Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The long tail end of ebooks

Posted by: Shona Husk
With the recent closure of Samhain, which was one of my first publishers, I’ve been thinking about the life spans of ebooks.

The reason why this is on my mind is because I had 4 ebooks with Samhain which are now mine again. Do I rerelease them or let them die? The current wisdom is get them back out there as they can earn money, draw new readers and it’s all about the long tail.

But then I see the statistics about how many ebooks are uploaded to Amazon every day. It is a bookstore with literally millions of books as nothing need ever go out of print the way it once did. Which is a double-edged sword, as if nothing ever goes out of print how does one find the new stuff…but now I can read everything a favourite author has ever written.

Given how much the landscape has changed over the seven years I’ve been published, what will it look like in another seven years? How many books and ebooks will be available? It already feels like an avalanche. Yes, every snowflake (book) is unique, but how do you find the specific one you want?

Will anyone really miss 'Ruby’s Ghost' if I don’t republish it?

Would my efforts (and money) be better spent on cover art and editing for new works that I plan to self-publish? Putting out a quality product isn’t cheap. My writing has changed over the years and I’d like to think I’ve gotten better so the old stories do need a freshen up at minimum.

At what point is it better to remove old books…and surely at some point that has to be thought about because otherwise we will drown in the sheer number of ebooks available. I look at some of my books, and I look at their ranking and wonder if I should just let them slip away into the night and chalk it up to experience.

How do other authors feel about old books that have come back to them? Do you revise and get them back out there or let them languish?

As a reader how do you feel about books going ‘out of print’ when in theory ebooks never need go out of print?

What do you think the future holds for the burgeoning tide of ebooks?

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