Benefits of E-Book Publishing

I joined a nice conversation with Michelle Maltais at the Los Angeles Times over the weekend, regarding the benefits of e-book publishing, specifically as it applies to Amazon’s Kindle program. From my comments:

  • Publishing on the Kindle enables authors to bypass the traditional publishing network of agents, editors, distributors, and stores to go directly to readers.
  • The economics and efficiencies are fantastic. Authors who become self-publishers using the Kindle do not need to lay out, print, store, and ship their books, reducing the financial risks to almost nothing and greatly shortening the time from a book’s completion to its availability to readers.
  • The financial breakdown is beneficial to both authors and readers. My most recent book costs $19.95 in a traditional book store. My royalty will fall between 5% and 10% of that price, depending on a few variables. You spend $20, I get $1 or $2. As a Kindle e-book, however, that same book could cost $5 and I would get $3.50. Better for you, better for me.

You can hear the conversation here, with my segment beginning at 2:38.

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  1. Posted August 12, 2010 at 1:41 am | Permalink

    One thing I have found disappointing about the Kindle is that books that aren’t popular, seem to cost nearly as much as hardcover book. For instance, I purchased the Kindle edition of Thomas Sowell’s “Basic Economics” and it cost me something like $23. That’s crazy.

    I always thought paper books were so expensive do to the cost of publishing. Those same costs shouldn’t be associated with paperless books.

    • Posted August 15, 2010 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      I agree. I think it’s a byproduct of most e-books still originating with traditional publishers who see them as ancillary products to accompany “real” paper books. To avoid cannibalizing paper book sales, they keep the price of e-book versions on a par whenever possible.

      What should change that is the eventual flood of self-publishers and small presses directly to e-readers, completely bypassing the traditional method of publishing and unconcerned with protecting paper book prices. Once searching the Kindle store becomes synonymous with skipping the standard inventory at every Barnes & Noble to find new content, I think all e-book prices will drift lower.

  2. Posted August 16, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I think most people are not aware of how much the book market is changing. If you are able to save that much on printing, you can then use the money to work on your advertising and your publicity. Writing the book and getting it published are just the beginning!

    Dr. Wright
    The Wright Place TV show

    • Posted August 17, 2010 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      That’s true, Dr. Wright, and another benefit of electronic self-publishing is that it greatly shortens the time to market. The book business has refused to change and is therefore going to be forced to change. Expecting authors to wait 18-24 months for their book to see the light of day in a world of instant idea sharing on Facebook and Twitter isn’t realistic. Creativity will find an outlet, and I feel a lot of pent-up writer frustration migrating to the e-book option. Great!

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