Round up #291: HarperCollins/Amazon deal, $20 off Paperwhite
The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.
Book collecting: how has the presence of e-books affected it?
I’ll admit to being surprised by this
Wall Street Journal post by Steven Rosenbush
I have collectible books…oh, not books worth thousands of dollars, but I’ve paid $100 for a single book.
I’ve also “collected” all of a single series, although that’s not quite the same thing.
What would I guess would have happened to the collectible book market in the past few years?
I thought prices would have gone up.
My intuition is that people will see the rise in e-books as meaning that there will be fewer p-books (paperbooks) to collect in the future. Lessening supply with the same demand could mean a rise in prices.
I also figured there would be an “endangered species” mentality. Falsely, I think, there was this sense that p-books were simply going to disappear.
Remember that p-books decay. Different quality p-books (in terms of materials used and production methods) decay at different rates, but pages can become brittle with age.
If they are actually (gasp!) read, the situation is even worse for them.
I’ve had people surprised that I could read a mass market paperback and still have it look like new at the end, and that’s not how it is with most people. The spines get broken, people “dog ear” pages, things get spilled on them,they get exposed to the elements…people tout p-books as one of the great technological innovations of all time, and that’s reasonable…but they aren’t invulnerable.
If we stopped making p-books, the world supply of them would dwindle over time, and I thought that would be the collectors’ collective vision.
Nope, according to this article, the business has been stable.
To me, that’s a bad omen for the future of p-books.
On the other hand, collectors aren’t the same as readers (although there is some overlap). A collector (especially one doing it for investment purposes) sees the book as an object…not as a story. If this physical object was signed by someone, or owned by someone, or is rare in some way…that all makes it more valuable for a collector, but not particularly for someone just wanting to read the contents.
Regardless, I do think there will continue to be a market for collectible p-books…and I do think we’ll eventually see prices rise, even if it hasn’t happened yet.
Will subsers be the new MMPs?
One of my regular readers and commenters, Lady Galaxy, said something that got me thinking about the role of subsers (subscription services) in the future.
Let’s say a novel is released today. We’ll say the hardback is list priced (the price the publisher puts on it) at $25, and the e-book is priced at $12.99.
A year from now, the trade paperback comes out at $15.
Does the e-book drop?
A year later, the mass market paperback (MMP) comes out at $9.99.
Then, yes, I’d expect the e-book to at least match that price, if not go a bit lower.
There is a possibility that publishers simply stop issuing MMPs for popular novels.
I think it’s a possibility that books come out at a price like $25 (although I’ve suggested before that some new novels could get as high as $50), then maybe drop some after the first year…let’s say $20.
Then, that’s it.
The e-book comes out at perhaps $12.99…and doesn’t drop (except for sales).
Where do “casual readers” get that book? After all, they are a big part of the market.
They get it after it is on the “frontlist” (that would depend on its success, but let’s call it two years for a popular book…I expect to see fewer books altogether, and the ones from tradpubs…traditional publishers…to stay on the New York Times bestseller list longer on average) when it becomes part of a subser, like
Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
MMPs were not really released for people who wanted to own a book or gift a book. They were really intended to be read and then to fall apart…which is not that different an experience from reading a book as part of a subser but not owning it.
I’m just kicking around this idea, but I do think it’s a possibility.
HarperCollins and Amazon reportedly reach a deal
Four down, one to go.
It’s possible that at some point, a tradpub and Amazon will part ways…but today is not that day.
According to this
New York Times article by David Streitfeld
and other sources, Amazon and HarperCollins have reached an agreement which will keep the publisher’s books in the e-tailer’s store.
While these deals don’t really become public, it sounds like all four of the Big 5 who have come to terms (Penguin Random House hasn’t, yet…that doesn’t mean they are fighting, it may just not be time) have pretty much the same thing.
The publisher sets the price (yes, this is the Agency Model), and Amazon can incentivize them to discount the books.
Publishers haven’t yet figured out how to do without Amazon…and while Amazon is becoming less dependent on tradpubs over time (Amazon published books regularly top their own bestseller lists…in the Kindle store), they are still in business with them big time.
I think that eventually, that business may consist of backlist titles…which could largely be in subsers (see above).
For now (and this is a multiyear deal), things continue.
Amazon Financials on April 23rd
According to this
Amazon will do its next quarterly financials call on April 23rd at 2:30 PM Pacific.
I think this may be a particularly interesting one…they seem to be pushing a bit into a new direction. We’ll see…
Paperwhite 2 $20 off today
Kindle Paperwhite 2 (at AmazonSmile*)
which is the current model, is $20 off today. That makes it under $100 ($99, to be precise) for the lowest priced configuration.
This is the model of Kindle EBR (E-Book Reader) that I use every day.
I like it enough that I chose not to go to the Kindle Voyage…and from everything I’ve heard, I don’t regret that decision at all.
I’m quite happy with both that and my
Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
These are both devices which do what they are designed to do very well…I’ve been quite satisfied with them both.
I can contrast that with my
Amazon Fire Phone (at AmazonSmile)
Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
Fire TV Stick (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
The Fire Phone is a serviceable phone, but I did like my Galaxy better.
The Amazon Fire TV is good…better than our Roku (which we’ve stopped using). I do expect it to get quite a bit better.
The Fire TV Stick is noticeably not as good as the Fire TV. It takes it much longer to load something, for example, the video stutters quite a bit (it’s on the same network at the Fire TV), and I find I need to restart it every couple of days (by holding in the select and play buttons together for about ten seconds).
The only big thing I see missing in the Paperwhite is sound (especially for text-to-speech, which I use every workday), and for my Kindle Fire HDX, it would be nice to have a rear-facing camera.
I would say this Paperwhite deal is a good one…if you are looking for a gift (they may discount it again for Mothers’ Day), or for a Guest Kindle…or even if you are just ready to replace an older model (keeping in mind the lack of audio), this is a good buy.
What do you think? What’s been your favorite Kindle/Fire model so far? Penguin Random House has always been a bit of an outlier…how will their negotiations with Amazon go? When will a publisher break with Amazon…if ever? What gadgets (including non-Amazon) have you had in your life which achieved the state of satisfying you? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.
Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!
* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help!
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.