Archive for the ‘Publishing’ Category

Pay by the page read: Amazon revolutionizes royalties

June 17, 2015

Pay by the page read: Amazon revolutionizes royalties

For as long as anyone in the publishing business can remember, it’s been about selling books.

It hasn’t actually mattered if anyone read the book or not…just whether they bought it.

Oh, sure, if someone read it (and enjoyed it), you were more likely to get good word of mouth out of it, which could result in more sales, but when you are looking at the initial calculations, it’s just the purchase that matters.

Amazon is changing all that…at least for independent publishers in their

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

and KOLL (Kindle Owners’ Lending Library) programs (through KDP Select).

They took a step in the new direction with KU originally, when someone had to read ten percent of a book which was borrowed before the publisher (which might be just the author) got paid for the borrow.

That was more of a threshold thing, though. You have to prevent someone from borrowing a bunch of books and not reading them, just to get the author (who might be a friend) a royalty.

In the new system (starting July 1st), you get paid based on the number of pages read.

That completely up ends the game!

A book has to be good…all the way through…for you to get the maximum payment.

The current KU system has benefited short “books”. I wrote about that before: how, for example, a winning strategy would be to break a book on ten great TV series into ten separate books.

This changes that.

Obviously, if they counted screens of text displayed, this would be easy to game. You could just put one letter per screen. 🙂

Amazon is smarter than that.

As detailed on this

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Help Page

Amazon has come up with a way to do the calculations. This is their explanation in a short excerpt from the referenced page above:

“To determine a book’s page count in a way that works across genres and devices, we’ve developed the Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count (KENPC). We calculate KENPC based on standard settings (e.g. font, line height, line spacing, etc.), and we’ll use KENPC to measure the number of pages customers read in your book, starting with the Start Reading Location (SRL) to the end of your book. Amazon typically sets SRL at chapter 1 so readers can start reading the core content of your book as soon as they open it.

This standardized approach allows us to identify pages in a way that works across genres and devices. Non-text elements within books including images, charts and graphs will count toward a book’s KENPC.”

I’m sure they’ll also take into account reading speed in some way so you can’t just flip through the screens.

I suspect they’ll also be able to tell if you bounce around. If you are reading an anthology and skip a story, I assume that story won’t count. In other words, you can’t just jump 100 pages into it and give the publisher credit for 100 pages read.

While this currently only affects borrows, I think readers would like it if it was also the case with purchases.

Wouldn’t you just love this? No padding in an anthology. No clunker pieces in a non-fiction collection.

Of course, I’m portraying it in its best possible light…I tend to do that. 😉 I’m assuming Amazon will count actual pages read (by judging how long you stay on a page…our devices can already calculate our reading speed). If they don’t, we could get a lot of filler.

Another negative might be that it could be harder for new authors to get exposure. One way that happens now is that you stick an untested author’s story into an anthology with other better-known works…sometimes with public domain works.

However, there is one more very interesting thing about this to me.

You can’t do it with p-books (paperbooks).

That could really create a bifurcated system…what makes you money in an e-book might not be what makes you money in a p-book…and vice versa.

A great (and perhaps misleading) cover could work in a p-book…but if only gets people to read the first ten pages, it could fail as an e-book paid by the page.

This could lead to a much greater degree to books published in only one of the two formats. If you are only going with one, I think you are going with e-books (much lower risk). I’m not going to say that’s part of the secret agenda here, but it’s fun to speculate….

One last thing: in a way, this is a throwback to the pulp era when authors were paid by the word. Not the same, of course. In this case, it’s not that you benefit purely from tremendous output in a variety of genres (which was the case for many writers back then), but only if people actually read it.

Fascinating, and I need to think about this a lot more…

What do you think? If you are a reader, what do you think about this? If you are an author? Publisher? What flaws are you seeing in the idea? I didn’t address this, but does it mean the money will come in more slowly? For example, I read some books over the course of years…a chapter here, a chapter there. I might love a book like that, but use it as a “palate cleanser” between novels. As I think about that, is that bad for an author/publisher? It would be like getting residuals from having done a sitcom on TV…lump sums (like big advances) can help finance the next book, but this could help you have a smaller amount of money all the time…could help you live. Oh, and what does this do to advances, if it spreads over to purchases? Would they not give you a big advance if they didn’t know people would read the whole book? That could affect certain brand name authors, who shall remain nameless. 😉 I definitely want to hear from my readers on this…feel free to share your thoughts with me and my other readers 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.

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89% of Canadian publishers do e-books

March 19, 2014

89% of Canadian publishers do e-books

…and everybody else is either in the process or planning to do them.

At least, that’s according to this fascinating and information packed

Booknet Canada study

As far as I’m concerned, they asked a lot of the right questions of the right people, and laid it out nicely (many pie charts, and you also get the numbers).

I’m not going to take much away from it (I recommend that you take a look), but I do want to mention a couple of things.

What are the driving forces for e-book production?

  • Increase sales: 74%
  • Accessibility: 72%
  • Customer demand: 68%
  • and weigh down towards the bottom of the list was “Mechanism to reduce costs” at 15%

That one stands out to me to because so many people think it is so much cheaper for publishers to produce e-books than p-books (paperbooks) that the consumer price should be much lower.

Way back when, I remember seeing an analysis that it was 12.5% cheaper, approximately.

People often figure that the tangible items in a process should be the most expensive part, but that’s rarely the case.

We pay humans for their efforts more than we pay the planet. 😉

There’s the author, sure, and the editor and the cover artist and the marketing department, oh, and the legal department and…taxes, and more.

Certainly, it’s likely that the expense of getting a p-book somewhere has gone up in the past four or five years, so the 12.5% might have risen…but e-books are not primarily about cutting production costs for the publisher.

In terms of digital availability of print titles, 19% of the publishers had 100% available. If you look at publishers which have more than half of their p-books available, it’s about 49%.

32% of them had more than 75% of their backlist (titles which have been out for more than six months) in e-book form.

Great strides!

Now, this was something that was consistent through the study, and might be surprising.

Which of the publisher sizes were more likely to have done more in the digital world (higher percentage of books in e-book form, dedicated digital employees, and so on)?

  • Small/Indie
  • Mid-size
  • Large

Let’s see: small, nimble, adaptable, little modern speedboats, or big, lumbering, cruise ships?

Okay, that was misleading…it’s actually the large publishers!

Again, that might make some people shake their heads. That’s not the scenario which has been discussed.

I think the reason is pretty simple.

Doing something new takes money.

Large tradpubs (traditional publishers) have it.

Tradpubs can bring on a new staff of digital experts, experiment, fail, figure it out, go from there…small publishers can’t take those chances.

Let’s look at one more thing: e-book retail distribution.

  • 93% had books listed with Kobo
  • 88% had the Kindle store
  • 76% had Apple
  • 68% had Barnes & Noble
  • 67% had Sony
  • 50% had Google
  • and there were more options listed

Since this is Canada the top few were to be expected…but it intrigues me that they still have so many with Sony, and not as many with Google.

Here’s the Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Respondent Profile
  • Dedicated Digital Staff
  • Ebook Production & Conversion
  • Fixed-Layout Ebooks
  • Ebook Bundling
  • Digital 2.0 – Digital Originals, Enhanced Ebooks & Apps
  • Digital Best Practices
  • Digital Creation and Management Tools
  • Digital Asset Management
  • Ebook Sales & Distribution
  • Libraries & Ebooks

The link I gave you above is to a free PDF.

In case you are wondering, I tend to read PDFs on my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile: support a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

using

ezPDF Reader PDF (at AmazonSmile)

Why do I use that instead of the Kindle app on the Fire?

Text-to-speech.

I’m usually listening to TTS in the car (I prefer that to the radio or music). The Kindle doesn’t do TTS for PDFs, unfortunately.

It wouldn’t have done me much good on this report, because of all the charts, but I’m used to using that app now. 🙂

That’s one reason that “accessibility” as the second biggest reason for producing e-books interested me.

E-books are much more accessible than p-books for many people.

  • You can increase the text size
  • You can use text-to-speech on most commercial titles (unless the publisher blocks it)
  • You can change colors (white text on a black background helps some people)
  • The device is light, relatively. I had a relative who had someone tear the Harry Potter books into pieces, because they were too heavy to manipulate. Another relative just recently switched to a Paperwhite, due to an inability to push the physical buttons because of a medical condition
  • The Fire even has audio adaptations for some hearing challenges

Hm…here’s a cool idea for an accessibility feature that would help people like me.

I mentioned the great pie charts here. One issue is that they use colors (colors that are too close for me…I have some color vision deficiency), without labels on the slices. However, they did put the legend in the same order as the slices, so I can tell which is which.

One thing that is possible, though, is to have an option that adjusts for color vision deficiency.

They could put that on the Kindle as an accessibility option.

I can get apps through the Amazon Appstore now.

For example, this one is free:

DaltonAid (at AmazonSmile)

I can use that to look “through” my phone at something, and it adjust the color for me.

Yes, the app is compatible for the Fire: but I can’t look through my 7″ HDX (the camera only points towards you, primarily for videocalls)…and any way, I couldn’t use an app on the Fire to look at the Fire. 😉

So, there’s a suggestion for you, Amazon. 🙂

What do you think? If you read the report and something else stands out to you, feel free to come back and comment here to tell me and my readers what you think. How do you like to read PDFs on your Kindle? Would it be worth it for Amazon to add a color vision deficiency adjustment option to the Kindle, or would you prefer they not spend the money on development (after all, everything costs something)? Would you guess that Canadian publishing is significantly different from American publishing? I’m all ears…you know, except for the rest of me. 😉

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle.

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* 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.


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