2022: the irresistible rise of self-publishing

The decline in the book market in 2022 has not slowed the development of self-publishing in France, with the production of self-published books generally increasing over the past 12 months. The leader of Amazon, through its Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) service, if it does not communicate the numbers, confirms the increase in the number of self-published authors, of which a growing part manages to live in their rights. At the European level, several hundred authors earned more than 100,000 euros from the sale of their books in 2022 “, confided last November Geraldine CodronAmazon France books category leader.

At their level, other players are seeing a general increase in production: Books on Demand (BoD) claimed 2,900 self-published books throughout the year, i.e. 10% more than in 2021 , which has been a very strong growth (+25% compared to 2020). For its part, Librinova supported 1,900 book projects in 2022 compared to 1,700 in 2021, an increase of 12%. Bookelis, for its part, indicates 4,700 self-published books in 2022, but with a decrease in the share of new authors (-21% vs 2021). In Kobo Writing Life (KWL), the number of French authors has stabilized at around 15,000 by the end of 2022, with strong prospects for development abroad. ” We have noticed a growing interest from French-speaking authors located in Belgium, Switzerland and Quebec whom we want to support to expand their readership in all French-speaking territories. “, entrusted Camille Mofididirector of KWL France.

Contrary to this growth in production, sales of self-published books decreased in 2022, in line with the general line of the book market. Librinova authors, for example, have sold more than 185,000 copies (145,000 digital or paper copies in bookstores and 40,000 online). This is 11% less than last year, but ” Here, we monitor the book market in general very closely, after an exceptional year in 2021. “, Remember Laure Pretelat, co-founder of Librinova. Similarly, Bookelis authors sold a total of 97,000 books in 2022, (-13% vs 2021). Only the BoD states ” slight progress of 2022 sales, despite a year which was marked by many international events and a decrease in the number of sales in general in bookstores “, according to Noemie MachnerInternational Marketing Director at BoD.

Seduction operations

But these mixed figures do not dampen the platforms’ optimism in the medium term. To accommodate the ever-increasing variety of profiles, from the first-time novelist to the confirmed author, they are multiplying the lure operations: KWL has a habit of allowing authors to benefit from Fnac’s Kobo promotions on the highlights of the year (summer readings, Christmas parties, etc.), but also thematic promotions dedicated to the KWL catalog (romance, thriller, fantasy), or highlighting author promotions each month on a dedicated page. ” The promotional part is the service most requested by our authors, and one of our most developed, in a logic of partnership with the authors who entrust us with their catalog. “, added Camille Mofidi.

Kobo also offered two literary challenges this year in partnership with Fnac Readers’ Forum: a short story competition this summer, and Writing Month in November, where over 4,000 texts were received. ” We have found 4 promising finalists from which we are in the process of selecting a winner who will win editorial and promotional support worth 2,500 euros “, continued Camille Mofidi. This success also led KWL to create a space dedicated to self-published authors in the Fnac Forum at the end of the Writing Month.

More traditionally, the business model of self-publishing platforms has been based largely on writing marketing or production assistance services. Printing and publishing services remain the most popular services at Librinova. ” But in 2022, we see very strong growth in editorial services (correction, reading sheets) which grew by 60%, and writing support services (masterclass, editorial coaching), where the demand is multiplied by five “, Laure Prételat details. Also in a logic of editorial support, the BoD continues for its part to develop in France the writing platform WriteControl, acquired last spring and with more than 45,000 users at the end of 2022 (compared to 35,000 last year ).

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