Next to toy manufacturers, authors should be looking forward to Christmas more than just about anybody else. Over the next few weeks it is expected that up to 6 million e-readers will be bought as presents – and that means a mind-blowing whole new market for authors hoping to sell their wares.ebb

If you look at the Kindle reading platform, the current largest purveyor of electronic books, the figures are frightening. Morgan Stanley estimates that by the end of this year Amazon will have sold $4.5 billion worth of Kindle-branded devices in the past 12 months, a 26% increase from 2012. Researchers also think that Kindle sales will total $5 billion next year and $5.5 billion in 2015.

Nielsen Research predicts that ebooks will overtake sales of print books in 2014, with total sales expected to rise to 47 million units. This will put total ebook sales 300,000 ahead of their print equivalents and mean that electronic books account for 48% of the overall fiction market.

What does all this mean for the author?

Even by the most conservative estimates, there will be in excess of 40 million e-readers in use around the world, from Boxing Day 2013. Findings by the Pew Research Center in America has shown that more than 1 in 5 American adults now read an e-book, and those figures are being matched in the UK, and many parts of Europe.

Interestingly, the Pew Center also found that the average reader of e-books say they get through 24 books a year, compared with 15 books by traditional print readers!

If I’m reading this right, it means potential e-book sales of could top $1billion in America alone in the next 12 months. It’s mind-boggling stuff!

Now, if just 10 per cent of the 40 million e-readers bought one of my titles…..quit dreaming, where was I?

That’s the potential market for authors to tap into. It is probably why so many new titles (and new authors) are coming on stream, almost on a daily basis. Yes, it is a highly competitive market, but the signs are good that exposure for authors, and therefore potential sales, will continue to increase on a year-by-year basis.

What does all this mean for the reader?

The obvious answer is that readers are being offered more choice, and at dramatically lower prices, than the traditional print market can offer.

I am not going to do a sales blurb for e-reader manufacturers by pointing out the ease with which books can be bought and downloaded, or by mentioning the fact that literally hundreds of titles can be carried about in whatever e-reading device you choose. I won’t mention these things, but the advantages are obvious!

What I will say is that with almost one million titles to choose from on the Amazon site alone, the browsing experience is not something that can be replicated in even the biggest department store.

E-reader book buyers also have access to thousands of authors, who have not gone the traditional publishing route, for one reason or another. Believe me, there are some cracking new authors, and some top-notch new stories among them.

With thousands of free titles, and the ability to read first chapters before purchasing, it’s not hard to see why e-book reader numbers are rising at such a rate.

I have met and befriended countless new authors whose works I now avidly follow. I could not have done so without my e-reader – and all this, despite the fact that up to a year ago, I was a committed paperback aficionado. Not any more.

Take it from me, the best present you could buy a special person in your life, is an e-reader. If, at the same time, you happen to mention that I pointed you in the right direction, and that they could do worse than download one of my titles………

Happy Christmas to all my readers, old and (hopefully) new.

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