Very little reliable data exists on any aspect of small publishers’ ebook businesses. In an attempt to fill this gap in our knowledge, I conducted an online survey and gathered data from 59 publishers on aspects of their ebook sales, production, design, distribution, and digital rights management. Five publishers were interviewed for in-depth case studies, intended to further contextualise the data gathered in the survey.
This research was originally conducted as part of a Masters programme at City University London. However, I have published it here (and released it under a Creative Commons licence) for the benefit of small publishers, authors, ebook producers, and others interested in this market. I wrote a piece for FutureBook about why I conducted this research.
Analysis of the results suggests that most small publishers are failing to take full advantage of the ebook market.
The initial survey was live from 24 July to 18 August 2015 and gathered 59 responses.
Discussion of my results follows the six divisions established in the survey: Basic Information, Sales and Marketing, Production, Design, Distribution, and DRM. Each question is introduced, my hypothesis – where I had one – is briefly outlined, and my findings are discussed.
All charts are interactive and embeddable. Deep linking is enabled for all headings: for a direct anchor link, just click on the chain image which will appear to the left of the heading as you hover over it.
The presentation of the data is largely restricted to simple frequency charts and cross-tabulation. Naturally, with a dataset of thirty questions the number of potential comparisons is enormous, which has forced me to select my cross-tabulations carefully. However, suggestions for further investigation are very welcome: please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The survey was briefly closed to responses while I analysed my results. However, I have now re-opened the questionnaire to responses, in the hope that it will become an ongoing survey of the state of small press ebook publishing.
This project would not have been possible without the cooperation of dozens of people, including the 59 respondents to my survey, most of whom must remain anonymous. Thank you to my case study interviewees: Emma Barnes, Thad McIlroy, Sam Jordison, Susan Hawthorne and Renate Klein, and my anonymous interviewee. Thank you also to the publishers who agreed to take part in scoping interviews. Special thanks are due to Nia Beynon, Simon Blacklock, and the team at Faber Factory for their support in this project’s early stages, along with Mary Masters and Hannah Cartmel at the Small Press Network. I am grateful to Mary Ann Kernan and Dominic Vaughan at City University for their academic support, to Porter Anderson and Philip Jones at The Bookseller for their assistance publicising my survey, and to Sonya Lalli for her moral support.
I am an Australian editor and ebook producer based in London. More about me.