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Tuesday Midday Links: A Reader Poll and eBook Rumors

EBook device rumor alert:

  • Amazon is holder a press conference tomorrow that many are saying will be used to announce the Kindle Fire, a 7″ tablet.  This device seems marketed more toward video and audio consumption.  Amazon announced yesterday that Fox has signed up for video streaming and this content is free to Prime members bringing the total number of free movies and TV shows to over 11,000.
  • Barnes and Noble is rumored to be replacing the Nook Color with two new nooks, one a tablet device like the Amazon Fire and another an updated NookColor.  This is likely to be announced in October at some point.
  • Kobo may have a tablet up its sleeve too.
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Pete Cashmore of Mashable says that a new Facebook look will be launched soon and it may freak you out because it is a total redesign that Facebook is implementing to use its new algorithm which weighs the update status and photos and videos and puts them in a life timeline highlighting the important moments in your life.  I am not a big facebook user but I have to say this sort of thing frightens me.  Cashmore is excited:
Through this process, you’ll realize that Facebook Timeline is much more than a way to post the minutiae of your existence. While a typical social networking profile might highlight what you ate this morning, or what time you left for work, or where you had lunch, Facebook Timeline takes these thousands of seemingly inconsequential events, discards the irrelevant ones, finds the most emotive, the most visual, the most striking and emotionally touching moments and pulls them into sharp focus.

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Barnes & Noble purchased Borders 48 million member customer database for $14 million.  The judge approved the sale requiring Borders to send an opt out message to customers. If you are a former Borders customer, look for an email.  If you don’t opt out, your personal information will be sold to B&N including a list of items you purchased except for DVD and video titles:

The deal announced on Monday gives customers 15 days to opt out of the transfer by responding to an email that will be sent when the deal closes, Borders lawyer Andrew Glenn said at thehearing. A closing date is still uncertain, but the parties are working to close as quickly as possible, added Glenn, no relation to the judge.

The companies will split the cost of an advertisement in USA Today giving customers information on how to opt out, Glenn said. Barnes & Noble, whose own privacy policy will govern the information once it is transferred, has agreed to purge any information it deems unnecessary.

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Betsey Mitchell, the editor in chief for Del Rey, is leaving for early retirement.  Del Rey is the science fiction/fantasy arm of Random House.

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Authors want a higher royalty rate.  This is no surprise as the only way an author earns more is a) getting a higher advance that she doesn’t earn out or b) getting a higher royalty rate.  The rate that authors want increased is the ebook royalty rate. As ebook sales climb beyond print sales, the question is what is the justification authors give for believing that they are entitled to a higher ebook royalty rate versus a higher print royalty rate?  One article suggests that this is the reasoning:

Q: One of the Writers’ Union’s proposals is that the publisher split proceeds of e-book sales equally with the author. So, are you proposing a royalty rate of 50 per cent? Do you think this is feasible?

A: The traditional 15 per cent of the list price of a hardcover book is derived, approximately, from an understanding that the publisher and author share the net proceeds 50 per cent. (Roughly, if 70 per cent of the cost of books pays for its production, that leaves 30 per cent to be split 50-50 between publisher and author, i.e. 15 per cent of list for the author). This (50 per cent) is the rate Random House began by offering authors for e-books but then cut back. It seems to us that with minimum production costs and virtually no return costs, e-books are not as expensive for the publisher to produce as hardcover books, and yet the industry standard remains around 25 per cent of net (not list, notice!).

I think it is both interesting and dangerous for authors to argue that the production costs of an ebook are minimal.  It’s the same argument that readers use for lower prices.  What will authors say when readers argue about prices being too high?

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There was yet another conference about books held yesterday in New York City.  Michael Tamblyn of Kobo Books presented and one of the factoids that came out of the speech was that self published books are doing as much business as some traditional publishers for Kobo.

The entire tweet stream is interesting to read.

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This Harlequin author talks about the pros and cons of self publishing.  My take away is that if you can sell over 17,000 copies per ebook, it is better to go it alone.  If you can’t, then maybe a traditional publisher is a better way for you to go.

 Indie: Can you make those numbers? Possible, but not likely. BUT! Because of the royalty rate structure, the book that sold over 300K copies has earned me slightly less than $35,000 total. About .12 cents per book. A self-published book doesn’t need to come anywhere close to those numbers in order to exceed Harlequin royalties. If it costs you $1000 to publish an ebook and list it at $2.99 (on Amazon that would give you a 70% royalty rate), then to net $35,000 you’d only need to sell 17,225 copies. Is that likely? Indie publishers are doing it all the time. So I’d say it’s quite possible.

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Lindsay suggested we do a poll pertaining the the ebook promotional matter. There are a number of ways to word the poll and so I’ve actually created a couple of questions.

[poll id="244"] [poll id="245"] [poll id="246"] [poll id="247"]

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

43 Comments

  1. ruth
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 10:21:54

    I really hate it when i think an ebook should be a certian length and then i find out the last 25 % of the books is blurbs for other books.

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  2. Moriah Jovan
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 10:25:20

    If you can’t, then maybe a traditional publisher is a better way for you to go.

    I love the way people talk about “choosing” to go with a traditional publisher like you can run your finger down the yellow pages and pick one knowing that any of them will offer you a contract.

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  3. Mireya
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 10:26:52

    Regarding the Borders list, I don’t care. I am a B&N member, and I always bought more stuff from B&N anyway, so I don’t consider that will impact me in any way, shape or form.

    Regarding the tablets, I say great. The only thing is that I’d like to be able to a store and actually compare them side to side before getting mine. Though I am also considering non-bookstore related ones.

    Regarding Facebook, I am totally disgusted by the information overload imposed by their most recent change, so I made sure to check my settings (they ALWAYS mess with the security settings when they do this type of change) and I am only going to log on once or twice a day. I HATE what they have done. Before it was mere annoyance, now, it is visual clutter and information overload to the point that it is nauseating just to look at their screen.

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  4. SAO
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 10:40:19

    It seems to me that if writers got more money for writing, they’d be more willing to accept the downward trend on prices.

    The facts are that e-books cost significantly less to publish than print books. Why should the publisher get the benefit of lowered costs? I say it should be split between authors and readers.

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  5. jmc
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 10:59:16

    Re: B&N buying Borders’ customer information, I’m ambivalent. I’m already a B&N customer, so there no new information being exchanged. In fact, whatever information Borders had is years out of date because I’d stopped buying from them. But it’s an example of data transfer (for better or worse, abused or not, in good faith or not) that does not thrill me.

    Along those same lines, Facebook’s algorithm to determine which events are important in users’ lives is kind of invasive and creepy to me. How is the determination made? What volume of information is necessary for the timeline to work? What data is being gathered/stored/used/sold through the function? (Disclosure: I’ve nuked my Facebook account and don’t miss it at all.)

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  6. Avery Flynn
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 11:08:30

    E-book royalty rates for smaller digital first publishers tends to run significantly higher than the big houses that are print first. So I’m wondering if authors are looking at that percentage and wondering why they aren’t getting that rate. But you have to look at sales figures versus small and big. If you sell significantly more digitals with a big house that has a smaller e-book royalty rate, the author may still come out ahead of the small house with the bigger rate.

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  7. library addict
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 11:38:36

    As someone who shopped at Borders a lot and dislikes B&N I will be looking to opt out. Just because I can’t buy books from Borders doesn’t mean I will switch to B&N or want them to have my email/snail mail addresses.

    As for the poll, I do enjoy reading the first chapter in the next book of a series (say like IN Death), so I said I do sometimes read the promotional matter (though since I usually buy the ebooks when first released, I don’t recall there being any sample chapters in that series lately).

    I said no to the last poll question, but really wanted a “rarely, only if I felt it really interfered with my reader experience” option. Since I skip the promotional matter 99.9% of the time, I’m not necessarily going to remember it and am more likely to blame the publisher than the author.

    It’s all well and good to say you’ll self-publish. Just be aware readers like me are much more likely to be exposed to your books and give them a chance if your publised by say Harlequin. I have given up trying to wade through all the self-pubbed stuff. So unless you are already an author I know and look for or come highly recommended from a trusted source I will never see your book. Whereas I often at least look through the new monthly releases for the lines I read at the Harlequin site. Not saying authors shouldn’t self-publish, just that exposure to probable new readers is something to think about.

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  8. willaful
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 11:45:27

    jmc — how did you nuke your facebook account? I couldn’t find a way.

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  9. Alexander
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 12:02:51

    You are right. I totally agree with you, Mireya.

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  10. Lil
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 12:16:36

    Like ruth I get really annoyed when I think I have 10 percent of an ebook still to read and discover that no, I have a bunch of unwanted promotional material instead. At least with a real book I can check before I start so I know when I am nearing the end (and should slow down my reading speed to prolong the pleasure).

    It wouldn’t turn me against the author or publisher because
    A) I know the author has no control over things like this and
    B) I rarely notice who the publisher is.

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  11. Courtney Milan
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 12:23:24

    @Jane: What will authors say when readers argue about prices being too high?

    I am probably talking to the wrong authors, but I know too many authors who have asked their publishers to drop the price of their agency-priced books a few dollars (and alas, to no avail). I think my books from Harlequin are priced too high, and Harlequin isn’t even an agency pricer. If I could get them below $5, I would be happier. I think it would make enough of a difference in the number of copies sold that I would gladly accept the loss of income per title.

    @Moriah Jovan: It also presupposes that the author has to choose–like you’re either self-published or traditionally published, but putting the two together would be too much like peanut butter and chocolate?

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  12. Jackie Barbosa
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 12:35:40

    @Moriah Jovan: Exactly. Or that it’s even “typical” to earn as much as $35,000 or sell 300,000 copies of any book published by a major house. (Um, both of those seem pretty high figures based on what I know. The average author, to my knowledge, sells far fewer copies and earns correspondingly less royalties.)

    Thus far, my June 2009 Kensington book has sold somewhere on the order of 5,000 copies in print and digital, give or take. I earned out (barely) my minimal $2,500 advance in the first reporting cycle, and have made MAYBE $3,500 total (before paying my agent her 15%, mind you–not that I mind paying her!).

    So far, I’ve sold a little shy of 10,000 copies of my two self-published titles (since this January, although the second is a rerelease that only came online this month and hasn’t sold much so far). From those sales, I’ve earned about the same amount of money as I have from the Kensington book (roughly 35 cents per copy). I consider this a huge win, especially since I’m hardly even a sub-midlist author at this point.

    The thing is, deciding whether or not to self-publish isn’t solely about what will make you the most money, or at least, it shouldn’t be. It’s about what’s best for the book and your career as an author.

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  13. Jackie Barbosa
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 12:38:20

    @Lil: Would your feelings about the bonus material change at all if the author/publisher warned you in the product description of exactly how much of the page count is devoted to the main story versus the “bonus” material?

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  14. ruth
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 13:15:13

    @Lil: It turns me against the publisher. I think it is like cheating in a way. I always look at the price and figure it’s for at least 10% less of a book. Samhain is one of the worst.

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  15. Angela
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 13:17:50

    This is sort of going off the topic, but what would really make me happy is if in the description somewhere (below the blurb on Amazon?) the word count was there. For Agency books I have a general idea of what I’m getting for a novel/novella and it’s pretty easy to spot the difference. For self-pub’d, indie-pub’d, smaller press books – I’ve got no idea if the $6 I’m shelling out is for a 90k word book, or a 45k word book. And that makes a huge difference to me.

    It’s hard for me to answer the questions because I have to compare them to my print reading experience. I like when there’s a chapter preview of another book by the author I’m reading. Maybe a “page” or two of adverts of other authors I might like (book cover/blurb?) But that’s it. I don’t want 7 chapter previews. I won’t read them. I don’t want to read a blurb of every book that author or publisher has ever written.

    If you’re putting bonus material in (and bonus material is NOT advertisements in my opinion), then it’s nice to know that up front so I can assume that the last 10% of the book is that bonus material. This way the end of the main story doesn’t catch me off guard.

    I’ve seen quite a few self-pub’d authors put in the blurb something like ‘This ebook also contains previews of the following other works by this author…x,y,z” I think that works if you’re going to have a lot of previews in the back.

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  16. Christina
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 13:38:23

    Jane, are you taking issue with authors wanting higher digital royalty rate, or just that particular justification for wanting the higher rate?

    I don’t think that the argument that digital involves less cost to the publisher than print lacks merit when talking comparatively. However, I do think the argument that cost is minimal in digital publishing is dangerous.

    Given the difference in printing and distribution costs with print vs digital, I wish the onus was on the publishers to justify why authors *don’t* deserve a higher digital royalty. But I know what they say about wishes and horses…

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  17. CK
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 14:33:45

    @Angela: I think word count is totally within topic and I agree. I look for word counts when considering to purchase. It is more of a factor for me than page count because of the adverts. I have no problem with them but knowing that I’m paying 3.99 for a 50K story plus adverts is way better than 3.99 for a story that is 300 pages, 15% of which turns out to be adverts.

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  18. Jackie Barbosa
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 14:38:49

    @CK: In the books I self-publish, I always provide the word count breakdown before the cover copy in the product description, like this: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005OKB49M. It’s something I wish all publishers would do since Amazon and B&N don’t give readers an easy way to figure out how long a book is (other than to attempt to guess based on the file size).

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  19. Jane
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 14:53:24

    @Christina: oh no. I’m curious about the argument that authors use in favor of the higher digital rate vis a vis the print rate. I think authors should get whatever they and the publisher agree is reasonable based on the risk/reward. But there is a big movement toward higher digital rate where there wasn’t one for higher print rate and IF the argument is primarily because of lower costs, I just think that is a dangerous one.

    @Angela: I don’t think that is off topic at all. I would LOVE some kind of indication on word count.

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  20. jmc
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 15:10:01

    @willaful: The details for deleting are fuzzy, but I remember that I had to search the help section for instructions on how to do it. There were two options: one for “maybe I’ll come back someday” and another for “scorched earth, leave no information behind”.

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  21. MaryK
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 15:11:48

    I don’t Facebook at all. Did you see the post about how you’re not really logged out of Facebook unless you delete the cookies off your computer?

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  22. fshk
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 15:33:29

    Two comments:

    1. I dislike the argument that ebooks should be cheaper because of minimal production costs—it’s not true. I suppose you could make the argument that if the book is printed as well, the print book absorbs most of the cost for editing, design, etc., but a digital-first publisher has to pay its people. Basically, producing an ebook only saves you the cost of paper and printing, since you’d have to get someone to proof the ebook as well. (Then again, I’m the rare bird that only gets touchy about ebook pricing if the book is > $10 or if the cost is the same or more than the paper book. $12 seems a bit much for a book that will at some point be available in mass market for $6.99 or whatever, is what I’m saying. I like cheap ebooks as much as the next girl, but I don’t really mind paying $5-10 for a novel-length book.)

    2. Bonus material at the end of a book doesn’t inspire malicious feelings toward anyone, but I do get super annoyed when I think I’ve still got a fair amount of book left but it turns out to be promo stuff. In a paper book, I don’t even really think twice about it, but, and this is especially true with a book I really like, it sucks to be reading along on my Kindle and see that I’m at 90% and still thinking I have a fair amount of book left, only for the book to end right there so that I can get a bunch of promos.

    I’ll read the first chapter of the next book in a series or of a book by the same author, but I don’t get why some ebooks will have excerpts from, like, five or more books piled onto the end. (I put rarely in the poll; I usually skip these, but I can’t say that I’ve never read an excerpt included at the back of a book or that I’ve never been inspired to purchase a new book based on that excerpt.) That seems gratuitous, and I think it does annoy readers.

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  23. LG
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 15:43:12

    When it comes to bonus material at the ends of books, I think the reason why I hate it more in e-books than in print books is that, with print books, it’s an easy and quick matter to flip to the end and see what the last page truly is. Of course, even with print books I’ve been tricked when there’s no easy way, say with a change in the header, to tell whether what’s at the end is an excerpt or more of the same book – I try to avoid actually reading any of the text, since I don’t want to accidentally spoil anything for myself, but then when the book ends before I expect it to, even after I thought I confirmed what the last page was, I get peeved. So, for print books, I consider header changes for excerpts to be a must.

    E-books are different matter. In order to flip to the ends of e-books, I’d have to deal with one of my e-reader’s methods for skipping to the end, and then do my best to skim through the text while hoping I don’t hit on a spoiler. My e-reader sort of has a way to flip through the text, but it feels awkward compared to flipping through a physical book. As a result, even though I regularly flip to the ends of print books to check where the true last page is, I never do it for e-books, and so the surprise and annoyance when there turns out to be pages and pages of promotional stuff is greater.

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  24. Boudicae
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 15:47:14

    Thanks Courtney for trying! Harlequin is one of the few major publishing houses I still buy. Most of their books on Amazon are under $6.00. With a very few exceptions, I’ve stopped buying ebooks from the big five. I flat out refuse to pay $10-$12 for an ebook (what it’s costing here in Canada). I’ve been finding lots of back lists and self-publishing to keep me busy.

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  25. Lil
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 16:25:21

    Why is it called bonus material when it is an advertisement? Now if the “bonus” material were something like a brief story about one of the secondary characters or one of the chapters in the book told from a different point of view, it might be worth having.

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  26. Jane
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 17:19:00

    @Lil I think HarperCollins calls it bonus material. I agree I don’t find it particularly bonus-y.

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  27. Gennita Low
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 18:16:10

    When the Facebook magic computer sums up the magical emotive moments of my life, they’ll find a whole mess of smiling man titty (men titty? man titties?) lounging through my days and nights. And oh, in between summaries of my squirrel and nuts. Yes, that describes my life to a T(itty). Can’t wait to see that emblazon across the top of the page.

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  28. Lilian Darcy
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 18:20:10

    Having the word count on ebooks makes so much sense from a reader perspective, I’m adding that information right now on my “Cafe du Jour”, and will include it for any future books.

    It’s so great to be able to hear and act on feedback from readers! As a long-time (and still) print-published author, I started out scared by the rapid changes in publishing, but now find them incredibly full of possibility.

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  29. Andrea
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 18:28:50

    There’s slightly less cost in initially producing an ebook than a physical book, since the costs only diverge at production. It still costs the same to edit the thing, etc. However, ebooks do not suffer the massive burden of the “returns” system, and I suspect that’s a huge factor. The “cost of production” also cuts off after the ebook is produced, whereas physical books have an ongoing cost of storage, reprints, etc. So in the long term ebooks really are a far more profitable proposition.

    The Writer’s Union seems to be talking more about what portion of profit the publisher is keeping. So in a physical book, each book returns, say, a 30% profit. Roughly half of that has been going to the author, and half has been going to the publisher. But in an ebook, each book is returning an unknown percentage of profit of which the split between author and publisher seems to be way more beneficial to the publisher. [Or at least that's the perception.]

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  30. April V.
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 19:10:47

    The second question had me really thinking. The only times I generally read the promo material is if it is the next book in a series from the one I have just finished. In this case, I would have probably already decided to buy the next one, if I was not going to buy the next one, I wouldn’t bother to read it.

    I generally skim other stuff but for the most part it is information I already know or is old news to me since most of my book info comes from the internet.

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  31. April V.
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 19:15:20

    @Lil: I very much agree with this. I really dislike ‘marketing speak’ where the marketers assume that we are all idiots and will strain at the bit to get something labeled ‘bonus’. We do have brains and once we’ve encounter the bogus bonus trap we leave it alone.

    DVDs do have true bonus materials: interviews with the actors and directors and such and deleted scenes. Why not give us something like that with an ad in between the regular and the bonus? Otherwise stop treating us like people who don’t understand what you are trying to do. We love books. We buy them all the time. Twisting our arms like that is just sleazy.

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  32. LVLMLeah
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 19:28:09

    This last Facebook move finally pushed me over the edge. I already disconnected all apps connected to my FB last year when it was found out that those Apps were collecting all your info and selling it. And I’m glad I did because now what ever you do on those apps will get posted whether you want it or not.

    And I already deleted all my favorites long ago when FB started hooking my favorites to everyone else with the same favorites into one large group.

    Being pissed off about constantly having to reset my privacy settings for every change also prompted me to delete all my wall posts and what others have posted on mine.

    Finding out that any picture I posted was property of FB to do what they wanted with, got me to delete every picture posted.

    So I’ve pretty much been frozen, not wanting to post anything.

    And now they want to have everyone post a timeline of their lives with every freaking event? And they will decide what’s the most important? It’s too invasive. Moreover, like someone said above, FB follows you to every site you visit on the net, even when you’re logged off, constantly collecting information about you.

    FB collects info from your contacts in your phone as well. So even my phone and info that is in a family or friend’s phone is being collected by FB without my permission.

    I finally deactivated both my blogger and personal FB account. And still there is NO WAY to disconnect because they keep your information forever. Just log in again with your info and all your friends and posts and info will be just as it was when you left. Ugh.

    I’m so glad I never signed into FB with my iTouch or Tablet or they’d probably be corroded with FB cookies that I don’t know how to delete. At least on my computer I know how to get rid of FB cookies.

    OK, rant over. :D

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  33. Sunita
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 19:29:00

    @fshk: The Wall Street Journal ran this article earlier this month, estimating the differences in cost between a print and e-version of the same book. Note the difference in fixed costs. There are several caveats in the article, since they couldn’t get full information on costs from publishers. But it’s still pretty clear that there are non-trivial differences between the production of ebook and print books. And the ebook cost includes DRM, which is a choice of Agency publishers.

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  34. Sunita
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 19:33:52

    @LVLMLeah: I’ve been pretty fanatical about not giving FB my info and checking privacy settings regularly. I stay on it b/c so many friends and relatives use it. But I HATE it. About ready to disconnect.

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  35. Teresa C
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 21:37:26

    Why does no-one ever consider the cost of keeping an ebook file safe on a server for years? If you have ever stepped foot in a server room, in your parka, you understand just how much money it costs to keep the server room cool enough to keep the servers from overheating.
    Not to mention the redundant backup servers, kept just in case the main server goes belly up.

    But, the arguement that hardback royalties are paid on net, and e-book royalties are paid on list is something that I don’t understand. E-book prices at the agency 6 are kept at list. Hardback prices (at net) are whatever the bookseller can sell the book at.

    So, 8% of 6.99 for ebook compared to 15% of 4.98-25.99 for a hardback? Which is actually better in the long term?

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  36. Anthea Lawson
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 22:21:50

    Hardback royalties are paid on list – starting at 10% of cover price and scaling – ONLY reaching that mythical 15% if the book sells a *lot* of units. 12.5% is reachable for many (not all) hardback pubbed authors.

    Mass market books pay 6%-10%(if you’re really lucky) with 8% of cover being standard. Trade is 8-10% last I checked.

    E-book royalties are mostly calculated on net – 25% of net is the standard for the big NY houses. BUT ‘net’ is a squishy term (and in Hollywood contracts, means zero).

    With all these figures, don’t forget to subtract another 15% to the author’s agent.

    In mass-market paperback, 50% sell-through has been the norm for years. The returned books are a total loss, plus the publisher paid to ship and store books that just ended up getting thrown away. (Or, hopefully, pulped and recycled.) With digital, the margins are phenomenally higher.

    Hardcovers have a ‘remainder’ life, where they go on the cheap tables, but the publishers still can’t expect 100% sell-through even there. And obviously not at the original price.

    The issue about no returns/warehousing/shipping on digital books is an important one, and something that most of the pricing conversations aren’t taking into accout. It’s an important factor, imo. :)

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  37. SAO
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 00:02:06

    I doubt FB can figure out what events are important in your life, unless you tell it and just think what an advertisers’ goldmine that will be. Unlike earlier attempts at getting people to opt in to schemes to sell data to advertisers, this one avoids any mention of the vultures waiting to bombard you with ads.

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  38. Ros
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 05:34:29

    It seems to me that one of the problems with ebook royalty rates is the difference between marginal costs (the difference between printing 1000 and 10000 copies, say) and fixed costs (the cost you have to print even just 1 copy). For an ebook, pretty much all the costs are fixed costs and they are not much less than for a hard copy. I don’t want epublishers to cutback on editing, proofing, formatting costs. In fact, most of them need to spend significantly more on these areas. I would happily pay a higher ebook price if I could be sure of getting a book with a properly working index, no egregious typos and so on.

    Anyway, if I were a publisher, I’d want to make sure I was recouping those fixed costs. So I think I’d be proposing a scaled royalty rate, such that for the first x copies sold the author received a lower rate, but after that, when the fixed costs had been covered, the royalty rate for the author would increase to reflect the fact that there were no further costs to the publisher. I’ve no idea whether any publishers work on this sort of basis or not.

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  39. Jane
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 07:19:40

    @Ros I was talking with an author the other day and scaled royalties make a lot of sense it seems to me. Avon Impulse is the only publisher I know that offers scaled royalties. I think Samhain does for its retro romance line (maybe?). But some kind of escalating scale does take into account the fixed costs up front and the declining per unit costs on the back end.

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  40. Jackie Barbosa
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 09:05:40

    @Jane: Harlequin is also offering scaled royalty rates on net digital royalties.

    15% of net digital receipts to $50,000; 17.5% of net digital receipts from $50,001 to $100,000; 20% of net digital receipts thereafter.

    Scaled royalties might make some rational sense, but I believe the fixed costs of most books would be earned back well before the number of copies that must be sold before Harlequin “jumps” the author’s rate. And although I think the threshold for Avon Impulse’s jump also seems pretty high (I’m too lazy to look it up, but I think it was well over ten thousand copies), at least they are starting at 25% of net and jumping to 50%.

    As an author, though, I’m a little disturbed by the notion of scaling royalties to recoup fixed costs because it seems to me perilously close to asking the author to PAY those costs. Personally, if that what we’re going to come to, I’d rather a publisher just kept 100% ofthe net royalties for itself until its fixed costs (as demonstrated to me on a spreadsheet and auditable by my representative) were covered, then split the rest with me 50/50.

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  41. Variel
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 09:06:45

    @willaful: they have made the information on how to delete your account very vague, it’s probably easier to do a google search on how to delete than checking the Facebook help section.

    @jmc: From what I understand even when the scorched earth method is used they still retain some personal information. It’s a stupid system. The more I read about Facebook’s various privacy issues the less I want to use it. My level of tolerance at the moment is replying to comments via email and posting updates via tweet deck, I haunt logged into the main site in a long time.

    ReplyReply

  42. Variel
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 09:07:50

    @willaful: they have made the information on how to delete your account very vague, it’s probably easier to do a google search on how to delete than checking the Facebook help section.

    @jmc: From what I understand even when the scorched earth method is used they still retain some personal information. It’s a stupid system. The more I read about Facebook’s various privacy issues the less I want to use it. My level of tolerance at the moment is replying to comments via email and posting updates via tweet deck, I havn’t logged into the main site in a long time.

    ReplyReply

  43. creative facebook timeline covers
    Nov 15, 2011 @ 11:50:39

    I appreciate, cause I found exactly what I was having a look for. You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

    ReplyReply

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