This was a busy week for publishing and e-book news. Posts and news about Amazon and Kindle abounded, but they were far from the only topics under discussion.
Assorted articles of interest:
“Is It Worth Being An Author? Truly?” (The Creative Penn) Guest Blogger Dr. John Yeoman discusses the financial and intangible rewards of being a published author.
“Harlequin Fail” (A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing) Guest blogger and novelist Ann Voss Peterson talks about why she can no longer afford to publish with Harlequin. Blog owner J. A. Konrath, a fierce proponent of self-publishing and frequent (and vocal) adversary of traditional publishing houses, adds a diatribe against Harlequin and other legacy publishers in a strongly-worded post script, but Peterson’s tone is matter-of-fact and she backs up her position with data.
“Overdrive Data Shows Majority Still Like to Browse the Virtual Shelves” (Meredith Schwartz, The Digital Shift) Overdrive released its “Big Data” report at the London Book Fair, showing that e-borrowers like to browse through their public libraries’ e-book collections.
“Where Do e-Books Go When You Do?” (Kyle Jarrad, NYT Opinion Pages) More specifically, what happens to your Kindle books when you die, and can you bequeath them to your heirs? (Hint: don’t close out the Amazon account after someone dies!)
Looking for free Kindle books? Check out this post about the Zero Dollar Books webapp. (Lifehacker)
Amazon has pulled off a coup: the Kindle Lending Library now includes all seven Harry Potter novels. In other words, if you have both a Kindle and a Prime account, you can borrow one HP novel per month. (Click the link above and scroll down the Amazon page for information on the Kindle library program.)
“Amazon vs. Publishers: The Book Battle Continues” (Brad Stone, Bloomberg BusinessWeek Technology page) Stone suggests that print-on-demand is the next – and previous – bone of contention between publishers and e-retailing giant Amazon.
“Inside Amazon’s Idea Machine: How Bezos Decodes the Customer” (George Anders, Forbes Magazine) A PRO/COMPLEMENTARY look at Amazon’s twin emphases on the customer and innovation.
|Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO|
A pair of open letters about the DOJ lawsuit against Apple and agency publishers:
“Response to DoJ ‘Bizarre Misunderstanding’ of E-Book Business” from AAR” (an open letter from Simon Lipskar, president of Writers House, a New York-based literary agency and a member of the AAR, a trade association for literary agents; Digital Book World) Lipskar decries the recent settlement as flawed and reflecting a lack of understanding of the book business by the DoJ. He claims, among other things, that the alleged collusion did not harm consumers. (Note: Well, it certainly harmed me. I consistently found that many of the new paperback releases I wanted read were cheaper to purchase from Walmart as pbooks than from any ebook retailer, so I often chose the pbook when I would have preferred the ebook.) Lipskar’s reasoning is flawed (he says that overall, prices went down, even though prices on newly-released bestsellers went up, so therefore, no harm no foul. Um… bestsellers are so called because they sell the most copies. So the books most wanted by the most people did in fact get more expensive. Doesn’t sound like no harm to me.) Most interesting of all is that although he refers to the “alleged collusion,” he doesn’t dispute the allegation. In other words, his argument isn’t that there was no collusion, but that it doesn’t matter. Come again?
“Simon Says” (Joe Konrath and anonymous guest, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing) Konrath has posted an open letter by an anonymous insider at a mid-level publishing house: a response to the Simon Lipskar letter above. The anonymous insider offers a strong but measured countering view; Konrath offers his own thoughts with his usual pulpit-thumping. Personally, I wish Konrath were a little less intemperate in his remarks about the legacy/pbook publishers at times. A cooler, hard data approach (which, to be fair, he also employs upon occasion) makes for a more effective argument.