Thursday Midday Links Roundup
Amazon filed for and was recently granted a patent to change words in a book in order to track down the source of pirating. John Scalzi called this a stupid idea because it violates his creative control over the work.
I think Amazon has the right idea. A change to the html css stylesheet, for example, could randomly create some kind of near invisible change that would allow the source of the pirated material to be tracked down. Courtney Milan suggested something like an italized period as that would be virtually unnoticeable. You could place the substitutive words in the Author’s Note or in the ordering of the metadata tags.
This type of social DRM could create an impediment to that “casual piracy” that content creators fear. I.e., how many people are you going to share a book with if that file contains something that can be tracked back to the original user. While the Amazon concept might seem like an anathema to some authors, I do think it’s a step in the right direction. I hope publishers and vendors can work together to create something like this that would remove the impediment to legitimate uses of an ebook while placing a staying hand on oversharing.
Kristen Nelson puts out some disturbing news for authors. Fewer books are being bought today.
If editors don’t see something as a big book, they are passing. Or my other recent favorite, if it doesn’t fit into a very narrowly prescribed genre of what has worked for them (oh let’s say something like dark YA angsty romance), then they are also passing.
Macmillan is signalling something here but we are not sure what. Macmillan, the parent company of Tor and St. Martin’s Press, among other imprints, is moving to a standard contract. The ebook royalties will be 20% off the net, instead of 25%. Additionally, direct to consumer sales will result in a higher royalty. 10% off the first 10,000 sales and 15% for sales in excess of 10,000. In the past, that royalty rate was 5%. Tor already has a direct to consumer sale mechanism in place with its Tor Store. This leads me to wonder if there will be more publisher imprint stores? One thing I do know, free shipping is often a deal breaker for me. The direct to consumer sale has to offer a good price and free shipping or there won’t be a reason for me to break away from buying in store or at Amazon or Book Depository.
Of course, if Macmillan tries to undercut the pricing at Amazon, it might result in Amazon trying to punish them. Will Macmillan be willing (or able) to suffer economic loss for long term gain? Amazon was willing to suffer through 7 years of loss in order to gain its market dominance today.
I’ve often thought that one way to increase profits in a market that is moving away from brick and mortar purchases to online retailing is to cut out the intermediaries. SB Sarah has some words for Macmillan regarding their ebook strategy.
Karen Scott has another lovely letter from New Concepts owner and president, Madris De Pasteur. I wonder, like the commenters, why any author would publish with New Concepts.
We’re currently working on designing a new webpage for NCP to be launched early next year. Due to the fact that the unhappy have made a nuisance of themselves reminding us repeatedly to remove their books upon expiration, we’ve inadvertently removed some books by authors who wanted to roll over.
The nook won’t be available at every Barnes and Noble store, merely the ones with high traffic/volume. You might want to check with your local store to see if they are going to get the display and/or the devices to sell.
Film Studios are looking to block DVD Rentals for the first month of the release, hoping this will force more purchases. Rental companies are filing suit.
The next Stephen King book won’t be released as an ebook for almost one month after the release of the paper format and it will be priced at $35.00. SW Vaughn notes that King has stated the $35 ebook price is incorrect.
Random House has caved to threats of a lawsuit by the NBA over the tell all book by Tim Donaghy regarding star treatment (yes, it happens); fixing of a game to get to the holy grail of ratings (game 7); petty bets controlling referee behavior and basically how the NBA is no better than the WWE only the WWE admits that it is selling entertainment and not unadulterated athletic endeavors.
Random House was prepared to sell this book up until 2 weeks ago when the NBA came knocking. Either it didn’t fact check or its caving under pressure. Either one is a black eye on Random House.