Friday, July 23, 2010

Bypassing Print

Many authors are bypassing print and going straight to e-publishing. And I’m not just talking about new authors. Some well-known, established authors are doing it.

We’ve talked about Stephen King releasing his e-book Blockade Billy a month before Scribner put out the hardcover version. He also released a story exclusively for Kindle.

Now comes novelist Ryu Murakami will release his latest novel exclusively through Apple’s iPad before the print version comes out.
 The digital package will include video content and set to music composed by Academy Award winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, according to the Japanese business daily Nikkei.
Some authors, like business expert Steven Covey, are taking away backlist titles that traditional provide print publishers with a constant stream of revenue. Covey has granted Amazon “exclusive e-book rights for two of his best-selling books for one year.”

According to the Wall Street Journal,
 The new equation, in theory, would give authors a bigger chunk of royalties. Mr. Murakami said his initial goal of 5,000 downloads would cancel out the investment costs, and if the plan is approved, Apple will receive 30% of the revenue with the rest to be parsed among Mr. Murakami, Mr. Sakamoto and the software company, according to the Nikkei.
Whether you publish solely e-books or a combination of print and e, what do you think of this bypassing of tradition print by big name authors?
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23 comments:

  1. I'm not crazy about it! I know e-books are becoming more and more popular, but not everyone has an e-Reader.

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  2. I wonder if the authors get incentives for releasing their works exclusively for ebook readers (or in ebook format first). It would certainly encourage avid reader to purchace an ebook.

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  3. I think we're going to see more and more of it, probably.

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  4. The common theme here is royalties. Surely, people in the industry saw this coming. If big name authors were smart they would have started writing books to go straight to ebooks years ago. To use a pun, the writing was on the wall. This is the time for all writers, established and new, to take control of their careers. Personally I think an agent is still the best option, but why not take a professional product straight to ebook, or at least negotiate with confidence and knowledge. I'm new to this game, but writers aren't getting paid enough. I'd like to see my book in hardcover, but that might be ego. I have a family to feed first. You'll be able hire e-readers at the library soon/now. Nathan Bransford has a post on this.

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  5. It does seem to be the way of the future. Guess sooner or later I'll have to move forward and get an e-reader to keep up.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

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  6. I think it's amazing how what was once met with such resistance, rReaders, is now taking off with such popularity. Kudos to the authors for exploring and using all the options available to them.

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  7. If all the big name authors go straight to e-print, maybe the print publishers will be more open to the rest of us. Maybe?

    Marian Allen

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  8. It's kinda like vinyl records becoming cd's. Sigh! Just have to learn to go with the technology flow, I guess.
    Karen

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  9. You don't need an ereader to read ebooks. You can read on your computer, or on other handheld devices (PDAs, smart phones, etc.)

    But more importantly, paper is not going away. At least not for quite a while yet. There is too much money to be made - even avid ebook readers often like to collect a paper version of their favorite books, and even though libraries (a major book customer) are finding ways to serve ebooks, they will still stick with paper books for a long time.

    I've published my books directly as ebooks and I certainly plan to release paper versions soon.

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  10. It is not just big-name authors who are doing direct to e-book releases. On lists like KindleKorner there is a lot of talk about other authors going straight to a Kindle edition of their books and selling quite well.

    And I agree that paper editions are not going away any time soon. There are thousands of readers who are starting to prefer e-books, and there are still thousands who want paper. There is room to sell in both forms.

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  11. It seems that is the way of the future starting in the present.
    as shocked at the family members who have readers on their gift list only because some of them do not normally read books. They aren't even asking for those that connect to the internet!

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  12. Ebooks are a part of the future (not all of it, but a big part) and the future is now. It's all very exciting. I still love print books for comfort reading, but e-books are great for convenience reading. Only complaint I have about e-books is the pricing. Should be *much* lower than print books.
    Judy

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  13. I don't, bermudaonion.

    Laurita, I don't know about incentives, but often the cut is higher for the author on e-books.

    Simon, when you can not only check out ebooks in a library, but an eReader, that will certainly change things.

    Unfortunately, Marian, they will probably just pay them more to keep them in print.

    The thing is, the young generation are adept at reading and using ebooks and that's not going to revert. I talked to a Notre Dame professor last night on the plane and he said students are using and loving e-textbooks. Once they're used to that, they'll stick with ebooks.

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  14. Why not? Gives more power to the author.

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  15. I'm not thrilled, but that's just because it represents change. I'll get there, eventually, a little Kindle too.

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  16. It is a bit difficult to embrace change, isn't it, Liza!

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  17. I love that people can download my books. However, when a book is exclusively released as an e-book it takes away the choice to read a printed copy of that title (which I personally prefer). So I'd like to see both versions offered.
    Hearth Cricket

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  18. I believe traditional publishers have forced authors to do this. They refuse to give authors a greater share of ebook earnings than they give them for print. The smaller publishers I deal with have always paid higher royalties.

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  19. I personally prefer a printed copy, but it's really up to the author.

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  20. Well, I can see the appeal but as a reader I'm not thrilled. First: I don't have an e-reader and have no interest in making the investment in one as yet. Second: I just plain ole like books and this feels like it's either penalizing the fastidious paper readers or betting that these people will convert. Interesting things to ponder, though.

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  21. Apparently people read 6-10% slower when reading from an e-reader.

    I don't have a problem with big name authors going to e-books. Soon the two "worlds" will be the one.

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  22. My heart always breaks for the libraries when I hear this. They'll never be able to shelve these books - although I suppose libraries will be moving in this direction too.

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  23. I think the big publishers have brought this on themselves, and I think authors should do exactly what they want to do as long as they stay faithful to their contract obligations.

    As far as doing it myself, I'm about to put my first novel on ebook since I have the rights back. It has already been in hardcover, audiobook, and paperback, so this seems the best way to keep my name out there. However, it's still going to take a lot of promotion -- competition is getting more fierce every day.

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