Monday, December 03, 2007

E-Book Readers, An Author Speaks

Last Friday, I blogged about the Amazon’s new Kindle, an e-reader. I’m going to continue with a bit more today since this morning there was a piece in Business Week by David Kiley about the Kindle and what he feels it will mean for the book business.

In Amazon Can Empty Bookstore Shelves, Kiley is excited, not so much about the Kindle itself, but what it could mean for publishing, in his opinion. He’s the author of two books, with another one in the works. The next one will be published by traditional means, but he anticipates that the Kindle, although not perfect, will cause a shift in the way books are published.

He thinks e-books will put more money in the authors’ pockets and will make for better books, especially those with pictures or which are time-sensitive. Of course, the example he uses is himself. And he already has a platform. Here’s his example, based on his own sales and record:

Books don't have to end, and neither will my author's revenue stream. If I sell my Kindle book to a reader for $9.99, he has saved perhaps $20 on the price of a hardcover book. Let's say I sell 40,000 copies of the book, and further assume that I can get at least 10,000 of the buyers to subscribe to periodically updated chapters and podcasts, or perhaps a blog, for an additional $9.99. As an author, I would like to control that end of the revenue stream, which I don't need a big publisher for anyway. That's another $100,000 in revenue to me, minus my costs and Amazon's cut.

Then, as he points out, they’re better for the environment. Kiley predicts that business people will be the first to embrace the Kindle-type readers since they’ll be able to take many books, magazines and newspapers on planes on a reader much smaller than a laptop, then university students will quickly follow. After that … the world.

Kindle says:
If I was Barnes & Noble (BKS) or Borders (BGP), I would start planning for what I was going to put in all that store space in 20 years. At least I hope they have to have those meetings.

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