Sunday, July 24, 2016


A recent article by a guy named Michael Kozlowski caught my eye.  Kozlowski makes the claim that a glut of indie writers has caused ebook sales to slump while pushing sales of traditionally published hardcover books to climb.  Kozlowski believes that most indie books are garbage, so readers are eschewing them to go back to the good old days when you went to a brick and mortar store to find great books.

Aside from inconvenient facts like how most location book stores carry only a fraction of titles, it’s true that lots of indie books suck.  However, what folks like Kozlowski forget is that most books in print suck.  Most of what you find it atrocious, and I don’t think it makes a difference if the work is traditionally or independently published.  Further, the reason that ebook sales aren’t doing as well with traditionally published works is that traditional publishers ignore the market and try to charge hardcover prices for ebooks.  People simply aren’t going to pay the same rate for an electronic file that they will for a hardcover.

In the comments, Kozlowski says that indie ebooks should be segregated from traditional ebooks since most of them are just so awful.  And yes, he means that every bit as condescending as it sounds.  What he fails to note is that most successful indie authors have a hardcore group of fans who eagerly await each title and are willing to buy it.  It may not be as sexy as James Patterson selling millions of copies, but it’s enough for indie writers to do things a lot of traditionally published writers can’t do, like make a living on their sales.

Saying ebook sales are slumping because of a glut is asinine.  Sales for higher priced works may be down, but the indie world is doing just fine online.  In essence, Kozlowski is arguing that consumers have too much choice, and that such a high volume of choice makes it impossible to find anything good.  This is like saying there are too many types of ketchup in the grocery store, so people avoid ketchup altogether.  Think about the absurdity of that statement for a moment.

Choice drives the market.  Yes, it takes some weeding through, but you can sample lots of varieties(as people tend to do at Amazon) in order to find out what you like best.  When has taking choice away ever been good for a consumer?

So take such wild claims with a grain of salt, and consider the agenda/bias of those making the claim.  It lets you put it into better context so you can know if what is being touted has merit, or if it’s nothing more than bullshit.

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