E-Books, E-Books, E-Books!

E-books are all over the news this week, with two big stories breaking about the future of digital books. It certainly is starting to look more and more like we’re heading towards a world of paper-free reading!

First, on Tuesday, the NY Times reported on Amazon releasing what they’re calling “Kindle Singles.” It’s essentially the equivalent of downloading a single song on iTunes instead of buying a whole album. Amazon says that a “single” will be text that might be 10,000 to 30,000 words long, or roughly 30 to 90 pages of a printed book. And the price would be a lot less than a full book as well, although Amazon has yet to reveal exactly what those prices will be. The NY Times goes on to say, “The new storefront isn’t open for business yet as Amazon still needs to recruit writers of shorter texts. But when it gets started you can expect it to disrupt the publishing industry a little bit more.”

Only days later, we receive news from the Association of American Publishers about the August sales numbers. And, no surprise, the e-book rules! According to their report, print sales went down in August, but e-book sales jumped 172.4%, to $39 million. At the end of 2009 — less than one year ago — e-book sales comprised 3.3% of trade sales. That number has now jumped to 9.0%. And we can only expect it to keep rising.

So what does all this mean for an author like you? It means that you MUST make sure you make your book available in Kindle or e-book format. Otherwise, like many traditional publishing houses, you’ll become outdated. You’ll be the CD lying on the shelf in the old music store that no one buys anymore because they’re on all iTunes now. Don’t let that happen to you!