I read a lot of different blogs about ebooks, writing, self-publishing, the publishing industry in general, etc. and there are several that are quite popular. Kristine Kathryn Rusch on anything to do with the business side of being an author; Dean Wesley Smith, her husband, on churning out new copy and generating revenue; Konrath et al on the wild west of self-publishing; ThePassiveVoice on an overview of just about everything newsworthy (a curation service); and then people like Mike Shatzkin if you want the view of big publishing. None of those descriptions are entirely fair, they’re not one-trick ponies, but Shatzkin often is on the opening tail of self-publishing as a viable business model. So it was interesting to see him last September talking about pricing with a bit more “indie-cred” than he would normally show (eBook pricing resembles three dimensional chess):
Amazon doesn’t need big publisher books to offer lots of pricing bargains to their Kindle shoppers; they have tens of thousands of indie-published books (many of which are exclusive to them) and a growing number of Amazon-published books, that are offered at prices far below where the big houses price their offerings.
The seventh item on my vaguebooking list was “07. Seven new topics”. These are new “subject areas” that I want to write about on my blog.
Pop culture is likely one of them, although it might be more narrow than that, maybe “pop culture intersecting with the news”. I didn’t comment on Jian Ghomeshi or Bill Cosby’s news items when they hit, but I loved watching people post and take sides, often looking like internet trolls in comment forums except they were posting the same comments on their own social media feeds. My take is a bit different and is primarily about the law, and the court of public opinion vs. the court of justice or law. I may yet blog about it.
Equally, I love the law. So much so that I couldn’t become a lawyer. I’d like to take a subject area and blog about that, but I haven’t yet found my niche. » Read the rest
Dean Wesley Smith is one of my favorite bloggers. As another blogger described him, Dean is an ex-midlister who has drunk the self-publishing Koolaid, is happy with his success in multiple worlds, and is happy to share his approach and results with others. He has a couple of blog-based ebooks going, where he writes a chapter at a time and posts it for digestion and comment. Then he cobbles them all together into an actual book. His latest endeavour, the second edition of “Think Like a Publisher”, is being “reposted” with updates in close sequential order. Here are some excerpts from Chapter 1:
Some of the earliest decisions a publisher has to make can be changed down the road easily. Some are difficult to change. So, I’m going to break down some of these early decisions into basic groups. And keep in mind, there are no correct answers on any of these decisions.
Jeremy Greenfield had an interesting post on Digital Book World about e-book pricing — but focused on the costs. The article tries to basically explain both why consumers think costs (and the price) should be a lot less, and publishers saying, “No, wait, costs are not that far off”.
Here are some excerpts from Greenfield’s post:
Publishers are making a killing on e-books because they cost nothing to produce, distribute and sell and are almost 100% pure profit. At least, that’s what many consumers think. … While consumers understand the basic costs involved in the bricks-and-mortar retail world, they don’t understand the costs involved in selling something that is, well, much, much smaller than a bread box. … “We still pay for the author advance, the editing, the copy-editing, the proofreading, the cover and interior design, the illustrations, the sales kit, the marketing efforts, the publicity, and the staff that needs to coordinate all of the details that make books possible,” said Bob Miller in February 2009 on the HarperStudio blog (which has been defunct since April 2010 when the publishing start-up folded) when he was president and publisher of that company; he is now president and publisher of Workman Publishing.
Marsha Lederman had an interesting article in the Globe and Mail on April 18th trying to put a Canadian spin on the charges in the U.S. of collusion and price-fixing by the Big Six publishers (Harper Collins, MacMillan, Penguin, Random House, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster) with Apple. Just to be clear, there are TWO lawsuits in the U.S. — a class-action civil suit launched by “consumers” against this group for trying to raise ebook prices above Amazon’s preferred ceiling of $9.99 (targeting all six plus Apple) and a completely separate Department of Justice civil suit that targets everyone in that list except Random House. I’m not including separate state plans in that list.
Here’s an excerpt from Lederman:
A proposed class-action lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court by the Vancouver firm Camp Fiorante Matthews Mogerman alleges that Apple Inc. and a number of publishers engaged in a “conspiracy” to lessen competition and “fix, maintain, increase or control the prices of e-books.”