Home/Tag: ebooks

The formula can only be failed.

“Write X many books and you’ll make five digits!” When? In a year? That’s not that impressive. In a month? In a lifetime? What’s the time frame here? It’s never explained and yet the formulaic approach, the idea that it’s just a matter of numbers and not talent or connections or luck, is a very attractive one to some people. It was to me.

C.M. Stone on indie magic.

This is about oversupply and burn-out in the indie publishing scene, specifically in the romance genre. And also, semi-tangentially, about Cockygate which if you missed it, is mildly amusing in a WTF sort of way (although, it should be noted, was devastating people hit by it).

Incidentally, this whole flooding-the-market-with-dreck is known as forming a market for lemons, and there is an excellent discussion on how it applies to ebooks (of all types) here

2019-04-29T12:03:07+10:003rd November, 2018|Tags: books, ebooks, self-publishing|

Beta book.

I think it’s an immutable rule of publishing that, no matter how many rounds of copyediting a work goes through, it’ll still always, always, have some errors. One of the nice things about publishing on the web is the ability to dart in and click Edit Post if you happen to notice an after-the-fact typo. With traditional print publishing? Maybe not so much.

Except… what about ebooks?

This is kind of like the crowdsourced software patching version of book publishing.

2018-05-22T08:53:09+10:006th October, 2015|Tags: books, ebooks, publishing|

Inside baseball: Ebook royalty edition.

From a while back, The Authors Guild [sic] on what’s “fair” in ebook royalties. What’s interesting here is the history of how and why ebook royalties are what they are, as well as the breakdown of exactly how much authors receive when their titles sell as physical books versus ebooks. Basically, the argument is that ebooks are proportionally (and absolutely) more profitable for publishers than for authors.

That being said, the Guild is comparing ebooks to hardcovers which… isn’t necessarily the fairest comparison. But, yanno. The Guild are authors, not mathemeticians. They tell stories, which is what they’re doing here. So take the numbers with a grain of salt.

2015-07-23T08:22:35+10:0017th September, 2015|Tags: ebooks, publishing|

Cost breakdown.

Mark Lawrence looks at where the money goes in ebook pricing. Hint: it’s mostly not to the original author. Actually, by these figures, most of it’s going neck-and-neck to Amazon and the publisher. Whichever one of those two entities “deserves” their cut probably depends on which side of the selfpub/tradpub debates you come down on…

2018-06-26T13:22:35+10:0020th August, 2015|Tags: amazon, ebooks, publishing|

Proprietary formats suck.

This is an article arguing for the benefits of proprietary ebook formats, to which I have just one single answer: HTML.

I’ve talked about this before, but the tl;dr is that HTML–the stuff webpages are built with–was almost entirely stagnant for about a decade when Internet Explorer had an effective monopoly over the browser market. There was no point developing innovative new features in HTML because Microsoft wouldn’t implement them, and if Microsoft wouldn’t implement them, no one would use them, and if no one would use them, why even fucking bother? And Microsoft itself had no incentive to progress HTML as a standard because it already had the market so locked down it didn’t matter that the tech behind it was crap, given there was nowhere else for people to go.

It wasn’t until Firefox and Chrome became major players  that everyone had to start competing on feature-sets again, and the HTML standard rocketed forth; it’s had more updates in the last few years that in the whole decade prior. This is the reason why shit on the web looks a millionty times prettier and more dynamic than it did in the early 2000s.

Ebook formats are now where HTML was in those Dark Days of Internet Explorer. EPUB is trying hard but Amazon’s proprietary mobi format fucking isn’t, but because it’s so dominant. And this holds back innovation in the entire market. As I said in my previous post:

Unlike HTML and EPUB, however, mobi is controlled by one single company (Mobipocket, owned by Amazon since ’05). The reality is that, the IDPF can add all the awesome features it wants to EPUB, and vendors can even implement them in their readers, but because Amazon owns so much of the ebook market, publishers will drift towards formatting ebooks in the most “cross-platform” compatible way, which means the features included in mobi becomes the de facto baseline standard. Why bother, after all, spending the extra time adding extra, EPUB-only features versions of your books that will only be read by a tiny fraction of the market?

In other words, Amazon has effectively engineered a market where competition can’t occur based on format innovations. Being the ereader with the “best” implementation of EPUB means fuck all when no-one is leveraging that, either on the publishing or the consuming side.

(See also: Word.)

Basically, not only do format monopolies suck, but we’ve been down the sucking road before. We forget that history at our peril.

2018-05-22T09:00:54+10:0015th August, 2015|Tags: ebooks, tech|

Bundling ebooks.

Buy the print book, get the ebook for free. Sounds like a dream, right? So why don’t more publishers do it? Well, Michael R. Underwood looks at some of the mechanics behind how bundling works and how it impacts authors.

It’s also an interesting post if you’ve ever wondered about why ebook prices for commercially published p&e titles are so high.

It’s worth noting that, in addition to being an author himself, Michael works for Angry Robot1 on the publisher side of things. I also assume he, yanno. Reads books, too. So he absolutely is the sort of person to listen to in these discussions, given that he has a stake on all sides of the argument.

  1. Disclaimer: I have a bit of a publisher-crush on Angry Robot. Their books are just so dreamy! []
2015-06-03T07:57:53+10:0011th July, 2015|Tags: ebooks, publishing|

Self-published success: not so much the gateway to New York bigbucks.

For a while there, doing well with self-published ebooks was seen as sort of a “way in” to a traditional Big 5 print deals. In 2015, it seems agents and editors alike are cooling off on the idea. The perception that a hot selling selfpubbed title would do even better with the weight of a major publisher behind it seems to’ve lead to more disappointments than successes.

There’s also the fact that the ebook market is super, super saturated. Leik woah. And there seem to be some signs consumers are starting to get a bit sick of it; where once the ocean of choice was New and Exciting, now it might be pushing into paralysis territory.

If I was going to be making outlandish predictions for publishing in 2015, I would suggest that one of them might be a cooling off of publisher desire to pursue “pure” ebook markets, or to be running ebook-only imprints. This is… obviously not a super comfortable thought for me,1 but such is life, I guess.

  1. Also note this is not in any way an indictment against my publisher, who’ve been nothing but awesome and super-supportive. From their end, they’ve given me no reason to think anything ominous is looming on the horizon. The speculative paranoia is mine and mine alone. ILU guys. []
2018-06-26T13:21:36+10:0022nd February, 2015|Tags: ebooks, publishing, self-publishing|
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