The webcomics blog about webcomics

I ♥ Data

It’s true. But much as I respect Mr Spiner’s work I am talking here about facts and figures and (especially) numbers. Specifically, the very intriguing set of data released by David Malki ! over at the Machine of Death blog (hands up those of you that think it should be called “Blog of Death”) regarding MoD and e-book channels.

As you may recall, the editors of MoD (Modditors?) had always planned to release the collection under a Creative Commons license, including as a free PDF, and they did so remarkably soon after the print edition was released. Such free distribution has not hurt the book’s sales (which are in a fourth printing, bringing the total number of physical copies by my estimate to somewhere north of 25,000); indeed, people were asking as the PDF released (for free) if they could voluntarily pay money for it. In addition to the basic single- and double-page spread PDFs, MoD has been available in a variety of e-book formats from a variety of vendors, including (as of yesterday) Apple’s iBooks.

But which is the best channel? I don’t have a book to release electronically, and I probably won’t have one in the forseeable future, so the question is entirely academic, but dang if it isn’t an interesting one. Malki ! et. al. had been told by e-book publishers and distributors (seriously, why do you need a distributor, which is a business model designed to move physical items from place to place, for e-books?) that these be treacherous waters:

“We reach thousands of ebook sales partners,” they said. “Even if you do a Kindle version yourself, that’s only one of thousands of sales channels.”

“Are there really thousands of ebook sales channels?” we responded. “Why have we never heard of any but about five?”

Ultimately, we decided that while there might be thousands of ebook sales channels, we only cared about a couple of them, and we could manage a couple of them on our own. We ended negotiations with ebook companies, released our PDF, and looked into selling ebooks of our own in the few sales channels that make up the majority of the market. [emphasis original]

But that still left the question of which channel is the best, and with numbers widely varying from different sources (and different points in time — Apple is a relatively recent addition to the game), any numbers are useful. And those numbers (for the month of January) show a clear winner:

Kindle sales accounted for 84.5% of all ebook sales in January
Nook sales accounted for 10.4% of all ebook sales in January
The remaining 5% were mainly ePub sales through our site, although a few iBooks sales are recorded there too (the iBooks version only went live at the very end of January). [emphasis original]

The practical upshot being, if you’re going to release an e-book, the Kindle would seem to be your first priority. Hopefully, more numbers will be forthcoming in future months.

In other news, it appears that webcartoonist For Science! Darryl Cunningham (cf: here, here, here, and here) tweets that his work has garnered the attentions of NPR, which will be interviewing him. As he is British, Mr Cunningham may not have recognized the name of Linda Wertheimer, but as she does mostly fill-in hosting duties on NPR’s major general news programs, it’s likely to be on a fairly high-profile program. I’m betting Weekend All Things Considered. Countdown to Mr Cunningham being vilified by Fox News starts … now.

Anyone interested in the facts and figures of e-book self-publishing, particularly through Amazon Kindle, should check out author J.A. Konrath’s blog ( Fascinating stuff. He claims his (primarily) Kindle e-books generated him over $40,000 in January alone.

Interestingly, I’ve just read the tale of a software developer who published a book in ebook format (though now, given demand, he has added other options including print on demand with Lulu), and even though he even only intended to put it on iBooks (he has an Apple-centered audience) he did end up going with a distributor-slash-publisher (BookBaby), mostly for two reasons: while Apple accepts submitting ebooks as an individual, they discourage it and point to a list of approved distributors, and second, the cost of bringing an ISBN yourself. Overall, interesting comparisons and parallels to be made with MoD.

[…] Machine of Death sells the best on the Kindle (Source: Itself – via Fleen) […]

[…] Machine of Death sells the best on the Kindle (Source: Itself – via Fleen) […]

[…] Machine of Death sells the best on the Kindle (Source: Itself – via Fleen) […]

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