Thursday News: A Bit About DA, Agency Pricing Appears Doomed, Tamara Allen Leaves DSP
The last few days have been frustrating for dear author readers and the crew here at Dear Author and it is mostly my fault. For the past year, I have tried to manage a self hosting option but I don’t know a thing about Apache and shell access and what not. Every time we had a problem, I could barely understand one of ten words in the error report and while the folks at the hosting service had amazingly prompt customer support, they didn’t support wordpress and thus I knew I needed to change. I found a wpengine.com recommendation at the WooThemes forum. I checked them out and they seemed like a good outfit. I emailed with them and they asked me about my traffic. I shared with them what I thought it was and they placed us in personal blog sector. My problem was that I didn’t understand my stats and I grossly underestimated the traffic here at Dear Author causing all kinds of problems with wpengine. They finally fixed it yesterday and the site seems to be loading great. (right?). Nonetheless this great speed and service comes at a steeper price so in order to maintain that I am going to put in another small ad to the left to cover the increased maintenance costs.
So what does this traffic look like? According to Google Analytics, we are closing in on 100,000 unique visitors a month. Wow.
Let us recap some of the great content this week. I hope you will take some time and visit our past posts that you might have missed given our downtime.
- Great debut print author questionnaire by Madeline Miller who wrote Song of Achilles, a love story between Achilles and Patroclus
- Fascinating discussion between Molly O’Keefe and Caitlin Crews on the issue of shame and the heroine in romance. There is a giveaway attached to this. Molly O’Keefe is offering 10 ARCs of her late June book called Can’t Buy Me Love and Caitlin Crews 10 copies of The Disgraced Playboy
- Two recommended books from DA this week: Naomi Novik’s Crucible of Gold and Oracle’s Moon by Thea Harrison
- SMP will be publishing AU fan fiction of the Brady Bunch set in Regency England.
Late last night David Wilk pointed to a Wall Street Journal article that reports the Justice Department is readying a petition against five major publishers and Apple for price collusion. I’ve been a long time opponent of Agency pricing but acknowledge that without it, Barnes & Noble would likely not be in the game with its 26-27% of the digital book market share. I don’t see how agency pricing survives as the litigation costs keep mounting; yet a settlement with the Justice Department may mean that the publishers don’t have the stomach for the class action lawsuit.
The move toward Agency pricing will ultimately prove to be costly for publishers and the question is whether the two to three year reprieve from retailer directed pricing will be worth it. One individual pointed out that Evan Schnittman suggested net pricing back in 2009. Net pricing is when the publisher demands a certain set price regardless of the retailer pricing.
With net pricing, a producer offers a product to a reseller and asks for a set amount from each sale – or a net price. Rather than setting a suggested retail price or a list price coupled with a discount to resellers, Net Pricing establishes no list price but lets the reseller figure that out. For example, if a publisher decided it wanted to sell all ebooks at the same net price, say $10, that is what it would receive from each sale, regardless the reseller’s price.
This actually sounds like a great idea but the question is whether publishers have any leverage to move to that type of pricing instead of regular wholesale pricing. My guess is that their leverage is fairly low coming out of a settlement with the Justice Department (if that is the outcome). It makes sense for publishers to start negotiating for a pricing change now before any public settlement is achieved.
Perhaps Google’s newly announced Google Play means that Google is ready to engage in some serious competition with Amazon over the digital book market. B&N’s survival post the fall of agency pricing seems iffy.
Tamara Allen, who published two novels at DSP last year, has petitioned for removal of her books and DSP has agreed. Since ebook versions are no longer available at the DSP website or other retailers, she is holding a giveaway for print copies of The Only Gold and Dreamtime at her website. The Only Gold made Sunita’s Best of 2011 list.
Fiction authors have long been warned about publishing scams, but its leeching into the academic market as well.
Although the author-pays model is not a new phenomenon in the realm of open access, its recent popularity has attracted some companies that try to exploit it. Some legitimate, peer-reviewed journals support themselves on the author-pays model, but other journals using the model are essentially vanity publishers that accept virtually any article to collect fees from the authors. The distinction between those two extremes, though, is not always clear-cut.
Thanks for the link, Askine.
Darlynne sent over this article from Smart Money on the 10 things ebooks won’t tell you. There are some hidden costs to ebooks including that the larger ebooks can be 1 MB and if you are a heavy reader, you may want to watch your data consumption. Frankly, I think you would have to be downloading a lot of 1 MB books to exceed your data limit, but it’s something to watch for.
And finally, Jennifer Weiner got into hot water tweeting negative things about 50 Shades. This led her to fear backlash and so she has come out with a new policy that she’ll never say anything bad about another female novelist except Jennifer Egan. Seriously, it’s a highly amusing post as Weiner starts with her intent not to criticize any female novelists ever again and ends with smacking around Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Egan. Weiner conveniently leaves out Egan’s genuine and fulsome apology for her remarks. Of course, Weiner’s unintentional message (besides the hypocrisy) is that women novelists need to be treated more tenderly than male novelist. Oh, you weak female novelists.
Not criticizing an entire swath of books because they were written by a certain gender smacks of disrespect, as if these female authors’ sensibilities are so weak as to be unable to face criticism.
Flavorwire has a post up about the 30 harshest author on author insults in history. It was originally published in 2011 and in January Flavorwire republished it.
Sigh. Authors just don’t insult each other like they used to. Sure, Martin Amis raised some eyebrows when he claimed he would need brain damage to write children’s books, and recent Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan made waves when she disparaged the work that someone had plagiarized, but those kinds of accidental, lukewarm zingers are nothing when compared to the sick burns of yore.