It hit me in the summer of 2012. That’s when I realized print was on the way out and digital was here to stay. And it was major publishers who taught me this.
At the time, I was doing very well with Wool. It had hit the NYT list a couple times, had sold hundreds of thousands of copies, and the Ridley Scott film deal was in place. I live a simple life, so I had more money than I needed. It put me in a generous mood. To my agent’s dismay, I told her that I would give my print rights to a publisher for a song. As long as they only got the print rights.
No dice. Nobody wanted the print rights. But they would give me $1,500,000 for the print PLUS the digital.
So, Print = $0
Print + Digital = $1,500,000
As has been soundly demonstrated by industry veterans in recent days, I’m a college dropout and a dumb hick, but I could see some sort of truth in these offers I was getting. Digital was worth something. Print wasn’t worth much.
Holly Ward, who is very likely the #1 indie author in the world right now, concurs. She says:
Someone asked about paper only deals – NO ONE IS INTERESTED. I thought that was insane, but it’s not. It lines up with Hugh’s report. Paper is not where the money is at- ebooks are… I’m thinking there is a reason why the trad pubs are backing off of paper sales. It’s not arbitrary, despite their other actions I think they’re right about paper.
If Indies stopped chasing paper, if they stopped thinking that paper would be the difference, well, that would be major.”
Today on AuthorEarnings.com, we posted some charts and thoughts on self-published authors giving up print sales. Turns out that traditionally published authors are giving up even more.