Amazon's formula for literary success is, as far as I can deduce: Write as many books as you can, and then sell them cheaply and in bulk. Even though none of my books has sold more than 15,000-ish copies, Amazon continues to pay me to write them. The idea is that eventually one of my efforts will hit, and then the backlist will rise. I'm a writer, and my experience with this supposedly evil corporate behemoth has been fantastic.
Tony Horwitz: I was a digital bestseller! [NYT]
It netted me nothing!
David Gaughran: No, you weren't.
(Your publisher duped you and
you're stretching the truth.)
Tony Horwitz: OK, fine.
Previously: Amazon v. Hachette. Currently: Salon weighs in. (Gaughran not amused.)
"Not very many people read. Most of them drag their knuckles around and quarrel and make money. We’re selling books. It’s a tiny little business. It doesn’t have to be Walmartized."
Superagent Andrew Wylie, who represents Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, Elmore Leonard, and Philip Roth, among others, talks about the future of publishing, his on-again-off-again relationship with Amazon, and "effete, educated snobs who read," with the New Republic.
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote has found that Apple conspired with publishers to fix the prices of ebooks.
Publishers Weekly describes Apple's defeat as "a major blow"
. Writing before the ruling, Roger Parloff at Fortune Tech delved into Apple's "agency model" for ebook sales and noted that Amazon's business model is "the missing piece... of this jigsaw puzzle"
. Philip Elmer-Dewitt reviews
Judge Cote's findings. (Review the decision and other trial information yourself here
.) Michael Clarke at Scholarly Kitchen explains why he considers this a loss
for the public.
The book publishing world is merging into behemoths in order to better negotiate with Amazon. Rupert Murdoch (HarperCollins) has made an offer
to buy Penguin for $1.6 billion
. This just hours after Penguin said it was in talks to merge with Random House to create a 'Random Penguin' with nearly 25% of all English-language book sales. Either way the reputation of Penguin could soon be in tatters.
As one agent said, "Authors have told me they are frightened by a Random House takeover, but terrified by a HarperCollins one."
Following much speculation
Amazon has refreshed the hardware for it's Kindle range, including the Kindle Paperwhite
(featuring a "flattened out fibreoptic display") and an updated version
of the sold out
Kindle Fire and a new 8.9 Inch Kindle Fire HD
. Earlier Kobo announced their new range
, including a Kindle Fire like tablet. Between this, speculation that the Surface RT will have an astonishingly low price
and rumors of a 7" iPad
coming soon (probably to be announced sometime after Apple's September 12th
iPhone 5 event) is the window of opportunity for stock Android tablets closing?
"Amazon’s markup of digital delivery to indie authors is ~129,000%"
- author Andrew Hyde reviews the take for the most popular digital publishing platforms
The E-Book Wars: Amazon Versus the Rest.
Publishers, distributors, booksellers, and authors weigh in on Amazon's ever-increasing presence and influence in the electronic publishing world. The author also takes a stab at forecasting the future for the major players in the e-book industry.
Barnes and Noble is spinning off Nook into a subsidiary business
after a $300M deal with Microsoft which gives the Redmond company a 17% stake, bringing an end to a patent dispute
between the two companies and sending shares skyrocketing
. Commentary from John Scalzi
and Tobias Buckell
. Meanwhile the Kindle Fire, Amazon's competitor to the Nook tablet, has grabbed over 50% of the Android tablet market
was a self-published novelist of no real success. Until WOOL
, that is - a 15,000 word "little throwaway story" he uploaded to Amazon's Kindle Marketplace one day and promptly forget about. The story he didn't blog, didn't tweet, and didn't even sell on his site hit #2 on the Kindle SciFi Bestseller list and "changed the course of e-books
." [more inside]
Amazon.com has taught readers that they do not need bookstores. Now it is encouraging writers to cast aside their publishers.
“Everyone’s afraid of Amazon. ... If you’re a bookstore, Amazon has been in competition with you for some time. If you’re a publisher, one day you wake up and Amazon is competing with you too. And if you’re an agent, Amazon may be stealing your lunch because it is offering authors the opportunity to publish directly and cut you out."
(Some adventures in self-publishing.) [more inside]
Like the death of Mark Twain, the demise of the printed book is greatly exaggerated, although the latest news from Amazon – which announced that it is selling more ebooks in America than print books for the first time – might suggest the nails are being readied for the coffin. [more inside]
Amanda Hocking is 26 years old. She has 9 self-published books to her name, and sells 100,000+ copies of those ebooks per month. She has never been traditionally published. ... And it’s no stretch to say – at $3 per book/70% per sale for the Kindle store... there is no traditional publisher in the world right now that can offer Amanda Hocking terms that are better than what she’s currently getting, right now on the Kindle store, all on her own. (related)
Noted literary agent Andrew Wylie
has made a deal with several of his authors
- including Saul Bellow, John Updike and Phillip Roth - to release their e-books exclusively on Amazon. Macmillan's John Sargent
and Tyler Cowen
Cory Doctorow gives a talk
at Bloomsbury on book pricing in the internet age (47min video)
The announcement of the iPad
earlier this week has prompted a lot of discussion about ebook prices among publishers and their sales partners. That discussion took a major turn yesterday when Amazon pulled the buy buttons for Macmillan's books off their site
. Many of Macmillan's titles are still available through Amazon, but only through third parties. Right now, one of the largest publishers in America is no longer available from Amazon because they can not agree on ebook prices. [more inside]
Amazon.com dropped a bombshell on the publishing industry
with the announcement on Friday that they will no longer allow print on demand
books printed by vendors other than Amazon, to be sold directly by Amazon. In other words, use our print services or lose your listing on our site. This decision effects over half a million books listed on their site and could be a defining moment for both publishing and the future of online retailing. [more inside]
You Shall Know Our Velocity,
but you shall not buy it from Amazon or other large booksellers. The new novel by Dave Eggers is out. The reviews have come in quite positively (Time
, SF Chronicle
, among others). The main topic of discussion, though, is not the quality
of the book, but the ego/stance/plan
of Dave Eggers to not publish and sell it more widely (only 10,000 copies on first run). Will Dave Eggers succeed at NOT being a major commercial success, or will it happen despite his best efforts?