Everyone is talking about eBooks these days. I was just on a flight where it seemed like everyone had either an iPad, Nook, Kindle, or some other device they were using to read their books. So where does that leave print?
Well at Lulu, print is going as strong as ever. Creators on Lulu published over 50,000 new print book titles in 2011, up nearly 9% over 2010. What’s perhaps more interesting however is that print titles accounted for an incredible 68% of Lulu’s total sales last year, which really says something about the buying and sharing patterns of readers.
Undoubtedly eBooks are on the rise, but we’ve noticed a trend where readers with an eBook might tell a friend without an e-reader about a title and that friend then goes and buys a print copy. Time and again, we’ve seen examples of authors publishing both a print and eBook version of their works and going on to sell more than double the amount of total copies over authors who only sell one or the other.
One clever tactic we’ve seen authors use to drive print sales too is to offer free eBook previews of their titles. Several authors used this method over the holidays last year. We saw eBook sales double the day after Christmas and just a few days later, on the 28th, print sales tripled!
Today’s author can’t predict where their next fan might come from and readers don’t want to have to choose between formats. They just want it to be easy. Lulu’s mission in all of this is to ensure that we’re providing creators and buyers with the most options for selling their works – be they print or electronic – through more and more partnerships with premier retailers like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Apple. And while eBooks are certainly gaining momentum, our print catalogue sits at 618,687 titles – almost exactly even with our eBook catalogue. Clearly, print is still alive.