Amazon is expanding its Kindle self-publishing platform to allow authors and (supposed) rights holders to upload and sell e-books worldwide in English, German, and French. The online vendor's global rollout of its Digital Text Platform arrives on the coattails of Amazon extending the reach of the Kinde DX e-reader beyond North …
And what about the Publishers?
This might be enough to piss of f the Publishers and drive them into the competitions camp.
After the Orwell fiasco
There's no bloody way I'm ever buying a Kindle. I don't care if Amazon swear on their CEO's mother's grave and promise us the moon wrapped in cellophane, they've demonstrated the ability to delete stuff from your library and not for all the promises in heaven, earth and hell can they avoid doing it again the moment a judge tells them to.
The damage is done, Amazon. Not even a Dremel can put enough spin on that to fix it. I'll look for a reader that doesn't allow it's manufacturer to delete or modify what I put in it, thanks.
All about vanity publishing
In the old days it used to be called vanity publishing, these days they prefer to call it self publishing. Either way the result is the same - the vast majority of "self published" stuff is unmarketable garbage. I expect that most purchases are made by people who wrote the books in the first place.
I think the only reason that Amazon, Lulu etc. even offer ebook & DRM services is because its another way to nickel and dime the deluded and vane on their way to the checkout.
I realise that occasionally there may be reasons to use self publishing, for some technical document or niche subject or whatnot, but by and large its an ego trip. Even for a niche subject I do not understand why people would use a self publish service when most of them deny the author the right to set the price of their own work.
In comics "self publishing" is a badge of honor, they are the ones who, I think, first used the term, and some of it is quite good, for example Bone by Jeff Smith. After all, why bother paying a published if you can do it yourself?
self publishing != vanity publishing
An example I saw recently was a biography somebody wrote about their great-grandfather, who wasn't particularly famous. It was a nicely made book of interest to a rather small number of people. If it was printed by lulu.com then I would guess most copies were bought by the author, because that's how you get the best price from them.
In this particular case, the author of the self-published biography was also the author of dozens of conventionally-published academic books so I would guess it can't have been much of an "ego trip" (whatever that is exactly).
Swings and Roundabouts
It's an extremely generous rate compared to most publishers who offer maybe 10 or 15% royalties but then the audience and sales are going to be considerably smaller. Publishing in the Kindle shop first may also scupper any chances of selling through a traditional publisher who will expect exclusive publishing rights. For new works this is probably better left as a last resort alternative to vanity publishing than a mainstream outlet.
An extremely generous rate*! I take it this is said it jest. Those 10-15% rotalties you mention are offered on print copies by publishers with massive input in terms of expertise and costs. Amazon is a retailer NOT a publisher. It provides no input whatsoever. SIXTY FIVE PERCENT is an outrageous sum for an online retail store. Neil
Re rights, ask Google perhaps?
Since Google is busily scanning the world's copyrighted out-of-print books, they probably can tell Amazon whether my novel is actually by me or is a minor work by Evelyn Waugh that I'm bootlegging.
Harder to tell whether I am Evelyn Waugh's heir and executor or not, or to stop me writing my own Harry Potter novels and selling them through Kindle.
Cheap electronic self-publishing is used to to keep out-of-print material available - stuff that was reasona bly successful at launch but is not necessarily going to pay back if printed up wholesale again. I think Airship Entertainment publishes some of their old comics material on Lulu, and it also provides mercchandising-type goods - image of your choice on a mug, maybe.
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