Mike Shatzkin

Denis Wilson was previously content director for Target Marketing, Publishing Executive, and Book Business, as well as the FUSE Media and BRAND United summits. In this role, he analyzed and reported on the fundamental changes affecting the media and marketing industries and aimed to serve content-driven businesses with practical and strategic insight. As a writer, Denis’ work has been published by Fast Company, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and The New York Times.

Last week FutureBook asked, how big is the self-publishing market? The simple answer is that only Amazon knows. The more complex answer is that it is big enough - and growing.

Porter Anderson and I used various approaches. We asked some of the stakeholders for their estimates, and then ran an open survey to see if the indie hive-mind would coalesce around some numbers. Separately, as part of a wider piece on how traditional publishing was weathering the digital storm, consultant Mike Shatzkin offered his own number.

In the world of disruptive innovation, customers aren't just people who pay you money for whatever physical stuff your business shovels out the door.

Traditional publishers would never think this way, but authors are their "customers" because authors are seeking someone to provide the service of replicating their books and effectively moving those books into the stream of commerce.

The mega-selling 1% of authors are the most profitable customers for the services provided by publishers. They will be the last to go in part because, like the best customers of any business, they get the best deals.

The "Big 5" book publishers are feeling good and riding high.

Unlike shrinking movie box office receipts and plummeting music sales, 2014 book sales were up a healthy 4% to 5% all year -- though the true final numbers aren't in yet.

Publishers also defeated their top frenemy, Amazon (AMZN), at least somewhat last year, by winning back control over ebook pricing in new multiyear sales deals stuck by French-based Hachette and CBS (CBS) unit Simon & Schuster. At the same time, the portion of the market sold in ebook form

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