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Monday News: A primer on the PRISM scandal; International sales increasingly...

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The sad thing is that B&N has the Nook Tablets on sale for Father’s Day. The Nook + HD is only $149, which is around a 40% discount.  I’ve been debating buying one to give away at Dear Author but if the Nook Tablets are going the way of the dodo bird, I’d hate to saddle a reader with a soon to be obsolete device, no matter the great bargain.

1. International is here in a big way! The launch of many new international markets on the part of Amazon and the iBookstore is big news for authors. Your ebooks can now easily reach readers in Asia and around the world; and sales are growing steadily in these new channels. It’s crucial for every author to understand how international distribution works; ie, that each retailer has digital outlets in different countries through which it sells your titles. It’s often incumbent on the rights holder or distributor to authorize the ebook for the retail channel to sell it in their international outlets. The good news? International sales are growing quickly. We’ve seen ebooks sell 50% more after they have access to full international distribution via the retailers who provide it.” Self Published Author

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

13 Comments

  1. Liz H.
    Jun 10, 2013 @ 04:29:14

    I’d say retail tip #3 is quite important to readers. I cannot emphasize enough how much 80% of author websites suck. It’s a major personal pet peeve, (sorry for writing about it *again*), but as a common sense thing, it’s just something I don’t understand. A website is the one location where an author can make sure that readers are getting all relevant information. For most readers it will be the first stop to learn about that author. Why wouldn’t you care deeply about the impression you’re giving? Why would you make it a struggle to get information about your books? I can count on my fingers the number of authors I’ve visited with clear, informative websites. On the other hand (haha), I’d need to borrow many other limbs to count the number of websites I’ve visited that haven’t led to a sale because I couldn’t find the information I was looking for. (And although the article specifies self-pubbed authors, this is a problem among all authors, regardless of publisher or sales levels.)

  2. Kaetrin
    Jun 10, 2013 @ 04:33:24

    Boo for geo restrictions! Yay for easily available content!

  3. Meri
    Jun 10, 2013 @ 05:32:12

    @Kaetrin:
    Exactly! Things aren’t too bad for me, but there still are geo-blocked titles. My approach to this is that if someone is not going to sell me e-books, they’re not going to sell me books, period. And for that matter, authors should make sure their books are available everywhere, not just on Amazon with its annoying Whispernet fees.

    I have a friend in Turkey and she reports that pretty much everything is geo-blocked there. I just don’t understand what’s in it for authors and publishers to work like that.

  4. Lynne Connolly
    Jun 10, 2013 @ 06:30:16

    If you can follow a recipe, then you can follow the instructions to unlock, root and install a custom ROM on a Nook. It’s even easier than most tablets, because it boots from the SD card first, which means you don’t have to touch the Nook ROM.
    In turn, that means you can have Android 4.2 on a quality tablet, and install Kindle, Moon+, Kobo and all the reading apps available in Google Play.
    I’ve done it to my old Nook Color and given it a new lease of life. Worth considering.
    Geo blocking meant that I couldn’t receive a gift from Amazon last week, I got the dreaded “This edition is not available in your country” message when I tried to download it.

  5. SAO
    Jun 10, 2013 @ 08:05:26

    I think geoblocking is a combination of laziness and the hope of becoming a bestseller and selling translation rights for huge sums. Add to that people wondering how many Turks want to read your book in English. In my life as an expat and international traveller, I’ve been struck by how many people want to improve their English. For example, there are 12 million people in Turkey who speak English. That’s a fifth as many as in the UK. Add Egypt (28M) and Thailand (17M) to Turkey and you get the same as the UK (59M). India (125M) + Pakistan (88M) + Nigeria (79M) is more than the US (267M)

    There are 7 countries, not including the US or UK with more English speakers than Canada. Both Norway and Morocco have more English speakers than Ireland.

  6. Patricia Eimer
    Jun 10, 2013 @ 08:07:15

    Why would you not go international? As long as you don’t have to translate it (because that is a nightmare I’m sure) then why not make a story as easily available as possible?

  7. Meri
    Jun 10, 2013 @ 08:24:51

    @SAO:
    There aren’t even 12 million people in my country, so as a potential market, it’s quite small, but as I wrote earlier, geoblocking isn’t too bad here. I think perhaps it is indeed the hope of selling separate foreign and/or translation rights are why some countries are blocked and others aren’t.

    Geo-blocking for me also includes overpricing books for foreign readers. I looked at a book by an Australian author recently, but the price was ridiculously high. That’s at least one lost sale for this author – more than that, if I’d liked the book.

  8. JenM
    Jun 10, 2013 @ 13:03:54

    @SAO:

    Just to add to this, I just got back from a trip to Indonesia. The overall population is 240M and while I’m not sure what percentage speaks English, we certainly didn’t have any trouble. According to Facebook, (which is very popular there BTW) 20% of their Indonesian users do so in English, so the potential market for English language books is pretty darned big. Plus, we saw a huge amount of smartphone usage, so ereaders are very available there.

  9. Ros
    Jun 10, 2013 @ 15:07:13

    @SAO: Translation rights have nothing to do with it. My books are available globally (yay!) and my publisher was still able to sell the translation rights in France and Greece.

    There is absolutely no excuse for a self-publisher not to sell worldwide. I don’t really think there’s much excuse for trad publishers to still be enforcing geographical restrictions for frontlist titles, either. I do understand that existing contracts may require them for some backlist titles.

  10. persnickety
    Jun 10, 2013 @ 18:23:16

    International rights- absolutely. And yes, if a publisher/author decides to either not make that book available to me in Australia, or hideously overcharges, I read that as a sign they don’t wish to sell me books in any format at all.

    I used to email authors about this, but after a response from Seanan McGuire’s web team that basically said contact the publisher (which %^&*^ing one? as there is no clear publisher for my country) I took it as a sign that she didn’t want me to read her books. so I don’t. pity, as I liked the ones I read, but not enough. And the thing is, I am still so angry that even if they were released as reasonably priced ebooks, i probably wouldn’t buy them now.

    The flip side to this, as film and music providers have discovered, is that it is a global market, if you deny people in a region access to a product, or delay access, there is a high chance they will access it illegally, for free. Once that genie is out of the bottle, it’s hard to get back. If the vast majority of the books I want to read are geoblocked, including the latest bestsellers, what do the publishers think is going to happen?

  11. Kaetrin
    Jun 10, 2013 @ 21:09:51

    At least in Australia, the geo restrictions are also something to do with protecting the local publishing economy. But the problem is that they books are so expensive, I usually buy them from the Book Depository if I can’t get e, or get them from the library or don’t get them at all rather than pay $22 for a MMP, or $35 for a Trade Paperback. So I don’t think the protection is working out all that well. That’s my take anyway.

  12. kbum
    Jun 11, 2013 @ 09:33:38

    here is link to productivty commision report on import restrictions in Oz.

    The PRoductivity Commisson looked at prices of like editions of books – prices were found to be around average 35 percent higher in Oz comapred with those in the US and UK

    http://www.pc.gov.au/projects/study/books/report

    I dimly recall the recoomendations of the report were rejected (with loud support from the publishers) on the basis that removing restrictions would adversely affect Australian culture.
    This is despite the heavy costs worn by consumers, especially lower earners, and that the publishers were not transfering costs to the authors they were claiming to protect.

    The report also looked at alternative ways to assist and promote australian authors, eg through grants to australian authors and industry adjustment packages but these too were rejected by the publishers and authors.

    Despite the protection,, the publishers are facing losses, as more australians are purchasing cheaper books from overseas sources, eg, online from The book depository in the UK.

  13. Amanda Bonilla
    Jun 11, 2013 @ 10:09:46

    I wasn’t happy with my Nook HD until they added Google Play. It has better functionality now and is more tablet-like than simply an e-reader. With the addition of Google Play, I was able to download the Kindle app which was a win/win.

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