Publishers Weekly just released the ebook numbers for 2012. By their own admission, instead of requesting e-book sales for books published in 2011-12, they asked for total e-book sales during the year. The omission was telling. A number of back listed books showed very well in in ebook sales, in these numbers names like Nora Roberts, John Grisham and Stephen King popped up as well as “James Patterson [with] 29 books on the list, with a total of more than 2.6 million; Janet Evanovich scores close to 1.8 million with 19 books. In almost all instances, unit sales for print books are still ahead of e-book sales, but the gap is starting to narrow.”
Yes, I know, great news if you are James Patterson, or writing for him. But this is also great news for authors with modest print success and an inventory of back listed titles. As the popularity of ebooks increases so will the opportunities for writers to give their back listed books another chance. There are emerging companies who will take your out of print book (think Romance, fantasy, sci fi at this point) and re-issue the book as a 99 cent ebook. This will increase your readership, put money directly into your pocket and give those back listed books another life and another chance.
Ebooks, not just an outlet for new manuscripts.