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.

Highs and lows exist in the volume business of publishing; 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, paving way for KDP Print Now. Titles on Amazon were unaffected.

Last Stand? CreateSpace authors remain linked to Amazon through KDP royalty payments and sales-tracking reports. Book text and cover templates; printing and shipping; plus e-book downloads accommodate all KDP writers.

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

Kindle Unlimited? KDP authors can opt into this KDP Select program. Each month, Prime members can borrow one listed book for free. Amazon compensates authors for fully-read titles. Mainstream books are excluded.

Lucrative? Kindle Unlimited is an opportunity for self-published writers to compete for sales without mainstream competition. Authors of fully-read books can earn monthly bonuses of less than a penny per page.

Stipend? Independent of participation in KDP Select, authors who self-publish on Amazon through KDP earn a 70 percent royalty on books priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Outside this range a 35 percent royalty is paid.

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

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.

On the Block? Organizations are turning to blockchain technologies. They facilitate financial accountings and track ownership rights. They also help prevent corruption of agreements, databases and certifications.

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

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. Agent representation needs volume.

Short Cut? Buying books for give-aways is not a sound business practice. People rarely value free things. 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 may have experienced, writer hand holding can be unprofitable. Their international book-selling business likely remains profitable.

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

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.

Glow-Getters? It helps to participate. Engagement with people and businesses sharing interests is important. Average social media accounts of 300 followers have low participation rates in post activities (1-2%).

Sign of the Times? Many social media users automate posts and tweets. The dearth of visibility and sales conversion makes these platforms a waste of time for the many. Special souls or those bearing money derive benefit.

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 “tickets” to their “stables”. Beware of friend “fatigue” among 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.

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

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

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.