I’ll be going on vacation for almost a month beginning around June 20. I won’t have Internet access (or even electricity!) for a good portion of that time, so the “This Week’s Articles” feature will be in abeyance until I return. I do have some reviews and other posts scheduled for while I’m gone, so I hope you’ll check in periodically to see what’s new!
Meanwhile, here are a few interesting articles from the past week:
“Not Free, Not Easy, Not Trivial — The Warehousing and Delivery of Digital Goods” (Kent Anderson, The Scholarly Kitchen) does a good job of explaining why the cost of storing and transmitting e-books and other digital goods is not negligible, as I have argued in the past. All right, I stand corrected. While I had considered the costs of electricity and data storage devices, I hadn’t thought about the need for IT professionals to maintain those machines and files, let alone the need for 24-7 IT personnel. I still maintain that e-books tied to hardcover releases are priced too high — but then, I think the hardcovers are priced too high at retail. So, apparently, do booksellers and consumers, since those hardcovers are often discounted, sometimes heavily.
“What will the global e-book market look like by 2016?” Laura Hazard Owen of Paid Content looks at Pricewaterhouse Cooper’s e-book data and their conclusions. Essentially, PwC sees total book sales in North America being flat over the next four years, with print book sales falling and e-book sales rising. They also take a look at projected e-book sales in the Asian Pacific region.
As an antidote to all the Amazon-bashing that has gone on in the last year or two, author Jessica Park discusses How Amazon Saved My Life (not literally, of course.) Like many other authors who have self-published, Park appreciates the self-publishing platform and access to readers offered by Amazon, and finds self-publishing very freeing. Park had published several YA novels before writing a novel featuring a college-aged main character — an age which doesn’t fit into current publishing-industry categories, so the book was rejected even by editors who liked it. The article is not solely about Park’s own experiences, though; she talks both generally and specifically about other authors as well.
Of course, not all self-published authors have a positive impression of Amazon. Indie travel author Andrew Hyde was a bit taken aback when he discovered how much Amazon was charging in “delivery of digital goods” fees for his $9.99 e-book. Apparently, illustrations are problematic. Unfortunately, Mr. Hyde’s analysis of the numbers is a bit hard to follow; it wasn’t clear on whether the pictures in his book were an integral part of the file and therefore, according to his numbers, under the Amazon file size limit. Nor was it clear whether Amazon charges a delivery fee on all e-books, or only those under a certain file size, and if the latter, what that file size is. But the delivery fee is something to consider if you’re thinking of publishing on Amazon, particularly if your book includes art or photos. (Note: Hyde has a follow-up post here. It’s a trifle incoherent in places, but you’ll get the gist.)