On the face of it the world of publishing is about to be blown apart by Kindle and other readers. The reasons are economics and scale.
As my correspondent Prof Glyn Morgan of the Political Science Department in the Maxwell School at Syracuse University reports
“Amazon is offering 70 per cent royalties to anyone willing to upload their book to Kindle. With publishers offering 8 per cent hardback and 4 per cent paperback, more and more people could bypass publishers.
Amazon pricing for Kindle books much lower than a new paperback (let alone hardback)
This is very bad for publishers, but not for authors. In fact the 70 per cent royalty they offer on books (whether kindle or direct to paperback) priced between 2:99 and 9:99 US dollars still makes them very attractive to authors.”
Amazon now offers a very large international platform for authors- larger than any book chain- and with Amazon India opening up it will be increasingly attractive to authors publishing in English
If authors do decide to self publish they would then have to do all the marketing and promotion themselves (publishers do very little in any case unless you are a bestseller). But in truth this is only attractive to the hardy and tech-aware few.
Most authors are too busy researching and writing for this (famously tedious) side of being an author.
And this of course means that Agents/Publishers need to evolve their offer quickly.
It also opens the opportunity for a new type of company that
a) Sorts out all the technical, admin and business end of providing e-books to different platforms
b) Doesn’t just “stick the ebooks out there” but also markets them as well
c) Understands both traditional book marketing and integrates it with the emerging skill of using social media and other digital platforms
Debate about this at this at the Edinburgh book fair on 27/08 should be interesting
I will post a review of this session