Paperback Rising?

It has been six months since the second edition of At The Walls Of Galbrieth was released. Thank you to all who purchased the book, all who will read it, and those who have already read it and sent me such lovely, warm notes.

Galbrieth cover.5th.anniversary

What has been interesting is that I am selling, for the first time (as far as I know), more paperbacks than e-books. Given the competitive way in which bookstore place novels, it is extremely difficult for authors not on the A-list to find shelf space, even with the most tenacious publishers backing them.

I market my book towards the e-book crowd. The financial investment in taking a chance with a new author is so much smaller than a tree book and, between you and me, I am rather fond of trees.

However, there is a problem with this strategy when it comes to the Young Adult market. To purchase an e-book, one needs a credit card, and the young adult does not spread the plastic (as a father I should add, Thank the Holy Auditor). S/he needs to ask permission to buy a book and while most parents I know are happy to buy it, there are several steps involved that could sideline the request – making dinner, walking the dog, homework – you know, life.

The other issue with trying to sell e-books to a Young Adult market is that not all parents approve of their children having more screen time. Hands up if you told your kid to get off their phone and, with a roll of the eyes, they hold the screen in front of you to show they are reading a book or article, or worst of all, doing homework?



So, I am wondering whether I should change strategy. Time is limited (this blog used to be weekly) and I am a considerably happier and more congenial chap when writing or editing my next novel.

I have given up on the bookstore appearances (thank you Independent Bookstores for offering this wonderful service to the community) or book fairs. The ROI is negligible and again it is a time issue.

What are you doing? Are you writing for a young adult audience and having a similar experience? Are you a parent who encourages their children to read e-books? I would love to hear in the comments below.

Anyway, thank you again to all who support my work and the travails of Seanchai and the Wycaan Masters.

Good reading,



Alon Shalev is the author of the 2013 Eric Hoffer YA Book Award winner, At The Walls Of Galbrieth, and five other Wycaan Master books all released by Tourmaline Books. Sign up for more information about Alon Shalev at his author website.



5 comments on “Paperback Rising?

  1. Laura Selinsky says:

    Short Answer- Both/And is a good answer to get more eyes on your words.
    Long Answer- I am giving the entirely biased answer of a high school English teacher. A YA reader using a paperbook or listening to an audiobook is generally only reading. A YA reader using an MP3 device or a phone is doing twelve things: reading, gaming, checking social media, switching songs, watching video, posting memes… If a parent asks to see the screen, the student is one quick tap from Fortnite to the eye-rolling “But I’m doing homework, Mom.” If your book is one more entertainment selection in a slew of simultaneous selections, then that doesn’t make a difference. If your book is a literary environment into which a person enters, then matters very much.

    • Elfwriter says:

      Thank you, Laura. Another high school teacher told me that he thinks it is not only the reality that a young person will have several windows open simultaneously and be engaging with all, but okay if one is my book. It doesn’t mean they are not reading.

      Appreciate your comment.

  2. H Gibson says:

    It all depends on the YA. My own prefer paper books while it is impractical for me to provide books to everyone who wishes one. I’m not with Amazon or print on demand, thus for me ebooks are currently the only option of serving clients.
    What I have noticed is that the younger generation seems not interested in devices that may indebt them.
    Only time will tell if the next generation will turn into readers and what medium they prefer.

    • Elfwriter says:

      Thank you. When you say “…devices that may indebt them” what do you mean? Financially, time…

      • H Gibson says:

        Correct, anything that may financially impact them adversely. This generation seems to want to avoiding the mistakes of their parents, thus risk taking and management is mostly handled differently than before. Cash is King again and tangible goods seems to be appreciated more. We will just have to see what happens as they enter the adult world.

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