Flawed Survey, Sloppy Research, No Fact-Checking…
“Print Books Still Outselling e-Books” or “Print Books Outsold Ebooks In First Half Of 2014” are the big headlines these days at newspapers and magazines, from PublishersWeekly to Huffington Post.
"According to a NielsenScan survey, e-books constituted only 23 percent of unit sales for the first six months of the year, while hardcovers made up 25 percent and paperback 42 percent of sales.”
However, no one at these big media outlets bothered to ask where these "statistics" came from... NielsenScan covers a maximum of 75% of the American PRINT book market (almost all of them traditional published) and does NOT count e-books at all! How can they seriously compare print vs e-books?
Even Amazon warns their authors:
“Note about Amazon print sales: Sales reported depends on which retailers selling your book and participate in Nielsen BookScan, and whether your book is registered with one of the companies from which Nielsen derives its list of reported ASINs. If your book is registered with the Ingram Company, for example, you will see sales info. If your book is Print on Demand, your publishing company may not report ISBNs to Ingram and you may not see sales information. If a disproportionate number of your books are sold by stores that do not report to Nielsen, your sales information may underestimate your total sales.”
Author Earnings Report Shows the Real Numbers
As the majority of books are sold through Amazon - and not through mass markets and book chain stores, Author Earnings brought a much more realistic picture and compared the top 100 bestsellers in print with the top 100 bestsellers in digital. The top 100 books are 61% digital and 39% print!
Another Myth are "Bestsellers"
In a former article at SavvyBookWriters we explained how Bestsellers are really made by NielsenScan:
“A Bestseller doesn’t necessarily mean it is a terrific book, worth to read. It rather shows a 2-3 week old sales statistic of books that sold well in chain bookstores and at independent booksellers, who are connected in a certain country (e.g. USA or UK) to Nielsen BookScan which currently covers approximately 75% of retail sales.”
To offer serious statistics about digital and print books, numbers need to be taken at all book retail outlets and all publishers – small, big, trade or independent. So, if someone is stating statistics they need to be explained: from which country and which book retailers those “statistics” are rendered and that they not show the real picture – especially when they are taken from retailers who DO NOT sell e-books at all.