Tag Archives: sales

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 

Ursula K. Le Guin’s Challenge

Ursula K. Le Guin accepts the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the 65th National Book Awards on November 19, 2014.”

This video went virus within the online author/publisher community when it was first released. Now a discussion in retrospect, we can refresh our memories of how Le Guin informs us once again the “dangers to literature” and schools us on creative freedom. While our community need people who know the difference between “the production of a market commodity and the practice of an art”, we should also bear in mind that books, whose profit motive often conflicts with the purpose of art, “are not just commodities.”

At the end of the speech Le Guin says, “But the name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom.” Spirits of the writing and publishing community — a belief in resistance and change in “the art of words” — shall stay alive.  That’s really all we need to hear.

Video Credit: National Book

Source Credit: Write Through It, The New Yorker

Hachette: Selling Books Straight from Twitter

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 reports that Hachette Book Group will start selling books straight from Twitter after announcing a partnership with Gumroad, a platform where creative works get around distributors and are directly sold to the readers/audience.  speculates in a more in-depth discussion that this experimental deal is Hachette’s battle hymn against Amazon.

Although Owen describes it as an “experiment” because the books are sold “for a limited time and in limited quantities” only, Holmes argues that such business models might be revolutionary in shaping the future of digital distribution. From what I have read so far, here are some of its advantages:

1. This partnership facilitates the integration of marketing and sales for Hachette Book Group, since much of the company’s book marketing and promotion is now done on the social media.

2. By providing valuable data for creators, Gumroad makes it easy for the creators to identify their potential audience, and to reach out directly to the audience for promotional purposes.

3. Both Gumroad and Hachette expresses a more “creator-friendly mentality” through this partnership, allowing the authors/creators to make more profit from selling the books, which is motivating and will benefit the publishing ecology, or the entire creative industry in general.

Thought of the day: Do you think this type of business model will be adopted by more publishing companies? What in your opinion might be a disadvantage?

Image Credit: Brad Jonas for Pando Daily