This weekly series of publishing news will serve a dual purpose:
1) I’ve just started a Grad. Cert. Editing and Publishing at UTS, so it will help me be prepared for class.
2) It will encourage me to keep up-to-date with publishing and to actually think about current events.
I’m posting this is a few days later than intended, I will try to have this done by Saturday or Sunday at the end of each week.
Highlights from last week (28/7 – 1/8)
Amazon and Hachette’s fight continues
Amazon has announced what the very public disagreement with Hachette is actually about. Amazon wants the majority of e-books to sell for $9.99, instead of $14.99 or $19.99. Amazon claims that by lowering the price of e-books more units of each book will be sold, therefore increasing overall profits. Amazon also want a 30% cut of sales. The remaining 70% would go directly to Hachette, though Amazon think they should give authors 35% of that. In their release Amazon said:
A key objective is lower e-book prices. Many e-books are being released at $14.99 and even $19.99. That is unjustifiably high for an e-book. With an e-book, there’s no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out-of-stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation costs, and there is no secondary market — e-books cannot be resold as used books. E-books can be and should be less expensive.
It’s also important to understand that e-books are highly price-elastic. This means that when the price goes up, customers buy much less. We’ve quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000.
Just because some books may sell more if they are cheaper, doesn’t mean that every book will. For some authors pricing it at $9.99 may be a disadvantage. Furthermore, while production costs for e-books are lower than print books there are still costs associated with e-books: editing, cover design, layout etc. I think it’s reasonable to pay a decent price for an e-book if it means that it will be a quality item.
And speaking of e-book quality …
Publishers concerned about e-book production quality
Data Conversion Laboratory & Bowker Survey on Digital Publishing Industry Shows Publishers’ Increased Concern about eBook Quality Conversion quality, formatting, and complexity are among top concerns.
Publishers are increasingly concerned with quality as they move towards digital productions, according to a new survey on trends in the digital publishing industry. Of the respondents, 84 percent are planning to publish digitally in 2014 (an increase of 21 percent over the prior year), and 52 percent of respondents said quality of digital conversion was the aspect of greatest concern.
“Books in digital formats are continuing to become the norm,” said Laura Dawson, Product Manager at Bowker. “More and more publishers are planning to publish digitally. As a result, quality in conversion has become more important than ever, and cost is no longer as big a factor as it has been in the past. The challenge for publishers now is to ensure that all conversion and content quality is done with the greatest amount of care, especially to meet reader expectations.”
As a reader, I certainly agree that when e-books are converted to a digital format they need to be high-quality and retain the integrity of the original texts. I would like to see publishers just as concerned about the quality of digital first or digital only books. I know that many publishers care less about e-books (especially digital first or digital only) than print books, but digital really is just increasing in popularity so publishers should start caring about the quality of all e-books, not just those converted from print. I’m particularly thinking about editing in this respect – the same level of editorial care should be given to digital formats as is given to print.
Toronto book fair launches self-publishing awards
Another step forward for self-publishing is the news of a new award for Canadian self-published books that will be launched at Inspire! the Toronto International Book Fair in November. The award is titled ‘The Creating of Stories: Canada’s Self-Publishing Awards’ and has three categories based on audience age: adult, young adult and children. According to the Rules and Regulations, the criteria for judging is:
a. Excellence in approach to subject matter
b. Creative use of images & graphics
c. Overall ability to appeal to a large audience
d. Creative use of language or text
e. Overall design
f. Cover art
It’s great to recognise self-published authors in their own category, especially since it’s a growing sector of the book publishing industry. I like the judging criteria as well, it really acknowledges the whole package that self-published authors need to create.