…this article (also via Instapundit) on the rise of self-published e-books over the last year is very interesting and I will need to read it a couple more times to make sure that I understand all the implications and arguments found in it. Very short version: e-book sales are thriving, despite the fact that large print publishers hate e-books. And the aforementioned publishers’ share of the e-book market is, unsurprisingly, shrinking.
As I said: I need to read this a couple more times. The thesis fits my personal desires and life goals just a little too well, you see. Must if it’s true, it’s significant…
Yeah, it was very sweet: Amazon.com apparently got together with the major publishers and they all agreed that the smartest thing to do about this entire electronic publishing thing was to admit that e-books were simply cheaper than dead-tree versions and that pricing should reflect that, because it’s the reader that they’re all here to serve and yes, I’m just bullshitting you; the publishers all settled out of court because the Mighty Antitrust Hammer of Maximum Fun was descending upon all of their heads. But not Apple! Apple decided to stay and fight it out.
Silly, silly Apple. Continue reading Hey, did you notice how Kindle ebook prices suddenly dropped a couple of bucks?
[UPDATE: One of my readers made an observation that made me think of a question: if John Scalzi doesn’t like getting paid for fanfic, why did he write Redshirts? – Great book, by the way.]
Get ready for Kindle Worlds, a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games. With Kindle Worlds, you can write new stories based on featured Worlds, engage an audience of readers, and earn royalties. Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment for Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries, with licenses for more Worlds on the way.
Point (Megan McArdle):
It’s a brilliant and even fair solution. Some writers are better world-builders than others; why not let them profit off of their imaginations, while also compensating the folks who can do interesting things within that world? Of course, some fan fiction purists may be disappointed in the control that this will give the world-builders over what is done with their work. Amazon will not, for example, publish pornographic or highly explicit fiction. Under those rules, 50 Shades of Grey would never have been published; it started out as slash fiction set in the Twilight universe.
Still, as a writer I’m always glad to see more ways to compensate writers. And as a business writer, I’m excited to see how much innovation is taking place in this new market.
Counter-point (John Scalzi):
…I suspect this is yet another attempt in a series of long-term attempts to fundamentally change the landscape for purchasing and controlling the work of writers in such a manner that ultimately limits how writers are compensated for their work, which ultimately is not to the benefit of the writer. This will have far-reaching consequences that none of us really understand yet.
The thing that can be said for it is that it’s a better deal than you would otherwise get for writing fan fiction, i.e., no deal at all and possibly having to deal with a cranky rightsholder angry that you kids are playing in their yard. Is that enough for you? That’s on you to decide.
Continue reading Scenes from the e-book wars: McArdle/Scalzi, not that they’re really arguing *with* each other.
One of Ace’s open-bloggers has a post up on the e-book wars: specifically, reconciling the .epub vs. .azw format (NOOK vs. Kindle). The way it works out for me is that I generally use my iPad* for reading both formats (as well as PDFs), and save the Kindle for when I want to read outside (because e-ink just simply works better, in a way that computer pixels can’t currently match). I think that this more or less covers all the bases. Although I think that Amazon is missing a bet by not making their Kindles more accessible to competitors’ content: but I freely admit that this could very well be a distinctly ignorant opinion on my part…
*Note that the link to the above is to the first generation iPad, which is being priced down to the point where one that’s used is going to be perfectly serviceable as an e-reader. 16 GB, 3G capacity, $260 and eligible for Amazon Prime. Not top of the line, but if all you want is a ebook and pdf reader with a web browser attached, well…
PS: BTW, if it isn’t obvious or anything: I’m an Amazon Affiliate for Maryland. Just disclosing that.
Interesting observations over here (via Ed Driscoll on Instapundit) on the future of publishing. I personally have three criteria directs and will direct my purchasing habits when it comes to books:
- I want the books to be reasonably priced.
- I want the books to be worth the price.
- I want the people writing the books to be able to make a reasonably decent living at it.
The first criterion satisfies my personal desire; the second satisfies the expectations and traditions of literature generally; and the third satisfies the needs of the artists who create literature. Interesting thing of note, there: nowhere in that list are the concerns of publishers taken into account. That’s because publishers exist to provide me with a product. If they can’t, well, that’s their problem, not mine. Continue reading On the Matter of Books…
Essentially, yeah: The short version is that the largest publishers have decided on a floor on prices, and they’re making it stick. I see Ace’s point about how this just ends up hurting the publishers themselves – but one nice thing about Kindles is that a lot of the books that I buy and plan to buy generally are going to be: much older titles, which they’re moving for one or two bucks anyway; directly published, which will typically be two-buck specials; and/or something from Baen Books, which will cheerfully sell me five dollar e-books, written by authors that I actually want to read. Which is to say, areas where the big publishers have little or no control over the price.
And that’s why Amazon.com makes ridiculous amounts of money; they really, really want to be the one who gets to take yours.