Two days ago, we published a post about sales figures for export book sales revenue for US Publishers comparing 2010 to 2011. This, of course, covers only books, whether print or digital, published by traditional and a portion of Indie publishers, but does not tackle the amount of books sold by self-publishers.
This is where a bit of math comes in handy. Let’s compare the figures of the Association of American Publishers with those of the Romance Writers of America.
The Romance Writers of America claim to represent 13.4% of the US consumer market. Their sales figures for year 2010 is $1.358 billion. Not million, billion! (Please note, we are using the 2010 figures rather that the 2011 because Romance Writers of America published figures for
On the other hand, export sales figures for 2010 by the Association of American Publishers $333.3 million and they claim that 90% of their revenue come from export sales. This means their total sales for 2010 would come to $370 million.
Ok, now Romance Writers of America has around 10% of its members coming from non US locations. So, let’s reduce their sales figure for 2010 by 10%, we still get $1.222 billion, or roughly 4 times the total worldwide sales figure for the Association of American Publishers.
Let’s round up these numbers and have some fun
- Total sales for Association of American Publishers in 2010 : $370 million
- Total sales for Romance Writers of America in 2010 : $1.2 billion
This means that the Romance Writers of America representing 13.4% of the US consumer market sold 3.25 times more books than the Association of American Publishers.
So, if 13.4% of the US consumer market is $1.2 billion, it implies that 100% of US consumer market revenue comes up to $8.955 billion.
By extrapolating these numbers (this is where it becomes fun) and assuming that all books not covered by the Association of American Publishers are sold by self-published writers, we can conclude that the total revenue of US self-published books in 2010 would come to $8.955 billion – $370 million, or a whooping $8.585 billions.
Now, the population of the US on April 1st 2010 was 308,745,538 residents. Let’s round it up to 310 million and remove the 75 million under 18, which gives us a total of 235 million. As 70% of the population reportedly see themselves as potential writers, that makes roughly 165 million of potential self-published writers in the US.
So, assuming that 10% of them published a book in 2010, that means that the average book sale revenue per US writer in 2010 comes up to $8.282 billion /16.5 million or $520 yearly revenue per self-published writer.
This is less than the average revenue of $500 per quarter reported by the Taleist survey result. Of course the extrapolations above are only meant to draw attention to the unlikeness that self-published writers will make tons of money with their writings, though some will undoubtedly do so.
In the absence of proper statistics about the self-publishing world, this is the kind of result one can easily reach. This is why we ask all writers, authors and aspiring authors and writers to take the survey created by a self-publisher and thus increase our understanding of the self-publisher’s market.