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Poll: Plenty Of E-Book Shoppers Buy Directly From Author Or Publisher

E-retailers like Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) and Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) are still the primary places that people buy e-books. But publishers and authors can achieve success selling e-books directly. That’s one thing science fiction/fantasy author Stephen Hunt learned when he recently undertook his own survey on e-book reading habits.

Hunt polled readers on his website, Facebook and Twitter pages. 71 percent of the respondents were reading e-books–mostly on their Kindles and laptops. Not surprisingly, the most common place for buying e-books was the Kindle store (54 percent)–but 39 percent of respondents buy e-books directly from the publisher, and 25 percent buy them directly from the author. (Respondents could select more than one response.)

Nineteen percent of respondents were reading e-books illegally by downloading them from BitTorrent or other file-sharing services.

Keep in mind that most of the 833 respondents to this survey were Stephen Hunt fans–sci-fi/fantasy readers, a tech-savvy bunch. Science fiction is one of the most popular e-book genres. But the fact that many of these readers are buying e-books directly from publishers and authors is good news. We asked Hunt which sites respondents were buying from directly, and he mentioned Baen, a small independent sci-fi/fantasy publisher located in Riverdale, New York. “Baen really led the way on this back when e-books meant web browsers and the Rocket Reader,” he said, “so hats off to them.” One of Baen’s creative selling tactics has been to serialize e-books, releasing them to subscribers in segments prior to their official publication.

Some larger sci-fi publishers are taking cues from publishers like Baen. Tor/Forge, an imprint of Macmillan, recently launched the Tor Store on iBooks, and it publishes short fiction for free on its website.

5 Responses to “Poll: Plenty Of E-Book Shoppers Buy Directly From Author Or Publisher”

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  2. dianeduane

    I’m one of a growing group of authors selling ebooks directly to my readership where I hold the e-rights on the books in question (at ). It’s a whole lot of work handling conversions, corrections, art direction and so forth, but it’s definitely turning out to be worth the trouble in the long run.

  3. krk_krk

    Now that publishers and authors realize the Disintermediation potential of ebooks, the balance of power will shift away from intermediaries like Amazon and Apple. Why bother with agency model,wholesale model etc. what all is needed is someone to host the content, manage DRM, process payment and advertise/promote etc.. the kind of stuff which fits Google’s biz model of a bookstore portal and Amazon too can at much diminished margins and also dovetails with Facebook’s monetization efforts.
    For all the pioneering efforts of Kindle and attempt at building a moat with its proprietary format, Amazon cannot hold back the tide of publishers & readers embracing an open format like ePub with e-readers simply as commodity gadgets or an application in a multipurpose portable device.

    • It’s not that simple KRK. Amazon has great momentum and power in terms of convenience, standardization of the shopping experience and an unbiased and objective ratings and reviews system. Not easy to replicate all that … even with Google’s might. Facebook may have a better chance.