I've been thinking a lot about the mechanics of creativity this week. I'm incredibly excited to be talking about creativity at Hawkesbury Upton this coming weekend, and I've been writing a couple of other lectures and presentations, and having to spend that much time actually thinking not just about your creating but about the act itself causes you to stop in your tracks once in a while and ask “What am I actually doing here?” I am not sure I'm 100% wiser as a result, though I hope to be a little bit more so by the weekend, but I am reminded how important it is, as we make ourselves busier and busier with the minutiae, to step back and ask, or even remind, ourselves why.
It's that time again. The Association of American Publishers has released its latest figures, for the last quarter of 2016, and guess what they show? You've got it. A dramatic (16%) fall in ebook revenue, steady growth in print, and big (29%) growth in audiobooks. These figures pretty much write themselves it seems. What's interesting is that audio is now almost 1/4 the size of ebooks. If these figures continue then the audiobook market would be the same as the ebook market by the end of 2020. Obviously that's just a thought experiment and all the usual caveats about these figures apply. But it's interesting nonetheless. In this context, this week's Digitalbookworld profile of audiobook producer and distributor RBmedia is particularly interesting.
The most talked about piece by far this week has been this fascinating survey of the behaviour of Kindle Unlimited subscribers. The take homes from this survey might not be hugely unexpected but the figures are most definitely worth studying (though the calculation of the number of books being read in the KU programme that they begin with seems to fail to account for the difference between the way numbers of pages are counted in print books and on Kindle, which makes one wonder a little). First, KU subscribers read more books than those not in the programme (about the same percentage – 27/8 – of each read 5 to 10 books, but while 43% of non subscribers read fewer, that number of subscribers reads more). Second, romance is the dominant genre. Most interesting though, and perhaps most surprising: KU subscribers will have no problem buying books that are not included in the programme; and they are more than 20% more likely than non-subscribers to leave a review.
News from Mainland Europe
Still on the subject of subscriptions, the first set of figures on subscription ebook services in the Netherlands since Kobo got involved shows that such services are very much on the up and up, with a 49% increase in subscribers in the past 3 months. Publishing Perspectives has a fascinating piece this week on the positive self-publishing scene in Germany.
Thank you for the Days
First up, there is a World Intellectual Property Day, run by the Copyright society. And it's held on April 26th each year. I get pretty excited about copyright, as you know, so I was fascinated to read about the day. This wonderful piece in Techdirt points out the delicious irony that Intellectual Property Day includes an essay competition in which all entrants give up their copyright to the owners. Daftness aside, a day a year in which we all talk about copyright sounds like a rather wonderful thing. I very much hope Debbie will let me write s little something next week. On the subject of days and things that are close to my heart that really matter to indies, May 1st is Basic Income Day. If ever there were something that would empower indies, it's the implementation of a universal basic income (there is a big Facebook group, Artists for Basic Income, where you can explore this).
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