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2010 Trend Analysis from All Romance eBooks

2010 Trend Analysis from All Romance eBooks

ARELori James, co owner of All Romance eBooks and its sister site, Omni Lit, share a 2010 trend analysis that she said I could share with all of you. I think that there are some really interesting data points.   (Here’s an interview Kassia Kroszer did with Lori James and one between Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches and Lori on the importance of metadata).

Every January, ARe completes a trend analysis based on our prior years sales experience. 2010 was a very successful year for eBooks in general and for AllRomance.com and OmniLit.com specifically. Although both websites realized an increase in traffic rank, we're proud to announce AllRomance.com broke Alexa's top 10,000 website barrier in the U.S.

I asked Lori to explain the rebate system because I recommend EC books from time to time and I hate buying at EC direct. The website and interface is just terrible but outside EC, the prices are exorbitant.   ARE, however, sells them near EC’s price.   Here is how it is done:

The customer pays the suggested retail price of the title. Then we give them a percentage back in eBook Bucks, our in-store currency. They have the option to assign those bucks to their own account for use, or to gift them to another user. They essentially work like cash. There is no expiration. As long as the book they want costs less than their remaining balance, they can click on our “Buy Now” button and with one click the cost is deducted from their available balance and the book appears in their library. People can also purchase bucks and many do – it’s a nice way of staying within budget, shopping on the go, or making sure that you have just a couple charges from All Romance appear on your card each month instead of dozen smaller ones.

Some general highlights

  • # Total publishers in 2009 = Approx 3000
  • # Total publishers in 2010 = Approx 4700
  • # Romance titles in inventory 2009 = over 30,000
  • # Romance titles in inventory 2010 = over 52,000
  • # Total titles in inventory 2009 = over 250,000
  • # Total titles in inventory 2010 = 315,053
  • # of staff in 2009 = 5
  • # of staff in 2010 = 12

Growth in customer base 2008 to 2009 = 250%
Growth in customer base 2009 to 2010 = 215%

Some enhancement highlights

  • AllRomance.com website re-design
  • Revival of the ARe Bookclub
  • Initiation of a tagging feature
  • Credit card profile storage
  • Launch of customized advanced search engine
  • Creation of a tutorial-based customer support system
  • iBookstore distribution
  • Completion of server move
  • Expansion of individual author pages
  • Addition of social share features for each book

Some buyer highlights

We're continuing to experience triple digit growth in the U.S. and the bulk of our sales are to U.S. customers. We are currently selling in 214 countries.

Top ten markets: United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, India, New Zealand, France, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Top ten U.S. markets: California, Texas, New York, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, and Ohio

  • Female = 90%
  • Male = 10%

Some bookish highlights

Heat Rating = over 97% of sales are on books rated 3 or higher, of significance is that the 5 flame sales have dropped almost 15% over last year with most of the difference shifting to the 4 flame rating.

DRM v Non DRM = 96% of sales are on Non DRM titles.

File formats = PDF and ePub account for 86% of files downloaded. Next is PRC at 7%, then LIT at 5% and HTML at 2%.

NOTE: We've heard from several publishers that they are discontinuing production on some file. We believe PDF, ePub, and PRC are the "must have" formats. If you want titles to be readable on the Kindle via our Wireless Transfer program – we recommend you create PRC's. PDF's do not lend themselves to reflow on that device. Due to numerous requests, we will be adding the Mobi format in 2011.
Romance remains, by far, our biggest seller. Although still popular, the overall market shares for gay fiction, multiple partners, BDSM, interracial and contemporary were all down 43 – 55% from 2009. The overall market share for erotica almost doubled during 2010 and sales increased significantly for all of speculative fiction sub-genres. In rank order we saw growth in sales of Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Vampire/Werewolves, and Shapeshifter books.

In terms of which romance sub-genres owned the biggest piece of the pie in 2010, the top 10 are = Erotica, Gay Fiction, Vampires/Werewolves, Paranormal, Contemporary, Shapeshifter, Sci-fi/Fantasy, BDSM, Multiple Partners, and Interracial.

The most popular non-romance categories include General Fiction, Family and Relationships, Fantasy, Mystery, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Thriller, Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Historical, and Non-Fiction.

NOTE: We realize that many books cross multiple sub-genres. We base our statistics on the category the reader selected prior to the purchase point. If it's a M/M, Contemporary, Paranormal and they clicked on Contemporary prior to the purchase, then the sale goes to Contemporary.

A special note about the impact of and plans for agency = Tens of thousands of DRM titles were removed by what has commonly been referred to as "Agency" publishers in April of 2010. Q1 data seems to indicate DRM might have ended up being approximately 12% or more of sales in 2010, as opposed to the 4% that resulted. Although we've certainly realized some lost sales due to the decrease in that inventory, data supports the fact that many readers simply found alternate content to interest them and accordingly shifted those purchasing dollars to non-Agency publishers. (jane added emphasis).

Our customers have continued to express the desire to purchase Agency titles through us and we want to accommodate. We are in the process of working to re-stock that inventory.