Monday, 22 June 2015

Why many authors incomes might be going south with Kindle Select!

Amazon’s recent letter to writers who publish through its Kindle Select program told them that the formula was changing because of their concern “that paying the same for all books regardless of length may not provide a strong enough alignment between the interests of authors and readers.” It’s an interesting development, but one can’t help wondering what the real reasons for such a drastic change are. 

At present, Amazon distribute a pot of money to those authors who have submitted their books to its Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Lending Library irrespective of genre or page count, but in this new scheme authors will be paid for each page that remains on the screen long enough to be read in full the first time a customer reads the book. At first glance what this new system seems to do is reward authors who write page-turners; books that can keep the reader hooked. This makes book length a critical factor for authors looking to leverage the power of Kindle, but with one well aimed boot Amazon has potentially decimated an income stream for many children’s book authors and short story writers. Whereas up to now a children’s picture book with 36 pages would receive the same pay out per book as door stop novel the rewards going forward are going to be miniscule by comparison.

Considering how Amazon has been promoting its Kindle Kids Book Creator we can’t help thinking Amazon have just scored a home goal, not to mention given the finger to many children’s authors who have supported their program. Of course there are always two sides to every story and as is often the case perhaps we have to dig deeper for the truth. One thing Amazon have never been forthcoming about is the number of books read versus the books downloaded through its Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Lending Library platforms. When you pay up front, readers tend to be less arbitrary about the books they download and as is the case with free kindle downloads there are a significant proportion of books downloaded that are never read. When you look at it from this perspective Amazon is actually being very clever, but a good book is a good book irrespective of length and penalising authors on page count seems highly unfair and a sure fire way of alienating a significant proportion of authors who have derived an income from the existing system of remuneration.

As always we like to play devil’s advocate and stimulate conversation on topics of interest, so please share your thoughts and don’t forget to nominate a book for us to consider for a spotlight review.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

The future for eBooks

Let’s be honest, publishing is an incredibly tough business to be in. Novels are by their very nature highly subjective, what appeals to one reader certainly won’t appeal to another and that’s before they wade through the avalanche of self-published books being released on a daily basis. Few authors would disagree that it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for readers to separate the wheat from the chaff, which in turn makes it harder for authors to build a substantial following. The debate continues to rage as to what the ultimate impact of eBooks will be on the publishing industry, but here at Book Viral we do like to speculate.

There seems to be a weight of opinion that by the end of this decade self-published eBooks will account for 50 percent of the eBook market. If you were given to gambling, you might like the odds, but is our love affair with eBooks and self-publishing really here to stay? Trends change and if history has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is written in stone. Major players such as Amazon have a vested interest in convincing us that eBooks are the future, but then again it was a popular belief that home video would kill the cinema. It didn’t because quite simply there’s nothing to compare with the experience of the big screen. When you go to the cinema you can be fairly confident that a film making it to general release is going to be of a certain quality. Sound, picture, the acting, they combine to make the experience. With books the experience comes from a good story which is significantly marred by poor editing, lack lustre prose, dire copy and flawed formatting, not to mention a dodgy cover. eBook sales may be increasing, but with it the gate keepers of the publishing industry have shut up shop. Amazon show no interest in adopting the role and as a result too many readers are discovering books that fall far short of the proverbial mark. 

So here’s our question for you. Will the eBook evolution continue unabated or will readers, tainted by a deluge of poor quality books, turn the tide in favour of traditionally published books as a guarantee of quality? Now before you answer, take a deep breath. We’re just playing devil’s advocate. We aren’t saying that self-published books are poorly written, far from it. The indie boom has introduced reader’s worldwide to an incredible number of amazingly talented writers, we’re just asking you to consider the eBook experience from the readers perspective and what proportion of the publishing market you think they will command in 2020. Let us know your thoughts and recommend a book for us to feature in one of our spotlights.