I write mystery novels and self publish them. I’ve been doing this since 2011. You can click the link above to see my book promotional page. I’ve now written nine books. Although the volume of sales has increased fairly steadily, the method by which readers acquire my books has changed dramatically in recent years. Readers as a group do not buy as many books as they used to. Now they tend to borrow ebooks to read them much more than they did before. Authors can earn royalties with all these methods.
I believe this trend is consistent with similar consumer trends such as for cars, music, and computers. More people lease cars now or use Uber/Lyft than formerly and they use more online or cloud services and products than before like Pandora or iTunes or Netflix. People used to take pride in owning things – books, cars, music albums, movies, software. It’s a general trend now to pay only for the use of something rather than ownership. See the graph below of sales and borrows of my books.
My first book in 2011 was not published in paperback form until 2012. That book and all subsequent ones were available in both formats after that. As is evident, the borrowing trend is growing while the buying, especially of physical books, is declining. I’m not complaining about this, only noting it as interesting.
The graph is not completely accurate as it doesn’t include all my foreign sales or paperbacks I sold personally from my house or at events, but the trend is clear.