Feb 11 2010
Is it Thursday already? I feel like I haven’t had any traction this week.
For those publishers who believe Apple is their savior, they may want to take a look at this news report. Apple is driving down the prices of iTunes TV episodes to $1 per show. I think this is great and I know I’ll buy far more TV shows at that price. The idea of lower pricing is that you make up in volume what you lose in margin:
"If you move five times the volume [of sales] at half the price, it's a good idea," one digital media strategist at a big US media conglomerate said. "The argument for holding the line gets bad quickly."
NYTimes has a piece on higher ebook pricing. Most consumers don’t like it and won’t buy at a post $9.99 price. But publishers say that they are interested in testing the market:
Publishers say price levels are not settled by any means and that now, having reached agreements where publishers -’ rather than retailers -’ set consumer prices, they have an opportunity to test different situations.
"We may introduce a book at $14.95 for a year and then move the book to $9.99 when we would have put out the trade paperback edition," said Dominique Raccah, chief executive of Sourcebooks, an independent publisher. "I suspect you're going to see a fair amount of experimentation."
I thought it was interesting that Raccah is equivocal about decreasing pricing. It’s important to remember that dynamic pricing doesn’t automatically mean lower pricing. The article notes how authors see readers who want lower pricing as full of entitlement and having a “Wal-mart” mentality. Yes, as a consumer, I like low prices.
One publisher isn’t interested in agency pricing because it would result in lower revenues for the publisher. Convinced that Amazon will not be controlling the market, one publishing house won’t be joining the ranks of the other five:
The reason is that book publishers make less money from the agency model than they do from the traditional wholesale model (in which Amazon buys a book license at the full wholesale price, and then sells each copy for whatever it wants, often losing money on the sale). The agency model, therefore, also leaves publishers less money to pay authors and agents.
Random House is the likely suspect here.
RNA has its shortlist of books released. I’m just going to quote wholesale from the Press Release:
The greatly-prized Romantic Novel of the Year is chosen from a shortlist of six titles which have been selected by the reading public from more than 150 nominated books. The winner is selected by three independent judges. The shortlist, in alphabetical order by author name, is:
- Passion – Louise Bagshawe (Headline Review)
- Fairytale of New York – Miranda Dickinson (Avon (Harper Collins))
- Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts – Lucy Dillon (Hodder & Stoughton)
- A Glimpse at Happiness – Jean Fullerton (Orion)
- The Glass Painter’s Daughter – Rachel Hore (Pocket (Simon & Schuster))
- The Italian Matchmaker – Santa Montefiore (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Love Story of the Year is for a shorter romance where there is a strong emphasis on the developing central relationship. A shortlist of six is again chosen by the reading public, with the winner selected by three judges. The shortlist is:
- The Notorious Mr. Hurst – Louise Allen (Harlequin Mills & Boon)
- Animal Instincts – Nell Dixon (Little Black Dress)
- Always the Bridesmaid – Nina Harrington (Harlequin Mills & Boon)
- Fair Deception – Jan Jones (Robert Hale)
- The Wedding Party – Sophie King (Hodder)
- Claimed for the Italian’s Revenge – Natalie Rivers (Harlequin Mills & Boon)
The People’s Choice Award
In keeping with the RNA’s desire to help good new romantic writers achieve prominence. publishers were invited to submit books by authors in whom they believe passionately, who would benefit from being part of the 50th Anniversary Awards event. Expert romantic writing buyers at key retailers were then asked to select their favourite six for the shortlist.
The winner of this award is chosen by the public. Readers are invited to read as many of the new paperbacks as possible and vote for their favourite at the poll website www.lovereading.co.uk/purepassion. The shortlist is:
- Missing You – Louise Douglas (Pan)
- Remembrance Day – Leah Fleming (Avon)
- I Heart Hollywood – Lindsey Kelk (Harper)
- Rich Girl Poor Girl – Lesley Lokko (Orion)
- Heiresses – Lulu Taylor (Arrow)
The Rom Com Award is organised and administered in the same way as the Romantic Novel of the Year. To reach the shortlist, the books must really tickle readers’ funny-bones. The winner is chosen by a panel of writers and readers selected by the RNA. The shortlist is:
- Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend – Jenny Colgan (Sphere)
- The Nearly-Weds – Jane Costello (Simon & Schuster)
- 50 Ways to Find a Lover – Lucy-Anne Holmes (Pan)
- Rumour Has It – Jill Mansell (Headline Review)
Hachette saw a steep decline (20%) in sales in the fourth quarter of 2009 when, I suppose, everyone and their cousin has finished buying the Stephenie Meyer books, but it had a good overall year with revenues up 5.3% on a reported basis or 6.5% on a like for like basis. Ebook sales reached 5% of the total revenues in December.
Teleread.org was sold to North American Publishing Company. Originator David Rothman is stepping aside, but Paul Biba and Chris Meadows will remain. Congratulations to David and the whole crew over at Teleread.
Remember the story about the small press author whose ebook was given away for free on Kindle? She caught the eye of Robert Gottlieb and now she has a deal with Pocket:
Gayle Trent’s KILLER SWEET TOOTH, the next in her Kindle-bestselling cozy mystery series, moving to Lauren McKenna at Gallery, in a two-book deal, by Robert Gottlieb at Trident Media Group.