To bring you some industry news.
Yes, because writing is an industry, i.e. a business.
You can uncork your ears now, thank you.
So onto the news.
First, Salon has an excellent article on the pricing wars of eBooks. It has iPad on the title (and a nice little picture of an iPad merging into a Kindle) but the article is about how Amazon is trying to fix prices:
Publishers have hated the Kindle since it was introduced because they believe Amazon is using its clout to artificially force down the price of e-books. Amazon retails the Kindle editions of new releases, bestsellers and many other books for a standard price of $9.99 — which is less than it pays for them itself. Amazon takes a loss on the books, presumably in order to sell more Kindles, and also, most likely, to cement its dominance of the e-reader market. Publishers have long assumed that, once Amazon has the Kindle locked in as the default e-reader and has accustomed buyers to that $10 price point, the company could compel publishers to lower their wholesale prices on e-books.
It is stuff like this that put the $ in Micro$oft and why people hate the record industry. There is a fine (and dynamic) balance between producers (writers, editors, publishers), retailers (Amazon and their ilk) and consumers. We all like to get stuff at the lowest price (free if we can manage it) but we also like to get a check for our work, in this case advances and royalties. So if Amazon undercuts the publishers on the sale of eBooks just so they can sell more Kindles, take a guess who has the most to lose?
And the first two guesses don’t count.
It’s the same reason why the record industry is in trouble. They shaft the artist with lousy contracts and stick it to consumers with an overpriced product. Not to mention that albums, as a product, are counterintuitive. Most people buy music on song by song basis, so paying $20 or more for what amounts to a single and a bunch of left over static doesn’t make much sense. Of course, books don’t work that way, but Amazon’s petulant business practices, such as yanking books from readers Kindles and banning sales of a publishers lineup has a similar effect, it poisons the retailers name and open the flood gates to other alternatives which then hurt everybody up and down the publishing chain (which leads you to the same question/answer as above).
The other piece of news?
At least that is the claim one Dean Wesley Smith makes on his blog.
I for one don’t buy it. Even with my legal background I know nothing of the business, the market nor do I have any connections to the industry. Not that I would not engage in that side of of writing if I have too, and in a way we all have too, whether we like it or not, but I think the real question is how to get a good agent and also how to build a good rapport with him or her. There is a fascinating discussion on the subject on the Writing Excuses website, with an insightful podcast too.
Well that is all the news for now, now back to your regularly scheduled blog post.
And now for something completely different: