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G B Ralph, Author

Reader feedback on ‘going wide’ (with data!)

I was overwhelmed with responses from my last email asking about putting my books up on the other big ebook platforms (i.e. Kobo, Nook, Apple, Google, etc). Thank you for your feedback! Now, I’m still figuring this all out, so your votes and comments really helps steer what happens next.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out this recent blog post, then jump on my mailing list for future updates and to get involved.

Considering my books have only been available through Amazon (US, UK, CA, AU, etc) so far, there’s no surprise Kindle dominates this chart. Still, it has been interesting to see how else you access your books!

What else can we take from the chart?

Some key details (and remember, I asked you to tick all that applied):

  • Almost 90% of respondents bought books via Kindle.
  • Over a third also liked to read on real paper.
  • A similar proportion were Kindle Unlimited subscribers.
  • Just over a quarter read books via Apple Books.
  • Just under a quarter also listen to their books.
  • Around 1 in 8 read via Kobo, and a similar amount for Nook.
  • Very few read via Google Play Books.

What about those who selected ‘Other’?

Just over a quarter of respondents selected “Other”. Some key takeaways from the comments:

  • Ebooks borrowed from the library is another way to access stories. An oversight on my part considering I also borrow ebooks and mp3 audiobooks via my local library’s online platform!
  • Smashwords came up a number of times as a platform where readers access their books.
  • A couple of digital platforms that aren’t specific to books included Gumroad and Kofi.
  • Others mentioned accessing complementary books via Prolific Works, Book Funnel, or ARCs (i.e. Advance Reader Copies, often in exchange for honest pre-publication reviews).

Again, I wanted to say thank you for all your responses – it’s fascinating to see!

So, what does it all mean? Go wide or stay exclusive?

Do I keep my books exclusive to Amazon, or make them available on the other platforms too? Well, it’s not an obvious decision…

To have your book available in Kindle Unlimited (a Netflix-style reading subscription) you must commit to having that book exclusive to Amazon (for the most part) for 90 day enrolment periods. Then at the end: renew again, or “go wide”?

It depends, which pool of my potential readers is greater? People reading books in KU, or buying books on non-Amazon platforms? Based on these survey results, about 50% more of my readers buy books via non-Amazon platforms in total than read via KU.

Even so, if I tried going wide and found lacklustre uptake, I could pull them back off the non-Amazon platforms and re-enrol in KU. But doing this has the potential to irritate readers who may have read one or two books, then discovered that the third is no longer available on their preferred platform. As a reader I know an author flipflopping around like this would annoy me!

But on the other hand, I’m keen to explore and learn as much as I can. I just have to hope there aren’t too many casualties along the way and do my best to minimise the hassle for readers. At the very least, if I was to go wide I’d want to give KU readers plenty of notice so they could decide if they wanted to prioritise reading any of my books before they were no longer available on KU.

Another big consideration in being exclusive to Amazon is having all my eggs in that one basket. Do the benefits of the higher royalty rate outweigh the potential risks? I don’t know!

What do you reckon?

Drop me a message via my website or social media – I’d love to hear what you think.

And if you’re interested in hearing more, get on my mailing list and you’ll be the first to know (plus nab a couple of exclusive short stories!).

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