Book It, Baby

January 17, 2016 - Kindle Unlimited

Remember e-books? Those were a days, weren’t they? Those crazy few years when a breakthrough of reading on a Kindle swept a nation. Now, of course, that fit of mass violence is behind us. E-book sales are falling, down some-more than 10% in 2015 — YA down 44%! — while used bookstores are entrance back. Yes, that’s right; imitation is convalescent a royal primacy; e-books are dead. Right?

You demeanour suspicious. How strange. It’s roughly as if we consider that since those numbers come from a Association of American Publishers, they competence prove something rather opposite from a genocide of a e-book; they competence be a signifier of a arise of smaller publishers not tracked by a AAP, and/or, a expansion of online reading around eg Wattpad or Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. Author Earnings argues that what we’re really saying is that AAP publishers “have seen their common share of a US ebook marketplace collapse.” Mathew Ingram in Fortune adds, rhetorically, “Isn’t a dump in sales usually a healthy outcome of a publishers’ pierce to keep e-book prices high?”

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Somehow we don’t consider Amazon is running quite scared. They combined 3 million new Prime members this Christmas season, who can use Amazon’s Kindle Owners Lending Library to check out giveaway books. Those don’t count as e-book sales. Neither does Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s subscription service. I’m usually one information point, though I’ve published 8 books (cf a picture adult top) and we can tell we that, for me during least, a ratio of “books review by Kindle Unlimited” to “Kindle copies sold” is about 8:1.

Also, around John Scalzi’s analysis of a situation:

I know that publishers mostly want e-books to fail, mostly since Amazon controls even some-more of a e-book marketplace than a dead-tree market. An distinct concern. we adore Amazon, though is a monopsony good for authors? Probably not. (And in a prolonged run, what isn’t good for authors isn’t good for readers, unless prices go crazy-high.)

…But then, normal publishers’ walled gardens weren’t good for many authors either. Even if we managed to quarrel your approach into that walled garden, if we didn’t have a discerning strike with your initial few books, we were mostly shortly solidified out. The mythological “death of a midlist” predated e-books; some contend it even predated Amazon.

I introduce that today’s standing quo is indeed flattering good for authors and readers. We unexpected have a outrageous spectrum of edition options, to fit each possibility.

Publishers perform a profitable service — consider of them as a VCs of a book universe — but, in a same approach that we don’t need a bazillion dollars from a big-name VC to launch a startup any more, we no longer need a Big Five publisher to get your book out a world. The indies, a micro-publishers, a self-publishers, a crowdfunders — there’s room for everyone.

So since doesn’t this standing quo feel great? Because it provokes heated stress in everyone: publishers, authors, and readers.

Well, publishers, obviously, have to understanding with a Amazon devil, either they like it or not; and they have to worry about a cannibalization of their courtesy by micropublishers, online publishers, etc. Their share of a cake is timorous (although it’s not going away.)

For authors, there used to be a obvious and well-understood route to success. A circuitous towering route full of cliffs and high winds and lethal monsters, though a route nonetheless. Now edition is some-more like a trackless jungle. You have to somehow find your approach by it with no map, no compass, a really crappy knife, and a deceptive clarity that a moss competence grow on a north side of a trees, while anticipating that we don’t travel underneath any leopards.

As for readers — they no longer know where to go to review a subsequent book that transforms how they see a world. Buy a book on Amazon? Physical or e-? Or go to Smashwords, since you’ve listened they’re improved for authors? Trek out to a earthy bookstore? Check out something from Kindle Unlimited and/or a Kindle Lending Library, for free, before we dedicate your money? Surf by Wattpad or Feedbooks? It’s a stress of choice.

Books are unequivocally in a business of attention, and consideration, and they have some-more and some-more competition. YouTube; Twitter links; TV bingewatching (some with abyss and complexity that rivals that of good novels); Netflix movies; in short, what amounts to a present accessibility of a whole library of tellurian creativity, for giveaway or cheap. Plus, of course, other books, an ever-growing series of other books, since a series of engaging new books published each year certainly contingency surpass a series that turn culturally irrelevant.

Whatever else happens, we guarantee we this, we’ll keep reading, since reading a book stays one of a many emotionally and intellectually absolute practice accessible to us as tellurian beings.

But if we ask me, what we unequivocally need is not some-more authors, or improved publishers. What we many need is a vastly improved complement to brand a books we will love, but carrying to deposit so most time and mental bid into a book before entrance to a end that (for this sold reader) it’s no some-more than mediocre. Build a mousetrap of improved book discovery, and we for one will steamroller a route to your door.

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