I was wrong about not posting another long post today; I forgot I needed to write up the numbers for Q1. A quick summary: Total eBook downloads were up, though that has a lot to do with my continuing to put out more books (and my putting the rest of my books up as free eBooks when the new year started), as downloads on a per-title basis were flat or dropping (except for Dragons’ Truth, which had about double the previous quarter’s downloads and 3x the year-ago-quarter’s… mostly in PDF formats). The same is true for podiobooks downloads; the total downloads were a tiny bit up, but each show was flat or down, and the difference comes from the two new books I’ve launched during the period.
What about paid eBook sales? I’ve been doing a price experiment, as you may recall; at the start of the year I dropped all my full-book eBook prices into the $2.99 to $4.99 range. After three months, how did sales change? Sales went down, actually. Fewer copies sold at the lower prices. The only title whose sales increased was Untrue Tales… Book One, which I had reduced down to $0.99 (with the rest of the series at $3.99/book), which sold a total of 5 copies in 3 months. (And no one went on to buy the rest of the series – only a single copy of Book Three sold, of all the books after One.) Seeing that sales had not improved (and in some cases had become much worse) with the lowered prices, rather than leaving them a full six months, or even a full three months, I put through price increases on all my full-book eBooks with about a week left in March – at the same time I pulled the individual Untrue Tales eBooks and uploaded them as two trilogies (for parity with the print version, and so they’d have more attractive pricing). My eBooks are now all in the $6.99 to $9.99 price range. I made half as much money in 1 week at the higher prices as I had in 12 weeks at the lower prices. Which is what I expected, and expect to continue to see over Q2.
Here are the eBook and Podiobook download numbers for the Q1 of 2011, as usual giving the total of eBook downloads, the total of Podiobook downloads, and the more-accurate (re: # of people who dl’d a full book) total downloads of the final episodes of each Podiobook, as: eBook/total-PB/final-PB
- Lost and Not Found: 302 / 2,684 / 126
- Dragons’ Truth: 695 / 1,874 / 237
- Forget What You Can’t Remember: 422 / 6,742 / 189
- The First Untrue Trilogy: 59 (eBook, only available 7 days)
- The Second Untrue Trilogy: 66 (eBook, only available 7 days)
- Untrue Tales… Book One: 283 / 5,165 / 370
- Untrue Tales… Book Two: 283 / 5,359 / 349
- Untrue Tales… Book Three: 223 / 2,899 / 269
- Untrue Tales… Book Four: 314 / 4,366 / 377
- Untrue Tales… Book Five: 265 / 1,787 / N/A
- Cheating, Death: 284 / 6,750 / 439
- Lost and Not Found – Director’s Cut: 245 / 610 / 114
- More Lost Memories (full): 252 / 1,271 / 134
- More Lost Memories (ind. stories, eBook only): 10
- Time, emiT, and Time Again (full): 248 / 1,201 / 68
- Time, emiT, and Time Again (ind. stories, eBook only): 6
- Last Christmas: 4
- Total Q1: 3,961 / 40,708 / 2,672
- Total all-time: 19,654 / 433,070 / 28,125
So, there’s that. I’m approaching half a million episodes downloaded via Podiobooks.com, across my current 12 titles, with something in the range of 5.5k-28k listeners downloading at least one full book. (I’m guessing around 6k, but I have a lot of numbers to look at, here.) About seven one-hundredths of 1% (0.07%) of Podiobooks.com full-book-downloads resulted in a donation to one of my books. I’m also approaching 20k eBook downloads across 28 titles (half of the titles are short stories; I’ve only written 15 full books/trilogies available as eBooks), and about 1% of those are paid, rather than free, eBook downloads. In Q1 I sold ~40 eBooks for a net income (after Amazon / Apple / Smashwords take their cut) of ~$58, and I had 3 Podiobooks donations totaling $6.53 (again, net to me). I also gave away 14 paperback books (the Untrue Trilogies) in Q1 (which cost me over $100). Also during Q1 I opted my books out of Smashwords “Premium” distribution to Apple and Barnes & Noble, and I set up direct relationships with both, via iTunesConnect and Pubit, respectively. Apple is slow, and a bit opaque about their setup process, and the result is that most of my eBooks have been unavailable via the iBookstore for about 3 weeks (so far)… and a downside I didn’t take into account with B&N was that all the salesrank data for my eBooks would no longer be associated with my eBooks – when I set them up directly (even though it’s the same title/ISBN/eBook), B&N considers it a totally separate entity from the version they’d received from Smashwords. In fact, for a couple of days, both versions of each eBook were available in the B&N/nookbook store, side by side. So … I suspect that’s why my B&N sales also stopped completely after the changeover. We’ll see how that goes.
I currently project that I’ll sell about twice as many eBooks in 2011 as I did in 2010, and that I’ll earn up to 10x as much from eBook sales. Which would be nice, if it proved true, since that would cover the expense of having all those paper copies of the Untrue Trilogies printed. Actually, I was running the numbers, and for all versions of all the Untrue Tales books (2007-present; I don’t have solid numbers for prior to 2007), with all the expenses and all the income, I’m roughly $700 in the red for the Untrue Tales series. All I need to do is sell 50 more sets of the eBooks (at $9.99/trilogy & 70% net) or 14 sets of the paper books (at $25/trilogy, selling by hand… it’s over 50 sets if they sell through Amazon/other-bookseller) (or some combination therein) and the Untrue Tales series will have broken even. Have you bought your set?