders going out of business, but the move to buying online has finally reached children’s books.
Similarly, the % of children’s books bought online or on a device went from only 19% in 2010 up to 27% in 2013, and it’s growing every year.
One reason this makes me very happy for self-published authors is that the prevailing wisdom has been that if you’re not in bookstores, you’ll never get discovered. With more customers taking to Amazon and other e-tailers to buy their books, there’s a much better chance of you getting discovered.
Customers may not go looking for your book, but one thing Amazon is really good at is showing customers other books or authors they may be interested in. If you can get your book showing up in Amazon’s “also boughts” or if you take advantage of their KDP Select promotional tools, you can get in front of those customers who are finally making the switch to buying online.
There’s still a ways to go before we’ve reached the market penetration that self-published authors have seen in other genres like romance or thrillers, but we’re getting there.
2. Smashwords has a new way for self-published children’s authors to get into libraries
A big challenge for self-published authors has always been getting into libraries, but the indie distributor Smashwords just announced that they’re partnering with Overdrive, which is the country’s largest digital library distributor. Overdrive currently works with about 28,000 schools and libraries, which is a huge amount of reach.
Now even though this doesn’t mean that being on Smashwords will automatically get your book bought by libraries, the idea they’re talking about is to offer curated lists of bestselling Smashwords titles to libraries so that librarians don’t have to be familiar with authors to be willing to buy their books. This opens up a ton of opportunity if you can make headway on the Smashwords platform and get into their bestsellers lists.
Personally, I’ve never looked into Smashwords much because I’ve always felt that Amazon’s KDP Select promotional programs get you in front of the largest number of readers possible and make it worth forgoing other sales channels like Smashwords. But this is making me think that combined with the other services they offer, it’s worth giving them another look and really making a push to get into their bestseller lists.
I plan to do a lot more research into this Overdrive and Smashwords program, so make sure you subscribe to the blog at http://letsmakekidsbooks.com/subscribe so you can keep up with what I’m learning and sharing about their platform and this program in particular.
So those are two really cool trends that are making it better and better to be a self-published children’s author. I for one am really excited that the industry is shifting into the self-published author’s favor like other genres have done, and I’m glad that we’re getting in early instead of waiting until it’s too competitive and saturated to be able to make a splash.
That’s it for this week- I look forward to talking with you again soon!
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