Stacks or Tracks? What the Music Industry Can Teach the Book Biz

Visit Billboard Magazine to purchase a copy.

Flipping through a copy of the Sept 01, 2012 Billboard magazine while at the gym — yeah, it’s just so California cliche it makes you want to wretch, right? — we came across an interesting article about sales of albums versus sales of tracks.

What became apparent after even the most cursory perusal was that top-sell album artists (Adele) don’t rake in the amount top-selling track artists do. Industry-wide, the tracts bring in about $2.1 billion, while the albums brought in $502.6 million.

It was at that point we got to thinking about book serialization in a new way. Considering that most books had a serial life before becoming book, think Dickens, this isn’t necessarily a giant leap in an unheard of direction.

What if authors released a book one chapter at a time, for 99 cents a go?

Probably the best delivery system would be to subscribe to a book release similar to a podcast and have a release of a chapter every week. This rather suggests the book is already written, but that would not be required.

A book might easily be written until there are no subscribers buying it anymore, and then it’s dead. Alternatively, once a book was completed, then it could actually be released in hardback or paperback.

A 27-chapter book (at 99 cents per) ends up netting the author 9.35 from Amazon. The total payout for the book is about the average of a hardback ($25.00).

That sounds a lot, but it isn’t because a new book is a new book and should be priced as such especially if only being released in an e-version.  Also, in this scenario, the reader in this case has the ability to opt out of the book at any time if he/she doesn’t like a chapter and doesn’t wish to continue on. If after spending, $2.99 you don’t want to read any more, you can save your money. Try doing that with a $25.00 hardback!

Just sayin’, there are many ways to think about distribution of a work and authors should consider them all.

Published in: on September 24, 2012 at 5:59 PM  Leave a Comment  
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