I attended a writers’ conference where a keynote speaker criticized a former publisher. The publisher was small, and Canadian, and there had been a dispute over the author’s electronic rights (though the publisher wasn’t selling any digital versions of the author’s work anyway.) That’s when things got ugly. “Small publishers aren’t interested in selling books. They make their money with government grants.” He walked back from that statement and mentioned several small presses he revered, but he had reason for his venom. He bought the rights back at great expense so he could use them properly.
It is true that if you’re a small Canadian publisher, you’re eligible for grants. The big publishers have some margin for error in their budgets. The mid-sized publishers are walking a financial tightrope. That’s the general point of a recent Globe & Mail article on the dangers waters publishers sail. It’s worth reading when you’re trying to choose whom you should send your precious manuscript.
In other news, if you check yesterday’s comments, you’ll see Sue Kenney, author of My Camino, stopped by for a comment about how she wrote fast to fit her publisher’s schedule. (Thanks for commenting , Sue! Check out her site and her wonderful story at www.suekenney.ca.) I mentioned in my reply how many traditional publishers are losing book sales because they don’t have the electronic version available and people are looking for those titles. When you don’t find the titles you want, you buy a book that is available for your iPad.
How do I know this? Because I’ve visited this link: Lost Book Sales | Every day an author and a publisher lose a sale. These are the stories why. Publishers? If you haven’t embarked on your e-book program yet, you don’t have much time left to make the switch before you are irrelevant. (Yes, JK Rowling is the exception. She’s refusing to allow Harry Potter to go digital. Good for her. However, her amazing success is atypical in the industry and shouldn’t be the basis for sales decisions about the rest of the market.)
As if that weren’t enough to make a publisher knock out a window and crawl out on a ledge, I ran across this post on the wave of piracy that’s coming to my favorite industry: Your time is up, publishers. Book piracy is about to arrive on a massive scale – Telegraph Blogs – The BFF.
Don’t worry though, friends!
This isn’t a wake.
It’s just a call to make the choice to adapt.
It’s a hope the industry is willing to change.
Happy Tuesday! I’m off to NanoWriMo.
- E-Books Are a Billion Dollar Market (slog.thestranger.com)
- How to Promote Your Ebook (suzanneanderson.net)
- Mike Shatzkin discusses e-book territorial restrictions (teleread.com)
- Publishers Fear eBook Piracy, But Shouldn’t (torrentfreak.com)
- Google Editions, Bookstore in the Cloud, Will Go Live By July (libraryjournal.com)
- So You Want to Self-Publish? (suzanneanderson.net)
- James bond novels go digital, cutting out Penguin (telegraph.co.uk)
- The Seven Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (smashwords.com)
- Ian Fleming’s James Bond E-Books: Bypassing the Print Publisher (dailyfinance.com)
- Amazon Introduces 70% Revenue Share For Kindle Magazine And Newspaper Publishers (techcrunch.com)