Tag Archives: Hachette

How Amazon’s New E-Book Service is Killing Authors’ Game

While the word “unlimited” in the name Kindle Unlimited may be appealing to readers, it may not be so appealing to authors.

According to The New York Times, Amazon’s new e-book subscription service, Kindle Unlimited, is seriously diminishing the amount of money made by self-publishers who use the service. That’s because Kindle Unlimited offers readers unlimited access to more than 700,000 titles for a mere $9.99 per month. Think of it as the Spotify or Netflix of books.

Great in theory, not so great in reality, as David Streitfeld explains.

“Six months ago people were quitting their day job, convinced they could make a career out of writing,” said Bob Mayer, an e-book consultant and publisher who has written 50 books. “Now people are having to go back to that job or are scraping to get by.  That’s how quickly things have changed.”

Consumers feast on these services, which can offer new artists a wider audience than they ever could have found before the digital era.

Some established artists, however, see fewer rewards.

The solution to the problem? While some self-publishers are now opting to pull out of the service altogether, others have realized the most efficient way to make money through the service is to write and publish more books — and faster. That’s resulting in shorter serialized novels and short stories.

I can’t help but think that despite the talent of some of these authors, the fast pace to keep up would only hurt the quality of the books offered online.

This is just another mess for Amazon to clean up after last year’s fiasco with Hachette. But the question is: will they, in fact, clean it up?

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Billy Eichner to Pen Book

OKAY, FOR A DOLLAR, WHAT’S YOUR GUESS ON THE NEXT BIG-NAME TO PEN A BOOK…AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, DO YOU CARE?

If you couldn’t already guess from that introduction, it’s Billy Eichner, star and host of Funny or Die and Fuse’s Billy On the Street. The comedian, who on his show, prances around New York City, screaming questions at people about what they know or like about celebrities and pop culture, has recently signed a publishing deal with Hachette Grand Publishing, according to Entertainment Weekly.

It’s not clear what the book will detail, but on Eichner’s Tumblr page, he mentioned “This book is for anyone obsessed with show business, pop culture, social media and lots of other fun topics that fill our days as we hurtle helplessly towards accidents, illness, infidelity and death.”

That’s about what I guess I’d expect from the pop culture obsessed man himself! No word on when the new book will be released.

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Fight Intensifies Between Amazon, Hachette

It’s one of the biggest book brawls since the 2012 fight over e-book pricing. Once again, Amazon and Hachette are involved.

This time, according to The New York Times, it’s believed that Amazon wants to offer discounts on Hachette e-books, and apparently negotiations aren’t going well. In fact, they’re going so poorly that Amazon is now supposedly delaying shipment of some Hachette books and preventing preorders of some Hachette books.

It would seem that this is a battle strictly between Amazon and Hachette, but rather, it appears to be the start of a war between Amazon and many publishing companies, as Jonathan Mahler explains.

As part of Hachette’s antitrust settlement with the government, the company agreed to allow Amazon to continue to discount the price of e-books for two years. That agreement has expired, and for some reason — no one is sure why — Hachette is the first publisher to find itself in the position of negotiating a new one.

Other publishers are holding their breath. It is in their interests for [Hachette Book Group’s chief executive] Mr. Pietsch to drive a hard bargain, and they are cheering him on, but silently. They have their own relationships with Amazon to protect […]

So is the squabble close to being resolved? Doesn’t seem that way, but with many of the details of the negotiations being kept under wraps, it’s hard to know exactly what’s going on and when it may finally end.

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Amazon, B&N Notify Customers About E-Book Settlement Refunds

It’s been months since the e-book pricing lawsuit began. Now that some parties have reached a settlement agreement, people are starting to receive emails from Amazon and Barnes & Noble about receiving e-book refunds.

According to The Telegraph, Amazon was first to send out the emails, explaining that those who purchased e-books that appeared on The New York Times Bestseller List between April 2010 and May 2012 from the web site would receive $1.32 per book. Non-bestsellers would be worth 30 cents in refunds. The refunds aren’t expected to come in until early 2013.

I personally received a similar email from Barnes & Noble about the refunds. Here’s an excerpt:

Although we are required to notify you now of the settlements, there is nothing you need to do to receive the credits as you will receive them automatically in the form of an electronic gift certificate sent via email. Once the settlements’ claim period ends, the Attorneys General will calculate the amount of your credits. If the Court gives final approval to the settlements, we expect to be able to send you your gift certificate in the first half of 2013.

Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster will be compensating for the refunds, since they agreed to the settlement. Penguin Group, Macmillan, and Apple will be taken to court.

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$69 Million E-Book Pricing Settlement Reached

A few months ago, I told you about a possible lawsuit involving a number of publishers who allegedly raised e-book prices illegally. I then reported that three of those publishers had reached a settlement. Well now, we know the details of that settlement.

According to the L.A. Times, Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster have agreed to pay a total of $69 million. The lawsuit was brought about when publishers started setting the prices of e-books, instead of retailers; thus, giving themselves a good portion of the sales. Despite the settlement, they don’t admit they’ve done anything wrong, stating “their actions were merely parallel, unilateral, or justified by market forces and completely legal.”

So how does this affect you? It means that if you bought an e-book anytime between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012, you’ll get some money back. However, it probably won’t amount to very much, as Carolyn Kellogg explains.

Publishers will payconsumers $1.32 for each bestselling title they purchased, 32 cents for books that were less than a year old but not bestsellers, and 25 cents for older e-books. Even devoted readers won’t wind up with much more than the cost of a new e-book or two. Conveniently, refunds will appear in e-book buyers’ online accounts on iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Readers who purchased e-books through Google or Sony’s storefronts will receive a check, and others can opt to. They can also opt not to receive any rebate at all.

I’m thinking I’ll probably get some money back, but based on what Kellogg says, I likely won’t even realize that anything’s been deposited back into my account. What do you guys think? Do you think these publishers have coughed up enough dough? Or not as much as they should have?

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