Tag Archives: publisher

Amazon, Ebooks, and Advertising

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There has been a lot of mixed reactions toward Amazon putting advertisements on Kindle, especially when it was first launched in 2011. Today I wish to bring this issue back into the spotlight and invite you to re-examine it together.

In the article Why Advertising Could Become Amazon’s Knockout Punch attributes Kindle’s popularity partially to Amazon’s Special Offer, as it “lowered the price of the device” and presumably would not interfere your reading experience (which the advertisers find very reasonable and worthy of their money, of course).  Wikert then predicts that Amazon’s next step might be making money on in-book ads. He explains his theory by explaining Amazon’s wholesale model of publishing, and even goes on predicting that Amazon “would love to see ebook pricing approach zero” — which can be realised with in-book advertising strategy. All of this will eventually help Amazon “eliminate competitors” and obtain to market dominance”, as it has been doing in the past four years.

Jamie Lending takes a quite strong stance and describes Amazon Kindle Special Offers as a disgrace. “Unobtrusive” and “never in your reading experience”, says an Amazon spokesman in response to Lending’s complaint, but many readers still find the ad-free version irresistible despite the fact that they have to pay extra 30USD. While Amazon frames it as a Kindle user’s choice, Lending argues that the company takes away the “ultimate control” over ad exposure.

, in his article Ads on Kindle Fire HD tablets: Bad news or just business?, presents argument from both sides and comments that the subsidy of being able to control “is financial in nature”. Tofel’s opinion differs from Lending in the sense that he believes readers still retain some choice.

Is this really a question of whether consumers are willing to pay or whether they can afford it? And what exactly does it mean to publishers and authors?

Image Credit: Yahoo

“Platishers”: Platform Publishers and the Future of Media

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We are so obsessed with talking about the future of something, yet it is true that making predication remains a worthy pursuit of many social scientific investigations. Tobi Bauckhage, the CEO and co-founder of Moviepilottalks about the emerging hybrid models which seems to be merging platforms and publishers into one, leading the neologism “platisher” to being “a new breed of content providers”.

Bauckhage begins with explaining the (previous) distinctions between a platform and a publisher. Platform models facilitate “the production and distribution of content”, empowered by technology and contributed equally by every user, whereas publisher models make all decisions about the content and “were responsible for bad content or copyright infringements”.

Recently, however, social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, are pushing into the content creation area, while traditional publishers start to build up their online platform. Meanwhile, many hybrid media companies — or “platishers” — begin to emerge with considerable success.

With numerous creation of content and new business models flooding the internet, Bauckhage points out that the current challenge is to make relevant content stand out “in a meaningful, pluralistic and diverse way”, which is much related to the functionality of SEO. His confidence in new hybrid models being “the future of media”, though, seems to go without much justification — or should we just take it as self-explanatory?

Image Credit: TechCrunch

Infographically Explained: Should You Self-Publish or Go Traditional?

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The Write Life publishes an infographic to help authors decide whether they should pursue self-publishing or follow the path of traditional publishing.

In a discussion of this infographic, Mutterings of a Fantasy Writer refers to July 2014 Author Earnings Report which reports some statistics about “emerging trends in the world of digital publishing”

One thing that I’ve wanted to point out is that I think there is a general misconception with traditional and self publishers about “getting the book out there.” There is no “out there.” There is only “who is for” and “how is the author cultivating and adding value for readers.” People read and share information based on trust in relationships, and we should bear that in mind when we write/publish a book.

Image Credit: The Write Life

Kindle Self-Publishing Tips: Making Your Book More “Visible”

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Brian G. Johnson, author of Azon Bestseller, shares Kindle self-publishing tips and advice that will allow you to drive more traffic and thus make more sales. Talking from his experience as an “Internet Marketer”, Johnson elaborates on how to make your books more “visible” amid the ocean of books on Google and Amazon by explaining how the search engine works.

Please also be aware that some form of self-promotion of the speaker’s book is involved in this short video. While I have no intention at all to promote Johnson’s book per se, producing a tutorial video does seem to be a great marketing idea for self-publishing authors, especially if you are a Youtube savvy.

Video Credit: Brian G. Johnson

Perks, Pitfalls, and Paradoxes of Amazon Publishing

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Nina Shapiro discusses how Amazon has created a new model of publishing, and how this new model will impact the authors. Her article The Perks, Pitfalls, and Paradoxes of Amazon Publishing sheds light on the much controversial change that Amazon has brought to the publishing industry in the past decade.

The article begins with the publishing endeavours of an author, Megan Chance, who was convinced that she had fallen into the “vicious cycle common to the publishing world”. Having signed up with Amazon Publishing, Chance witnessed the Amazon team utilising all their online resources and making her latest book a great sale. But all success comes at a cost, and for Chance, it involves not seeing her books in stores, “sacrificing prestige in the traditional, New York­-based literary world”, and some recognition in the rest of the world, because Amazon’s publishing model is “almost entirely self-contained.” The model that Amazon Publishing created has not won the reputation that it aspired in more than a few ways, but it has proved “surprisingly profitable” for authors who seek self-publishing as an alternative to traditional publishing houses.

However, Shapiro points out that some authors realise the model is not working for them; “… the hurdles to success, especially in the self-publishing market, are getting harder by the day.” Stories of a few more authors with Amazon experience were discussed. With some part of the publishing world starting to call Amazon “monopoly”, some author organisations are even preparing to take it to court while others grow a more supporting voice.

Shapiro describes Amazon Publishing — and what it will achieve — as an unfolding tale. The division now seeks opportunities in not only self-publishing, but also “republishing out-of-print books”, and introducing foreign language books into the English literary world (via translations imprint Amazon Crossing). As Amazon Publishing declares more competition with major publishers, many wonder if “gold rush is over.” As  Bob Mayer, a publishing practitioner and writer, points out: “It’s the best time ever to be an author since there are so many options. But it’s as hard as ever to succeed long term.”

Image Credit: Morgen Schuler for Seattle Weekly 

Re-thinking the Publisher/Author Partnership

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Robert Miller, president and publisher of HarperStudio, advocates his ideas in the article Re-thinking the Publisher/Author Partnership, as a reaction to M.J. Rose’s editorial Publishers Must Change the Way Authors Get Paid from the previous week

Miller applauds Rose’s stance in involving authors in the marketing of books, but disagrees with her proposed solution of having authors “paid a higher royalty in exchange for their marketing efforts”. This is because he believes that the author is equally responsible for making full effort in marketing as the publisher, but it is difficult (if possible at all) to translate the “effort” into corresponding share of profit (if there is any). Consequently, the authors and publishers will not find this solution very plausible. With the vision to establish a “sustainable publisher/author relationships”, Miller takes a step further and suggests that publishers and authors be “equal partners” and share profits equally. This possibly tackles the aforementioned issue of calculating effort, and builds up responsibility on both sides.

While Miller’s suggestion of a fifty-fifty share has received some positive feedbacks, I do not see how it can work out so ideally, at least in the short term. One paradox in this proposal of adjusting publisher/author relationship is that most authors have a limited understanding of the publishing business, and it is the publishers who will suffer most financially if the books fail. I do sympathise with the authors who work whole-heartedly on their books, and I agree that they should receive the share that they truly deserve. While the industry certainly needs to rebalance the publisher/author partnership in order to motivate all practitioners, we will probably need to modify the contract case by case when it comes down to doing business.

Image Credit: Shmuel/Flickr

A Competition: Publishers vs. Readers

Johanna Vondeling gives a speech about her observation of the global publishing industry while working in Perth, Australia.

According to Vondeling, the rapid change that publishing industry faces today comes from “the explosion of self-publishing”, “the emergence of new technologies and new business models”, “globalisation of the industry”, and even some “fundamental changes in consumption habits”. These changes have brought about unprecedented challenges in the industry. She encourages the global publishers to invest more in digital publishing to embrace the new trends, while maintaining traditional publishing practices.

The most interesting point that Vondeling has made is that publishers these days are not just competing with each other or self-publishing authors, but are really competing with the attention of readers, who are believed to spend less and less time on reading due to distraction of emerging electronic devices and more diversified sources of information. Concerns of this phenomenon can be found beyond the publishing industry; as people devote more time to their smartphones and laptop entertainments, they are deprived of the time they used to spend exercising, meditating, family gathering, and even sleeping. What we are witnessing is a fundamental change of modern lifestyle that has been going on globally in the past decade. Traditional publishers will need to think about adjusting their strategies in business decision making before the change is too overwhelming to digest.

Video Credit: Berrett-Koehler Publishers