May 31 2011
I have a post holiday weekend hangover. I had lots of house projects to do but basically sat around and read most of the weekend. I read a really terrible erotic romance (and I use the terms “erotic romance”) loosely. A review will be forthcoming. I also went to my favorite used bookstore which is about 30 minutes away from my house but where I can buy old Harlequin Presents books for $.10 each. I spent the weekend reading about immature young women who are punished with kisses after they tell the long suffering men in their lives that they hate them. Ah, candy. What did you read / do this weekend?
In light of my post holiday hangover, I think the first link should be to this site which is now collecting facebook screencaps of people who don’t know that the Onion is NOT REAL.
Galley Cat writes up four tips for struggling indie booksellers including the use of QR codes. QR codes are these square black and white images which can be recognized, like a UPC code, and then do something. In this case, the QR code could be snapped by your phone and then initiate the purchase of a book. Sounds pretty cool. The last one is to remind customers that agency pricing means no shopping around. (I think it also means buy at the retailer that makes it easiest for you to read and purchase).
There are a couple of new publishers sprouting up. One is called Unbound and is getting a lot of mainstream press because of the authors that have signed on.
Unbound is a new way of bringing authors and readers together. We believe both deserve a greater say in which books get published. Starting now, Unbound will make that happen. No middlemen or marketers. Just authors, readers and great ideas.
Unbound is like Kickstarter wherein the authors ask for pledges from readers at varying levels. (This was first tried by Cory Doctorow with great success). Unfortunately, the main copy on the Unbound site is a bit misleading. Unbound is actually a publisher and the authors are only getting 50% “net profit” (this information is found in the “company” link at the bottom of the page), not 100% of the amount being pledged or even 50%. Samhain, for example, doesn’t pay an advance but does pay 40% off the cover.
So in essence, the reader is being asked to fund the advance and once the appropriate level of pledging is hit, the publishing house will use that money to publish the book. I’m not a fan that Unbound seems to hide the fact that this is a publishing house that pays authors 50% off the net and takes no risk at all, given that a book doesn’t get published until the readers pony up the advance.
The second one is Ten Pages Press. TenPages allows you to submit the first ten pages of your work and this is then distributed freely. Shareholders can buy in at 5 pounds. Once the shareholder level hits 2000, TenPages “acquires” the book and publishes it.
Rick Andersen at Scholary Kitchen posts an article about patron driven acquisitions at libraries. I have never heard of this before and I find it kind of fascinating.
PDA is built on a deceptively simple premise: in a largely digital information environment, it’s increasingly possible to let library users find and identify desired documents prior to the library’s purchase of them, and for the library to pay only for what its patrons find and actually use. When a patron’s use of an ebook or journal article passes a certain agreed-upon threshold (a certain number of ebook pages read, for example, or the download of a complete article) the library is charged, the document acquired, and the patron never knows that the document was not part of the “collection” to begin with.
There are downsides to this if PDA is the sole way a library builds its collection.