Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The future of books?

Christmas has gone by and some days of rest has been used, which basically means food, family, friends and reading time for me.

Having been lured into the Cult of Jobs and forsaken paper based books for kindle and ibooks on an iPad. I've spent to much time browsing amazon for ebooks to get.
Then somebody I follow on twitter linked to Cory Doctorow's latest release, , which is free as in beer. So as the cheap guy I am, I downloaded the ePub version onto my iPad.
Now, I know of Cory Doctorow, but I have never read any of his stuff, I do not know why, but there seems to have been a certain "it" missing that would make me read it.
And I would probably would not have read it, I currently on read one story and the "essay" by the agent. If it was not for the fact it was mentioned that Mark Shuttleworth had commissoned the a story, I like Ubuntu and I probably got a lower membership number in the Cult of Shuttleworth/Ubuntu than in the Cult of Jobs.

Now the story was very much to my liking, but I also read the next chapter, that was penned by Doctorow's literary agent Russel Galen. And the "essay" was the big eye opner to me, especially the following part:

Publishing economics are ridiculous. Suppose we'd sold this volume to a conventional publisher, and let's call it a $15.95 trade paperback. The author's share would be 7.5% of the cover price, or $1.17. We're leaving 92.5% -- $14.78 -- to bookstores and publishers. There's no room to negotiate a better share for the author because most of that $14.78 goes to people who won't reduce their shares: bookstores, paper suppliers, printers, warehouses, shippers, the owner of the publisher's office building, taxes, and so on.

Now if an author is left with 7.5% of the cover price and most likely Doctorow wold get some what more than an unknown writer. There must be a way or model for the author to collect the same amount of money through other channels? The math is not that hard, to earn 10k with a cover price of 15, todays model dictates that you need to sell 8889 copies.
But lets say you drop the price to 7.5, ie 50% and the author gets to keep 5 and 2.50 is for the cost of digital distribution and payment then the author only needs to sell 2000 copies to earn 10000.

So why are there not more sites promoting ebooks for authors, not everybody cares for the New York Times best seller list, I usually go for my friends suggestions and other word of mouth avenues already, independant web sites would be just as good for me.
With no upsell needs, just "pure" recommendation of ebooks only.

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