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Amazon Is Recruiting Authors For Its eBook Library 130

Posted by samzenpus
from the sign-on-the-virtual-line dept.
Nate the greatest writes "Amazon just announced a $6 million pool of money that it plans to pay authors. All you have to do to get a share of the loot is commit to sell your ebook exclusively through the Kindle Store and agree to let your ebook be lent to Kindle Prime members. Amazon has already signed up a number of authors, including 31 of the top 50 self-published ones (J. Carson Black, Gemma Halliday, J.A. Konrath, B.V. Larson, C.J. Lyons, Scott Nicholson, Julie Ortolon, Theresa Ragan, J.R. Rain, Patricia Ryan, and more). It looks like Amazon launched this to support the Kindle Owners' Lending Library that Amazon launched just over a month ago. When it launched it had around 5 thousand titles as well as some less than voluntary participants. But there's a catch. Authors are required to give Amazon an exclusive on any title in the program. That means they're giving up the rest of the ebook market. Would any authors care to weigh in on the deal?"
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Amazon Is Recruiting Authors For Its eBook Library

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  • by rbowen (112459) Works for SourceForge on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:16AM (#38313572) Homepage

    My publishers don't give me stats that distinguish what ebook readers are purchasing my books, so I really don't know what percentage the kindle accounts for. However I also have a few Kindle books (ie exclusively Kindle) and they aren't exactly flying off the (virtual) shelves.

    I would guess that with the Amazon marketing machine working for you, any book is going to sell better than without it. I expect that would be strong enough incentive to be willing to experiment with a book or two.

    • by cultiv8 (1660093) on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:28AM (#38313646) Homepage

      I expect that would be strong enough incentive to be willing to experiment with a book or two.

      It took me 16 months to write a book on Drupal [slashdot.org], the idea of "experimenting with a book or two" doesn't sit well with me, especially if I need to commit to selling it exclusively through the Kindle store.

      • by rbowen (112459) Works for SourceForge

        I have not read anything by the authors mentioned but I bet their books are not of the scope of yours. I'm guessing 100-200 pages of light reading fiction, not carefully researched tech books, written at the rate of several a year.

        • by rbowen (112459) Works for SourceForge on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:36AM (#38313698) Homepage

          Also, the "for at least 90 days" in the program description, left out of the summary, rather changes the risk level quite a bit.

          • by cultiv8 (1660093)
            Yes, I just read that, and also this:

            For example, if total borrows of all participating KDP Select books are 100,000 in December and an author’s book was borrowed 1,500 times, they will earn $7,500 in additional royalties from KDP Select in December

            Not sure how well technical books would fare in this model, but it seems that the 100-200 page fiction books would do quite well.

            • by Mashiki (184564)

              Depends on the technical book. If I was still a mechanic, and could get updated info easily, quickly, and cheaply. I'd be quite happy. Sure there's a variety of services out there,but they cost a damn foot, arm, leg, and most of the tools in your shop. Plus most of the newer scanners have a built in reader that lets you reference other options for diagnostics, but they want extra money for that too. Damn cars, how do they work? They're full of computers.

      • by G4Cube (863788)
        You know there readers for all computer platforms...?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Writing tech books is a waste of time in this day and age. By the time you've complete the first chapter, whatever you're writing about has moved on and your book is out of date. Furthermore, the market is tiny.

        If it took you 16 months, this clearly isn't a calling for you. Stick to your day job.

    • by bhunachchicken (834243) on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:38AM (#38313702) Homepage

      My publishers don't give me stats that distinguish what ebook readers are purchasing my books, so I really don't know what percentage the kindle accounts for.

      Based on what I've gleaned so far from my own effort, I'd say that Amazon outsells the other ebook retailers by a considerable amount.

      In one month, I might sell 1,000 ebooks on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. In the same month, I will sell about 100 copies through the iBookstore, Smashwords, Kobo and Barnes and Noble combined.

      Amazon is a juggernaut that is unlikely to be stopped any time soon. I have to wonder how this will leave publishing in the next ten years. If hardback and paperback sales are slipping as much as people say, and book stores closing at the same rate, then people will end up reading more and more ebooks.

      Which means they'll probably buy a Kindle. Which means they'll then probably not want to pay $9 for a book. Which means they'll turn to the free and $2 / $3 books.

      Which might mean that you'll start to see traditional publishers outputting less, because they simply can't afford to compete at such a cost level.

      But that's just my prediction of the next 10 years. It's probably very wrong.

      • by slyrat (1143997)

        My publishers don't give me stats that distinguish what ebook readers are purchasing my books, so I really don't know what percentage the kindle accounts for.

        Based on what I've gleaned so far from my own effort, I'd say that Amazon outsells the other ebook retailers by a considerable amount.

        In one month, I might sell 1,000 ebooks on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. In the same month, I will sell about 100 copies through the iBookstore, Smashwords, Kobo and Barnes and Noble combined.

        I am curious if it is all types of books or just particular types of books that sell better on Amazon. For instance, I try to buy any sci-fi or fantasy books from places outside of Amazon. It also would be neat to see how the four device centric stores (sony/B&N/amazon/apple) compare to each other along with how independent ebook stores (fictionwise/smashwords/baen/wowio/etc) are doing.

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        I'm not as worried. Print-on-demand has been around for a while and it's only getting cheaper. I'm sure that the individual could buy an out-of-print book, or real "book stores" would end up being a novelty carrying actual paperbacks in stock that they themselves ordered.

    • by david.given (6740) <dg@co w l a r k . c om> on Friday December 09, 2011 @11:04AM (#38314640) Homepage Journal

      My publishers don't give me stats that distinguish what ebook readers are purchasing my books, so I really don't know what percentage the kindle accounts for. However I also have a few Kindle books (ie exclusively Kindle) and they aren't exactly flying off the (virtual) shelves.

      You can't tell us these things!

      No, seriously, you can't. Term 7 of the KDP terms and conditions is:

      7 Confidentiality. You will not, without our express, prior written permission: (a) issue any press release or make any other public disclosures regarding this Agreement or its terms; (b) disclose Amazon Confidential Information (as defined below) to any third party or to any employee other than an employee who needs to know the information; or (c) use Amazon Confidential Information for any purpose other than the performance of this Agreement. You may however disclose Amazon Confidential Information as required to comply with applicable law, provided you: (i) give us prior written notice sufficient to allow us to seek a protective order or other appropriate remedy; (ii) disclose only that Amazon Confidential Information as is required by applicable law; and (iii) use reasonable efforts to obtain confidential treatment for any Amazon Confidential Information so disclosed. "Amazon Confidential Information" means (1) any information regarding Amazon, its affiliates, and their businesses, including, without limitation information relating to our technology, customers, business plans, promotional and marketing activities, finances and other business affairs, (2) the nature, content and existence of any communications between you and us, and (3) any sales data relating to the sale of Digital Books or other information we provide or make available to you in connection with the Program. Amazon Confidential Information does not include information that (A) is or becomes publicly available without breach of this Agreement, (B) you can show by documentation to have been known to you at the time you receive it from us, (C) you receive from a third party who did not acquire or disclose such information by a wrongful or tortious act, or (D) you can show by documentation that you have independently developed without reference to any Amazon Confidential Information. Without limiting the survivability of any other provision of this Agreement, this Section 7 will survive three (3) years following the termination of this Agreement.

      Note that section (3) indicates that all sales data is confidential and therefore you are not allowed to disclose it. You don't even seem to be allowed to say anything about Amazon, including 'I spoke to Amazon today about the misprint in my latest book.' Luckily, as the T&Cs themselves are publically available without having signed the T&Cs --- naturally enough --- it's possible to discuss them (see (A)).

      I was intending to sign up for this, but the above clause seems unusually draconian to me.

      • by Raenex (947668)

        More 1984-style crap from Amazon and their Kindle, except that it isn't imposed on you by the government. Instead, consumers and publishers accept it in a Faustian agreement. I'm never going to buy a Kindle or electronic books from Amazon.

        • I think this about sums up my feelings too. I have an Aluratek Libre, a version of what is supposed to be a kindle compatible reader. I wanted to buy a book on bind configuration for ipv6 stuffs, and went to amazon to see what they had. 7 or 8 year old stuff, surely out of date by now was more than I felt it was worth, so I checked e-books too, and could get it for $19.95. That much I was willing to gamble on. But when I clicked on the download button, it downloaded it 'to the cloud' which isn't someth
      • by anyGould (1295481)

        And that section would clinch why I wouldn't recommend this plan to my wife (who's the author in the famiy).

        If they don't want you to talk about your sales data, it's because they know the number is going to be bad or disappointing.

      • by arkenian (1560563)

        Note that section (3) indicates that all sales data is confidential and therefore you are not allowed to disclose it. You don't even seem to be allowed to say anything about Amazon, including 'I spoke to Amazon today about the misprint in my latest book.' Luckily, as the T&Cs themselves are publically available without having signed the T&Cs --- naturally enough --- it's possible to discuss them (see (A)).

        I was intending to sign up for this, but the above clause seems unusually draconian to me.

        I took that to mean that if they, as part of the program, share sales data with me on OTHER books, and/or overall sales of amazon ebooks etc. etc. etc. I can't provide that information. The amounts of my own royalty statements would not be covered. That would put it pretty much in-line with standard non-disclosure agreements.

    • What books did you publish?
  • by masternerdguy (2468142) on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:20AM (#38313598)
    This is the 21st century. Why do we still have book publishing?! Everything should by indie and self marketed.
    • Re:WHY (Score:5, Insightful)

      by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:25AM (#38313628)
      Why do we still have book publishing?! Everything should by indie and self marketed.

      For the same reason that most people don't fix their own plumbing. It is easier and safer to pay a professional to do it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by mapkinase (958129)

        It's much more than plumbing analogy. Your analogy is about quality, publishing is about quantity.

        The difference between doing plumbing yourself and hiring a professional in terms of monetary value is insignificant part of your budget, while the difference between self publishing and publishing via powerful marketing house could be between you being set up for life and you continuing as an English teacher in Camden.

        I wish people stop using superficial analogies that do not add anything to the discussion.

    • Re:WHY (Score:5, Funny)

      by VortexCortex (1117377) <(VortexCortex) ( ... -retrograde.com)> on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:28AM (#38313642)

      This is the 21st century. Why do we still have book publishing? Everything should by indie and self marketed.

      FTFY
      You threw an extra punctuation mark in there... That'll be US$0.99 for proofreading services rendered.

      I'll bill you at the end of the month.

      • by ledow (319597)

        But you missed "should by" instead of "should be".

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          What do you expect for $.99?

    • Re:WHY (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ShakaUVM (157947) on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:29AM (#38313656) Homepage Journal

      "Everything should be by indie and self marketed."

      You make an ironic case for why editors are needed in the process.

      Also, self-marketing means that your book sales will be in the low 1-digits.

      • Re:WHY (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jbmartin6 (1232050) on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:47AM (#38313788)
        Heh heh I love the irony! I have to agree, I tried some of the $3 books on Amazon and probably won't try any more. The books were sorely in need of not only basic error correction but some professional editing. Contradictory plot elements, repetitive characters, and other nightmares were common. I wouldn't look forward to self-published world, unless 'edited by xxxx' became a valuable marketing tool where people shopped editors as well as authors. Meanwhile, I don't begrudge a few extra dollars for the added service of a professional editor.
        • by N7DR (536428)

          Heh heh I love the irony! I have to agree, I tried some of the $3 books on Amazon and probably won't try any more. The books were sorely in need of not only basic error correction but some professional editing. Contradictory plot elements, repetitive characters, and other nightmares were common. I wouldn't look forward to self-published world, unless 'edited by xxxx' became a valuable marketing tool where people shopped editors as well as authors. Meanwhile, I don't begrudge a few extra dollars for the added service of a professional editor.

          Blatant self-vertisement. Try mine: http://www.sff.net/people/N7DR [sff.net] or http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001HD36FU [amazon.com]. You will not find the kind of errors you mention. I work very, very hard on the content of my books and the formating for the hard-copy versions (I use plain TeX). The weak point is formatting for the e-book versions. I hate the lack of control. It's still better than most of the others I've seen, but it's far from the perfection I seek in other aspects of my creations.

          The huge problem is how to dist

      • by radtea (464814)

        You make an ironic case for why editors are needed in the process.

        And neither you nor anyone else has made any case at all as to why authors can't hire their own editors. Editing a novel is not rocket science, and freelance editors are relatively cheap.

        This weird "to have an editor you must have a publisher" claim makes no sense at all. It's like saying you can't have an indie band because only labels have producers.

        People--including authors--who claim that professional publishing is impossible without publishing houses are living the previous century.

    • Re:WHY (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rbowen (112459) Works for SourceForge on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:44AM (#38313754) Homepage

      Having gone both ways I think I can answer this.

      1. Editing services
      2. Typesetting and layout
      3. Marketing

      Most authors, even good ones, need these and don't do them well themselves.

      Most folks can figure out the first to but it's very hard to market a book yourself, especially for a first book.

      • Then we need a ModDB style site for authors to collaborate on, market, and distribute books.
        • by ShakaUVM (157947)

          Fanfiction.net does all this and more. Stories get rated, authors can attract alpha readers and editors if they're good, and people can leave feedback in comment threads for each story.

      • I'd agree on 1 and 3. I can do editing quite competently, but I can't edit my own work because my brain automatically corrects what I said to what I meant. The most helpful feedback from my most recent book has been from the person doing the Japanese translation. If anything isn't completely clear then having someone who isn't a native speaker reading it will usually spot it - I had a German person doing a review of my last book for the same reason.

        Marketing is something I would have no clue how to do

      • by willaien (2494962)
        There needs to be independent editors that will work for a set fee or on contingency... And Amazon needs to promote these editors and get them to work with the authors to bring up the quality of the works being sold on there.
        • There needs to be independent editors that will work for a set fee or on contingency...
          And Amazon needs to promote these editors and get them to work with the authors to bring up the quality of the works being sold on there.

          I'll edit books for pay if you have the money up-front, but if I were expected to work on contingency (not being paid until the book sells, and only getting a portion of the sales) I would reject all books that didn't have a chance at making it ... just like a real publisher. If Amazon were paying me to edit books, they would want me to reject books that are unfixable, those books that wouldn't make enough money to pay for the cost of my editing services and their overhead ... just like a real publisher.

          So

          • by willaien (2494962)
            Well, yes. For those offering contingency deals, it's best for the editor to reject poor works that aren't salvageable. That's a given. Amazon could, in fact, hire some editors to skim through and find some of the better works and offer to clean them up for a higher cut of the book sales...
      • I made much the same comment the other day, in the "DoJ investigates..." story - the responses were interesting to say the least, including this little gem:

        http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2563648&cid=38302818 [slashdot.org]

        I don't think this guy really understands what a good editor does, that good proof reading is an art and not something that you sell to the lowest bidder (and should never be done yourself - you are the most likely person to miss mistakes you made in the first place) nor that typesetting is stil

      • by radtea (464814)

        Most authors, even good ones, need these and don't do them well themselves.

        And apparently most people are incapable of understanding that it's possible to buy the first two of those things on a very modest budget (a few thousand) and the last has been something that mysteriously hasn't held back indie bands from becoming big. I wonder if there's any possible way an author might figure that one out too? I'm not totally sure how it'll be done, but I'm pretty sure it'll happen, and when it does the whole publishing eco-system will fall to bits.

        • by ShakaUVM (157947)

          Any person can build a recording studio in their house, but all the music you hear on the radio is still professionally edited and marketed, no?

          Think about the sad fact that most (not all!) Indie bands bust their asses making music, touring, and doing promotions *to get signed with a major label*.

    • by RogerWilco (99615)

      I'm not sure. I think we'll go the way of libraries, where you get access to everything for a certain fee/month. Basically Spotify, Netflix like models.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      kindle store is as self publishing as it gets.

      unless you thought about creating your own website and payment portal and all that shit..

    • This is the 21st century. Why do we still have book publishing?! Everything should by indie and self marketed.

      Have you read what's on Lulu.com and in the Amazon self-pubIished sections?

      I buy books from real publishing houses because their editors have slogged through the piles of badly written crap for me and picked out books with an interesting plot.

  • Horrible idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Augusto (12068) on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:20AM (#38313600) Homepage

    I'm sure the money is tempting but I really dislike this. I'm trying to imagine a future where publishers stop printing books, and we end up with an all eBook world that requires you to have a particular platform or device to read said books!

    Do we really want to follow an "exclusive for this platform" model like consoles for books?!?!?

    • Re:Horrible idea (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dotancohen (1015143) on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:40AM (#38313724) Homepage

      Do we really want to follow an "exclusive for this platform" model like consoles for books?!?!?

      Why not when "made for Internet Explorer" and "best viewed in Netscape" were all the rage not long ago? We are condemned to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again (see: DRM, religion, politics).

      • by Dhalka226 (559740)

        Not that I'm defending those practices--they were silly then and they're downright stupid now--but I don't think they're quite the same thing.

        "Made for Internet Explorer"-style "exclusives" were about the fact that browsers refuses to play nicely and render things the same way. Even insofar as a site could be made to look right in disperate browsers, it was a question of time/effort/cost versus reward. Especially for hobbyist sites that just wanted to toss something on the Web, that was often a real cha

        • I agree with your every word, but we are looking at the issue from different angles. You are looking at it from the developer / content producer's point of view. I am looking at it from the consumer's point of view. The public has already been trained to expect incompatibilities as natural, instead of expecting compatibility as natural. That is the real problem.

    • by mapkinase (958129)

      Any deal that says: we are going to advertize your book, but only in paperback, which we are going to sell for the price of hardcover, because we are greedy bastards and we want to screw you and your readers for our bottom line.. It looks like did not even need to finish the previous statement.

    • consoles for books... hmmm.... ...now if amazon could get most school books into this deal, it would mean governments would have to buy amazon devices for all school kids :-/

    • In the full article you'll see that it's only a 90-day exclusivity contract. A good book has more staying power than a mere three months so the author gets a bit more money, possibly some good exposure, and then they are free agents again.

    • Re:Horrible idea (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Friday December 09, 2011 @10:23AM (#38314174)

      Actually, a small number of widely-used DRM methods is exactly what is required to ensure freedom from DRM. Ten years ago, there were a ton of different content protection strategies and very little content. It wasn't worth the effort of cracking every method in use. Now we've boiled it down to two major DRM methods and both have a ton of mainstream content. It's no surprise that both methods can be thwarted with a few clicks of the mouse.

      Content I bought ten years ago is long gone because authentication servers no longer exist, the computers the content was tied to are long gone, the software doesn't run in Win7, etc. But the content I buy today gets stripped of DRM and copied to my array. From there, I can convert it to any format I want and read it on any device I want. That's only possible because Amazon (azw), Sony (epub), Barnes and Noble (epub), Apple (epub), etc. have created their "exclusive platforms" while failing to understand that content can't be controlled that way.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        Ah, but they don't care so much about the odd pirates as which products can claim official support. And those products are hooked to a DRM license agreement, even though DVDs are broken as shit you will still get in trouble if you make a DVD player without a CSS license. Does Amazon care that you free your ebooks? Not really as long as none of the other competing eReaders can put that on their feature list. As the music industry discovered, DRM is power even though mp3s were everywhere long before iTunes.

    • by chrish (4714)

      This is exactly why I made a point of buying an e-reader that supports ePub; I don't want my content tied to anyone's specific platform. (In my case, I went with Kobo [kobobooks.com] because they're a Canadian company, they've got their reader software on every platform I care about, and they use ePub.)

      Sure you can use handy tools like calibre [calibre-ebook.com] to convert between formats, but it can't always do it cleanly... sometimes you get confused tables of contents, or headings are formatted as regular text, for example.

      Amazon's moving

  • Good authors would incredibly stupid to do this. All this will do is draw unknowns/not established authors.
  • First Steps (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DonJefe68 (533739) <donjefe68@nospaM.gmail.com> on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:44AM (#38313756)
    This is only partially about cornering the eBook market (or should I say peripherally). The Amazon Prime lending library's main drawback is the lack of established authors and more current works. I'm just betting this is a trial program to test the waters. Mr. Bezos' next step will be to extend such an offer to a big name author. Ultimately, I believe his goal is to essentially dismantle the existing infrastructure of publishers and agents, with Amazon, of course, being the corporate entity to jump in and allow authors more or less direct access to the market without those middlemen taking a cut. In the short term, I like this plan. Any time a layer of middlemen can be eliminated it is simply a matter of the market making a process more efficient, which is a good thing, both for authors (less cuts out of their royalties) and for Amazon (larger pool of renowned authors). The issue is the long term implication. If this process leads to all authors being locked into a proprietary tech, that is bad. So, in short, authors should be happy, but tread carefully and be sure to be aware of what the motives are for these moves. If handled carefully, authors can still win this battle in the long term - they have the truly irreplaceable commodity here, their words.
    • by rbowen (112459) Works for SourceForge

      Mr. Bezos' next step will be to extend such an offer to a big name author.

      Note that Stephen King (perhaps you've heard of him) released the book Ur exclusively on the Kindle. Granted, it's *about* the Kindle, so that sort of made sense.

      Then, the 90 day exclusivity clause ran out, and it was re-released on paper, and did quite well there, too.

  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:53AM (#38313824)

    Please spend that money to hire editors!

    I've been reading a decent amount of self-published stuff over the past year and I've come across a lot of material that would be pretty darn good if only it had been given just the most basic pass by a competent editor. Misspellings, partially revised sentences, incorrect punctuation, etc. I'm hoping that, one of these days, I find a story compelling enough that I'll offer to pay for the services of a good editor. Then I could call myself a patron of the arts.

    • The problems you are describing could and should easily be fixed by a good proof reader. That is not the job of an editor. I don't think you know what an editor does.
      • by radtea (464814)

        I don't think you know what an editor does.

        "Editor", like most English words, has multiple meanings. One is "project manager at a publisher". Another is "person who edits copy", what you have incorrectly described as proof-reading.

  • by sandytaru (1158959) on Friday December 09, 2011 @10:02AM (#38313914) Journal
    I'll come clean and admit it: I wrote a novel, and it was soundly rejected by over a hundred agents, 90 of whom didn't even look at it (this is very common.) A dozen requested either partials or even the full manuscript, but the final verdict was that although the store was good and entertaining, it was too strange. Traditional publishers are risk averse these days and anyone who wants to do something out of the mainstream is best off looking at non-tradional publishing. Amazon could be come the niche marketplace for people who like weird or controversial subjects that don't really have a mainstream market out there.
    • by sandytaru (1158959) on Friday December 09, 2011 @10:03AM (#38313920) Journal
      *Story - and there's an example of why even a good writer needs a better editor to watch their back!
    • and if it's an example of your writing, I want to steer clear.
      ~ I hate crap 'boy fell outta bed'' endings.
      Let me dissect your post.
      you wrote a novel, it was enjoyed if not accepted by professionals in the field- amazon is the way to go for such- great- now do you have an actual and on topic message to throw in or were you just being autobigraphical for the hell of it?

      seriously, you raise this issue of your own experience, posit a determination of fact concerning amazon, and then don't even have an anecdo

      • Wow, you try really hard to be a dick.

        Maybe you should spend more time making constructive posts and less time insulting people.
    • by bcrowell (177657)

      An agent is not mandatory in order to sell a novel. Typically (at least in the genre I work in, which is SF), the steps to selling a novel are (1) build your chops with short fiction until you get to the point where you are regularly selling your work, (2) write a novel and submit it directly to publishers, (3) get offered a contract by a publisher and then use the offer of a contract to get an agent, who then helps you negotiate any changes you are hoping for in the contract. I'm not saying this is the onl

      • Not an unjustice at all - 10% reading it means I caught the attention of those people, which is more than many authors ever will see. I stopped querying because I started graduate school, and I took their suggestions and comments and decided to set the manuscript aside for a while until I could look at it with the critical eye that it really needs. I firmly believe that once it's cleaned up a bit more, there will be a market for it, even with its weirdness. In the meantime, there are other stories, and l
  • Authors are required to give Amazon an exclusive on any title in the program. That means they're giving up the rest of the ebook market.

    Does the agreement preclude any physical book being made? Or does Amazon also have exclusive rights to the hardcopy, and what happens if Amazon chooses not to publish a physical book? Does the copyright revert after a time?

    • by rbowen (112459) Works for SourceForge

      They have exclusive for 90 days. That's all. After that, you can do what you like. 90 days isn't very long.

      With a traditional publisher, you typically have an exclusive contract for a much longer time, but of course you can sell the resulting book in any venue.

    • From what I have read on J.A. Konrath's blog the royalties and terms are better. The big downside is the exclusive ebook rights. Your book won't appear in the nook store. Konrath deal included physical book publishing with Amazon. So his books will be printed by Amazon. Personally I think Amazon is making a mistake with the exclusive books. This kind of thing will keep some people from buying digital. If they gain enough market share from it they could be looking at a Anti Trust suit.
  • and told them all the dirt is worth ONE MILLION dollars per foot deep dug?

    as soon as the hole is dug to the appropriate depth-- amazon will fill it in?
    (no need to remove the author)

  • by Pembers (250842) on Friday December 09, 2011 @10:25AM (#38314212) Homepage

    I'm an indie author (see sig) with a couple of books on sale at Amazon, among other places. On the one hand, Amazon already accounts for about 90% of my sales, so I wouldn't be giving up much revenue by offering a title there exclusively, and it wouldn't take much borrowing to make up the loss. On the other hand, everyone and his dog will jump on this programme, so that $6 million pie is going to be cut into a lot of very thin slices, to the point that the likely reward doesn't seem worth what I have to give up in order to participate. If someone manages to challenge Amazon as an ebook retailer, I don't want to be locked out of them. On the gripping hand, I've seen what companies do when they become monopolies, and I've no desire to help build another one.

    Bricks-and-mortar libraries don't tell authors and publishers, "We'll stock your books if you promise not to sell them anywhere else." Then again, no library is anywhere near as big or influential as Amazon...

    • by ledow (319597)

      Except, here Amazon is acting more like a publisher of its own (given that its the one that promotes, sells and distributes your books for you). In that case, there are *plenty* of publishers who have such restrictions on their authors, which is why big-name authors can't chop-and-change between publishers at will, are often "forced" by their contracts to write X amount of books a decade, etc.

      Amazon isn't just a library. It used to be. Now it's branched out into everything from gardening tools to publish

      • by Pembers (250842)

        Good points, and if they actually were my publisher, I wouldn't have (as much of) a problem signing an exclusive agreement with them. But they're not my publisher - or I don't consider them as such, anyway. They're a retailer. If they were my publisher, I'd expect them to do some of the things a publisher traditionally does, like exercising some discrimination over what they publish and making some effort to market the books to readers. One of my books that's eligible for the programme was uploaded the day

    • by glop (181086)

      The article says
      "any of their books exclusive to the Kindle Store for at least 90 days:"
      So you get your freedom back in 3 months.

  • There are lots of other e-book players but the Kindle store far and away blows them all out of the water in terms of popularity and success.
    Could this not raise the ire of regulators? It seems like a pretty heavy-handed attempt to lock in an emerging and potent market by stopping them from utilizing competing services.

    Of course, it's optional, but still seems pretty dickish. At least it'll piss of the larger assholes (book publishers).

  • Look at it this way...the computer-generated models are more likely to pass a Turing test than the real live ones, right?

  • I have nineteen titles on amazon [amazon.com]: four novels in my science fiction comedy series, one novel in a junior science fiction series, and a bunch of short stories and collections. They're all on Kindle/Smashwords/Apple/etc except the junior SF novel, which is Kindle only. So, I just switched that one over to Amazon Kindle Select just to see what happens.

    It's still available in print, and the only reason the junior novel didn't make it to Smashwords is because they insist on DOC files.
  • by johnalex (147270) on Friday December 09, 2011 @12:18PM (#38315486) Homepage

    Anyone wanting to know how the publishing industry works, including the reasons why and why not to use traditional publishing, should read Kristine Kathryn Rusch's blog "The Business Rush: On Writing." [kriswrites.com]

    How to evaluate a traditional publishing company [kriswrites.com]
    The dangers of self-publishing with Amazon [kriswrites.com]
    Negotiating with publishers [kriswrites.com] (read the second part, too)
    How to make traditional publishing writer friendly [kriswrites.com]

    In short, if you want to publish your work, read Rusch first. She's worked in the industry for 30+ years. BTW, you may want to buy some of her sci-fi books, too. :-)

  • As far as I'm concerned, any exclusivity deal should be considered an antitrust violation.

    • by vanyel (28049) *

      Someone moderated this a troll, but I'm actually serious: exclusivity deals are highly anticompetitive. As it turns out, in this case, the exclusivity is pretty short term, so it's not that big a deal, but in general, a truly free market will not permit restrictions on trade like this. Once you lose the ability to buy from who you want, you no longer have a free market.

  • I'm waiting for that creepy dude who is always pushing the Vampire book that he is writing with all the creepy sodomy and other freakiness in it to weigh in (its like Nocturnal: Vampiron Galaxy or some nonsense). He never stops talking about it, and will almost twist any conversation to fit in his offer for you to come and download the first few chapters free (you can even create your own fan fiction stories based off his initial work, so get that perverted mind moving!). I can't even read a story about e
  • by Frightened_Turtle (592418) on Friday December 09, 2011 @04:15PM (#38318444)

    The basic idea of Amazon's program is certainly intriguing. And Amazon itself is fully aware that this program must be compelling for authors to sign on with it. There must be a decent reward for an author to sign an exclusivity deal with them. The idea is, Amazon puts up a kitty of $500K. All authors who join into the program and add a title (or more) to the free lending library for Amazon's Prime subscribers (This in important! Remember 'Amazon Prime' as you read all this!). Let's say 1,000 books were borrowed by Amazon Prime subscribers during the month, and 100 of them were yours. That means that 10% of the books borrowed were your title. So, you get 10% of the $500,000 for a cool $50K pay day at the end of the month. That's pretty damned nice! VERY compelling to join into the pool!

    Essentially, in exchange for 90 days of exclusivity and allowing your book to be read for free by Amazon Prime subscribers, you get a share of the pool each month. You also get good exposure by allowing some readers to see your book for free. If they liked it, they may blog or tell their friends about it, which would only increase the number of borrowings from Amazon Prime subscribers. In addition to this, if a subscriber likes your book enough that they'd like to own it outright, they can buy it and you get paid again!

    So? Where's the catch? It's in the numbers. Several groups of numbers, actually.

    First, there will be a lot more than just a thousand borrowings of a book. And a lot more than just a few authors offering their books. And all you need is ONE big name author to add a book to the mix to completely skew the results. If Stephen King decides to offer his next awesome book to the offering as an exclusive, every King fan is going to want to download it for free. That means, if your book got 100 downloads, but King's book got 100,000, then you only get at most .1% of the kitty that month, for a whopping sum of $500. That means that King gets that extra Jaguar in his garage for just in case the Lotus gets a flat. (He has neither, I'm just making a point.) Any time some big time author—King, Gibson, Steele, Roberts, Rowling—feel they need an extra $400,000+ real quick, all they have to do is offer their book as an exclusive for three months and allow folks to borrow it via the KDPSelect program, and all the little guys are pretty much SOL. Note: in truth, it is the publishing companies who control distribution of the books these authors write, and the publishers are the ones who will benefit the most from such a deal.

    Second, who is borrowing from Amazon's lending program? NOT everybody. Only paying subscribers to Amazon's Prime program will have access to the Kindle Owners Lending. So, out of the Kindle owners out there, only those who chose to pay a subscription fee to Amazon each month will have access to the lending pool. Each member is only allowed to borrow one title per month. That's important! So, they are going to be choosy about what they borrow for free. Are they going to use their one chance per month to borrow the hottest title on the market (like the Jobs biography)? Or try out some unknown author? Unless they've heard something about the unknown author, they are going to go with the guaranteed good read. What's vital about this is that the number of subscribers is a small subset of the total of Kindle owners.

    As of November 2011, the Amazon Kindle had about 41% of the market share of all ebook readers sold, down from 47% at the end of 2010. Apple's iPad is in second, and Barnes & Noble's Nook is in third and rapidly gaining market share. The number of Kindle owners subscribing to Prime membership will only be a small percentage out of that 41% of the total market.

    That means, as a new and unknown author, I would be limiting exposure of my first book to maybe less that 5% (WAG) of the total ebook reader market for a total of 90 days. And if there is a big name author in

  • by smchris (464899)

    Reminds me of Microsoft using their money to offer Office 97 at a near liquidation special to kill the then dominant WordPerfect -- in my opinion far superior at the time to Word.

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