Indie Authors Sell fewer Ebooks in Summer, True or False?

Do Indie authors sell fewer ebooks in the summer? Especially during July and August? This summery complaint has been ringing in my ears at several forums, which sounded like either a bunch of hot-headed writers getting over-heated for dwindling sales or perhaps something really to it.

ebook sales downTypically we hear about ebook sales jumping through the roof, especially because of the novelty of ebooks and Indie authors publishing in record amounts, but what we don’t hear much about is how the seasons might affect these numbers. Instead, sales reports are typically compared year to year, not month to month. Based on the number of Indie authors bringing this to my attention (including Joe Konrath), there could be something to it. As more and more authors weigh in, it seems to be true; a summer slump does happen. If sales have slowed for you June through August, have no fear; you’re not alone.

After spending some time researching this phenomena (or phantom), there wasn’t much immediate data making it clear either way. So let’s just speculate a bit and see if we can come up with some plausible theories.

While at first glance, a summer dip in ebook sales it might seem counter-intuitive because summertime means vacationing, which also means less time working and more time for reading. The kids are out of school so they can read more… or wait… do they read more during school? Do kids read at all in amounts that matter? Hmm, already sidetracked here. Back to adults.

Summer also means plenty of other distractions/opportunities that might not be conductive to reading. Outdoor exercise and activity could fill many hours that used to be spent sitting in living rooms curled up with a good book. For many, summer also means yard-work, weddings to plan or attend, long car trips to endure… again, feels like this shouldn’t affect book sales much either way.

Aha! There’s another factor that makes perfect sense. Sales of both ebooks and the devices that read them, skyrocket in December and January as a result of the Christmas buying season. Both Kindle Boards and Nookboards demonstrate December 25th is by far their record day for user visits. Now we’re getting somewhere. Duh, *smacks forehead,* sales skyrocket in December and January because people buy Kindles, Nooks, iPads, etc and also lots of ebooks during the holidays. Many readers, including me, take several months to actually read what they purchased. Perhaps July and August is the best time to catch up on those already purchased ebooks. It’s also a great time to pull out a paperback by the pool or beach, which isn’t going to cost hundreds of dollars to replace if it gets dunked underwater or filled with sand.

That makes sense. If summer sales are slow, it’s probably just because it’s the best time to catch up on a busy winter buying season. If someone can find some actual data from ebook retailers on month to month sales, please leave links in the comment section.

So if you’re an Indie author noticing ebook selling has dwindled lately, fear not. Now’s the best time to write some blog posts, network in forums, get your book links out there and do what you can to prepare for another busy fall, winter and spring. Happy selling ahead.

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