Saturday, May 17, 2008


Javed Alam

She raised awareness of a very important area in her article that is ready for digital onslught.

There is more to the story beyond the Amazon's attempt to capitalize on the ebook the market.

A digital common is coming into existence on its own that have a huge pool of the books for free.

I listed some of them here



I worked in the book publishing industry some 20 years ago and remember the concerns about new forms of media -- books on tape were just really starting to take off then. There were all sorts of wild stories about imagined media, of which the electronic book was one.

Much of that concern centered on loss of control by publishers, including the one for which I worked. There was a push to draft boilerplate contract language to ensure "we" got a significant cut of "any future media formats." I think the agents won out on that front, however, and authors were still left with the smallest portion.

I haven't experienced the Kindle -- and am still a purist when it comes to books; however, I am getting much more of my news from the web via my BlackBerry's browser these days. I'm not sure when it happened, but the magazines and newspapers in my hands have been replaced by my handheld device.

I've been involved in the online publishing world for the past decade (PBQ, Ducky, The Green Skeptic) and have seen the extended reach and readership afforded by online media. I believe it's only a matter of a few generations before the book as we know it becomes a cultural artifact.

Sad, but true. As the technology improves, the next few generations may shift entirely to electronic delivery of books, magazines, and newspapers. Until then, the growth of print-on-demand publishers may make eventually the traditional book publisher obsolete.

Good news for authors? Maybe. It means you need not settle for a 65-35 split for your "book." Theoretically, you could get 100% of the revenue, by posting a PDF on your site for a reasonable price, or by pulling a Radiohead and asking readers to pay what they want.

Bigger potential audience; larger share of the profits. Sounds like a pretty good deal.

Of course, the purist and poet in me wish that books and their publishers could tell a different story. They would be smart to pay attention to the changes at Amazon.com and companies like Blurb. Otherwise they'll go the way of the record companies.


I think it's nice in theory and that some authors will no doubt find more success going direct with Amazon but I'm skeptical that they'll dis-intermediate the agents and publishers as long as the latter are adding value. More at http://www.ragsgupta.com/weblog/2008/05/can-amazon-chan.html.

Amadou M. Sall

I sell my ebook (The Insider Guide to The Strategic Marketing of Translation Services) through Lulu.com/ at $18.75. I get $15 and Lulu gets $3.75. So I get an incredible 80% of the price. Ain't that a cool deal :-)

How does that compare with 4 to 6%? Haven't these authors heard about Lulu.com? Maybe they prefer to be published by "big" Publishing Houses?

And, I almost forgot, Lulu also does print publishing!

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