Friday, July 01, 2011
Pirates, E-Books, Publishers, and You
Book industry balance continues to tilt towards the author
Matthew Ingram contends that the balance of power is rapidly shifting from the Publisher to the Author and that writers with the smarts to market themselves are going to outsell those who still depend on the old fashioned author-publisher model of the past. Ingram uses John Green (more on him later) and Amanda Hocking (whom I've previously spoken of) as examples of young authors who are cashing via all the new tools available to them.
Those willing to do "the hard work" that publishers seem reluctant to take on these days, have a legitimate chance to find readers for their work. Admittedly, creating a bestseller this way is a bit like winning the lottery - but the tools are out there.
Tweeting from a La-Z-Boy, An Unfinished Book Hits No. 1
This Wall Street Journal piece highlights YA writer John Green who has the latest number one seller on both the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites. What makes Green's breakthrough so newsworthy is that he is still working on the book from his Indianapolis home.
It probably does help that the same John Green has 1.1 million followers on Twitter. Do you think?
Plenty of E-Book Shoppers Buy Directly from Author or Publisher
The Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites might still be the source for the bulk of e-books being sold today, but authors and publishers are doing pretty well by bypassing those outlets when they can. According to a poll taken by scifi author Stephen Hunt (on his website, Facebook, and Twitter) something like 39% of e-book purchasers buy directly from the publisher and 25% buy directly from the author.
The bad news: 19% of e-book readers responded that they got their books from illegal sources. That can't be good...or can it? (See below)
Piracy - A Two Edged Sword
Some authors have tried giving their books away in e-book form, hoping to build a name for themselves with the buzz created. Some, like Neil Gaiman even report increased sales for hardcopies of books they have made available for free.
I suspect there are special cases in which this will be true, but giving e-books away is not a longterm business plan for anyone, be they new or veteran writer.
What is a new writer to do?