eBook Zombie Memes Won't Die

If recent events have taught us anything, it's that we can't trust experts or establishment media. Independent journalists and internal whistleblowers caught Google manipulating search results around the 2016 election. More than one online consumer revolt disclosed that journalists maintain secret email lists to collude on disinfo ops.

All of which makes it increasingly tiresome to see people in the dissident scene falling for old oldpub zombie memes.

Google "What percentage of the book market are eBooks?" and you'll get this:

19 percent

Why anyone would trust Google is beyond me, but it still happens for some reason. Sure enough, a little digging into the subject reveals that the 19 percent figure comes from market research firm NDP.

And digging one more layer down exposes NDP's numbers as garbage.

First, even by their own skewed sample, NDP reports that eBooks make up forty-four percent of all adult fiction sales.

Second, the American Association of Publishers that the decline in eBook sales significantly slowed during the same period covered by NDP.

But even that's a moot point, since both NDP and AAP track only book sales by the Big Four New York publishers. 

Once again, the deception lies in what the experts aren't telling you.

According to independent market research site Author Earnings, which examined the same sales period as AAP ad NDP before it closed up shop, the latter outlets' highly selective sampling left out roughly two-thirds of US eBook purchases and perhaps half of all dollars spent on eBooks.

Which means the US eBook market really looks more like this:

eBook Market Share

Current eBook sales might be even higher than in 2017. That's because audio books had started cutting into eBook sales.

SFF Trad eBook Sales

Yes, those are oldpub figures, but that drives the point home even harder. Oldpub has indeed seen a decline in eBook sales. Much of that decrease was self-inflicted due to price gouging, but more recently, audio had been cannibalizing eBook sales.

And then the lockdowns happened, and people were laid off or switched to working from home.

Which meant a drastic drop in commuters and a corresponding nosedive in audiobook sales.

Now, some indie authors have reported print book sales picking up the slack left by the audio decline. But being anecdotal evidence, I can counter with my own anecdote, which is that eBooks still account for something like 90% of my business.

The eBook zombie memes - they just won't die, not matter how many times I debunk them.

On the subject of eBooks, the digital editions of my thrilling Combat Frame XSeed books are not only the most popular option on Amazon, they're a hit with Indiegogo backers, too. Support indie science fiction, claim sweet rewards - including a great deal on CFXS eBooks - and help us unlock our Print-a-Mech goal.

Back it now!

Combat Frame XSeed: SS - Brian Niemeier


  1. "But even that's a moot point, since both NDP and AAP track only book sales by the Big Four New York publishers."

    These are the same big 4 who have been trying to kill ebooks from the very beginning. The price gouging is just a way to discourage their customers from buying them. So yeah, if a company is doing its best to suppress sales of an item, I'd expect sales of that item to go down.

    I haven't bought a physical book in years. Ebooks are much too convenient to buy and carry/store for me to resist. If I read about a book I think might be good, I can have it almost instantly. I don't have wait for it, or find shelf space after I'm done. I refuse to believe that a large percentage of the book reading public isn't as into such convenience as I am.

    1. It's frustrating how few people get this - especially vocal dissenters from globohomo who should know better.

    2. I'm the opposite. I don't want books that also need batteries, don't trust digital formats, and don't trust data in the hands of Amazoogle. I teach cyber-security, so I trust "the cloud about" as far as I can throw a data center. Dead tree all the way.

    3. If it is book I want my grandchildren to read, dead tree.

    4. This particular thread perfectly illustrates the point of this post.

  2. I'm always shocked when indie authors repeat this false information. It's all lies and nothing has changed. The more woke oldpub gets, the fewer books they sell.

    I think of ebooks as modern day dimestore mass market. People read them and dump them, but for those few hours, they were entertained. That's definitely worth the price of a loaf of bread. And then you have the shadow market of fanfiction. People read them by the truckload, and they don't care what fandom it is, as long as they can find the tropes they want. I've seen people complaining that libraries and amazon don't tag their books to let you easily find what you want to read. Is it comic horror, like Goosebumps, or is it horror like Saw? What if you want some hurt/comfort, or a romance with enemies to lovers, or you'd rather have friends to lovers? I think indie authors need to tag their tropes the way fanfic does.

    1. Yeah, retooling stuff to tell me its optimistic pew pew meets pulp rev fun is key. Might add some of this to my blurbs later.

    2. Kessie

      The biggest stumbling block is the expectations. This obnoxious attitude by old publishing it has to be relevant,realistic and revolutionary at times really grates.
      Life's tough and hard just gives a a few moments of escapist pleasure.


  3. Speaking of zombie memes: https://voxday.blogspot.com/2021/04/conservatives-would-rather-complain.html

    At what point do you retire the Washington Generals?

  4. I agree with Brian's previous post. Until the Generals' fans get tired of the concessions stand, the team is gonna be with us for a while.