This image gets everyone in the publishing business to Think Volume.
September 2019 by V. R. Duin


It isn't smart
to become part
of the landscape.
We must escape.

There are highs and lows in the volume business of publishing, because high volume sales must offset low margin pricing or books will not be profitable.

Super Natural? Successful first-time authors usually debut in mainstream. J. K. Rowling struggled to get the small Bloombury publishing house to buy rights to her first Harry Potter and Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone title.

Dealer's Choice? Traditional publishing has advantages. The house has reputation and a market. It assumes all production and distribution costs. These can be substantial. Each print-ready V. R. Duin book averaged $5,000.

Wild, Wild Country? Self-publishing leaders change. V. R. Duin started publishing at BookSurge, under Amazon. Later renamed CreateSpace, it closed to pave way KDP Print Now. Titles on Amazon were unaffected.

Last Stand? CreateSpace authors remain linked to Amazon through KDP. It offers royalty payments, sales-tracking reports, text and cover templates, prints and distributes books and offers e-books for immediate download.

From the Same Cloth? KDP does not offer book and cover design, illustrations, editing, typesetting and composition services. Other full-service, self-publishing companies are surging to the book production forefront.

No stats? Amazon has 80% of the e-book market, but releases no sales figures. Statisticians extrapolating self-publishing figures behind the scenes show Indie e-book sales are burgeoning and mainstream sales are falling.

On the Block? Organizations are turning to blockchain technologies. They are used for financial accountings, tracking of ownership rights, certifying transfers and preventing corruption of agreements and databases.

Luminaries? Blockchain drains electricity. It is spurring expansions of power grids and renewable resources. It may have prompted an end to net neutrality, allowing Internet service providers to treat users differently.

Curves Ahead? Cryptocurrencies eliminate middlemen and third-party institutions. They are private, unstable and subject to fraud. Future, simpler and more stable solutions may replace sovereign currencies and exchanges.

Wait and See? The future role of cryptocurrencies is unclear. Expect changes in data storage, identity, content protection and in payment methods to reach every aspect of the volume business of publishing books.

High Volume Book Sales

Cleaning Up? High volume sales must offset low margin retail book pricing. Book sellers add a small percentage of markup to wholesale costs. Buyers will not pay a lot for any single book. Low margin pricing is critical.

Loud and Clear? Volume is another name for book. Books selling in single digits generate low income. Cumulative profit comes with fast-moving inventory, printed on cheap presses and generating high-volume sales.

In Full Bloom? It can take decades to build a writing business. Commercial value increases with each purchase. Books can float in cyberspace, while writers build opportunities. Writing often is done at night or on weekends.

Basic Instinct? Self-published writers typically sell about 250 books. They must reach beyond their own networks for word-of-mouth promotion. Sales of 2,500 books may defray startup costs, but not earn agent representation.

Short Cut? Buying books for give-aways is not a sound business practice. People rarely value things that are free. Writers should order their books for sale or to test sales reports, turnaround times and quality control.

Perpetual? Self-publishing continues to carry stigma. Sales of 7,500 books may lure mainstream publishers. This level indicates professional editing and publishing standards are met. One in a million authors win sales battles.

VA-VA-VOOM Service? Design and editorial services are labor-intensive. As Amazon experienced, writer hand holding may prove to be unprofitable to providers. Amazon profits from the international book-selling business.

Calling the Shots? Publishers make profits from books selling by thousands. Bulk orders are filled on offset presses with focus on the fewest possible titles. Printers cut corners or under-report sales of small-volume accounts.

On the Sunny Side? A high-volume strategy is used by established influencers for content generation. It raises interest in past, present and future content. It works best for known, authoritative writers with existing fans.

Low Margin Book Pricing

It all stacks up? Low margin pricing is found in highly competitive fields with inexpensive products. In businesses with high volume sales, mistakes are common. Audits find failures and inefficiencies in costly press resets.

Triple Threat? Payments should not be called “royalties”. U.S. earnings are treated as income, requiring contributions to Social Security and Medicare. Taxes further reduce net incomes and add complication.

Structured Environment? Software programs aid financial operations, business planning and taxation. Deductions may be allowed for suppliers, equipment and space. International taxation requires help from experts.

Glow-Getters? It helps to be a participant. It is important to engage with people and businesses of shared interests. The average social media account of 300 followers has a low participation rate in post activities (1-2%).

Life and Death Matter? Caution with words is advised. Deleted tweets are stored by Google and the Library of Congress. Societal and government forces push out bad actors. The FTC probes unfair or deceptive matters.

Bad news travels fast. Viewers complain about false, hateful, bullying, controversial, grotesque or vulgar content. Political correctness leads to bans, censorship, boycotts and inhibition. Writers need good Book Promotion.

Fine Focus? It is important to select connections carefully. It is not necessary to connect with everyone. Unknown writers have to connect with influencers through compatible blogs and links. Constructive networking matters.

Divine Intervention? Agents may represent creative individuals with 10,000 followers. Traditional publishers may accept 100,000 followers as a “ticket” into their “stable”. Beware of friend “fatigue” with overwhelmed resources.

Master Class? The fickle and rapidly-changing business has few guarantees. Per-click and per-impression advertising may gain followers. Crowdfunding may expand fund-raising. Money spent does not guarantee profitability.

All the Angles? Writers must remain alert to developing trends. Tastes and technologies keep tension on every aspect of this mercurial business. Evolving technologies may influence or limit the future size of business.