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Tuesday July 5, 2011

Meanwhile, elsewhere online

DAVID Lender has wanted to be a writer since college. Now, after a 25-year career in finance, he’s become a top-selling author of novels going for 99 US cents each on Amazon Inc’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble Inc’s Nook.

Lender, who majored in English at the University of Connecticut, outlined his stories on planes and in cars during his work in mergers and acquisitions at Bank of America Corp and other Wall Street jobs. The result is three self-published tales of suspense set in the financial world that became bestsellers in the thriller category of Amazon’s electronic bookstore.

Lender is an example of how new authors are capitalising on the popularity of electronic books to break into the business without a publisher’s backing. Amanda Hocking, the 26-year-old author of vampire books such as My Blood Approves, sold about a million e-books on her own before signing a US$2mil (RM6.12mil) deal this year with St Martin’s Press, part of Macmillan Group.

E-book sales hit US$441.3mil (RM1.35bil) last year from US$61.3mil (RM187mil) two years earlier, according to the Association of American Publishers. The popularity of e-books gives self-published authors like Lender access to wide readership and saves on publishing costs.

Lender, 58, released his first thriller, Trojan Horse, on the Kindle and the Nook in January for US$9.99 (RM30.50). When sales were dismal, he researched the price points of other independent publishers and settled on 99 cents. The e-book took off.

For independent publishers like Lender, the growing number of e-readers in the hands of consumers is a promising first step. Lender believes paper books won’t disappear, and he also put out his novels in print, including his latest, Bull Street, in paperback through Brindle Publishing. His e-books still comprise more than 95% of his sales.

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