Publishers have missed the boat on digital genre fiction

Publishers are making moves to exploit the success of genres like romance and sci-fi in digital book sales onplatforms like the Amazon Kindle.

“Certain categories [of eBooks] have a much larger digital adoption than others,” Dobson said. “The genres were among the first where readers took to the digital format and the ratio of readers of digital, as opposed to physical, are much, much higher.” In the case of some genre titles, as much as 60 to 70 percent of the sales are digital. “I think there is an enormous audience in digital right now,” Dobson said. “It’s actually where the action is.”

This is quoted from an interesting Wired article on the subject. But it’s an article which completely misses the real meat of the argument. The big 5 publishers are being beaten bloody in ebooks by a merry band of self-published authors lead by the likes of Hugh Howey. Zip over to Amazon and take a look at the top seller lists in any established genre. You’ll find two kinds of writer. established big hitters like George R R Martin. And a whole bunch of indie authors you have never heard of, but are making small fortunes selling genre books directly to a hungry audience. What you won’t find are mid-list and debut authors from traditional publishers. And that must worry many people in the industry. Hence the rush to mine the rich seem of genre fiction.

Read the full Wired article.


Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.

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