January 2012 E-Book Sales Figures

My e-book sales figures for January 2012 matched my December results, so I’m still seeing a sliver of the post-Christmas/New Year sales bump, even if many others are not.

In January 2012 I sold 17 e-books across all platforms. The detailed breakdown is as follows:

Amazon US: 9
Amazon UK: 4
Amazon Germany: 1
DriveThruFiction: 2
OmniLit/AllRomance: 1

These figures are confirming my decision not to put my books in KDP Select, because I have sales on other platforms, even if they are small.

Talking of OmniLit/AllRomance ebooks, publishing guru Mike Shatzkin has an interesting post about them. His argument is somewhat convoluted, because he starts with the observation that romance readers, the demographic served by AllRomance, are strongly opposed to DRM (As opposed to whom? SF readers? Mystery readers? At any rate, I’ve never run across anybody except clueless publishing executives who liked DRM). Then Shatzkin notes that 96 percent of all e-books sold via AllRomance (and OmniLit, I presume) do not have DRM, even though 91 percent of the e-books in their store, i.e. all books by major publishers, have DRM, hence 9 percent of AllRomance‘s offerings account for 96 percent of their sales.

Shatzkin is stunned by those figures and wonders what the big publishers are missing here. He comes up with a number of theories (Is it the DRM? Is it the sex? Is it the detailed classification system?), all of which largely miss the point. For what Shatzkin misses is that the romance community were early adopters of e-readers and that e-book first/e-book only small presses were flourishing in the romance genre long before the Kindle was a gleam in Jeff Bezos’ eye. These small presses (which largely don’t use DRM) were and continue to be able to thrive, because they publish niche genres that the big publishers wouldn’t touch such as m/m romance, lesbian romance, erotic romance, paranormal romance before it was hot, futuristic romance, time travel, interracial romance, BDSM erotica, etc… Plus, AllRomance has been around as a specialist e-book retailer for a long time now, since before Amazon decided to get into the e-book market. So AllRomance has been the go-to destination for romance readers with niche tastes for years now and remains so, because those niche genres are easily findable, while finding a “Rubenesque” romance (a.k.a. a romance featuring women who are not slim) on Amazon is something of a gamble. Plus, AllRomance offers e-books in multiple file formats, another plus for them. Finally, from an author/publisher POV, AllRomance makes it easy to flag potentially offensive content (there are tick boxes for dubious consent, incest themes, violence and abuse, nudity on the cover, etc… in the upload area) without having to fear that your book will be blocked altogether, because it offends someone’s idea of morality. And from a reader POV, it makes avoiding such content (or seeking it out) a lot easier than Amazon.

Besides, it’s perfectly possible that a reader may go to AllRomance for her m/m romance or BDSM erotica fix and buy mainstream romances from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Wal-Mart or directly from the publisher for convenience.

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