Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Digital daze

After running myself ragged on various forums and blogs reading opinions on ebooks, I've come to several conclusions that work for me:

a) there is no conclusion and we may never know what it was if one ever happens to come along

b) most in the industry really believe low ebook prices mean the death of literature as a career field

c) people will just have to make their own decisions and embrace whatever principles they hold over the issue

It did give me food for thought on low-end prices, and how major publishers who carefully plot a promotional campaign, release date, store placement, and product hype must get really upset when some snot-nosed indie brat breaks the Kindle Top 20 with a 99 cent ebook. I say let the writers price them at whatever they want, which Amazon currently is happy to do.

Thus far, I am releasing previously published (on paper, for the most part) material, so any revenue is gravy to me. I don't think it's demeaning my craft or undercutting my value to sell at a couple of bucks. Indeed, I am honored people want to read my work, and I suspect cumulatively, over time, I will make more off these secondary appearances than I will from their original publication through professional publishers.

Yet my model is predicated on certain assumptions I can't control, any more than major publishers can bank on hardcover sales remaining their bread and butter: Amazon and other outlets will always be open to independent authors and publishers; the ebook market keeps expanding; and readers will still be able to find me once the floodgates are thrown wide and four million writers finally get their chance to be "authors."

Who knows, maybe we bottom feeders will soon be griping about all those writers willing to give their work away for free.


Dark Intruder said...

I continue to be fascinated by this whole discussion. Personally, I believe there are going to be some major changes coming and probably some turbulent times. But that's just the nature of progress. I also like J. A. Konrath's argument for "cheap" ebooks; not just from a fan's perspective, but I believe he's onto something. However, I would guess the publishing industry hopes he is not right.


author Scott Nicholson said...

Well, I am selling pretty well with zero budget. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. this is one of the most exciting times of my entire writing career!

Erik Williams said...

Exciting times indeed. I'm playing with the idea of writing some original content for Kindle under a pen name. Something pulpy and fun. It seems like a natural fit for the platform and low price range. Keep us up to date, Scott.

author Scott Nicholson said...

Good luck, Erik! The best thing about ebooks is people seem to be reading more and trying genres and categories they would never consider otherwise...and this is great for everybody!