In the post below, I asked you to respond with some information about your purchase of The Erevis Cale novels. Specifically, I wondered whether you purchased them in print, ebook format, or some combination of the two. My thanks to all who responded. The response was almost entirely uniform among the 100 odd respondents — print purchases only.
Of course, The Erevis Cale novels have been available in ebook format for only a few months. And most of the folks who hang around my site are likely to be long time fans, which means they had no choice but to buy print versions as an initial matter. And only a very few of you, it seems, have also purchased a digital version (what’s wrong with the rest of you, btw? Do you love me or not? :-)).
Anyway, why not generalize from an unscientific poll with a self-selecting sample that is far to small for generalizations? Rock on.
So why’d I ask the question to begin with? Well, as I mentioned, e-book sales of the Cale novels that are available in digital format appear to be fairly brisk (not JA Konrath brisk by any means, but somewhat brisk by industry standards). So I wondered — Is the availability of ebooks increasing my readership (because ebooks are more readily available to more people, particularly the international audience), or increasing overall sales but not readership (because the current readership is buying both a print and ebook copy), or doing nothing to sales or size of readership (because ebooks are simply substituting for print sales).
The answer is — Who knows?
If the poll were actually representative, I’d conclude from it that strong ebook sales were not strong because dedicated fans were buying digital copies to accompany their print copies. After all, that’s barely mentioned at all in the responses and most of you are longtime, dedicated fans. So option two is out the window. Option three seems unlikely, too, since aggregate unit sales seem to have gotten a pop (above trend) since the ebook versions were made available. So I suppose I’d conclude that strong ebook sales are probably due to sales to new readers, new readers who do not frequent my website and respond to polls. If true, I like that muchly. Of course, even if it is true, it’s an open question as to whether those new readers gave the Cale stories a try because they were available in digital format, or whether they would have tried them in print if the digital version were unavailable. But, you know, either way, new readers. Whee!
Also, all of this could be completely wrong. But it’s still fun to write ‘Whee.’
(and thanks again to everyone who responded).