By Chris Meadows
Found via a post on the E-Book Mailing List today, a fantastic blog post by writer Sarah A. Hoyt, that links to an equally fantastic blog post by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (which is of related but not identical subject matter to the blog post by Rusch we covered back in March).
Rusch’s post, made back in May, is intended to be an eye-opener, a clarion call to the publisher-bound writers that Michael Stackpole analogizes to Roman “house slaves”. Traditional book publishing, Rusch warns, is traveling down the same road that rock music has. She points to examples from music-industry insiders demonstrating that new bands can get $250,000 advances yet still end up owing their record label money after their first album, then sits down to demonstrate how traditional publishing is becoming like that.
Publishers, Rusch points out, are starting to add more grasping clauses into their contracts—and naive writers are signing because they don’t know any better. Middlemen like publishers are no longer necessary, Rusch explains.
By Chris Meadows
Today Push Pop Press, the e-publishing firm who produced an interactive version of an Al Gore climatology book, announced today that it has been acquired by Facebook. Facebook has no interest in publishing interactive e-books, and Push Pop has announced it will no longer be publishing anything. Instead, Facebook will be incorporating Push Pop’s technology into its own platform.
As Tim Carmody put it on Wired:
So instead of an independent born-digital press, publishing next-generation multimedia novels (or magazines or textbooks or children’s books or cookbooks), Facebook will probably get marginally better iOS apps.
By Chris Meadows
Yesterday I mentioned the importance of pricing to e-book sales, using the example of a 1992 novel that shot to the top of e-bestseller listsafter going on sale for 99 cents. However, 99 cents is not always the right answer.
Publishers Weekly has a post looking at ten pricing rules that Vook has come up with after studying what elements make e-books and apps successful. Vook determined that it was not simply a matter of price, but also category.
Proper categorization helps books get discovered and in turn contributes to what Vook calls “lift effects.” Lift effects are things that raise them to prominent shelf positions and keep titles there with high purchase rates. According to [Vook head of operations and finance Greg] Bateman, to help titles gain traction, publishers should keep the launch price as low as possible for a period ranging from three days to two weeks before raising the price to a more appropriate level.
Vook experimented with variable pricing on 40 e-books and 20 apps over a three month period to determine the right price points, and came up with the following rules:
By Chris Walters
I’m writing this today from the coffee shop at a Borders, one of the superstore locations in the middle of the U.S. to survive the company’s recent bankruptcy and ensuing real estate culling. I was the first person in the store this morning, and in the past half hour nobody else has come in, which seems too bad: here are thousands upon thousands of books, comics, and magazines, and nobody to browse them.
John C. Malone, who wants to buy 70% of Barnes & Noble, told the New York Times earlier this week why he thinks bookstores still matter (emphasis mine):
“We believe that publishers like the existing physical bookstores, they like having a partner in distribution who lives and dies in the book business as opposed to just commoditizing it, which these other players do,” he said. “So I think you go into it with an edge in your relationship with the publishers.”
The thing that strikes me today about Borders, especially when compared to my recent visits to Barnes & Noble, is how little the company has warmly embraced ebooks. And I do mean “warmly,” not just setting up a little display and otherwise ignoring it, or worse, treating it as the enemy–both conditions apply to this Borders. If ebooks are a valid component of the book business, why do they barely register in a store that lives and dies by it?