7 Charts on the State of German Self-Publishing in 2016

In News by Ingrid Süßmann

Matthias Matting’s fourth annual survey of self-publishing in Germany reveals further refinements in the way indie authors publish their books.

By Ingrid Süßmann

The self-publishing study by Matthias Matting (founder of Die Self-Publisher Bibel, Germany’s go-to source of information about self-publishing) is now in its fourth year. Again, Matting has called and 1,059 indie authors from the German-speaking area have answered. The results of the study below offer a good indication of the current state of self-publishing in Germany.

Participants were asked about the way they publish, how much they earn, and what they hope for in the future. Below are the key findings for the 2016 study:

Top three reasons authors choose to self-publish are: having more freedom (64 percent), staying in control (57 percent) and because it’s simple (43 percent).

Traditional publishing houses have become slightly more attractive to indie authors. While the majority of indie authors only would sign with a traditional publishing house if the conditions were right, the number of authors wanting to be published no matter what rose slightly from 9.05 percent in 2015 to 10.49 percent in 2016.

Top three reasons why an indie author would sign with a publishing house: profiting from the publishing house’s influence (60 percent), placement in brick-and-mortar bookstores (59 percent) and access to the publisher’s marketing professionals (57 percent).

Self-publishers make more money. Indie authors’ average income from their books rose from 512 euros ($565) to 683 euros ($ 753).

Self-publishing is digital: Two-thirds of indie authors prefer to publish ebooks over paperback editions (which were less popular in 2016 than last year, while preference for hardcover editions went up).

Distributors are losing importance in self-publishing. Since both Amazon and Tolino offer their own self-publishing programs, book distributors have lost market share in self-publishing. While 62 percent of indie authors used distributors in 2015, only 52 percent are doing so in 2016.

Amazon remains most important distribution channel: 30 percent of indie authors sell the majority of their books via Amazon. Tolino is holding on to second place, but Kobo, Google and Apple aren’t a significant part of the picture.

About the Author

Ingrid Süßmann

Ingrid Süßmann is an IT Project Manager at Droemer Knaur in Munich, Germany. She previously worked as Author Relations Manager for neobooks, and has held various positions at Random House Germany and Carlsen Verlag. In addition to her work in book publishing, Ingrid is also a certified beekeeper and fan of baby donkeys.