Wednesday, March 25, 2009

eBook Creation; Piece of Cake

Checked out Abbott's e Publishing website (the publisher that had written to the Amazon Kindle discussion boards that he is keeping eBook prices low and urging Kindle Owners to buy from Abbott).

I noticed two things about Abbott after visiting their website.

1) They are selling eBooks that are listed in the public domain which you can get for free on Project Gutenberg and

2) They are 'looking' for new authors to sign with them.

As I writer that has 'been there/done that' I urge new authors to consider the following:

I wondered how difficult it would be to publish an eBook on Amazon. In an experiment, I took an old manuscript and using 3 easy instructional steps on Amazon, I uploaded it (for free). I used a photo I'd taken for the book cover. I picked the price point (99cents).
I make 35% on every book I sell & there is a report link for me to check and see my sales daily/monthly. Earnings are disbursed every 2 months. My rights belong to me. My rights belong to me (worth repeating!).


Abbott takes the publishing rights (ownership) of your work for 5 years and has the right to turn your ebook into a paper book (keeping profit) or ANY OTHER FORM they choose. If you hit the jackpot and your book is made into a movie w/in ten years...they get royalties.

Abbott gives you 50% royalty. Sounds good doesn't it? Yet THEY decide how to price your book. Say your book is selling really well at 4.99 so they up it to 10.99 against your wishes - you're SOL. Not to mention, your books are only being sold on their website - which is a bit cheesy and chunky. For what Abbott provides, you can easily sell your book on your own website or blog! Most people turn to Amazon for their eBook reads. With Abbott, there is little to no mainstream exposure. They suggest they will list your eBook on Amazon, but if that happens, Amazon gets a 65% royalty, then you split the remaining 35% with Abbott 50/50. That means: A book sold at 10.00 nets 3.50 for Abbott - which is then split 50/50 - so your profit is 1.75. And you've given up your rights.

If you publish on your own, without using an "ePublishing" company, you'd keep that initial 3.50 from Amazon and your rights.

Abbott pays within 3 months (Amazon pays w/in 2).

Abbott, to me, is much like that infomercial promising you all sorts of things in the middle of the night when you are tired and not thinking straight.

Please-if you've taken the time to actually write a book, make sure you consider all avenues.

Chances are, if you can get out of bed in the morning and dress yourself, you can self publish and promote an eBook.

Here is what Abbott promises taken directly from their website:

" Q: What if I’m a Previously Unpublished Author?

A: Abbott e Publishing actively seeks out those who have never before been published authors. We are happy to “launch” the careers of those who have remarkable writing talents who have yet to be “discovered” by large, impersonal and often tough-to-crack major publishing houses.

Compensation and the Writer’s Contract:
We like to keep things simple: Authors receive 50 percent of all Internet sales of their original work, paid every quarter (every 3 months) beginning with the three-month anniversary of signing a contract with Abbott e Publishing, when the royalties amount to $10 or more. Contracts are simple, easy-to-grasp and are signed when the author’s first book is accepted for publication.

Authors receive reports every quarter, whether royalties are paid or not. Advances are never paid to authors.

Important: Authors will NOT receive reimbursement for single submissions to Abbott ePublishing-created, multiple-author anthologies. (Author royalties would be miniscule anyway.)

Book prices are set by the publisher, and vary based upon several factors, including length of the work (though this alone is definitely not determinative) the subject matter, the expertise of the author, and demand. Prices will usually be set between $4.99 and $9.99. We strive to keep most books under $10 to fit with our philosophy of providing easy-to-afford eBooks.

Publishing Rights:
Abbott ePublishing requires exclusive electronic publishing rights to works it accepts for publication as eBooks. It may publish them in any format under its name for five years, at which time the client may renew their relationship with us. Any film adaptations of works published by Abbott ePublishing as eBooks within ten years of publication with us are subject to royalties paid to Abbott ePublishing.

Abbott ePublishing will promote works it publishes both online and off, including in the mass media. Authors are encouraged to promote sales of their books and direct people to purchase them on the Abbott ePublishing’s Website, and may create outside Webpages to promote their works, linking back to the Abbott ePublishing Website."


In closing, please take everything into careful consideration...I'm not saying that ePublishing is easy, but with the right ingredients,and the correct recipe book, you can have your ebook cake and eat it too.

Mein Kampf illustrates eBook Pricing

Article from CNET News written by David Carnoy

This snippet is not about the eBook they are talking about, more about the selling practices of eBooks on Amazon vs Sony Reader.

"One other note regarding "Mein Kampf:" Based on a 65-35 split off the list price (Amazon's deal with self-publishers), Amazon is making about 89 cents on each copy, so it's possible that it's making more on "Mein Kampf" than it does on many best-selling titles that it sells for $9.99.
The terms Amazon has negotiated from publisher to publisher are confidential, but sources tell me that at $9.99, Amazon is basically breaking even on a lot of those titles. Sony, by comparison, tends to sell best sellers at $11.99, a price point at which you'd assume that it can eke out a profit.
What does this all add up to? Well, clearly the e-book business is in its Wild West stage, and it's only going to get more convoluted when Sony dumps 500,000 free e-books into its database, and Amazon continues adding more public-domain titles.
All these cheap e-books flooding the market are going to be a problem for traditional publishers (it's unclear who uploaded the Kindle Edition of "Mein Kampf," but it was certainly not a traditional publisher). They'll either embrace the brave new world, and make it work for them with lower, more realistic pricing--or adopt the bunker mentality of the music studios and risk downfall."

Special Thanks to Alice for sending me this info.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ebooks selling for more than Hardbacks...

From Julie at the Amazon Unreasonably Priced Discussion Board...

A friend pointed this book out to me so I researched the price on Amazon Book, Amazon Kindle & Border's Online.

Where Memories Lie by Deborah Crombie. From HarperCollins eBook
Digital List Price: $24.99 (DLP is $.04 more than the Print List Price)set by HarperCollins E book
Print List Price: $24.95
Kindle Price: $14.99 & includes wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: $9.96 (40%)

The DTB listed on Amazon:
Where Memories Lie: A Novel (Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James Novels) by Deborah Crombie (Hardcover - Jun 24, 2008)
Buy new: $24.95 (marked down by Amazon to) $18.96 75 Used & new from $5.99......( ) mine

On Borders: Where Memories Lie
Deborah Crombie
Mass Market Paperback
July 01, 2009 $7.99

So...the publisher wants us to believe that it cost $7.00 more to produce a digital book than it does a paperbook? And someone else is selling the hardbacks for $5.00 (plus shipping) but the e-book version is $14.99?

Unreasonable E-book Price!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

An Author Speaks

After writing to romance author Bertrice Small about the Kindle listing for one of her books, this was Ms. Small's thoughtful response...once again pointing out that publishers really only think of themselves.

"I'm not a techie. Just a working writer who can get her e-mail, and quails at the words "cut and paste". I wasn't even aware that THE BORDER LORD'S BRIDE was
available for downloading on the Kindle. In fact I only recently learned what a Kindle is. I imagine the publisher will eventually inform me of this development. Or not. Authors really are the last to know. I wish I had the influence to get my publishers to keep book prices at a reasonable rate. But the truth is I have absolutely no say where the price of books in any format is concerned. If I did the price wouldn't be so high. And they'd use recycled paper!

Nowadays working authors like me who actually make a living with their writing don't earn it from royalties. The truth is we live on our advances - and just to keep the record straight - I haven't had a raise in a number of years. I realize the papers and gossip columns are always touting the big advances paid to authors, but those are the very few, Grisham, Steele, King, etc. And advances are not handed out in a lump sum. They are paid out in increments over the life of the book contract. You don't get rich that way and authors of popular commercial fiction like me make the kind of living most middle class people make. And I have to do 2 or 3 books a year to stay middle class. The market is tight, and was even before the economic downturn. I'm glad to be still working.

I have passed on your concerns to my agent, and to my editor at NAL Books. And I do appreciate you contacting me. God bless! Bertrice Small"

Friday, March 13, 2009

eBook Gouging = Print Book Losses

From the Amazon Boycott Board: and Amazon Boycott Board (the original)

D. Boyle writes:

I'm not sure they are making more money by charging higher prices. For example, I have not purchased Fearless Fourteen because of the price. I'm willing to bet I'm not alone in that. So for every hardbound they sell at $18, they only have to sell 2 copies at $9.99 to equal the current hard cover price. And if I really wanted to read it, I could buy a used hardbound for $5. Not to mention the mass market paperback is only $7.95.

In my opinion, the publisher's are charging ebook readers for the losses they take when they have to buy back unsold inventory from bookstores. They're trying to use ebooks to make up their losses/costs of print books. My answer to this price gouging is this. Offer me a reasonable price, or you've lost my business. I'll either quit reading that particular author, or I'll buy used. That way the publishers won't see a dime of my money.

In my opinion, if the ebook costs more than the print book, the ebook is subsidizing print books. Publishers are worried about ebooks hurting their business. If they keep trying to overprice their ebooks, it will. For one thing, there are a lot of books in public domain. It's also becoming easy for authors to self-publish. This price gouging by publishers just encourages ebook readers to look for other sources.

My prediction is that ebooks are going to become more and more popular. Current publishers can take advantage of that and grow their ebook market by selling at fair prices, or they can continue to sabotage it with higher prices. When an industry fails to provide what the customer wants, entrepreneurs usually rush in to supply the demand.

Hollywood Accounting

A long discussion from the HarperStudio Blog in which Bob Miller tries to defend publishers digital list pricing of ebooks @ the same/similar to those of actual print books

Rick Spilman:

"With all due respect, the suggestion that e-books should only cost $2 less than hardcover books strikes me as “Hollywood accounting”, which is to say that it makes no sense whatsoever. Can you really argue that a $26 hardcover should cost $24 dollars as an e-book and $12 as a trade paperback? You also seem to be assuming that while the cost of paper/printing/binding may be $2, that transportation, warehousing and other inventory costs are zero.

It may be comfortable to play these games with numbers, but it strikes me as symptomatic of the real problems within your industry. Making it easy for readers to get access to books in whatever form is good for both writers and publishers. It is past time that the publishers wake up."

DRM Delusions

An interesting quote at Nashuatelegraph-

Brought to my attention by Paxton Reader from the Amazon Boycott Board

"The publishing industry seems determined to make the same mistake the movie and music industries have: thinking customers won't mind having purchases locked down by software restrictions. Some may accept those limits, but others will spend their money elsewhere, on things they feel they actually own.

Record labels finally realized the folly of this strategy and began letting music sites - such as Amazon's MP3 store - sell music without DRM. But the movie studios remain stuck in their DRM delusions, and book publishers don't seem to want to learn, either.

Until that changes, Amazon can have the smartest designers in the world work on the Kindle, and it will still feel like a Version 1.0 approximation of the e-book future."