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So, Where do you buy your ebooks, and Why?

Oct 31, 2011   [permalink]

This is an open-ended "tell me your thoughts" kind of blog entry...

I notice with sales of ReAnimus Press titles and my own ebooks that a lot come from Amazon (no surprise there) but that there seem to be some surprises in where the rest come from.

I'll deal with Barnes & Noble in a minute.

Question #1 relates to other, smaller online stores. Do you buy much from small ebook stores? Directly from publisher sites? From authors?

The sales on the Critters store, for example, are nearly non-existent. (Where sales benefit the Critters Fund Drive; so I'd think Critter members might want to buy there instead of from Amazon.) More people buy directly from the ReAnimus store but sales are still not as high as I'd like to see. (The authors earn more from sales there, since there's no Amazon/etc. distributor to take a big bite.)

If it was all the same to the buyer, I'd hope they'd buy direct... so... Question #2... is it all the same to you, as a reader? How potent are the benefits you gain from buying from Amazon?

(I thought it might be lack of tutorials on how easy it is to load ebooks onto a Kindle/Nook/etc., but I wrote those tutorials, showing it's easy, and that didn't do anything as far as sales.)

Now for B&N.

I don't see nearly as many coming from B&N's site as I'd expect. Not nearly as many. Bloomberg reported, "according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. also generates 58 percent of e-book sales, followed by Barnes & Noble's 27 percent, Apple Inc. at 9 percent."

If that's the case, I'd expect to see approximately half as many sales of ebooks via B&N as from Amazon. Half??? The ratio I actually see? B&N runs between 1/10th of Amazon in a "good" month and 1/100th overall. I get vastly more sales from Smashwords than from B&N. (And via Smashwords, distributors like Apple, Sony, etc. are all far more than B&N.) This is sales both via B&N directly and B&N sales via Smashwords, and over a period of a year and a half. I've heard from other pro authors that their numbers are similarly low.

It was so bad I actually thought B&N was stealing sales, i.e. not reporting them. I did some tests, and all those purchases came through, so I don't think that's the problem... just... not much visited? I thus question the Bloomberg / Goldman Sachs data that B&N sells half as much as Amazon.

So question #3 to the audience... Do you buy much from B&N? This is presuming you have a Nook, of course, and not a Kindle.

So where do you buy from, and why? Tell me your thoughts...

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