Online book sales – 30% and rising

The October meeting of the Colorado Independent Publishers Association featured a talk by self-publishing guru Dan Poynter. I’ve heard Dan speak on two occasions now and always feel energized by his can-do attitude about writing and selling books.

Aside from hearing some great reasons to self publish instead of trying to get a traditional publisher, (more money, more control, and who knows your market better – you or the cubicle flack in New York?) Dan also talked about some interesting statistics on book sales: over 30% of book sales are happening online. That would include venues like and other web sites. What’s the percentage of sales in regular brick & mortar bookstores? Eight percent! Ironically, that’s where the big publishing houses look to sell their books. It’s also one of the reasons they’re in trouble financially.

Should you ignore your neighborhood bookstore and only put your book for sale on Amazon? No. The idea is to diversify and look for opportunities to sell your book in non-traditional ways. Poynter likes to talk about selling his books on skydiving in parachute shops. So, consider this: Sell your dog book at at your vet’s clinic, or the local doggy daycare. Sell your cookbook at farmers markets, cookware stores, or the grocery store.

Also, pay attention to promoting using Web 2.0 activities such as blogging, networking on Facebook or starting a Twitter account.

Most of all, stop fretting about not being published by the big houses in New York. There’s a good chance they won’t be around in a few years.