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Thinking of Publishing Your Own $0.99 Kindle Book?

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the leaping-into-the-fray dept.

Books 101

An anonymous reader writes "There's been a lot of talk recently about $0.99 Kindle eBooks, after publishers were accused of spamming the market with low-quality titles. Author Keir Thomas published two $0.99 computing books in March and has some figures for those who might want to have a go, as part of his Adventures in Publishing series of blog postings. Thomas says he loves the democratic nature of the Kindle Direct Publishing system, and points out one of his self-published books tops Amazon's Linux charts, besting titles by all the major publishers."

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My interest isn't so much publishing (1)

chispito (1870390) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546318)

I'm hopeful that the success of these independent authors (legitimate ones) will bring the prices down on ebooks from the publishing houses. I miss the $10 cap.

Re:My interest isn't so much publishing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36546350)

Wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which fills up first.

Re:My interest isn't so much publishing (-1, Troll)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546414)

That's what your mom said to your dad the night you were conceived.

Re:My interest isn't so much publishing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36548694)

Its true, we were all there.

Re:My interest isn't so much publishing (1)

JohnRoss1968 (574825) | more than 3 years ago | (#36552340)

We're just not sure which of us is your dad....and DNA tests for the 40,000 plus from that night would be a bit expensive.

Rolaties seem low (1)

softWare3ngineer (2007302) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546402)

So if I publish a book through amazon i get to keep 30% of the profit, but if i make an smart phone app i get to keep 70% of what i sell. seems a little lopsided. I dont think that the tech / operating cost for books publishing is much different than an app store.

Re:Rolaties seem low (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36546468)

It's 35% originally, and just recently 70% if you agree to keep prices lower then the physical book.

http://allthingsd.com/20100120/amazon-pushes-royalty-rates-up-and-prices-down-for-do-it-yourself-e-book-publishers/

Re:Rolaties seem low (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36547118)

than, than, than, than, than
For goodness sake.

Re:Rolaties seem low (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36547456)

It's "For goodness' sake", for fuck's sake.

Re:Rolaties seem low (1)

usul294 (1163169) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546620)

its 70% if you pay for delivery costs as well. Kindle Direct Publishing Pricing Help [amazon.com]

Re:Rolaties seem low (2)

Zape (303550) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546920)

You can't use the 70% option for a .99 book. The requirement is a price between 2.99 and 9.99 for the 70% option: List Price Requirements [amazon.com]

Re:Rolaties seem low (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36546656)

Probably so, but tech support on a book is pretty low compared to an app.

Re:Rolaties seem low (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36546744)

It's 70% for ebooks priced 2.99$ to 9.99$ if you follow their rules for always giving Amazon the lowest price you sell it for anywhere.
35% if you don't follow those rules either by not being in the price range or by offering sales elsewhere.

https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A301WJ6XCJ8KW0

So price it at 2.99 and get 6 times the royalties and still be low enough for impulse buying.

Re:Rolaties seem low (2)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36547342)

Compare to the usual dead-tree deal, where the author can expect 10%.

Re:Rolaties seem low (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36552518)

So if I publish a book through amazon i get to keep 30% of the profit, but if i make an smart phone app i get to keep 70% of what i sell. seems a little lopsided. I dont think that the tech / operating cost for books publishing is much different than an app store.

And if you just sell it on your own website, you get o keep 100% of the profit. So obviously Amazon are being evil, how dare they take a cut?

LINUX BOOKS SHOULD BE FREE !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36546418)

I'm just saying, if you preach it then live by it !!

mbzfzts is not a word !!

Re:LINUX BOOKS SHOULD BE FREE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36546604)

That's a great idea. If only there were some free information about Linux...

Re:LINUX BOOKS SHOULD BE FREE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36547616)

You are so wrong. It is a word. Now.

As for the free as in beer (did I get that right?), well, you logic is perfect. So get the hell out of Dodge, motherfucker, before I find a posse and string you up for showing the disrespect.

Re:LINUX BOOKS SHOULD BE FREE !! (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 3 years ago | (#36553440)

mbzfzts is not a word !!

Not yet, but now that you mention it, it might just become the default Linux filesystem some day.

I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (3, Interesting)

sirwired (27582) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546420)

It's all well and good that Amazon charges a listing fee of $0, but this is, as recent articles have pointed out, producing quite a bit of crap spam. It's not the least bit "democratic" to enable anyone to post books for free if genuine creative books are drowned out by spammed crap, keeping anybody from ever actually seeing the content.

I don't see a $10 listing fee as being that much of a deterrent for someone that has actually produced a real book (think of the value of the number of hours that go into even a short book), and a big deterrent to those that produce worthless spam.

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (-1, Troll)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546494)

If their content is worthy, it will rise above the crap. Fortunes have been made in simply indexing data and making it relevant, how is this any different? Please stop trying to artificially limit the marketplace to what YOU deem market worthy.

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (3, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546552)

Sure if you ignore the fact that these spammers also game the system so their content rises above everyone else.

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (3, Insightful)

raving griff (1157645) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546566)

And how are books with worthy content noticed within the sea of crap? Barring advertising (which in this case comes directly out of the author's pocket), the only way I can see a book standing out based entirely on its contents merit is in a niche field, like the Ubuntu books in the example, where there are few enough books that ones of high quality rise to the top quickly as there is little competition.

However, in any more general areas / genres (for example, literary fiction), the sea of crap is so large that worthy content takes much longer to recognize. A lower initial momentum means lower ratings and a much lower chance to succeed in the market as a whole.

The only way to guarantee worthy work to rise above the crap is to guarantee each book a test audience--allowing it to launch with several Amazon reviews and be seeded according to an aggregate measure of quality. Otherwise, whether or not worthy content is noticed is pure luck made less likely the more crowded the market becomes.

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (1)

Draknor (745036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546826)

And what's wrong with this? You are not guaranteed success, even if you have a superior product. You can write the most fantastic novel in the history of the world, but that doesn't mean you automatically get fame & fortune bestowed upon you. You still have to market it & sell it to your audience. If your marketing strategy is "publish on Amazon, sit back, and wait for the $$$ to roll in", well, good luck with that. Maybe it'll work. And maybe I'll win the lottery one day. Yay for games of chance!

The fact is, there's a lot of "worthless" content out there -- books, movies, magazines, music, websites, videos, blogs, podcasts, photos. And yet, there are those who produce great content, of all types, and make a living doing it. Amazon has simply opened up another medium for user content creation/distribution, just like Geocities and Youtube and iTunes and Flickr and what-have-you.

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#36552266)

Remember what your email was like before effective spam filtering?

To my mind, it would appear that setting up a website which is susceptible to the same problem as email regarding spam is not a good thing. Inevitably, that means some sort of filtering - whether it's natural filtering effected by charging everyone for the privilege of selling their items or some sort of algorithm looking for spam and automatically discarding it.

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546774)

In order for it to rise above the crap, it will need word of mouth. In order for it to get word of mouth, someone needs to notice it before the rise. See the problem?

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36547364)

If there was only some field of business that dealt with promoting and marketing goods and services. o wait....

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (2)

webdog314 (960286) | more than 3 years ago | (#36547530)

Amazon does not simply "promote" and market goods and services. They get PAID to promote and market goods and services... and paid quite well. The fact that you don't understand this shows a complete ignorance of the industry. User reviews may push you up in a list of similar products, but you still have to be seen first. How many click through's do you think you would get on the 50th result page from Google?

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (2)

kalirion (728907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36547796)

So instead of a $10 barrier to entry, you would prefer a $100,000 minimum marketing campaign?

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 3 years ago | (#36551270)

Well, that's were you do exactly what the PR=B$ advertising agencies do and pay people to pretend they like it. How much you pay will depend upon the illusory 'celebrity' value of those people created by the same PR=B$ advertising agencies. Those people, basically a pack of pathetic liars willing to put their name to any product, will of course suck a proportion of their gullible fans into buying your product and from there if it is any good word of mouth will spread. Of course if it is crap like the majority of commercial content, well, then that's the 'normal' state of our psychopathic business world.

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (5, Insightful)

webdog314 (960286) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546790)

Bullshit. There are people "publishing" 50-100 "books" a day that are utter garbage. And I don't mean that it's bad writing, I mean that it's rip off recycled crap. There's so much junk flooding the market that it makes actual works indistinguishable from everything else. The only way these works get found out is if someone actually pays for it and reads it, and then bothers to comment. Even a $1 entry fee would do wonders to limit this. The WHOLE POINT of Amazon is it's ability to find products and see reviews before you buy. If you can no longer do that, then why not take your legitimate work and use the rest of the free web for self advertizing, serve the file yourself, and keep 100% of the profits?

Content doesn't rise to the top because it's "worthy", it rises to the top because it has positive reviews. Whether those reviews came from adoring fans or solid marketing is almost irrelevant.

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#36548832)

word of mouth makes good things rise about the crap. That's why google is successful.

In fact, just read the reviews.

now if you are just willy nilly grabbing stuff without bothering to see what it is, then yes you will be scrwed..in ALL things.

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (1)

webdog314 (960286) | more than 3 years ago | (#36549616)

Google is successful because it has managed to hold onto being the premiere search engine and then selling the keywords that it sees are the most popular. "Word of mouth" has literally almost *nothing* to do with it.

By "reading reviews" you mean in regard to ebooks, certainly, but SOMEONE is going to be first and is going to have to fork over the stupid $.99 to find out if what the author claims is super amazing awesome ZOMG!.. is really just crap. It gets more complicated because the author can log in with a different account and post 5 star reviews and praises to muddy the water. If a spammer only gets one or two sales before someone posts a negative review, then they still win because they are doing this on a massive scale. They've got like a thousand crap books out there, all getting 2-3 sales. And those books don't go away, they just sit there in the listings wasting people's time and bandwidth.

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 3 years ago | (#36550586)

Well, it seems to me that PageRank is analogous to "word of mouth". (Yes, reading the WIkipedia about Page Rank, it's not directly pages that link back to a page.. but that is part of it..)

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (1)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 3 years ago | (#36552912)

Hang on if you can automate the publishing of the books, why not automate a good review too?
A few set templates of good reviews form random login accounts would soon do the job.

Without a cost of entry or a certified human interaction how do you prevent spam?

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 3 years ago | (#36549346)

It hasn't stopped the content-spam industry, who certainly aren't getting their web hosting for free.

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (1)

webdog314 (960286) | more than 3 years ago | (#36549650)

That's because they only have to pay for the hosting once (or once a month/year/whatever) and not by the hit. How many spammers would stay in business if they were charged $1 per email address they spammed?

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 3 years ago | (#36554506)

I'm not talking about email spammers, rather the sites with bot-written text on every subject imaginable, set up solely to attract hits from Google. Hosting bills for that sort of thing are substantial and recurring, and at that level are usually charged by traffic volume (a few cents per GB adds up when you're sucking up millions of hits) yet they still manage to make money...

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36550486)

The WHOLE POINT of the apostrophe is its ability to denote a contraction.

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (1)

prowler1 (458133) | more than 3 years ago | (#36550588)

I have been seeing a string of complaints in forums dedicated to retro computing where new comers to programming on their retro platform of choice have gone to buy books off Amazon only to find that all they have ended up purchasing are copy and paste jobs from the various wikis out there on the internet. A lot of times, they haven't even bothered doing any editing of the text.

It has caused me to be more cautious before purchasing anything off Amazon, especially those items in the sub $5 area. Having said that, I have come across some decent $0.99 books. While not master pieces have turned out to be worth purchasing and an enjoying read.

It's not worthy for a bunch of reasons (1)

sirwired (27582) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546962)

We aren't just talking about a poorly-written story, or maybe copies of some government documents usefully collected together, or eHow putting together article compendiums.

Most of the spam this article (and the other articles) have been referring to have been one of the following:

1) Somebody else's articles, posts, e-books, etc. Copied entirely without attribution or compensation to the original author.
2) Public domain works where the "editor" did a really bad job copying it over, and where there are other, superior, 99-cent (or free) versions available. Of course, you don't realize it's badly done until you've purchased it.
3) Just completely random junk that has nothing to do with the title.

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (2)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546986)

a homeless man could scrounge together an extra $10 in a day or two. if $10 is a problem for you, here's a hint: it's not the marketplace screwing you. you're just an idiot.

i can't imagine any book i'd care to read where a $10 listing fee broke its publication. it's an almost-perfect filter, actually: "i only want to see books in which the author has invested so much time that $X is irrelevant to him."

X=10 is on the very permissive side... hell, it's recouped within 15 sales. :-/

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36547084)

Sure in the US they could, what about elsewhere in the world where 10 bucks is half a month's salary?

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (1)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 3 years ago | (#36547326)

well, to start with, they probably won't have kindles and anyway someone could start a market tailored for their region (presumably, spammers won't target the dirt-poor and/or there would be other signals of quality that could be used).

the developed world can mostly afford to have a $10 cap as a "first-step" signal of quality/commitment, and the amazon store is for the developed world.

what's your point here, exactly?

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36552658)

Sure in the US they could, what about elsewhere in the world where 10 bucks is half a month's salary?

If you only earn $20 a month, I don't think getting your book on Amazon is going to be high up the list of life's priorities. You'll be concentrating more on things like "how do I feed and clothe my family".

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#36547348)

Well said. It is nice to hear from someone with a good product, rather than losers who feel somehow entitled to sales of their shite.

If it is good it will sell*.

* unless it is a the show in which case it will be cancelled.

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36552698)

Well said. It is nice to hear from someone with a good product, rather than losers who feel somehow entitled to sales of their shite.

If it is good it will sell*.>

Yes, and that's why Windows is the best operating system ever made. The free market is always right.

And don't bother saying "but Microsoft are teh evil and distorted the free market system by their illegal methods". That just proves the point that the free market is a theoretical ideal, not a description of reality.

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#36553120)

Where did you get "and therefore non crap products will get sales" from? I didn't write that. All I said was that good products stand on their own merits.

Try not to read meaning that isn't there next time.

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36552612)

If their content is worthy, it will rise above the crap. Fortunes have been made in simply indexing data and making it relevant, how is this any different? Please stop trying to artificially limit the marketplace to what YOU deem market worthy.

If you are a consistent libertarian, you can't argue against the right of spammers to spam their shit, but obviously the market will sort everything out just right.

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36552878)

This isn't true. No-one knows the content until they read it, and no-one reads the content because they can't find it.

SO THEY SHOULD ADVERTISE you bleat like a little baby. Yeah. And who reads adverts? No-one, they've all either got ad blockers or are very used to ignoring them.

SO THEY SHOULD MARKET ON FORUMS! you bleat. Yeah. Because someone walking around spamming forums with links goes down brilliantly, doesn't it?

It's not easy for the little man to make people aware that the contents of their book is worthwhile. Actually it's pretty tough. It would be easier if it were easier to find their work but, unfortunately, it's drowned in a sea of shit.

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | more than 3 years ago | (#36551436)

If the volume of spam is the issue, a $1 fee ought to just about be enough, right? Maybe even 10 cents. I'd think anything that relies on bulk fails about as soon as there's any charge at all. Might as well keep those barriers as minimal as possible, right?

Re:I don't agree with his argument about $0 entry (1)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 3 years ago | (#36551834)

That's actually exactly what makes it "democratic". Of course, their need to be good tools to support it. There can be 1 million bad books on a subject that are just spam books which should all be reviewed badly and rarely purchased, as long as the 1 that is reviewed well and purchased often shows up at the top of the list when you search. You need a good Google-esque algorithm to try to filter out the crap. Oh sure, just like with Google people will try to beat the algorithm, but cream will rise to the surface if there's any mechanism whatsoever for it do so--it just might take a bit longer than we'd like.

A Ten Dollar Barrier to Entry? (5, Insightful)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546462)

Did he just criticize the idea of a ten dollar listing fee as a barrier to entry for reducing spam?

No way. Maybe for a booklet you'd want it to be less, but if you put one *thousandth* of the amount of time and effort into a book that any decent author does, five or ten bucks for the book listing is much less than that. A listing fee is not, realistically, a barrier to entry.

Re:A Ten Dollar Barrier to Entry? (1)

raving griff (1157645) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546726)

But it can be a barrier to sales if you aren't backed by advertising / reputation.

Re:A Ten Dollar Barrier to Entry? (2)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 3 years ago | (#36547582)

From TFA, it looked like a per-book listing fee--discourage spamming by making there be an incentive not to publish 10,000 similar books, since each one will net less than the $10 in profit, but any work someone actually is remotely serious about they can be expected to pay ten bucks.

Re:A Ten Dollar Barrier to Entry? (1)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 3 years ago | (#36548258)

Yes he did, and his only justification for that (IMO ridiculous) position is:

They suggest Amazon charge a listing fee for each book — perhaps $10 or $20. [...] This would be a huge shame. Through things like KDP and CreateSpace, Amazon is making proper publishing truly democratic and accessible to all. To get a Kindle eBook on sale, all you need is a computer with a word processor. That’s it. You don’t need up-front fees. You don’t need to be a publisher. You don’t need technical knowledge.

Who has a computer, word processor, and the time to write a serious book, but not $10? Amazon could even take the $10 out of the first $10 of profit for each book if this entry fee would otherwise demonstrably be a barrier to serious writers.

Re:A Ten Dollar Barrier to Entry? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#36548434)

Amazon could even take the $10 out of the first $10 of profit for each book if this entry fee would otherwise demonstrably be a barrier to serious writers.

That would be a much better way of doing it, or just saying that they won't pay royalties on a book until it's made at least a certan number of dollars. I believe they currently only pay royalties when all books on an account have made some number of dollars, but if you're spamming 10,000 junk books then that won't stop you.

Re:A Ten Dollar Barrier to Entry? (1)

webdog314 (960286) | more than 3 years ago | (#36548864)

Interesting, because the spammers are making money by putting out 1000 useless "books" that may only get downloaded 3 times each before people catch on and post negative reviews. But that's still 3000 "sales" at $0.70 each (70% profit), or $2,100. But if Amazon absorbed the first $10 of *each book*, the spammers would get nothing and the industry would be a far better place. Of course, that will encourage comment whoring, but that's nothing new to the system.

Re:A Ten Dollar Barrier to Entry? (1)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 3 years ago | (#36552960)

Could we have two levels of kindle store?
One that is published without barriers (the current free one) and one that has the $10 fee. As long as buyers could filter appropriately then the reader can make the choice.

Side note: I'm currently "publishing" my first novel attempt on my blog a tiny section at a time. I have considered publishing it under the Kindle scheme but don't want to be lost in the flood of crud. I'd happily pay $50 never mind 10 to get it published in even a barely reputable place; but I don't see that the kindle store adds anything over my current method. I wouldn't mind the $10 because I have literally spent years working on this thing and I'm almost certain that no current publisher would accept it because it has issues (being written by a geek for his own pleasure) that correcting would take away the point of the exercise. Sorry off topic now...

Re:A Ten Dollar Barrier to Entry? (1)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 3 years ago | (#36553044)

See? No serious author minds a $10 fee, as conclusively proven by my (n=1) data!

I think I understand what you're for. I imagine the no-barrier store would just get completely filtered by most people, kind of defeating the purpose of making publishing possible to anyone--even those who don't have $10 for an entry fee. (I maintain no serious author fits that category, but suppose some do.) Establishing an entry fee now wouldn't help filter current spam, unfortunately, but maybe if new spam stopped appearing, existing methods would get rid of existing spam. I really like this "first $10 goes to Amazon" (or to charity, or whatnot; just not the author) idea, since it seems to be the best of all worlds, and it should be extremely simple to implement. It should also have essentially no damaging effect on serious authors. If "spam" books make it past this hurdle, maybe they weren't so awful after all.

It's not hard to top a bestseller list... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36546466)

...when your book only costs $0.99 and everyone else's is $20+.

My best ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36546490)

Have been published on slashdot .. makes it easier for people to steal them from me.

value appears to be in the wrong area. (1)

Nickodeimus (1263214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546540)

I love how you have to fork over 65% of the revenue to Amazon. I think that number should be flipped. The author is doing the heavy lifting here. Amazon is just providing the platform through which it sells. Hell, they don't even market the product. They just put it on their platform and everything else is automatic.

Re:value appears to be in the wrong area. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36546668)

I believe that the author typically gets 70%, minus credit-card processing fees (probably 30-cents or so) and wireless delivery fees. Price your book higher than 99-cents, and you'll get a better percentage.

Re:value appears to be in the wrong area. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36546752)

If you make the list price >= $2.99 and = $9.99, you do get to keep 70% (less a trival amount for "delivery fees" - bandwidth). That's set by the author (publisher). You don't "have" to fork over 65% if you don't want to.

You have to wonder why an author would only charge 0.99 for a book; does he think it really worth that little? (I have stuff for sale at 0.99, but those are stories, not novel- or textbook-length books.)

Re:value appears to be in the wrong area. (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546816)

I love how you have to fork over 65% of the revenue to Amazon.

If you went through a traditional publisher, you'd probably fork over 85+%.

And, as mentioned, if you self-publish for $2.99 and above, you get to keep 70% from self-publishing, vs about 15% through a traditional publishing deal.

Re:value appears to be in the wrong area. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36547304)

Traditionally, booksellers keep 50% of the retail price. Publishers pay the printers, their distributors, their staff, marketing and publicity costs, and the author from the remainder.
This notion that tradition publishers "keep" the vast majority of proceed is nonsense.

Even if you self-publish a traditional book, you have to pay all those costs that a publisher would have done. And still let booksellers have their margin.

Re:value appears to be in the wrong area. (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#36547688)

This notion that tradition publishers "keep" the vast majority of proceed is nonsense.

Uh, we're talking about ebooks. On Amazon.

If you're a typical traditionally published author, the publisher will get 70% of the cover price from Amazon for each ebook they sell, and then they'll give 25% of that to you, and then you'll give 15% of that to your agent. So the publisher will get more than three times as much money from each ebook sale as you do.

Re:value appears to be in the wrong area. (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36552750)

This notion that tradition publishers "keep" the vast majority of proceed is nonsense.

Uh, we're talking about ebooks. On Amazon.

If you're a typical traditionally published author, the publisher will get 70% of the cover price from Amazon for each ebook they sell, and then they'll give 25% of that to you, and then you'll give 15% of that to your agent. So the publisher will get more than three times as much money from each ebook sale as you do.

So don't use a traditional publisher if you're that fucking bothered. No one's forcing you.

Maybe Raise the Price? (4, Informative)

swsuehr (612400) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546818)

As someone who has written several books (ok, shameless self-promoting link to the latest one [javascriptstepbystep.com] ) I might suggest that you raise the price. Sound counterintuitive? People may be looking at your book and the price point of $0.99 and thinking "this might be a scam or reprint of some material already on the web." By raising the price to say $9.99 or $14.99 you're still below the traditionally published books but also give the appearance of extra value; the consumer is getting something valuable.

I know nothing of the self-publishing world, though I have considered it at various times. But if I was going to be publishing something for Kindle I'd likely be setting it at a higher price point to give my book separation from the spam.

Oh, typically royalties are in the 8% to 15% range for tech books, depending on the publisher and the deal being offered. The royalties are sometimes higher on the eBook versions. However, realize that the royalties are off of the wholesale price not the list or sale price. So if retail on JavaScript Step by Step is $39.99, Amazon has it for $25, but the publisher sold it to them for $20, I get a percentage of the $20 not of the $39.99.

YMMV.

Steve

sell half the book for 99 cents (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546948)

That is the basic text. The really useful stuff like the index, code examples, tables, etc. you could sell for another $4.99.

The biggest problem with self publishing (4, Insightful)

sir_eccles (1235902) | more than 3 years ago | (#36546822)

Self editing. Applies equally to ebooks and old fashioned paper ones.

Re:The biggest problem with self publishing (1)

city (1189205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36547284)

Consider me available if anyone has anything they would like me to edit. I read quite a lot already and am interested in getting into editting. Message me.

Re:The biggest problem with self publishing (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36552762)

Consider me available if anyone has anything they would like me to edit. I read quite a lot already and am interested in getting into editting. Message me.

Yes, that's how most professional editors get thei work, I'm sure.

Re:The biggest problem with self publishing (1)

Zanadou (1043400) | more than 3 years ago | (#36557126)

...into editting.

You're hired.

Re:The biggest problem with self publishing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36557692)

Oh wait, you have to be able to spell? Shit I'm out.

Re:The biggest problem with self publishing (4, Insightful)

Man Eating Duck (534479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36548534)

Self editing. Applies equally to ebooks and old fashioned paper ones.

Bravo. I'm a voracious reader, I prefer reading on E-ink, and I've read quite a few self-published stories for free or very cheap ($4). Some are very good stories, some are weaker, but without exception so far all are marred by poor flow, sentences that not quite work and even grammatical and spelling errors. A good copy-editor could work wonders, an editor who is involved in the shaping of the book is even better. It takes a good author to write a compelling story or a good non-fiction book, but to end up with a good final result you need professionals somewhere down the line.

This doesn't mean that self-publishing is inherently bad, if you write a good story you can rise above the rest by spending something like $1500 to have a professional copy-edit your book. If you're serious about your writing this is not a huge investment, especially if you compare it to the time you put into writing your story. And no, your friend who got an A+ in $language is almost certainly *not* a good substitute.

I love to see a lot of promising fresh writers being able to publish their work without needing a publishing contract, but even an ace racing driver can't win without his team of mechanics and support crew. Something similar goes for writers (-1, car analogy).

Disclaimer: I've worked at an academic publishing company since 1999 and have participated in publishing hundreds of works. I *know* how important a good editor, proof-reader and copy-editor are for getting a good result. A good percentage of our authors don't understand why they need it until they see the finished book :)

Re:The biggest problem with self publishing (2)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36550000)

all are marred by poor flow, sentences that not quite work...

I'm sorry, I couldn't help but laugh here.

(noticing your sig...) that should be "sentences that *don't* quite work.

Re:The biggest problem with self publishing (1)

Veggiesama (1203068) | more than 3 years ago | (#36553682)

I'm sorry, I couldn't help but laugh here.

(noticing your sig...) that should be "sentences that *don't* quite work.

You should have capitalized the word that, because it comes at the beginning of your sentence.

The quality problem of self-editing (1)

gwolf (26339) | more than 3 years ago | (#36550450)

I have to completely agree with the parent comment. I am currently in the final phases of editing a (traditional, printed) book. I originally thought the editorial process would be a breeze (hey, after all I use LaTeX for my typesetting – is there anything beyond that) but... Well, not only has reality proven me wrong, but as the style and editorial correctors give me their comments in writing (I'm writing for my University press), I have had to learn more than a bit in the process.

And of course, editing for print is completely different from editing for e-readers. I do, however, want to make the book available for e-readers as well (I also usually prefer reading on my Kindle than lugging a large book with me), but many of the principles already used should be enough for a first version.

Of course, and on a much more personal topic: I am interested in making the book available in an open format (most likely .mobi, which is most compatible among readers). Of course, .mobi is translatable (in my limited experience) to both the more popular ePub and to the Kindle AZW formats with no quality loss. But, will Amazon accept listing a free book, available under a CC-BY-SA license, in their catalog? I'm not too optimistic.

Re:The quality problem of self-editing (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36552782)

I originally thought the editorial process would be a breeze (hey, after all I use LaTeX for my typesetting – is there anything beyond that)

LaTex is just a tool, that's like saying "my book is bound to be good, I used a great word processor with grammar and spelling eror highlighting".

Re:The quality problem of self-editing (1)

gwolf (26339) | more than 3 years ago | (#36554756)

Very true. Of course, that was not what I meant — Even if I know you are exaggerating a bit with your example, I do know my typesetting basics, and I even thought I knew enough. Talking with the right people made me see how limited my understanding was. And implementing their recommendations taught me more LaTeX than I expected to ever need.

Re:The quality problem of self-editing (1)

Man Eating Duck (534479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36553416)

Of course, and on a much more personal topic: I am interested in making the book available in an open format (most likely .mobi, which is most compatible among readers).

I have some experience with this as I have produced ~50 professional quality ebooks. I would strongly recommend that you first generate a well-formatted epub. This is an easy format to work with, as it's basically zipped xhtml, and it will also work out-of-the-box with most devices. It's also one of the richest formats when it comes to layout, making it a good basis for converting to other formats.

When you have a proberly formatted epub you can generate a TOC, add metadata and convert to a host of other formats (including mobi/prc) by using the excellent open source library program Calibre [calibre-ebook.com] . Calibre is also practical for working with epubs, as it can automatically unzip/zip the files for you. For initial epub conversion your best option is probably to generate html + images and then import into Calibre.

If you're stuck or have questions I can also recommend asking the friendly people at Mobileread's epub section, they have lots of experience and share readily: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=179 [mobileread.com] .

Good luck with your book!

Re:The biggest problem with self publishing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36556430)

The question is not whether copyediting improves the quality of the book; the question is whether copyediting is worth doing.

At royalties of $0.39 per sale, you'd need to sell 3847 *extra* copies of the book to justify $1500 in copyediting costs. Given that the promise from TFA is to sell "thousands" of copies *total*, it seems like a risky bet to me. If it's a hobby, then sure, blowing $1500 on it certainly qualifies you as "serious", but is that the real threshold?

Heck, paying $100 to "your friend who got an A+ in $language" is a lot less risky. And I suspect that you'll get more "bang for your buck" that way, too; often, just having an impartial second set of eyes can make a world of difference.

Re:The biggest problem with self publishing (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | more than 3 years ago | (#36551800)

This is true. I'm biased, because I've done some freelance copy editing in the past, but I've caught some really messy mistakes as a proofreader, and this after two or sometimes three other editors. It doesn't matter how good you are, you'll miss some things, and even very skilled editors tend to have blind spots for their own work. I'd never trust myself to be my own copy editor.

My $0.99 Kindle Illustrated book (1)

h1q (2042122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36548774)

Amazon books-especially Kindle books-just as in the iTunes music store uses the "long tail" business model: the vast majority of the products listed make very few, if any, sales. But semi-automated listing, marketing support, royalty aggregation and payment can encourage publication of works that would be too-long bets in the physical world of editing, design, tree-chopping, and trucking copies around the world.

I am quite happy that my young children's work, Spinners, is listed at Amazon for $0.99; it gets me a spot in Amazon's Author Central, it is a working introduction to both self-publishing and electronic publishing, and most importantly, immediately delivers a creative original work before millions of readers in the UK, DE, and the US. And, too, no one can predict which works may go viral and sell many orders of magnitudes than expected. But even if that does not happen, for $0.99 you are making available an illustrated book delivered in seconds that may be a wondrous ten minutes of quiet sharing between a harried father and his daughter before her sweet dreams.

http://www.amazon.com/Spinners-ebook/dp/B00571B9LQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1308869902&sr=1-1 [amazon.com]
"Two blind spiders, Spencer and Spike, show the rest of the spiders in their tree the value of friendship and cooperation over sight."

Re:My $0.99 Kindle Illustrated book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36551134)

>>And, too, no one can predict which works may go viral and sell many orders of magnitudes than expected

wat

Re:My $0.99 Kindle Illustrated book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36551300)

By "viral" mean that the product unexpectedly becomes popular, usually for a reason differing from its intrinsic quality. Remember the pet rock? How many times was Harry Pooter rejected before it made Rowling $1,000,000,000? 12? http://harrypotterrejected.blogspot.com/2010/01/harry-potter-rejected.html [blogspot.com]

Re:My $0.99 Kindle Illustrated book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36551816)

> is listed at Amazon for $0.99

OK I'll pick on you, as no-one seems to have asked this question at all.

Why 99 cents? Why not a round dollar? Please?

Re:My $0.99 Kindle Illustrated book (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36552806)

> is listed at Amazon for $0.99

OK I'll pick on you, as no-one seems to have asked this question at all.

Why 99 cents? Why not a round dollar? Please?

It's the age old retail trick, whereby allegedly people will buy something at 9.99 but not 10.00. Seems like nonsense to me, but apparently it works.

Where I live, they have now opened a 99p shop, which is much more popular than the traditional one pound shop for cheap stuff, even though it's actually more annoying to end up with 7 or 8p in coppers as change...

Re:My $0.99 Kindle Illustrated book (1)

timftbf (48204) | more than 3 years ago | (#36553068)

Where I live, they have now opened a 99p shop, which is much more popular than the traditional one pound shop for cheap stuff, even though it's actually more annoying to end up with 7 or 8p in coppers as change...

Around my way, they're actively marketing themselves against the pound shop, as being better value!

They also have huge, supposedly-professionally printed advertising in the windows proclaiming that you get "alot more for your money". This makes me want to go in and try to buy an alot at as a pet, but I suspect their cashiers don't read Hyperbole-and-a-Half...

Re:My $0.99 Kindle Illustrated book (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36552794)

You insensitive clod, my daughters are all scared of spiders!

Amazon does their best to discourage it (1)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 3 years ago | (#36551796)

Not actively necessarily, but their payment scheme certainly pushes people towards a 2.99 price point. At 2.99, you take in 70% or 2.10. At 99 cents you get 1/6th of that. So it's more profit to you to sell 20 copies at 2.99 than 100 at 99 cents and less money for Amazon. Of course, if you're going to sell 6x as many copies or more at 99 cents, then you might as well go 99 cents. It's clearly better to sell 600 copies at 99 cents than 100 at 2.99, since you're going to make the same money, but reach more readers and gain name recognition for future books.

The sticky point is how to value name recognition. Maybe it's better to sell 10,000 copies at 99 cents than 5,000 at 2.99, even though you would make 3x more money at the second price point--if your second book will be out soon and you plan to sell *it* at 2.99 to 10,000 people now willing to shell out a bit more for a name they know.

Plagiarism detection (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 3 years ago | (#36552136)

It seems to me that the attempts by schools, universities etc. to detect plagiarism would be useful in this area. The problem of course is that plagiarism isn't illegal per se, e.g. if a spammer rips off a source like Wikipedia there's no legal recourse.
But it would mean that sites like Amazon would be able to detect these worthless books and put up a warning.

Re:Plagiarism detection (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36552814)

The problem of course is that plagiarism isn't illegal per se, e.g. if a spammer rips off a source like Wikipedia there's no legal recourse.

Sorry? Has the world abandoned copyright overnight and nobody told me?

Re:Plagiarism detection (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 3 years ago | (#36558660)

I meant that wikipedia articles come with a license that allows reuse (as long as attribution is given?).

Loser Fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36553140)

well, I agree. But here is a book that is original and really short, It must deliver more value than it costs..

http://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/losing-the-loser/16111742

Business Idea: Ebook Editing (1)

happy_place (632005) | more than 3 years ago | (#36553840)

There ought to be a serious business for E-Book Editors out there... providing a certain level of editing quality--perhaps with a graded pay/service model that enables authors to pay for editing services but not break the bank.

I have published some cheap Kindle books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36560348)

I have done some Kindle books. All my books (so far) are also free on the Internet Archive. The first one I did for the One Laptop Per Child project:

http://www.amazon.com/Make-Your-Sugar-Activities-ebook/dp/B0050VAHKW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1305554872&sr=1-1

Total sales so far, 11 copies. This was a significant amount of work to write, and I only put it on the Kindle Store to expose it to people that wouldn't think to look for technical books on the Internet Archive.

The second book was a public domain book I transcribed and formatted myself:

http://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Manners-Illustrated-ebook/dp/B0055OMGN0/ref=sr_1_8?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1308949127&sr=1-8

I am responsible for both the Project Gutenberg and Internet Archive versions of this title. I put it on the Kindle Store as more of an experiment than anything else. The book has been downloaded hundreds of times on PG, but no sales from the Kindle Store. The PG MOBI version is readable, but I took pains with my Kindle Store version to create something that looked good on a Kindle. This one costs more than .99 because the large number of pictures makes the file size too large for the .99 price point.

My feeling on .99 books, whatever they may be, is that you can always get a free sample of the first 10% of any book. If the book is junk you'll definitely know it from the sample. Second, not too many people are getting rich from cheap e-books. My 11 sales for my first Kindle book practically makes me a best selling author in the world of Kindle books.

I'm going to continue doing this for awhile. I have a Spanish translation of my first book created by volunteers mostly from Uraguay that may go up this weekend, plus another public domain (but rare) title that I'm currently proofing. I'll follow that with a memoir of my misspent youth, eventually.

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