The other day, Inside the Outside author Martin Lastrapes asked me about Kindle Select (or Kindle Direct Publishing Select, or KDP Select, depending on the day and who’s typing, it seems). I’m now several weeks committed to being a Kindle-exclusive author, and I thought I’d share some of my experiences.amazon, apple, Barnes & Noble, corporate publishing, digital publishing, e-books, ebooks, independent publishing, KDP Select, kindle, Kindle Select, Kobo, nook, self-publishing, Sony
Posts Tagged “nook”
Jan 27 2012
Jan 25 2012
Last week, in an event specified as education-related, Apple announced new software that enables authors to more easily create and publish media-rich digital content. They’re calling the sales app iBooks 2 and the creation app iBooks Author, but they seem to be making a very marked distinction that what has generally become known as an e-book is not what Apple has in mind when it talks about iBooks.
A lot of authors—especially independent authors—and other people in the publishing industry have been writing about the agreement that comes with the software, and complaining about how restrictive and evil it is. I’ve read the agreement in question, and I think that all the discussion around it is based on simple misunderstanding.amazon, apple, Barnes & Noble, e-ink, education, exclusivity, iBooks, iBooks 2, iBooks Author, iBookstore, independent publishing, ipad, iphone, kindle, Kindle Fire, nook, Nook Tablet, publishing, self-publishing, textbooks
Dec 23 2011
After careful consideration, I’ve removed my collection from Smashwords and enrolled all my books in Amazon’s new KDP Select program. I did it for both professional and moral reasons that disagree with most everything else people say about Amazon, so I thought I’d tell you about why, but first I wanted to mention that one benefit of doing so means that, for a very limited time (until December 27th, in fact, so just five days including today), all my short stories, essays, and collections will be available free.
Totally free. No catch. No caveat. You don’t have to be a Prime member.
Now. Why am I going Amazon exclusive (if only for 90 days at a shot), when most people in the publishing industry are decrying the evil of the Seattle corporation–even though that’s kind of ironic, given that pretty much everyone who’s called them an evil corporation is either a corporation or deeply associated with one (or many)?
Because I don’t see them as evil. I’m a reader, first–I write because some of the books I want to read haven’t been written yet–and Amazon has done more for me as a reader than anyone else ever. It’s also done more for me as a writer than anyone save my editrix.
But let’s talk about Amazon. And evil. And corporations.amazon, apple, Barnes & Noble, corporate publishing, independent publishing, ipad, kindle, nook, nook Simple Touch, publishing, self-publishing, traditional publishing
Dec 09 2011
Just received an email that Amazon has made a special KDP Select option available on its Kindle Direct Publishing platform, which what many authors–including me–use to publish our work for Kindle. Which is awesome. I know a lot of corporate publishers, literary agents, retailers, and authors are wary of Amazon, its continued growth, and its possible dominance, but for many of us–again, myself included–it’s been uniquely empowering.
The new Select option is interesting; authors who agree to digital exclusivity with Amazon can both make their books available as part of Kindle’s new Lending Library and take advantage of free promotions.
I decided to try it out to see what I could see. I went ahead and enrolled “Jamais Plus: Explorations in the Curious Case of the Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe”, while at the same time increasing its “normal” price to non-promotional level (and taking advantage of that free promotion). “Jamais Plus” is a choose-your-own-adventure noir, a twisting-winding throwback to the adventure novels so many of us grew up on, in which C. Auguste Dupin investigates the death of the man who made him an infamous detective. It required substantial and specialized coding to make it work on Kindle, and it’s sort of even more a reading experience than a story.amazon, apple, Barnes & Noble, ereader market share, iBookstore, independent publishing, ipad, KDP Select, kindle, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle Fire, Kindle Select, nook, Nook Tablet, publishing, self-publishing
Interesting: as I discussed words and their meanings and how the ways they influence ideas (good and bad), a development:
Giant corporate publisher Penguin announced “self-publishing services” through their Book Country site.
And yes, those words are in quotation marks because that is not what is meant. At all.amazon, apple, Barnes & Noble, Book Country, CreateSpace, kindle, nook, Pearson, Penguin, publishing, Putnam, RWA, self-publishing, SFWA, subsidy press, subsidy publishing, vanity press, vanity publishing, Writer Beware
Sep 28 2011
My first was: shiny!
My second was: wow. I was so right.
I’m really pleased I nailed the pricing ($79 and $199, specifically). I had the feeling we’d see sub-$100 by year’s end, and I’d hoped it’d be sub-$80, because this paves the way for the continuing digital revolution. I think we’re going to look back and notice that the thing that finally made e-reading totally mainstream was the $70 Kindle. At that price, it’s nearly impossible to pass on it (and consider that by next summer, we’re probably looking at a sub-$50 Kindle).
Between a $79 Kindle and Apple’s iPad, this could well be the conquering moment for digital publishing. The death blow.
Can the big six maintain business-as-usual anymore? Heck, what is business as usual?amazon, apple, Barnes & Noble, corporate publishing, digital publishing, e-books, ipad, itunes, kindle, Kindle Keyboard, Kindle Touch, nook, Nook Color, nook Simple Touch, self-publishing
So, Borders is closing. Gone. Kaputsky. 399 stores. 10,000 employees.
I feel bad for those employees.
I don’t, in general, feel bad about Borders.
I wish I did.
I grew up with books. My parents read Stephen King. I don’t remember a time when I haven’t been reading. I read enough books that I’m technically never actually between books; there’s always something I’ve started and probably mean to go back to at some point. The library has been my happy place.
But things change.amazon, apple, Barnes & Noble, borders, ipad, itunes, kindle, nook, publishing, Walkman
Mark Coker’s Smashwords seems, ostensibly, a rather brilliant idea. It’s sort of the ebook equivalent of Amazon’s Author page; whereas Amazon’s page lists all the work an author has available on Amazon in one spot, Smashwords makes available a single title in myriad different digital formats, including the usual ePub and mobi formats (for pretty much all readers and for Kindle, respectively), as well as PDFs (people still read those?), html (for web viewing, I figure, whether by desktop, laptop, or tablet), Microsoft’s Word (er. For people who want to word process it?), and even text (for people who . . . I give up. You can tell me why people want text files).
I like the idea in theory. My job, as I see it, is to both write the story and make it accessible, and accessibility works on several levels. I want to make the story appeal to readers, but I also want it to be available in any way a reader wants. Even if I can’t imagine why a reader wants a certain story available in a certain way.
Nowadays, there are myriad ways for people to read stories. There are no fewer than four different Android tablets available right now, and that’s only Android. There’s also the iPad and now the new HP tablet running WebOS. In terms of ereaders, we’ve got Kindles and nooks, of course, but also Kobo and Sony’s efforts and several other somewhat generic readers all of which have e-ink displays and most of which display ePub files and etc.
So far as I can tell, Smashwords seeks to solve the actually legitimate problem of making one story available for every platform. Maybe that’s the reason for the txt file?
And it’s not a bad solution, by any means.amazon, android, apple, Barnes & Noble, e-readers, ePub, iOS, ipad, ISBNs, kindle, Kobo, Mark Coker, Mobipocket, nook, Nook Color, PRC, Smashwords, Sony, tablets
Feb 11 2011
After several years in a will-they/wont-they purgatory, the digital revolution in publishing has finally become more a matter of when than if, where “when” seems to be 2010. Apple’s launch of the iPad–which featured five of the big six corporate publishers as partners and only ignored the sixth because someone within the company had outed the device the day before official launch–got the ball rolling and demonstrated that ebooks were not just a novel trend but rather new media for novels and all sorts of other forms of storytelling. In late August, Amazon’s third-generation Kindle, with its improved screen and form factor and its lower price, effectively killed the counterargument. The only thing left to really argue about is price.
But really, that’s fodder enough.
Since Apple got all those publishers on board and got its iBookstore rolling (or did it? Has anyone heard anything about the iBookstore? All I hear about are the devices–Kindles, nooks, iPads. Not so much about the stores), there’s been a debate about what’s a “good” price for ebooks. One common idea discussed when the iPad launched was the so-called “agency model,” which basically meant that publishers got to set their own price. Tech Eye mentions that this is in opposition to allowing, say, the vendor to decide the price. In other words, it’s the difference between, say, Harper setting the price of its books and Amazon doing so.
Publishers, of course, want high prices. This was why $10 ebooks were so common during the beginning of last year. Right after the iPad? Seems like publishers–corporate and otherwise–got a little high off the power of the partnership and suddenly decided that the right price for ebooks was between ten and fifteen bucks. The New York Times discussed the phenomenon.
To really get into the discussion, though, we have to consider factors regarding price. There are myriad.agency model, amazon, apple, Bad Romance, Barnes & Noble, beethoven, business, digital publishing, frank sinatra, iBookstore, ipad, James Kaplan, Kill the Dead, kindle, Lady Gaga, Lev Grossman, marketing, mba, Meets Girl, neil gaiman, new york times, Nike, nook, publishing, Richard Kadrey, Sandman Slim, shakespeare, Stieg Larsson, Struck by the Light of the Son, Tech Eye, The Magicians
Jan 20 2011
Pretty much every year for the past several, I’ve tended to get a note from a friend or loved one, right around Christmas, wishing me a happy one and asking if I’d seen all this information about the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. They’ve known how intent I’ve been to be a writer, you see, and they figure it sounds like a promising contest for a novelist who hasn’t yet gotten a huge break.
And they’re right. It does.
The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award tends to attract a big-name judge from one of the major corporate publishers–usually an editor or author (or both); a big-name judge from a prestigious literary agency; and a lot of aspiring writers. No, no: a lot. Of various degrees of ability, too: some are young, just starting out at the writing thing, just penning their first drafts of their first novels; others have been writing for years, and have completed multiple drafts of multiple novels that perhaps haven’t gotten them offers of representation (which are, as every rejection letter that ever was reminds, completely subjective, and based solely on the tastes of the agents reading them. Agents, for their part, are also generally quick to remind that they base their decisions neither on quality of writing nor perceived saleability but rather on whether they “fell in love with” the manuscript).
The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (hereafter the ABNA) seems like a great idea, almost like an American Idol for books. Entrants submit their manuscripts, excerpts, pitches, synopses, and even a photo (if desired), and progress through multiple rounds of judging, some of which are merit based and others of which are popularity based.
This year, I thought about submitting Meets Girl. It’s gotten solid reviews across several venues, and the response has been positive. People seem to like it, for the most part, and even, like any good book, seem split on their reactions; some people think the opening drags before it gets to the story, while others have noted they loved the opening but sensed a shift of tone and execution later. The manuscript is obviously finished, and I’ve written a good enough pitch–though for a different project–it’s been a Galleycat finalist. And hey, new headshot!
The contest entry period for 2011 begins this coming Monday, January 24th.
But I’m not submitting my book. And I’ll tell you why.amazon, Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, apple, Barnes & Noble, books, borders, ipad, ipod, itunes, kindle, nook, Penguin, publishing, publishing rights, reading, Virgin, Virgin Megastore, writing
Jan 14 2011
I’ve had my Kindle since September, and it’s one of the few electronics devices that, even several months later, I’m completely satisfied by. (That’s rare for me. Usually I fall in love with a new gadget for about a month before I start wanting something later and greater. See also: Vibrant, Nexus S, etc.) I’ve been positively hyperbolic in my praise, really, but I can’t stop using it, which means I can’t stop talking about it.
Right now, I’m reading Frank: The Voice, a biography of Sinatra. I like reading about Frank when he was my age, and it’s a good book, written by James Kaplan, who’s usually a novelist, apparently. Which I suppose helps the dramatic build of the story.
Last week was the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, which is a major event in which myriad companies display what will hopefully become next-gen technologies. New 3D LED televisions. Better wireless speeds for networks like T-Mobile and Verizon. New phones from just about everyone, including Motorola, Samsung, and even a new iPhone to work on Verizon’s wireless network.
Electronic readers–ereaders–are becoming trendy in gadgets. The category used to be niche, with little selection, but basically Amazon’s Kindle changed that. Not right away, of course, but now that Kindle’s on its third generation and selling strongly, pretty much everyone is getting in on the action. Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. Sony’s been updating their line to match Amazon, and the devices are becoming more common. Apple’s iPad isn’t really in this category, though it can fulfill the functions of said category; as more companies release more tablet computers, we may see some decline in ereaders.
Which would be a shame. The nook color is in the same category as a Kindle–a dedicated digital reading device–and it’s got some impressive features, but it’s least good at the one thing it’s supposed to be for; it uses an LCD screen, and that sucks. One of the great features of the Kindle is its gorgeous screen, which uses e-ink for display.
Now, the Kindle doesn’t do any color whatsoever. And it’s merely adequate at pictures. And if you want to read a magazine, you’re probably better off, you know, buying a magazine.
But for reading books? It’s almost perfect.
Almost.amazon, android, Barnes & Noble, books, CES, digital readers, ereaders, facebook, frank sinatra, Goodreads, James Kaplan, kindle, Kobo, Motorola, nook, Nook Color, publishing, reading, Samsung, t mobile, Verizon, Verizon iPhone
Dec 16 2010
The night I attended Galleycat’s Book Pitch Party, I stopped into Barnes & Noble Union Square, hoping to check out the nook color they’d recently announced. I had already purchased the newest Kindle, but I think part of being a writer in the new digital age includes a working knowledge of the platforms on which content is available. In other words, it’s important to know the medium on which you’re delivering a message, as the one can inherently affect the position and reception of the other.
Now, I declaim: I love my Kindle. I seriously haven’t loved a gadget this hard since I first jailbroke and unlocked my first iPhone. I think there might have been something about the tinkering with it, the feeling of empowerment, that really made the phone feel like mine in ways others haven’t. I’m using a Samsung Vibrant now, and I love it, but with some reservations (Dear Samsung: Get Gingerbread on it, hey?). In fact, my purchasing the Vibrant was what ultimately led me to getting a Kindle; the Vibrant comes with Amazon’s app preinstalled, and I’d had it on my iPhone, but hadn’t fully used it.
But I found myself working shite hours and riding the PATH train at 4am for a new gig, and so I did more reading on the Kindle app. And when Amazon announced its newest generation, I bought one sight unseen.
Mainly because I’d already seen the others and knew they weren’t what I was looking for.
What I was looking for: a digital reader.
The iPad is not a digital reader. It’s a tablet-form computer. It runs software, and that software is versatile enough it runs other software. It has apps, little programs that performs different functions like . . . well, mainly launching birds at targets, streaming music over a data connection, and display various media. There are apps for everything.
Some of those apps happen to display books. The main thing that demonstrates, in fact, that iPad is not really a digital reader is that it has not only the iBookstore, but also both nook and Kindle apps.
(This is extraordinarily important.)Barnes & Noble, books, ereaders, ipad, kindle, nook, reading
Oct 06 2010
I think I forgot to mention, here, I posted a new essay over at The Nervous Breakdown. In which I fawn hyperbolically over the new Kindle. In an era of totally undeserved hype (I’m looking at you, Jonathan Franzen), the Kindle is a magical device. I’ve been using it for about two weeks now.
First book: Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, which was a little like Harry Potter Goes to College, and started crazily strong, but then flopped in the final act, sadly. Disappointing, ultimately.
I like reading on it, and after a couple of weeks, I’m very glad I chose it over the iPad. It wasn’t merely a financial consideration. I just already have a laptop and a phone, and I wasn’t sure what I’d be using the iPad for. I need a keyboard to write (and I know I can get a bluetooth attachment, but that’s beside the point). Still, I understand why the iPad is overtaking the netbook category, mostly.
In terms of a dedicated digital reader, however, so far, the Kindle has been excellent. I like that it’s dedicated, too, like a book or a novel; when I’m reading a book, I’m reading the story. Not clicking around, not opening apps, not tweeting and Facebooking.
In the spirit of making Meets Girl available on it, I’ve been doing the necessary formatting and lay-out. It’s not difficult; Kindle mainly uses html. I’ll explain more about it at some point, when I’m done experimenting and learning it.
I think you’ll agree it looks fairly good already, though:
I should note that first image is not actually the Kindle file; it’s a PDF. Which the Kindle can display, natively. In terms of lay-out, though, the pagination and formatting both leave much to be desired.
Today, I woke up to an email from Barnes & Noble. Pubit, a program they had announced several months ago with the intention of going live over the summer, was finally implemented today. I’ve already signed up for an account and can start uploading files.
I’d originally planned to make Meets Girl a Kindle exclusive (given that Kindle is cross-platform and available, as an app, on pretty much anything), but then I started wondering why I wanted to limit choices. The whole point is to make the story available to anyone and everyone who wants it, including all the people who are getting a nook anytime soon.
So it will be. It may be a little while longer getting to the nook, but I’ll have it there, too.Tags: amazon, Barnes & Noble, books, ipad, kindle, Meets Girl, nook, publishing, writing
Yesterday, I talked about how I thought a bookstore like Barnes & Noble might survive. How the retail model seems busted to some extent.
I fear my solutions to the problem seemed vague. I thought I’d fix that.
I think we need to remember that books are not stories, and vice versa. That reading is as much about the experience as the object being sold, and as such, retail publishing must change to meet new needs of the market.
The market needs a few things, based on what is changing. The biggest change is the proliferation of digital in an almost completely analog environment, but that provides both challenges and opportunities.
As I see it, what the market really needs is simple:books, digital publishing, ipad, kindle, nook, publishing, reading
Big publishing news: Barnes & Noble, as a corporate entity, has put itself up for sale. It’s probably not big news to anyone watching the publishing industry in general, lately. B&N’s nook has a more aesthetically pleasing form factor than the Kindle, but its interface–which runs a version of Google’s Android–is clunky at best, its input system awkward, its overall experience lacking.
The only other experience it offers, unfortunately, is coffee, really.
No, seriously, consider a Barnes & Noble. Or a Borders, for that matter. With so many new books published at such an incredible rate, do you really think that’s where they make their coin?
I live in Manhattan, basically. There are a bunch of Barnes & Noble stores. Why do I go to them?
For the bargain-priced hardcovers (which are mostly remainders, and which I’m pretty sure B&N makes no money on), for the free wifi, and for the author events.
Other than that, I’ll find someplace else. If I want to buy a book, I either go to Amazon’s Marketplace or the Strand.
The reason Barnes & Noble is floundering is because the business model of selling books is starting to make less sense as more retailers find new ways of doing it. iTunes is now the nation’s leading retailer for music, purchases from which, by extension, must be digital.
One wonders if we’re on our way there now.digital, e-readers, ipad, kindle, nook, publishing
Jun 23 2010
When I took that USC Business of the Business course, our final project was a business plan. It included all the sections necessary for reasons of profession and information: executive summary, financials, market survey et al..
I’m not going to pretend I can make that interesting.
It was the first business plan I ever conceived, and I tried hard but had difficulty with the course overall, which translated to difficulty with the final project. I knew how to query; I got requests for partials and polite rejections all the time. I’m reasonably good at pitching when I’m not so nervous my heart flutters. When it came time to name competition, I had trouble; I’m a writer, and don’t tend to think in terms of competition. Are Meyer and Brown competition? Part of me hopes so, because I’m about a thousand times better than either, but sometimes the market seems not to care about quality.
That’s a digression.
Part of what was hard for me was thinking of my writing so specifically as a product. Comparing my books to others. For me, it doesn’t; I write them because nobody else did and I wanted to read them.
That’s not what a business plan wants to hear.books, ipad, kindle, nook, publishing, writing