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Old 05-21-2012, 07:49 AM   #1
lukedc
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How many self-published books have you bought?

Hi,

I have been reading a lot here to understand how people sell and buy self-published books. However, I did not find any forum asking the questions, "How many books have you actually brought?" and "Why did you buy them?" Was it because someone told you about it? Did the summary should interesting? Or did you read a free chapter or volume?

In another forum I made, I was surprised to learn that friends and family of the author don't contribute much to e-book sales. So, I am wondering, what does?

I think that it would be interesting to see why people buy a self-published book in the first place. If we know why people buy a book, it would be easier to market a book that you write.

I have also read about Goodreads, do any of you use that?

Thank you

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Old 05-21-2012, 07:52 AM   #2
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not to nit-pick (okay... specifically to nit-pick, but only because it was bothering me enough. "brought" is the past tense of "bring". i think "bought" is the word you're looking for.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:02 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukedc View Post
I am thinking about making an e-book site.
What skills and talents would you bring to such a site?

Are you thinking of making yet another display site?

They don't work.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:13 AM   #4
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also... if you don't like to read or write, why are you looking to get into the book business at all?
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:19 AM   #5
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And also remember: e-book doesn't always mean self-published and vice versa. You can't use the two terms interchangeably.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertbevan View Post
also... if you don't like to read or write, why are you looking to get into the book business at all?
I like to read, but I don't read voraciously as I am sure most of you do. I read a few books a month, mostly non-fiction.

Also, thanks for telling me about "bought."

Last edited by lukedc; 05-21-2012 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukedc View Post
I like to read, but I don't read voraciously as I am sure most of you do. I read a few books a month, mostly non-fiction.
Question stands. What do you think you're going to gain getting into the book business?
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukedc View Post
In another forum I made, I was surprised to learn that friends and family of the author don't contribute much to e-book sales. So, I am wondering, what does?
Writing a book that really strikes a chord with readers and makes them want to recommend it to friends. Or having an existing following (e.g. on fanfiction.net) that you can parlay into sales.

Self-publishing is exactly like commercial publishing in one important respect: no-one has any idea what's going to be the next big hit. A bit of promo helps get the word out initially, but after that it's down to the readers.
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:41 AM   #9
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I don't buy self-published books. I wait until they inevitably go for free.
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:51 AM   #10
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I don't buy self-published books. I wait until they inevitably go for free.
This without the sarcasm, but also for trade books.
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Old 05-21-2012, 11:50 AM   #11
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If something really catches my eye I buy it, or if it's highly recommended. I tend to stick to free stuff for my personal enjoyment but I do buy high ranking or well reviewed books in the genres I write in occasionally for research purposes.
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:03 PM   #12
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I've bought one self-published book and one book I thought was self-published at the time, but turned out to be a micro press. One I vaguely knew the author and felt bad that no one had showed up at the book signing except me. One I didn't know the author at all, but the book was a historical fiction about a lesser-known figure I had a great deal of interest in. I loved the latter and still haven't read the former. Neither are situations I think you could re-create on a massive scale.

I was also given a humorous self-published book about the frustrations of new mommyhood for my first mother's day. My husband had found it browsing Amazon and it was already doing quite well. I enjoyed that book very much too.
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:39 PM   #13
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I've probably *bought* about 20 self-published ebooks. I've tried more than that as freebees. I buy self-pubbed books by people who I've previously enjoyed when they were professionally published and I buy self-pubbed books that come highly recommended to me by someone who's reading preferences closely match my own. I work out the latter either via personal relationship or by matching up our Goodreads ratings.
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:39 PM   #14
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I've bought a couple, usually ones I've had my eye on for a while (either I've heard of them through here or another site I frequent) which go on sale.
I've downloaded a few that were offered free and I'm planning to buy the sequel of one of those at some point too.
I generally only buy books from stores if they are on sale (or if I desperately need them) so it's not that I necessarily value self pubbed books any less.
I'm just poor... I prefer to use the library.
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:33 PM   #15
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As a book blogger, I have many awesome opportunities to read, review and interact with self published authors. When I make friends with someone this way (which generally means I enjoyed their work anyway...) I am very likely to purchase their future work, get their current work in print if I can (I often get ebook versions for review) and promote their books if a conversation I'm having goes in a direction where that would be appropriate.

On the other hand, since I do review books and I get many requests, my reading time for other stuff can be very limited. "So many books, so little time." is an often thought phrase for me. If I had more time, I am sure that I would likely explore the self published book market in more detail since I find there are a lot of fresh and original ideas out there. One place I do often get my information on what is releasing, though, is a weekly feature called Fresh Batch at Xpresso Reads.

As a writer, I try to make time to take a look at books written by fellow authors who are on the same path that I hope to travel (I'm aiming to release my first book in early December). I don't do this unless a book interests me, and (because of time) I don't always get to do it as much as I want to. But I view it as good karma. Not all writers think this way, but I can only speak for myself.

Ultimately, though, my choice in reading material doesn't boil down to how a book is published. I'm generally more interested in who published it (author) and what it is about. If I don't like the premise, I don't read the sample. If I don't like the sample, I don't read the book. Those two things apply regardless of any situation.
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:39 PM   #16
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I've grabbed free samples, or the free first book in a series, for a few self-published books. But the only time I've paid money for self-published books was when they were put out by people I already knew, and wanted to support in some way.

(And I should clarify: I don't mean this as "Self-published books suck!" It's just that none have quite made it past my personal tastes and standards onto a pay-money-for-more list yet. I'm sure some will eventually.)
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:59 PM   #17
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Thank you all for your replies. I think it is kind of interesting how many of you mostly get free books. Why is that? Is is because the money is too much, or because you don't want to take a risk and waste your money if the book is bad?

Self-published books only cost a few dollars and that is a small amount. Suppose you buy 20 of them in one year, assuming $4, then that is only $80 a year. So, I would think that most of you don't buy them because you'd waste money if its not good.

Thank you once again.
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:01 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildScribe View Post
Question stands. What do you think you're going to gain getting into the book business?
Well, I am just thinking about it. If I think that I can develop a unique site that will make it easier to sell self-published books, then I might try.
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:19 PM   #19
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Well, I am just thinking about it. If I think that I can develop a unique site that will make it easier to sell self-published books, then I might try.
Easier than what? Smashwords does a pretty good job of the mechanics of sales fulfillment, as does Amazon, B&N, etc.. What will make your site unique?
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:30 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by lukedc View Post
Thank you all for your replies. I think it is kind of interesting how many of you mostly get free books. Why is that? Is is because the money is too much, or because you don't want to take a risk and waste your money if the book is bad?

Self-published books only cost a few dollars and that is a small amount. Suppose you buy 20 of them in one year, assuming $4, then that is only $80 a year. So, I would think that most of you don't buy them because you'd waste money if its not good.

Thank you once again.
I would gladly spend money for books if I weren't super poor :p
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:31 PM   #21
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There are already plenty of places where one can buy self-published books; and plenty of places which review them. I don't think the process could be made any easier. The only value in developing a new site would be, I think, if something new could be added to the mix; and to be honest, I can't think of what that might be.
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:58 PM   #22
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I buys lots of books, self published and trade. I don't pick one over the other. If something catches my eye, I will buy it. I don't set out to specifically buy self-published books.

Of course, if something is offered free I am happy to take it as long as it looks good, but I don't wait for books to go free. I'm a writer too and I kind of like the idea of readers actually buying my books, so I tend to do the same.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:07 PM   #23
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I don't always know whether a book I buy is self-published. I suppose I could check, but it's neither a criterion nor a litmus test for me.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:13 PM   #24
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I don't think there is any way you could compete with Amazon--you would need so much publicity to even let people know your store was out there, and part of the problem is that many self-published books just aren't particularly good.

As for how many I've bought, for me the answer is one self-published book, and probably two ebooks that weren't self-published. However, my boyfriend (the one with the reader) buys a ton of ebooks. He's never bought one that was self-published.
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Old 05-21-2012, 11:00 PM   #25
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Another book-review blog wouldn't be a bad thing.

But it should review all classes of books, self-published beside (and to the same standards as) commercially published books.

People aren't looking for the best (for whatever value of 'best' you want) self-published books, they want the best books, period.
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