Monday, July 18, 2011

The Law of Supply and Demand and the Increase in Popularity of the Kindle

I began offering Kindle versions of some of my books when CreateSpace initially offered their Kindle Conversion service for the low price of $69. This service is for books already published using CreateSpace so my lone book with Lightning Source had to be converted by another service. I choose to use eBook Architects for that project and while it cost more, the results were excellent and I received a file for the Nook as part of the purchase.

Kindle sales have grown to the point that I sell more Kindle books per month than POD and the revenue is starting to add up. Despite my fears, and the fears of some authors, offering both POD and Kindle versions does not seem to have hurt sales of the more profitable print versions.

So, as I prepare for the three peak months of the year for sales, I have been considering which of my  unconverted back list  titles are worth the investment of converting to Kindle. Since I have sold a grand total of one book for the BN Nook, the cost of having a title converted to a Nook friendly format is just not worth the investment at the moment.

Why not just have all of the titles done by CreateSpace? Well, it would seem there is a catch now. The conversion is just $69 IF you don't have charts, photographs, graphics, etc. Most of my books do and this dramatically increases the cost.

I have been shopping around looking for a balance between quality, cost and time required to do the conversion. CreateSpace is still the best bet for me. I have been happy with the results thus far and the price is still the best. Working with the customer service people and the actual teams that do the conversion work has become easier now that phone service is readily available.

What I have noticed in prices and waiting periods for work to be done seems to indicate the future in self-publishing is in ebooks if not the Kindle. The law of supply and demand says if demand outstrips supply, price goes up. This certainly seems to be the case with Kindle conversion services. The reputable companies that have positive references have all increased their prices and the time required to perform the conversions.

This would indicate more and more books are being converted to Kindle editions and the demands placed on the reputable companies for their services are driving prices and conversion times upward. If this trend continues there are some important implications for self-publishing authors.

First, as more books are offered in the Kindle format, the competition for Kindle sales will increase. For me, this means I need to convert my books to Kindle as soon as possible so I can promote my books and build their sales rankings at Amazon. As new books entire the market, the new books have to compete with mine for sales ranking position, not the other way around.

Print-on-demand will become the second option in printing, although it will remain to be more profitable until the Kindle pricing structure offered by Amazon changes. I doubt off-set printing will be used by self-publishing authors in the future.

Last, the low entry costs of publishing books in the Kindle format will increase as the demand for conversion services increases. The only way around this cost increase is to learn to do the conversion yourself. After several attempts, I have given up and will simply pay for the service. My time is too valuable to me.

Who knows what self-publishing ebooks will be like in just one calendar year from now. As much as I love paper books, I have not purchased one in nearly a year. I carry around about 100+ Kindle books in my small Kindle device.

Now if I can just figure out how to project material from my Kindle in my classroom for my students, that will be something.