Category Archives: Business

News: What’s Happened Lately?

Because of my crazy schedule the past month or so, there are a lot of posts I wanted to do and haven’t gotten around to. My list of links to direct you to is getting kinda long, so I decided to do a roundup of articles that might interest you. Browse at your leisure!

Oh, and don’t forget to enter my giveaway! There’s still a couple of days left!

Leaked Document: Hachette Explains Why Publishers Are Relevant: I wonder if this was leaked or leaked, but it’s still an interesting read.

Industry Issues Aplenty at Last American Booksellers Association (ABA) Forum: With the way the industry is changing, this is definitely a good one to keep on top of.

Tor/Forge E-book Titles to Go DRM-Free: A bold move by Tor! Will other publishers follow suit?

Barnes & Noble, Microsoft Ink $300million Deal on E-Reading: BIG news. Will this change the landscape as much as some expect? It’s definitely a possibility.

Big Six Publishing Is Dead–Welcome The Massive Three: A reaction to the news from Microsoft and B&N, blogger and author of We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide To Social Media Kristen Lamb talks about what this move could mean for the NYC legacy publishers. It’s long, but worth reading.

Can Publishers Stay Relevant?: Another blogger talking about the future of the traditional publishing model. Can it survive if it doesn’t start adapting fast?

Kay. I have to go to work now or I’m going to be late… again. Hope you enjoy the readings for the week! 😉

Queries: The Best Of The Worst

Some people scribble a few lines down on paper and are convinced they’ve written something worthy of publication, admiration, and instant fame and wealth. Most of the time, this is so not the case. That’s when we get really bad query letters and all those books that give self-publishing a bad name. Every once in a while, though, someone good takes the time to do something so bad, it becomes awesome. I stumbled across one of those instances on Query Shark recently. So, now, for your edification and entertainment, I give you what Janet Reid called the ∑ of All Queries:

Dear Most Exalted Shark of Snark:

JOHN SMITH (who’s a girl, but her parents wanted a boy so they named her John, even though it’s totally misleading because she’s gorgeous with fiery red and orange tresses the color of autumn leaves, and sparkling forest green eyes that glisten with secrets) is the best friend of Aphrodite Pantaloonacy, who is actually our protagonist.
In a blinding fit of rage, John Smith (whom Aphro has nicknamed Elvis) runs off to Iceland, to better escape the ghosts of her past and the pitfalls of her own artistic temperament. While there, she plays ice hockey. They’re’s*** also an Amusing Scene with a Turkish ghost on holiday taking a bath (Turkish baths, etc.). But one day, when the sky churns with storms and across the see Aphrodite has a terribly chilling feeling of icy foreboding, Elvis falls down a rabbit weasel hole, killing her instantly.

In order to deal with her crushing grief, Aphro and the tortured-soulled boyfriend of Elvis, Maisie (who is actually a boy but his parents wanted a girl so they named him Maisie, go figure right?) flee to the mystical land of Genovia Canada Barbecuasia. It is a place where dragons roam free and the cursed are damned. Where blood can flow quick and fast or slow and at a snail’s pace. It is here that Maisie and Aphro can find their dreams. It is here that Aphro can finally confront her destiny.

Since birth Aphro has had a birthmark in the shape of a question mark right in the middle of her snowy forehead. It is a gift from the Barbecuasian gods signifying that she is her mother’s daughter. What this means, only Maisie can discover, because of the key his grandfather gave him that he’s always carried around his neck that opens the chest where the true powers of Lord Carbunkle dwell.

Aphro, Maisie, the ghost of Elvis, Dandelion, Alkaline, Mjehrithuuqreaei, a baby, a snaggle-toothed troll, a shark with a devastating scents of humor, all these characters and more go on a piercing and heart/gut-wrenching journey of self-discovery and what it means to be a human. Also tacos.

As your eyes pour over each and every carefully selected word (you tell us to edit a lot so boy did I!) I know you will guffaw with laughter (The book is funny). You may even maybe snicker and chortle and giggle and titter and then maybe cackle a bit but only at the funny parts. The serious parts are the parts where I am fully and fervently convinced you will boohoo. I tested this out on test readers (ages 7-84) and there was so much boohooing that I “drifted away on a sea of beautiful tears” (Rosemary, age 67, Tulsa, Oklahoma).

I would be so honored if you would consider reading my 350,842 1/2 (people get interrupted mid-word sometimes) word gritty crime novel work of fiction, the first in a series of seventeen tomes sure to rival the epic sagas of Larry McMurtry, William Shakespeare, Homer [Simpson] and Barbara Walters. It is a compelling work of staggeringly-employed metafores in the timely and bestselling genre of young adult thriller hipster communist manifesto. It is rated X for explicit sex scenes.

I sent a joke once to a joke magazine and they printed my joke (I have included the magazine and highlighted the page for your convenience). Literature is my passion and I have named all my cats after literary characters. Please do not tell me that you do not have the time to read my manuscript, since I know where you live and I see that you stay up very very late at night reading, and there really isn’t any reason you couldn’t be up reading my stuff too.

Ever faithfully yours,

(name redacted) aka (pen name redacted)

Am I the only one who kinda wants to read a book written by the character who wrote this query? Love it!

BUT, at the same times, don’t do this. It won’t get you far. 😉

Promoting: Don’t Ignore Social Media

With a new site popping up every day (or so it seems) trying to keep up with your many social media profiles can feel like a full time job in and of itself.

Building your “platform” is becoming more and more important. It used to only be key
in nonfiction proposals (especially self-help books) where the audience usually didn’t buy a book from a name they hadn’t heard before, but now more and more agents are expecting debut authors to be working behind the scenes on building up their platform. Now, in this case, platform almost always translates to web presence. This is looking at a very narrow part of the actual meaning of the word platform, but it’ll work for today. Plus, it’s usually all agents and publishers expect from a non-published author.

From the agent’s point of view (according to a recent interview I heard), you can get away with  having a simple, free website with your name, email adress, bio, and a little bit about what you write, but you should still have something with your name on it floating out in cyber space. You can do this very easily through free platforms like Blogger, but you have to be careful about this because people expect a blog to be active. A “dead” blog is usually seen as a bad sign. Also, consider buying the domain name for your name (or pen name) before someone else does. You can set up a Blogger or WordPress blog to redirect to a custom domain name (which is what I’ve done on my site). Even if you don’t know how to set up the website, the cost is minimal and you’ll have it down the road when you need it. But if you don’t want to mess around with websites and domain names, try to at least set yourself up on popular social media sites.

I mentioned Robert Brewer’s blog My Name Is Not Bob the other day and how much fantastic advice he had on that blog for writers. One of the topics he speaks about is self-promotion and online web presence, especially through social media. A relatively recent post called The Ultimate Guide To Social Media For Writers is a pretty detailed look at, well, social media for writers.

A caveat. While you should definitely make time to set up profiles on multiple sites and visit them all at least once a week, don’t let your entire day get eaten by the interweb. Your main job is to write, so that should still be your focus. No matter how popular you are online, you can’t get published if you don’t have anything to publish!

Domain name sites (a few of them, anyway):
Domain.com
GoDaddy.com
Melbourneit.com

Instructions on setting up your domain name

Happy promoting!

Life: Never Stop Learning

One of the many reasons I’m crazy busy right now is I’ve signed up for a Writer’s Digest online class called Fiction Pitch Slam where my query letter and pitch gets critiqued by working agents and editors. Between today and Monday I will be listening to lectures by industry experts and submitting my query letter for revisions.

The man giving the first lecture is Chuck Sambuchino, an author and expert who works with Writer’s Digest. His blog is a wealth of information on and interviews with agents and I’m hoping this weekend will help me work out the kinks in my pitch which I’m having a hard time simplifying to less than ten sentences. The point? Even though I’ve been doing this for years now and I’ve written more than a few query letters already, I never feel as though I know everything. In fact, I still feel like what I know is only a drop on the bucket.

Never think you’ve learned it all. If you have, what else is there to live for? If you keep learning and discovering, you’ll keep finding stories to tell, and that is exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Technology: The Publishing World After The DOJ Lawsuit

I have already posted on this subject a couple of times (specifically here and here), but Nathan Bransford (who I’ve quoted on this blog) posted an update on the lawsuit against several major publishing companies over ebook pricing. Nathan’s experience in the industry gives him a good knowledge of the subject and a thorough understanding of the many variables to this equation. So, for anyone who doesn’t follow his blog (and if you’re a writer or in any way interested in publishing, you really should), here is what Nathan has to say about the digital landscape:

I guess there was some teeny tiny publishing news this week.

Let’s get the disclaimer out of the way first: I work for CNET, which is owned by CBS, which is the parent company of Simon & Schuster, one of the companies named in the lawsuit. All opinion here is entirely my own, does not necessarily reflect the opinion of CBS and/or Simon & Schuster and/or CNET, and is based mainly on my time in publishing as a literary agent where I was not privy to the inside discussions at publishers, and it doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinion of my old agency Curtis Brown Ltd. either. Cool?

So here’s what: The Department of Justice sued five book publishers and Apple for allegedly colluding on e-book prices. Yeah, wow.

How we got here

Here’s the elevator pitch summary of what happened:

In the beginning of the e-book era, publishers sold e-books according to the “wholesale” model. Every e-book had a retail price, publisher got roughly half the retail price, bookseller got half, bookseller could sell the e-book for whatever they want. Amazon discounted deeply, taking a loss on some titles, built early market share, made publishers nervous as they were running away with the e-book market.

Along came Apple and the “agency” model: They gave publishers the ability to set their own prices and receive 70%. Publishers jumped at this and raised prices, but actually received less money per copy sold than in the wholesale model. (The difference between agency and wholesale also is the reason behind why some e-books cost more than their print counterparts)

What the DOJ alleges is that some of the publishing executives met around this time and explicitly discussed moving to the agency model and raising prices. This, the DOJ says, amounted to illegal collusion.

Three of the publishers, HarperCollins, S&S, and Hachette, have already settled without admitting wrongdoing, and will allow variable pricing. Macmillan, Penguin Group, and Apple have not settled and apparently will fight the charges in court. The case against Apple in particular, my colleagues Declan McCullaugh and Greg Sandoval write, is unlikely to stick.

For a completely comprehensive look at everything, Shelf Awareness has a great summary (via Curtis Brown). I also summarized the issues in more detail a few weeks back in the post Why the DOJ’s Potential Lawsuit Over the Agency Model is a Really Big Deal.

And if you’re curious about why e-book prices are so high and why publishers would like to keep them that way, I wrote an article for CNET that goes a bit more in depth.

Were publishers right or wrong?

I blogged about the switch from wholesale to agency in real time in early 2010 and called it The Kindle Missile Crisis, and frankly I’m pretty darn proud of that post because I guessed at the issues that are still at stake now in 2012.

And to be totally honest now that I’m out of the business: I didn’t agree with the publishers at the time. I didn’t think the agency model was a good move.

But I don’t (and didn’t) think publishers were crazy either. As the iPad was just about to come out, publishers were fearing that Amazon would build a de facto monopoly in the e-book market. They were hearing from other companies that they couldn’t get into the e-book game because they couldn’t compete with Amazon on price, and Amazon was busy locking consumers into their proprietary e-book format. Publishers were likely worried Amazon would use their position to tighten the screws on terms and use the low e-book prices to hasten the demise of brick and mortar bookstores, which are hugely important to publishers.

And credit where due, the competition that publishers were seeking did end up taking place. B&N’s Nook, Apple’s iBooks, Sony, Kobo… there are viable alternatives to the Kindle. E-booksellers have up until now mainly been competing on consumer experience rather than price. High e-book prices have likely slowed the adoption of e-books and preserved the print world a bit longer.

But would that e-book competition have happened anyway without the agency model? Did publishers really have to switch to agency to open up the marketplace?

That is literally the billion dollar question because publishers left a huge amount of money on the table when they switched to the agency model. They actually gave up money to raise prices.

And that’s what I always thought was misguided. I believe Apple and B&N would have found ways to viably compete with Amazon even with variable pricing. It’s not as if Apple in particular doesn’t have the resources to go toe-to-toe with Amazon.

It seemed to me that this had much more to do with trying to keep e-book prices high to hold onto a print world as long as possible. Publishers were compromising their future revenue stream and were risking alienating their most valuable customers and lending a huge opportunity to 99-cent e-book upstarts in order to preserve their diminishing stream as long as possible. Does that ever work?

I love bookstores. I want bookstores to survive and really think they will. But they need to adapt to compete in this world as well rather than relying on publishers to preserve high e-book prices. The future is like a giant perpetual wave. You can either surf it or get washed out to sea.

Though I also recognize that it’s much easier said than done. And another thing I know for sure: I’m glad I wasn’t the one making these decisions.

So where do things go from here?

The terms of the settlement are confusing. Essentially, publishers can still use the agency model, but they can no longer dictate prices and have to allow a variable pricing model and booksellers can discount, but not more than the 30% publishers are allowed to… yeah, you get the picture. There are actually things called discount pools. Whether publishers continue to stick to agency or try and re-summon the wholesale genie remains to be seen.

But regardless, we’re about to enter a very chaotic phase in the e-book marketplace where suddenly price is going to be an important part of our e-book choices when it comes to which apps we use and which devices we buy.

And of course: e-book prices are coming down.

So here are some “ifs” about where things can go from here:

If publishers are able to recapture the revenue per copy that they had in the old e-book wholesale model they might have just bought themselves some valuable time in the past two years to soften the blow from the Borders bankruptcy, to help make Apple and B&N viable contenders in the e-book space, and they’ll be happy they took the agency gamble while they could, DOJ lawsuit or no.

If, however, publishers find themselves stuck in a situation where they have the agency model but variable pricing, it could mean the worst of both worlds: less revenue per copy and little ability to hold the line on prices. In that case they may well regret letting Steve Jobs sweet talk them down the agency model rabbit hole.

We’ll see. I do know one thing for sure: The e-book world is going to keep on changing fast.

Format: Will Availability Limit Your Readership?

A lot of writers are–usually by necessity or natural inclination–up to date on the latest technology. What you have to be careful to remember, though, is not all readers will be as tech-savvy as you. Depending on your genre, your expected readership may prefer one format over another, or may be split evenly down the middle. Whatever the case may be, it’s something to take into consideration, especially if you’re considering self-publishing.

Jody Hedlund, who I’ve quoted a few times on this blog already, recently posted about this very issue. Her personal experience with the question is why I’m posting it here.

the truth is, not everyone is moving at the same technological speed we are.

I’m reminded of this from time to time when I interact with readers. I often get handwritten notes in the mail from readers. And recently I received TWO letters from women who said this:

It was nice to see your P.O. Box included in your book, as we do not have a computer.”

I don’t have a computer (not good at it). Let me know if you write any other books—the titles, etc.

No computer? That may sound archaic to those of us whose fingers are super-glued to a keyboard. But it just shows that not everyone is as bonkers about computers and the internet as we are.

Recently, I was speaking at a library in Bay City, Michigan, to a group of 50-60 people at a lunch program called “Booked for Lunch.” I shared about my writing journey, research process, and had a power point presentation giving some of the background information of my books.

At the end of my talk, I left time for questions and answers. In the course of the conversations, I mentioned that my eBook of The Doctor’s Lady was on sale on Kindle (at that time was a part of Amazon’s ‘What’s the Big Deal’ promotion). I asked for those who had eReaders to raise their hands. And as far as I could tell, NOT ONE person raised his or her hand.

Jody explains this more, breaking it down into three reminders:

1. Know your genre readers and their demographics.

2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

3. Stay humble and don’t burn bridges. 

 She goes into more detail within each bullet point on the main blog post, but even as simple reminders, they are points all writers should keep in mind. The world, your readership, and the industry are constantly changing. These days, adaptability may be key to long-term success.

Sales: What’s Average And What Should You Expect?

When some people make a publishing deal, they can convince themselves all their worries are over. The publisher will take care of everything and then a royalty check will magically appear in their mailbox. While this is not an impossible scenario, it is an unlikely one. You don’t get a royalty check until you earn more than your advance and book sales vary widely, even when looking at the average.

Steve Laube, agent and one-time publishing insider, posted a couple of times about book sales, averages, and what these numbers mean. In this post, he gave some examples from real life authors:

Author 1: novelist – 3 books – avg. sale = 8,300

Author 2: novelist – 12 books – avg. sale = 19,756

Author 3: novelist – 3 books – avg. sale = 7,000

Author 4: novelist – 7 books – avg. sale = 5,300 (Two different publishers)

Author 5: non-fiction devotional – 5 books – avg. sale = 10,900

Author 6: non-fiction – 2 books – avg. sale = 5,300

Author 7: novelist – 4 books – avg. sale = 29,400

Author 8: non-fiction – 3 books – avg. sale = 18,900

Author 9: fiction – 7 books – avg. sale = 12,900

Author 10: non-fiction – 5 books – avg. sale = 6,800 (three different publishers)

As you can see, averages vary between authors, publishers, topics, genre, etc.  In a second post on average book sales, Steve explained in a little more detail.

If a publisher has controlled their costs in production, editorial, and the author contract, they should be profitable if they sell 20,000 copies.

One publisher said the other day that they won’t consider a book unless it can generate $200,000 in net revenue in its first year. I paused for a second and “did the math.” If a paperback book retails for $14.00 and the publisher receives a net of $7.00 per book, then this publisher is saying that they have a threshold of 30,000 copies in projected sales before they consider publishing a book.

That seems high, but for that publisher that is their base…. their average. Every publisher is different in that regard. For others that number is lower.

Some writers find this type of discussion depressing or claim that publishers are unfair. But others find this exhilarating because they now know how high the mountain is. And once you know the nature of the summit you can plan your path and your training accordingly.

Managing your expectations on things like book sales is incredibly important before signing with any publisher or even deciding to self-publish. If you don’t have a realistic view of what is likely (instead of what is possible), you’ll probably end up disappointed even if you gain what the industry considers moderate success.

Research is key! Don’t forget to check out various resources before jumping into any contracts or life altering decisions.

Publishing: Publishers And The Path To Success

As an unpublished author, publication is almost always on my mind. This means I usually stop and read articles I stumble across that have anything to do with publishers, successful publication, etc. One post I found recently was written by author Chris Eboch about midlist authors and their departure to the world of self-publishing.

Chris starts off by saying:

They often start with their out-of-print books and then do well enough that they consider self-publishing their new work. The numbers may not be huge yet, but they are growing, and if the publishing business doesn’t change, publishers will lose their midlist – books that don’t make a fortune but sell enough to pay their expenses and help keep everybody in business.

 This is a valid point. I’ve heard from a few midlist authors who have essentially given up on their publishers because they aren’t given the attention, recognition, or marketing backup they deserve. Do their books sell millions of copies? Not usually. But they do sell enough to pay the rent and that position deserves respect. Holly Lisle is one author I know of who has taken her fate into her own hands and is publishing stories the way she wants. JA Konrath is another and he’s been doing very well for himself in self-publishing. How can publishers combat this exodus? Chris Eboch had an idea.

These days, you’re probably hearing a lot about “brand building” for authors, the idea that you should stand for something specific. Yet many publishers haven’t embraced the concept themselves.
If you know that a certain publisher always produces well-edited and well-designed books with a specific, narrow focus that matches your interests, you’ll trust them and look for their books. You might even buy directly through their website, which means higher profits for the publisher.
Small publishers can keep a narrow focus more easily (such as a regional focus), but bigger companies could do it as well. Tor, for example, is known for fantasy and science fiction, while Poisoned Pen Press focuses on mystery, as you could probably guess from the name. “Harlequin is Romance” as their tagline says, and specific Harlequin lines follow clear guidelines on subject matter and tone. But who goes out of their way to pick up a book by Simon & Schuster or HarperCollins? What do those names mean?
Big publishers publish too great a variety to brand themselves by genre, but many include imprints with a narrower focus, though few of those are known outside the business. If publishers develop imprint brands with a clear, narrow focus, and promote those, they might build customer loyalty.
And if they promote the brand rather than promoting a few titles each season, that would also be an advantage to mid-list and new authors, who’d benefit by the association even if they get no individual publicity.

 The simple brilliance of the idea is kind of amazing. Why haven’t the publishing companies thought of this? Establishing these brands in the public mind would be challenging, but not impossible, and it would definitely be more cost effective than individually promoting a large number of debut and midlist authors.

Bookstores: Lessons You Can Learn

The Strand in NYC

I’m still kind of crazy busy right now, so I’m stealing another post I like. This one I found on OpenSalon.com and it’s written by a woman not long after she opened an independent bookstore. Having served my time between the shelves, I can tell you this is all true.

So, for now, enjoy 25 Things I Learned From Opening A Bookstore and hopefully I’ll be back to writing my own posts next week. 🙂

1.  People are getting rid of bookshelves.  Treat the money you budgeted for shelving as found money.  Go to garage sales and cruise the curbs.

2.  While you’re drafting that business plan, cut your projected profits in half.  People are getting rid of bookshelves.

3.  If someone comes in and asks where to find the historical fiction, they’re not looking for classics, they want the romance section.

4.  If someone comes in and says they read a little of everything, they also want the romance section.

5. If someone comes in and asks for a recommendation and you ask for the name of a book that they liked and they can’t think of one, the person is not really a reader.  Recommend Nicholas Sparks.

6.  Kids will stop by your store on their way home from school if you have a free bucket of kids books.  If you also give out free gum, they’ll come every day and start bringing their friends.

7.  If you put free books outside, cookbooks will be gone in the first hour and other non-fiction books will sit there for weeks.  Except in warm weather when people are having garage sales.  Then someone will back their car up and take everything, including your baskets.

8.  If you put free books outside, someone will walk in every week and ask if they’re really free, no matter how many signs you put out .  Someone else will walk in and ask if everything in the store is free.

9.  No one buys  self help books in a store where there’s a high likelihood of  personal interaction when paying.  Don’t waste the shelf space, put them in the free baskets.

10.  This is also true of sex manuals.  The only ones who show an interest in these in a small store are the gum chewing kids, who will find them no matter how well you hide them.

11.  Under no circumstances should you put the sex manuals in the free baskets.  Parents will show up.

12.  People buying books don’t write bad checks.  No need for ID’s. They do regularly show up having raided the change jar.

13.  If you have a bookstore that shares a parking lot with a beauty shop that caters to an older clientele, the cars parked in your lot will always be pulled in at an angle even though it’s not angle parking.

14.  More people want to sell books than buy them, which means your initial concerns were wrong.  You will have no trouble getting books, the problem is selling them.  Plus a shortage of storage space for all the Readers Digest books and encyclopedias that people donate to you.

15.  If you open a store in a college town, and maybe even if you don’t, you will find yourself as the main human contact for some strange and very socially awkward men who were science and math majors way back when.  Be nice and talk to them, and ignore that their fly is open.

16.  Most people think every old book is worth a lot of money.  The same is true of signed copies and 1st editions.  There’s no need to tell them they’re probably not ensuring financial security for their grandkids with that signed Patricia Cornwell they have at home.

17.  There’s also no need to perpetuate the myth by pricing your signed Patricia Cornwell higher than the non-signed one.

18.  People use whatever is close at hand for bookmarks–toothpicks, photographs, kleenex, and the very occasional fifty dollar bill, which will keep you leafing through books way beyond the point where it’s productive.

19.  If you’re thinking of giving someone a religious book for their graduation, rethink. It will end up unread and in pristine condition at a used book store, sometimes with the fifty dollar bill still tucked inside.  (And you’re off and leafing once again).

20.  If you don’t have an AARP card, you’re apparently too young to read westerns.

21.  A surprising number of people will think you’ve read every book in the store and will keep pulling out volumes and asking you what this one is about.  These are the people who leave without buying a book, so it’s time to have some fun.  Make up plots.

22.  Even if you’re a used bookstore, people will get huffy when you don’t have the new release by James Patterson.  They are the same people who will ask for a discount because a book looks like it’s been read.

23.  Everyone has a little Nancy Drew in them.  Stock up on the mysteries.

24.  It is both true and sad that some people do in fact buy books based on the color of the binding.

25.  No matter how many books you’ve read in the past, you will feel woefully un-well read within a week of opening the store.  You will also feel wise at having found such a good way to spend your days.

Legalities: A Follow-up

Not too long ago, I wrote a post talking about the power-plays companies like Amazon and PayPal have been making in recent years. This morning I stumbled across more information on two of the specific cases I mentioned in that post.

Nathan Bransford talks about the DOJ investigation into ebook pricing on his blog, specifically how the decisions made in the case could impact the publishing industry as a whole. It’s an interesting insider look at the big picture and I highly recommend heading over to his blog to check it out. Jut in case you don’t have time to do that, here’s just a little bit:

Up until now, conscious or not, consumers have grown accustomed to the idea that e-books cost what they cost. The decision of what e-reader to buy or which app to read on has largely been driven by user experience preferences.

Do you like the feel of the nook? The ease of the Kindle app? The pretty iBooks page animation? Those are the decisions people have been basing their decisions on – the reading and buying experience.

But if the agency model is dismantled in whole or in part and Amazon and others can go back to pricing as they see fit, suddenly price is going to be at the forefront of consumer choice.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that Amazon and their deep pockets are going to have a big advantage in that environment.

And, just an fyi, he explains the difference between the agency and the wholesale model in the post.

In my previously mentioned post, I also talked about how PayPal was using its leverage against ebook distributors like Smashwords to ban certain types of erotica. Apparently, they’re backtracking fast. [[edited to add: article no longer up]] Their new policy is much more reasonable and will only refuse the sale of books containing graphic (and potentially illegal) imagery and anything hinting of child pornography. The new rules will also look at books on a case by case basis instead of making sweeping statements about entire genres or topics. Mark Coker, founder of e-book distributor Smashwords, said:

“This is going to be a major victory for writers, readers and free speech. They are going to build a protective moat around legal fiction.”

I have to agree with Mr. Coker. It’s fantastic PayPal was made to see reason because otherwise this could have been a dark day in the annuls of literary history.

Oh, and, in completely unrelated news,  

THIS IS MY 200th POST!

Go me! 😀

Look for a giveaway of a bracelet I made to celebrate this milestone.