by Joe Konrath
Eight months ago, I made some predictions about the future of ebooks. Let's see how I'm doing.
1. Ebook readers will be available in stores for less than $99.
Probably. We're on track for this. Kindle just went down to $139. By the holidays, I'm still confident we'll hit $99. I also said that they'll be available in retail stores, and I was correct. Best Buy and Target are selling ereaders, and others will no doubt follow suit.
2. Amazon will adopt Epub standard format.
Maybe. Hasn't happened yet. But I am trying to talk them into releasing SHAKEN as an epub. They've already decided to release it without DRM, which is a huge milestone.
3. Ebook readers will improve.
Yes. The new Kindles boast 50% better contrast, and Nooks have a color touch screen bar. But one trend also seems to be the opposite of my prediction--many ereaders are devolving, losing 3G capability, in order to cut the cost.
5. A third party etailer will rise to prominence.
Probably. The industry is still dominated by the big three, Amazon, B&N, and Sony. But Kobo and Borders are now in the game, and Smashwords is growing. In fact, I just got my second quarter report from Smashwords, and learned I've sold over 2000 ebooks (1500 of these on the Nook.) And this hasn't even begun to hit its stride yet. I predict earning an extra $20,000 a year from these new platforms.
6. Estributors will become common.
Yes. Andrew Wylie, anyone?
7. Print publishers will get savvy.
Maybe. Haven't seen any real evidence of this yet, though. However, I recently sold the audio rights to many of my self-pubbed ebooks, so certainly the audio publishers are getting savvy.
8. Ebook bestsellers will emerge.
Yes. Lots of indie authors, me included, hit the bestseller lists.
9. Print books will be packaged with an ebook version.
Maybe. Hasn't happened yet, but might. I have released one on my ebooks, THE LIST, in print. We'll see how it does.
Yes. I've done it. Wylie's authors have done it.
11. I'll continue to pay my mortgage with ebook sales.
Yes. But my prediction was too weak. I'm paying all of my bills with ebook sales. In fact, in the last six weeks, I earned $21,000 on Kindle.
That's not a typo. That's $3500 a week. At that rate, it's $182,000. Add the $20,000 from other platforms, and we can call it an even $200k.
As for my predictions, I was right on 6 of 11, and I'm sure the $99 price point will hit. That puts me at about 63%. Not perfect, but better than anything the print industry has predicted. Plus, there are still five months left in the year, so perhaps my percentage will go up.