Ellora’s Cave CEO Patty Marks confirmed the house is downsizing in the wake of what she described as “drastic’ and unexplained declines in its e-book sales via Amazon. Marks confirmed the layoffs of freelance editors, and said the house continues to have discussion with Amazon to find the cause of the sales dropoff.
Marks sent a letter to Ellora’s Cave authors about the major sales dip, and the note was then re-posted online. Marks said Ellora's Cave sales via Amazon have dropped by as much as 75%. "We’re talking to Amazon and trying to figure out why this is happening,” Marks explained, noting that Amazon is the biggest sales channel for the digital-first erotic-romance publisher.
According to Marks, the issue is likely related to a change in Amazon’s search algorithm. Many of Ellora’s Cave’s bestselling authors and titles simply don’t show up in the Amazon search engine anymore. She pointed to one of the house's most popular authors, Laurann Dohner, whose books are New York Times bestellers, noting that a search for her titles on Amazon initially retrieves only free giveaways.
Marks also wanted to emphasize that Ellora’s Cave is paying all royalties on time and, contrary to some rumors, is not considering bankruptcy. Asked if Ellora's Cave, which does a limited number of POD titles, might consider more print releases in the future, Marks said print sales have never been very significant for the publisher. “We’re looking at print, but we don’t want to invest in big print runs,” she explained.
Marks said Ellora’s Cave e-book sales began spiking upwards in 2012. She said she “expected sales slack off eventually," and that she put money aside, while adding new customers, to limit losses from the dropoff. "Sales have dropped before, but not like this," Marks elaborated. "It’s been a drain.”