Sometimes people have unrealistic expectations about book sales.
Thanks to innovations in publishing technology, the number of self-published books has exploded. But sales have stagnated.
The average non-fiction book sells 250 copies a year, and 2000 copies in a lifetime.
Someone like Tony Evans or Andy Stanley will sell many more than that, of course, but that’s the average.
I was recently putting together the total sales (print and ebook) for three of our titles.
A Gospel of Doubt—514 copies.
Is Calvinism Biblical?—714 copies.
Chosen to Serve—883 copies.
Beyond Doubt—581 copies.
Here’s an interesting observation from the article linked to above:
7. Most books today are selling only to the authors’ and publishers’ communities. Everyone in the potential audiences for a book already knows of hundreds of interesting and useful books to read but has little time to read any. Therefore people are reading only books that their communities make important or even mandatory to read. There is no general audience for most nonfiction books, and chasing after such a mirage is usually far less effective than connecting with one’s communities.
That’s certainly the case with us. We sell to people in Free Grace circles, or more specifically, to people who read Grace in Focus magazine. That’s our community. We hope to grow that community by starting Grace in Focus Radio, but even then we’ll be selling to people in the community. That’s how non-fiction works, I guess. But here’s something to consider: our books might sell relatively few copies, they can really make an impact on the people who read them.
I’ve never heard of someone changing their life after reading the latest thriller or romance. But I have heard of pastors, people, and whole churches, being changed after reading one of our books. Not because of us! But because God’s Word rightly divided and explained is powerful.
Thank you for buying, and reading, and giving away our books. Our readers are a blessing to us!