The 50 SHADES trilogy was a major self-published smash. The three books were originally written as fan fiction on a Twilight site. Then the author, E.L. James, changed the names and self-published the books via The Writer’s Coffee Shop.
The three books sold an impressive 250,000 digital downloads as self-published in less than a year. The physical book was a Print-On-Demand edition and retailed for $29.95. The eBooks were $6.99.
After this enormous success, Vintage (a division of Knopf, an imprint within Random House, a part of Bertlesmann) bought the right to the three titles.
They re-edited and created paperback editions of the three. The paperbacks were priced at $14.95 but many discounted to $9.95.
The re-edited eBooks were also released and were priced at $9.99.
In six weeks, the books have sold over 10-million copies.
This would not have been possible without the marketing, sales and distribution efforts of a major publisher (Vintage > Knopf > Random House > Bertlesmann).
But if not for self-publishing and eBooks, these books would have never been published or been available for sale.
A perfect combination of the new world of publishing and the old.