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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.