If anyone doubts the speed at which the epicenter of book publishing is
shifting from publishers to self-published authors, doubt no more.
Apple’s iBookstore today launched Breakout Books in the U.S., a new book merchandising feature that showcases books from popular self-published authors, including several that have already achieved New York Times bestseller status (update: Cool beans - The New York Times covered the story today!). The Breakout Books section can be found on the iBookstore at http://iTunes.com/BreakoutBooks.
Most major retailers reserve such high profile merchandising attention for large, long-established publishers.
Although the iBookstore has always carried and supported self-published ebooks, today’s launch signifies an escalated commitment on the part of Apple, whose iBookstore currently sells books in 50 countries. The iBookstore first piloted the Breakout Books feature in their Australian store and has since implemented similar features in Canada and the U.K.
In the process, Apple is helping to shape a brighter, more democratized future for book publishing. More writers will have the freedom to publish and more readers will have the freedom to discover and enjoy a greater diversity of high-quality books than ever before.
Indie authors are hitting all the major bestseller lists, supported by retailers such as the iBookstore that are now promoting self-published titles alongside traditionally-published books.
The bulk of the titles featured in the Breakout Books promotion were distributed by Smashwords, the world’s largest distributor of self-publishers. The books Apple selected share several common attributes such as positive reader reviews, author popularity at the Smashwords.com store, quality cover design, sales performance across the Smashwords retail distribution network, and other data-driven factors.
The Breakout Books feature is now running with heavy exposure throughout the iBookstore. The selection of titles will continue to be refreshed with new breakout books and remain accessible at its own unique destination on the iBookstore at http://iTunes.com/BreakoutBooks.
WHY BOOK MERCHANDISING DRIVES BOOK SALES
A retailer’s merchandising decisions are among the most important drivers for book sales. To appreciate the significance of Apple’s move, it’s helpful to understand how readers discover books, and how a store’s merchandising decisions impact customer decision-making. In order for a reader to discover and purchase a book, the book must be:
With many ebook stores now carrying over one million books, books that receive merchandising love have a significant discovery advantage over those that don’t.
When a retailer features a book, whether it’s placed in a feature collection such as Apple’s Breakout Books, or on the front table at a brick and mortar retailer, the retailer is essentially telling their customers, “Try this book first, you’ll like it!”
WHY EBOOK RETAILERS ARE EMBRACING SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS
Why are book retailers like Apple increasing their commitment to self-published ebooks?
Over the last five years, we’ve all heard about the advantages of ebook self-publishing from the author perspective (an opportunity to bypass publishing gatekeepers with fast, free and easy self-publishing; faster time to market; access to global distribution; higher royalties; greater creative control; etc.).
Few in the publishing industry, however, have examined why retailers are stepping up their support for self-published books. The significance of the iBookstore’s Breakout Books promotion becomes all the more apparent once this question is answered.
Self-published ebooks, combined with the power of online retailing, bring positive advantages to retailers, consumers and authors alike:
Multiple Smashwords Authors Featured in Breakout Books
Below is the list of Smashwords authors who account for 54 of the books in today’s Breakout Books catalog. Some have more than one book listed. Each book is hyperlinked to its listing at the iBookstore.
Addison Moore - Someone to Love and Ethereal (Celestra Series Book 1)
Alan Sepinwall - The Revolution Was Televised
Alison Pensy - The Amulet (Custodian Novel #1)
Amanda Hocking - My Blood Approves
B.L. Hoffman - Mystery at Shadow Lake
Bill Clem - Microbe
Brian S. Pratt - The Unsuspecting Mage: The Morcyth Saga Book One
C.L. Bevill - Disembodied Bones
Camila Chafer - Armed and Fabulous (Lexi Graves Mysteries, 1)
Chanda Hahn - Unenchanted
Claire Farrell - Verity (Cursed #1)
Colleen Hoover - Hopeless
Dana Donovan - The Witch's Ladder
Harrison Drake - A Dream of Death
HP Mallory - To Kill a Warlock
Isabelle Rae - When Summer Ends
Jami Alden - Private Pleasures
Jamie McGuire - Providence
JC Phelps - Color Me Grey: Book One of the Alexis Stanton Chronicles
JD Nixon - Blood Ties
Jessica Sorensen - Ember and The Fallen Star (Fallen Star Series, Book 1)
JL Paul - All The Wrong Reasons
John Locke - Lethal People
John O'Brien - A New World: Chaos
Joseph Lallo - The Book of Deacon
Julie Ortolon - Almost Perfect
K.A. Tucker - Anathema (Causal Enchantment, #1)
Kaitlyn Davis - Ignite (Midnight Fire Series Book One)
Kim Richardson - Marked, Soul Guardians Book 1
Kira Saito - Bound, An Arelia LaRue Novel
Kirsty Moseley - Always You
Kristen Ashley - Rock Chick
Lindsay Buroker - The Emperor's Edge
Lizzy Ford - Katie's Hellion
Lorena Angell - A Diamond in my Pocket
Penelope Fletcher - Glamour (Rae Wilder #1)
Quinn Loftis - Elfin and Prince of Wolves
R.L. Mathewson - Playing for Keeps
Rachel Astor - Bridesmaid Lotto
Rachel Higginson - Reckless Magic
Randolph Lalonde - Spinward Fringe Broadcast 0
Rebecca Forster - Hostile Witness
Sarah Burleton - Why Me?
Sarah Woodbury - Footsteps in Time (A Time Travel Fantasy (The After Cilmeri Series)
SC Stephens - Collision Course
Shayne Parkinson - Daisy's War
T C Southwell - Slave Empire and The Queen's Blade
T.M. Nielsen - Heku: Book 1 of the Heku
William Wayne "Bill" Dicksion - Sagebrush
Please join me in thanking the iBookstore team for their tremendous support of indie authors, and celebrate the success of the Smashwords authors above.
The Breakout Books section can be found on the iBookstore at http://iTunes.com/BreakoutBooks.