Thanks to everyone who shared their book picking habits! The results (in my very non-scientific assessment) are:
- Author Rep/Signing/Series (25%)
- Personal Rec/Gift/Book Clubs (20%)
- Cover/Blurb (11%)
- Blogs (11%)
- Friend's Book (11%)
- Read to Review/Research/Writing (7%)
- Goodreads (5%)
- Price/Borders Sale (4%)
- Publisher (4%)
- Book Reviews (1%)
We clearly are a bunch who like to buy our friends' books, read blogs, and review books, things the general public probably doesn't do on a regular basis. And some of us may even have a favorite publisher (I'm looking at you Bryan Russell). But even so, the majority of our picks come from author rep and personal recommendation, just like Kathryn Rusch found for the general public.
I guess authors are normal people after all. :)
Christmas is Right Around the Corner...
The big question this fall is not so much how books will be picked (I think that Word of Mouth and Author Rep will still be King for a long time), but what format readers will choose? Will this Christmas be a replay of last year, where there was a fundamental shift toward more e-readers in more hands (kids as well as adults)? Or will the e-book surge flatten out and hold steady? The traditional pub and self-pub industries alike are watching with anticipation.
No one is predicting the demise of e-books as a force to be reckoned with.
plans to unveil a new app for kids. Meanwhile iPad is already ahead of the game with multi-lingual apps for kids books, where you can read "The Three Pandas" (i.e. Goldilocks) in English and Chinese, bringing a multi-cultural (as well as multi-lingual) experience to kids. How do you say, very cool in French? Tres chic, iPad.
I picture a future world (10 years hence) where kids are sitting in a class during silent reading time, sharing a dozen iPads and reading in a dozen different languages - not necessarily their native language, either. Exposing kids to different cultures and languages is a fantastic way to broaden their minds and help them become ready learners in a global society.
And Self-Published Authors are Getting Ready ...
The amazing potential growth of e-readers, added to the increasing ease of digital and print publishing, continues to make self-publishing the biggest news of the day. More and more authors are saying the stigma is waning and being a self-pub author is the new trendy cool thing. Judging by the number of definitely cool authors I know hopping on the self-pub trend (or at least seriously considering it), I think there may be something to that. And self-publishing is definitely still "new," meaning that the E-Revolution is far from over. Already I see friends dusting off their editing credentials and graphic design experience and hanging out a shingle to serve authors making a foray into self-publishing - this is an industry that's just starting to reveal itself.
There are some (agents) that say self-publishing is the new query, but I think this is slightly wide of the mark. I get the analogy: self-publishing your novel and demonstrating that it has a market means that agents and editors may come knocking on your door (rather than the other way around). And traditional publishers still have the print market cornered, so if being on the B&N (real life) shelves is your goal, getting your book traditionally published is the way to go. But trying to make the new paradigm of self-publishing fit into the old paradigm of traditional publishing misses the key point that things have changed. I believe that authors who self-pub are taking an ownership over their careers and their creative work in a way that was not previously a viable career option.
And now it is.
So here is where you get to predict the future! Do you think e-book sales will surge in the Christmas season ahead, or do you think we've reached an equilibrium or saturation point in the e-book market?
My crystal ball is broken, so I'll rely on the collective wisdom of my erudite commenters.