Books, Books, and More Books

Ever since I started this blog, I have noticed quite a few things. One of those is that lots of people blog about books. And I mean LOTS!

They review books, they blog about books they are reading, and they blog about books they have read before. They list their Goodreads selections, and how many books they have already read that year. Many mention their TBR (To be read) piles, often wondering if they can ever possibly get to the end of them. I soon realised that where books are concerned, I am a very small fish, in a crowded ocean of literary sea lions.

Well done to them all. I love that people are still reading. It doesn’t matter whether they are using an electronic device, or turning the pages of a huge hardback. It has to be better than watching TV all day, or playing video games.

Another thing I noticed was that many bloggers are also published authors. Some of them are contracted to big publishing houses, some self-published, and many more just starting out. They use their blogs to advertise and sell their books, and usually promote the books of other bloggers too. That’s great. People want to write. They want to see their name on a cover, and have something to show for all that imagination, and hard work. Well done to them too. Keep at it!

Many of my readers have kindly suggested that I should write a book. Perhaps a non-fiction account of my long service as an EMT, or a compilation of some of my most popular short stories. The extended fiction serials that I frequently post are usually long enough to qualify as a novella, so I could go down that route, possibly.

With all this in mind, I did some research.

Amazon currently lists 33,000,000 books, worldwide. And that’s just on one company’s website. I will write that number another way. 33 MILLION.

Many books now boast the words ‘Best Seller’ on their covers. I wonder how many copies have to be sold, before that claim is valid? I found out. To make one of the ‘Best-Seller’ lists in a prestigious journal such as The New York Times, a well-known or established author has to sell more than 5,000 copies. Even then, selling that number of copies doesn’t guarantee you will appear on the list at all. That is decided by an ‘Editorial Panel’. If you are a new author and it is your first book, that number has to reach 10,000 copies, before you will even be considered.

Amazon can rightly claim to dominate the market in book sales in 2019. Their version of what constitutes a best seller is very different. Established authors publishing on Amazon only have to sell in excess of 1,000 copies, before their latest book receives the ‘Best Seller’ accolade on the cover. Unknown authors have to sell more than 5,000 copies to get the same recognition.

So if you are planning to publish your book, don’t be too disappointed if it gets lost in the crowd. And don’t expect it to make the Best Seller lists.
Not yet, anyway.

Meanwhile, keep reading, and keep writing about reading. And if you want to, keep writing that book too. πŸ™‚

109 thoughts on “Books, Books, and More Books

  1. It amazes me how many books get published every year, but I guess it’s just how the industry works. There’s got to be enough great books already written to keep me going a for the rest of my life, and possibly enough TV and film too.

    I’d like to know how people choose books. I mostly go for the Penguin Modern Classics style. I’d guess that over 90% of what I read is by dead authors. The industry creates a must-read-now buzz, but I think that good books are timeless and sometimes they’ll find you instead of you finding them.

    My favourite bookshops are not the glossy, modern, consumer shops like Waterstones and Barnes and Nobles. Mine are the ones where dusty used paperbacks are piled from the floor to the ceilling, Like Hurlingham’s in Fulham, or the independents like the Strand, Shakespeare and Co in Paris (apart from the crowds) and Shakespeare & Synove in Prague.

    I have one loose rule when it comes to buying books – If the author is still alive, buy new, if the author is dead buy secondhand.

    How do you choose what to read?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment.
      I spent many happy hours in small bookshops when I still lived in London. I mostly bought used hardbacks. As I got older and my sight got worse, I went through a long period of not reading at all. But buying a Kindle Fire tablet has got me back into it now.
      How do I choose?
      I pick authors whose work I have previously enjoyed.
      I read book reviews on blogs and websites to find out what’s being ‘bigged up’.
      I revisit classics, like Dickens.
      And I don’t pay too much for books anymore, so wait until they are reduced, or on offer.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s great when technology works for us.

        I also don’t pay too much for books. I’ll often see ones advertised that I’d like to read, but they release them in hardback, which I find cumbersome, and in the 6 months to a year that it takes for the paperback to come out, I’ve forgotten about them…

        Happy reading.
        Steven-John

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad I discovered this whole WordPress community – I was also surprised by the amount of book lovers that I didn’t know were out there still. I love this post shining a light on this, and encouraging others at the same time. In an era of smart phones and disposable, consumerist culture, we do need these readers, writers, and soon-to-be authors to keep at it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally enjoyed reading your post. I recently started my book blog, too. I’ve actually wanted to start my BookTube account, but I’m not ready for all that yet. Though I am not planning on writing a book anytime soon, I appreciate the encouragement. πŸ™‚ Again, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So true! There are so many book-readers and writers out there.
    I count myself on the overwhelming list of aspiring authors, and then despair because of the numbers. But the words are what counts πŸ˜€
    Thanks for the post, I’m now a follower! ❀

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks for the motivation and encouragement! I just published my first book “Letum” and have found that adveritising and making it known, is much harder than writing it! I hope you do write a book yourself, I’d love to read it if you ever publish one. Keep blogging! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Actually I was quite surprised too. I used to think that books were slightly less “popular” now. However, it’s fantastic to witness the love that people still have for them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Book blogs are some of the most popular, and usually attract a lot of followers and interaction too, Kelsey. You should write about what you are interested in, and you will certainly never run out of books! πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  7. Hello! As a book blogger myself (who also dabbles in film & television) I’ve realized the importance of being critical of effective marketing. Really- there are so many fish swimming in this pond!

    I’m writing a book, and I always ask myself the question of ‘how can I stand out? What can I do differently?’ Yet sadly, that leads to more confusion. Brilliant article!

    Liked by 5 people

  8. My wife used to say “Don’t expect anything and you’re never disappointed!”

    Write if you love to write. Write for pleasure. Write for your children. Write for the fun of it. Write…but don’t expect anything to come of it…….especially great things.

    πŸ™‚ (emoji here.)

    Besties

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thanks Parimala. It doesn’t mean you should not continue writing or following your dream of course. But it never hurts to be aware of the facts. πŸ™‚
      And my sincere thanks for following my blog too.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  9. People couldn’t connect to amazon on my old website but hey can now on http://www.juliecround,co.uk so I may sell the odd book – and they are odd,all different prices some new, some second hand.I have a few at home but don’t intend to print any more so there will never be more than 200 copies of each book around so I’ll never be a Best Seller. It won’t stop me writing – even if it is only poems and short stories!

    Liked by 4 people

  10. About bloggers who write, you said: “Some of them are successful, some self-published.” Some are both self-published AND successful. It depends on how you define success. πŸ™‚ And just because you write and publish a book, you don’t have to promote and market it if you really hate doing that. Your book likely won’t be any kind of best-seller, though. I think it’s great that we have the option to get our stuff out there and add to the millions of books available. It’s an embarrassment of riches. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks for that correction, Audrey. I didn’t mean to imply that self-publishing did not mean success. I will amend that accordingly. And I only refer to ‘success’ in terms of book sales, and writing for a living, as a novelist.
      Anyway, I have changed that line now.
      I am very pleased that you are happy to ‘get your stuff out there’. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Barbara Cartland was one of the world’s most successful authors having sold on excess of 500 million. She wrote over 700 novels rather along the lines of Mills and Boon.
      I don’t believe she pandered to popularity but it is very possible to write for an audience and not for yourself.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. That was a very interesting post! Looking at book covers I always wondered what it took to be the β€œbest selling author”. I always thought it funny how multiple authors could be β€œ#1”. Now we know the number it takes!

    Liked by 5 people

  12. Interesting post, Pete. I can’t imagine a world without books (I guess we’d just have to make up stories!). I don’t write reviews on my own blog but I do follow quite a few bloggers who do and often buy as a result of their reviews. Reading that 33 million number makes me realise how privileged I am that some people do find and buy my books!

    Liked by 4 people

  13. I love reading and always have a book on the go. I still read proper books especially if they are favourite authors, but do a lot on kindle as I can have it on all my computery stuff and so keep reading anywhere and anytime. Good post Pete!

    Liked by 4 people

      1. He rarely does fiction as he’s always got a ‘proper’ history book on the go. However I’ve read several of Ben Kane’s novels, I especially liked his 2 novel Spartacus, brilliant battle scenes, and his Hannibal Trilogy. If you get chance to get them on cheap days you’ll enjoy them as much as Clash. Cheers!

        Liked by 2 people

  14. Very thoughtful article, thanks Pete. I haven’t succumbed to the Kindle (other e-readers are also available, as they say at the BBC; somewhat ironically now, perhaps?) yet, but I can appreciate their utility. As for my own position, writing & publishing my first book, Black Shirt and Smoking Beagles (http://www.wilfredbooks.co.uk/bsandsb.html) was the easy (albeit somewhat protracted) part: it’s the marketing I find desperately tedious!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. That is also the reason why I have been reluctant to publish. I cannot be bothered with the promotion and marketing. Too much like still being in a job! πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  15. I grew up reading as a refuge from It All, and read about 400 old paperbacks a year, many Regencies or old mysteries, and just reread Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey which I found for free in its 1946 version in a little free library–I am also a fan of Charles de Lint, who combines magical realism with some very crucial life issues like child abuse or homelessness etc. It seems like reading is such a private thing to the reader, like someone is taking the time to tell ME a story. I find it a very generous thing for authors to do.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. 33 million huh? πŸ€”πŸ€” Wow…that is a lot of books lol. I’m currently reading a little bit more and hopefully when my vacation is coming up I have more time to devour some books, that certain people who shall remain nameless (*cough Kim* cough) keep adding to my to read list lol πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Seriously though I love reading almost as much as I love movies…it’s just finding the time for it, that is sometimes making it hard. Great post Pete! 😊

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thanks, Michel. I find that having the Kindle Fire tablet has definitely increased my reading. I have still only read 18 books this year, and not all of them were very long. But that’s a great improvement on just one, the year before. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well…I just checked my own Goodreads list, and I have read 19, and some of them were manga. So haven’t read much more. Though as I said, am reading a lot more books at the moment, so slowly increasing those numbers again 😊

        Liked by 2 people

  17. My fiction writing was shelved a month ago, and for good reason, but I hope to dust it off sometime soon. Lyrics production has been on hiatus since April, but should get back on track this fall after my partner catches up with arrangements / promotional recordings. As for limericks, I think it may come down to laziness. Last year, I read a number of books. This year, I haven’t read a single one. My TBR pile is screaming with neglect.

    Liked by 4 people

  18. I received a whopping royalty direct deposit this month 29Β’. As you know I have self-published two short monographs, one fiction and the other a plan to save everyone from poverty, and a couple of even shorter picture books on Kindel. Most months I receive nothing, but then there are the really big months like this one that make it all worthwhile. πŸ™‚
    As soon as I have saved up enough money to buy another version of WORD, I will publish another one.
    Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 5 people

  19. I enjoy that the e-book has allowed some Authors to publish shorter works without the need to “fill it out” to a certain length…Joe Ezsterhas did that with his short nonfiction work “Heaven And Mel”, his account of trying to do a screenplay with Mel Gibson…here’s a link to my story about it…if you want to know just how crazy Hollywood can be, this will tell you – https://johnrieber.com/2013/08/14/heaven-and-mel-shocking-mel-gibson-book-my-mel-encounter/

    Liked by 4 people

  20. I have noticed the same thing, so many bloggers writing and reading books. Perhaps that tells us what we’re drawn to? I will keep reading and keep writing on my blog, and perhaps a book one day. Sounds like you will, too. Great post, Pete.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. When you drill down into the best seller lists, you see the same author’s names over and over. It seems that once you have a ‘following’, most of your fans will buy anything with your name on the cover. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  21. I am the best selling author in my house, maybe even in my family… I am a boutique author, I only ‘allow’ my books to be read by a select few! The world of books put into perspective, thanks Pete. If you are just publishing for Amazon Kindle you can make your book any length from a few pages to a Biblical tome, as far as I can see.

    Liked by 4 people

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