While I was in the office today one of my colleagues asked if they could get hold of my book.
‘Sure’ I replied ‘It’s on Amazon. I write under the pen name of W.Chaser’
‘It’s £1.66. I’m not paying that, can I have a copy for free?’
Sorry? £1.66. So that’s 0.000018p per word. Or 6.9p per chapter. Yes, I know I do free promo’s but if I wanted everyone to have it for free I’d just post it on my blog as a PDF and be done with it. Perhaps I’m looking at it all wrong 🙂
Geez, is that all I’m worth when I write (not that I do it for the money, but seriously 6.9p per chapter)? I’ll probably spend about 3-4 hours to write a chapter (maybe longer) and then another 10-15 hours editing it. The net result is 6.9p per chapter per book sold, and that’s full price. My take is actually only 2.4p per sale per chapter which makes it sound even more depressing!
In fairness she asked if she could be a beta reader for book 3, but to do that she needs to read books one and two. Methinks I’ve been suckered here 🙂
People are now used to the age of the cheap or free eBook. My wife will frequently download free books from Amazon when they’re on promotion, and whilst some of them are difficult to read (bad grammar, wrong words etc) most are worth her while and she enjoys them. In many cases they are a springboard and she’ll read other things by the same author that she then pays for so it must work at some level as an income generator for the author.
J. Keller Ford wrote an article earlier in the week about the bankruptcy of a major publishing house, and to an extent (as I commented on her blog) this is down to the reluctance of the media industry (and I include all media here) to change with new technology – that’s my opinion anyway. Recent history is littered with failures of companies that couldn’t or wouldn’t adapt (Woolworths in the UK, Marconi, Kodak) to a changing world or did so too late, and while I agree with many of her arguments the fault lies with the companies themselves not the consumers. Consumers want new ways to consume media (whether that be ebooks or news, films or TV) and these mammoth organisations just can’t adapt or won’t adapt – I suspect the latter.
Physical books as we know them will survive, there’s no way that they will just die. eBooks are readily available, and the market is growing but there will always be a demand for physical books. We specifically won’t give our son permanent access to an eReader because we want him to have the experience of a physical book. But at the same time it’s not practical to hoard all of the books that my wife would read in physical form, we’d need another room. Don’t believe me? She pretty much wore out her Sony eReader in 2 years.
Many will argue that the eBook sellers who are offering the ability for anyone to publish is to blame, but is it really? There are those that argue that allowing any old Tom, Dick or W.Chaser to publish a book leads to dross and while that’s undoubtedly true it’s also fair to say that a large number of talented authors take these routes because the major publishers/agents won’t touch them for one reason or another, whether that be because it’s the wrong time or ‘it’s not what we’re looking for at the moment’. And with the best will in the world I’ve bought physical books that are dross.
Piracy is likely blamed on a number of levels, and I can understand that, but you know what if they made the price of what they’re selling reflect the product they’d probably generate more sales. As I’ve said before, who wants to pay the same price (or more in some cases) for the same product but in a digital form? That just smacks of rank profiteering and the author generally gets no more from the sale of an eBook (if my research is correct) than the physical book, so where are the profits from not printing, warehousing and distributing going exactly?
Regardless of the state of the publishing market, eBooks are not going aware, nor are self-published or free eBooks. They’re here to stay and the sales of Amazon’s Kindle and the other eReaders like the Nook and Sony readers prove that. eBooks are now ubiquitous and available pretty much everywhere and on every platform from phones to tablets to dedicated readers. The publishing industry needs to embrace this (as they’ve started to do) but do so in a fair manner so that people don’t feel they’re being cheated, because unlike 3 years ago there’s now a wealth of talent out there waiting to be read and consumers if nothing else are fickle.
And apparently object to paying 6.9p per chapter per copy!