Thursday Midday Links:
MediaBistro held an ebook summit for the past few days and there were some interesting tidbits released. One of the overriding themes of the summit was that the $9.99 price point was not sustainable. One panel suggested that ads were the best possible way for publishers of content (magazines and books) to offer a low price. I really, really dislike the idea of ads in fiction books.
The coverage of the eBook Summit was really interesting and I have some thoughts about Jane Friedman’s Open Road Media company that I’ll share on Sunday.
LA Weekly has an in depth article on gay romance. While I appreciate the coverage, I’m really frustrated by the concept that all gay romance fiction is hypersexualized and nothing more than porn.
(The first house to take the plunge, Running Press, sent out its initial raft of books just this year.) In many ways the growing popularity of gay romance represents nothing less than a tectonic shift in a culture that says women don’t (and shouldn’t) consume porn. Hot and steamy gay-romance literature is to women what Internet porn is to men: They get off on it, mostly in secret, and keep coming back for more.
My understanding was that the Running Press books that were initially released contained very restrained sexual scenes.
Publishing Perspectives has a fascinating interview with Disney’s Jeanne Mosure, Senior Vice President, Group Publisher, Disney Publishing Worldwide. Mosure talks about why Disney chose to go with the subscription model (single books weren’t viable and they didn’t want to compete with the physical retail market) and the differences between kids and teens (teens want ebooks).
Bowker released the findings of a new study which included facts that reflect not only the contracting economy but also the wide variety of home entertainment choices available to the consumer. According to Bowker, one in three Americans are buying fewer books due to the economy. More readers are swapping or buying used, particularly the female readers. Only a tiny percentage of consumers turn to books as a less expensive alternative to other forms of entertainment. (2.6%). The biggest danger to the fiction publishing industry is the decline in readership and other forms of entertainment such as video games, movies, music, and yes, social media.
Wonderful pointing out that social media is another form of entertainment. Perhaps the most addictive, too, in that you can do it almost anywhere at any time you’d like. My sister regularly updates her FB from her phone, and interacts with people on it throughout the day.
I, myself, spend a good hour each day, minimum, on FB, updating my status, checking my family’s updates, and playing my games. My mom is on FB for about 3-4 hours/day…she has a LOT more games going than I do, and visits them all daily. In the grand scheme of things, our consumption vs. free time is relatively the same, and it definitely impacts the choice between reading and other forms of entertainment.
I think this is something that is only recently being considered to be a form of entertainment, opposed to just another way of making a phone call or writing an email.
Ironically, later in the LA Weekly article, they discuss RP’s releases and quote from the publisher saying that they decided to stay restrained to test the market viability of series. Which is it, huh?
Don’t you think NY should also be discussing the idea that HB fiction may well be the thing that is “not sustainable”?
That’s up for debate, according to one survey.
I know you didn’t mention Random House today but a friend told me there was a public radio piece this morning on the rights grab. You might want to check that out. I will probably catch the piece on the way home tonight.
I think the books heat rating would run (from restrained to.. er… not restrained)
1. Lover’s Knot
2. False Colors
3. Tangled Web
There’s nothing restrained about my sex scenes! :)
Considering the post from a while back about Amazon’s patent for ads in eBooks – marginal, full page, and as hyperlinks – the ads in eBooks thing is going to be a lot more annoying than ads in a print books could ever be.
Why is it that when talk Amazon and ebook, the attention is always on the $9.99 price point? Amazon sells ebooks with other prices and released works don’t stay in hardcover format forever so the money they’re losing is offset by the money they make on other digital releases. So how much are they losing?
It’s certainly a nice way to focus attention to get whatever they’re actual goal is. By the sounds of it that might be ads.
I like the idea of the subscription marketplace but I worry about how authors will get paid.
Maybe it was just me, but most of the tidbits I saw coming out of the ebook summit were negative towards ebooks and pricing. I don’t know what I expected, but for an ebook summit I guess I was hoping for some innovation, embracing and cool ideas. There seemed to be more tweets about preserving the current pricing and models than…trying to figure out how to get books into the hands of enthusiastic readers…
@Maria: I have wondered if the attendees of these mini-cons/summits were more people of ‘import’ rather than the important people. The important people being the consumers saying what they want/need/will tolerate, versus the people of import saying what they think the consumers should have/are adamant they shouldn’t have.
You might be right. Or maybe it was just what reporters chose to report, but I read an awful lot of complaints about Amazon and not so much about…just how many are they selling at a lower price?? And gosh, if they are selling a lot of ebooks…HOW can we profit? How can we take advantage of the movement…instead of whining…
Quit worrying about Amazon and sell books–paper, hardcover, ebook–over the phone, on the back of cereal boxes–it doesn’t matter!!! Innovate, create, reach readers where they ARE, not where you want them to be! :>)