11 February 2010

An Answer to the NY Times


As usual, the NY Times acts as if NY conglomerate publishing is the only game in town. Sure, that's the only books tracked and put on NYT's bestseller list. Sure, those lists aren't even based on sales but rather on orders of books. But...let's look beyond that.

Will NY conglomerate publishers raise their prices? Some will. I can't help that. But all the hysterics and hype about how e-book prices are going up is just that...useless fear mongering. Why?

Because NY conglomerate publishing is not the only game in town, and indie's prices aren't budging. In fact, conglomerate is not the originating game in town for e-books. The e-publishing community was built by indie presses and pioneer distribution channels, like Fictionwise and ARe. Some of the forerunners in the e-publishing industry have been around for between 10 and 15 years. All told, both Amazon and the NY conglomerates are new to the game.

NY talks about testing the market. I laugh. Why do I laugh? Because that testing was done by indie press long ago. While prices that people are willing to pay for an e-book vary from reader to reader and further from author to author or publisher to publisher, when considering a single reader, we have a pretty safe ballpark that the indies tend to stick to, these days. Why? Becauase it's already been tested and found solid. Worst case scenario, someone comes in at the higher range for a novel-length e-book (a range that is about $5-7 in indie) and finds that a dollar or so lower works better for them.

Some NY conglomerates talk about their "progressive" or "revolutionary" new e-book programs. When they do, I laugh. Why now? Becuase their revolutionary new programs often involve copying what indie press already does. Too bad they aren't smart enough to copy pricing, but they are so worried about their print books, they are undermining the e-books they are putting out...and hacking off readers, in the process.

I don't begrudge them the right to experiment and find their own pricing balance but...clue arriving guys...it's HIGHLY unlikely to be $15 per book. In the meantime, pirates are using this as an excuse not only to pirate you, but also to pirate me, and I'm selling e-books for half of what you do...sometimes a third of that. But hey...one excuse is as good as another to a pirate.


RowenaBCherry said...

I wonder why the New York Times does not permit comments?

I should have loved to leave a nice, polite note.

The assertion that startled me was that piracy *might* become an issue.

Might? Piracy is a huge issue.

Everywhere you look, people who have no right to do so are selling or "sharing" downloads to "free" ebooks, or asserting that they have "Resell" rights.

And the NYT which could do so much to enlighten and educate the public about what copyright is, and why it matters... well, it doesn't help. At least, not yet.

I call on the NYT to run a free full page ad showing this:

Copyright and Electronic Publishing
• The same copyright protections exist for the author of a work regardless of whether the work is in a database, CD-ROM, bulletin board, or on the Internet.
• ……
• The Internet IS NOT the public domain. There are both uncopyrighted and copyrighted materials available. Assume a work is copyrighted.

Or giving the full text of this

Here's what the American Copyright Office writes:

"Is it legal to download works from peer-to-peer networks and if not, what is the penalty for doing so?

Uploading or downloading works protected by copyright without the authority of the copyright owner is an infringement of the copyright owner's exclusive rights of reproduction and/or distribution. Anyone found to have infringed a copyrighted work may be liable for statutory damages up to $30,000 for each work infringed and, if willful infringement is proven by the copyright owner, that amount may be increased up to $150,000 for each work infringed. In addition, an infringer of a work may also be liable for the attorney's fees incurred by the copyright owner to enforce his or her rights."


Now, that would be a real public service! Please consider it, NYT.

Marci Baun said...

NYT doesn't allow comments because they don't want the voice of reason to be heard (or seen). You would think the NYT would interview some indie presses. There are enough of them out there now that are very successful and know what the market will bear. Instead, it upholds its cronies and allows all the fearmongers to blame the death of the $9.99 on Steve Jobs when all he has done is allowed the big 6 to set their own prices.

Now, when will the indies be allowed into iPad and the Apple store remains to be seen.

Carly Carson said...

Agree with the other two commenters. Also, I went into Bloomingdale's and saw a Gucci bag I liked. BUT it was too expensive - outrageous! I guess I should go back and steal it, huh?

(I really hate that stupid excuse for "piracy".)

jean hart stewart said...

I for one am sick of the righteous attitude of the so called big guys. Thye've had their heads buried in the sand as far as e-books are concerned and now are upset? Hellooo!And have they ever even heard of Astatalk with its outrageous piracy?

KrisB said...

Newspapers are dying.
I work for a publishing company who also has newspapers.
It doesn't want to let go of the newspapers, so it is looking for other ways to balance the debt of running a newspaper.

Print isn't dead.. but charging more in other areas isn't going to help.. and they will run themselves in the ground.

The thing about eBooks, though, is they have nothing to lose.. not really.

So, the consumers and the lack of sales will prove the point, sadly at the expense of the authors.