WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT CONTENT ABUNDANCE
"My feeling is that a lot on how much faith you have in algorithms and other means of search and filtering. I’m quite skeptical that this general approach can or will produce good results as they are based on existing content consumption behavior within a relative finite world of content. Imagine doing a keyword search on Amazon when there are 100 million titles, and browsing?—I don’t think so. These are inherently “dumb” filters. The future of content abundance will require intelligent filters, at least partly based on human discernment of quality."
ON THE WHOLE, BOOK PUBLISHERS ARE A DECENT LOT
Yes, making the case against illegal downloading can be hard graft. So, without quality, price, convenience, or the threat of punishment, how can publishers convince people to do the right thing and buy? Basically, with an appeal to decency: you should buy our goods because it’s the right thing to do.
Publishers Weekly | Cory Doctorow
AMAZON IS THE ONLY COMPANY ENCOURAGING COMPETITION
"Author Joe Konrath has written a fantastic letter to the Justice Department to counter letters sent by the Association of Authors' Representatives and the Authors Guild (and some others), complaining about the DOJ's antitrust lawsuit against certain publishers and Apple to collude to keep ebook prices high.
As Konrath notes, these groups don't appear to actually represent authors, but do seem to be representing the best interests of the legacy gatekeepers."
PENGUIN CALLED AMAZON "PREDATORY" AND A "MONOPOLIST" THAT TREATS BOOKS AS "WIDGETS"
"Penguin and Macmillan, which declined to settle, filed responses in United States District Court in New York on Tuesday, not only denying that they had fixed prices but also taking direct aim at Amazon, the online retailer that has emerged as a significant threat to the longstanding business model for publishers.
In its 74-page response, Penguin called Amazon “predatory” and a “monopolist” that treats books as “widgets.” It asserted that Amazon, not Penguin, was the company engaging in anticompetitive behavior, to the detriment of the industry.
The Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit in April after a lengthy investigation of the publishing industry, saying that the five publishers had colluded with Apple to limit price competition and caused consumers to pay tens of millions more for e-books than they would have otherwise."
New York Times
THE AMAZON EFFECT
"From the start, Jeff Bezos wanted to “get big fast.” He was never a “small is beautiful” kind of guy. The Brobdingnagian numbers tell much of the story. In 1994, four years after the first Internet browser was created, Bezos stumbled upon a startling statistic: the Internet had been growing at the rate of 2,300 percent annually. In 1995, the year Bezos, then 31, started Amazon, just 16 million people used the Internet. A year later, the number was 36 million, a figure that would multiply at a furious rate. Today, more than 1.7 billion people, or almost one out of every four humans on the planet, are online. Bezos understood two things. One was the way the Internet made it possible to banish geography, enabling anyone with an Internet connection and a computer to browse a seemingly limitless universe of goods with a precision never previously known and then buy them directly from the comfort of their homes. The second was how the Internet allowed merchants to gather vast amounts of personal information on individual customers.
The Internet permitted a kind of bespoke selling. James Marcus, who was hired by Bezos in 1996 and would work at Amazon for five years, later published a revealing memoir of his time as Employee #55. He recalls Bezos insisting that the Internet, with “its bottomless capacity for data collection,” would “allow you to sort through entire populations with a fine-tooth comb. Affinity would call out to affinity: your likes and dislikes—from Beethoven to barbecue sauce, shampoo to shoe polish to Laverne & Shirley—were as distinctive as your DNA, and would make it a snap to match you up with your 9,999 cousins.” This prospect, Marcus felt, “was either a utopian daydream or a targeted-marketing nightmare.”
PROMOTING YOUR BOOK IN IBOOKS
"One of the questions I’m constantly asked when I present workshops on Indie Publishing is: How do we promote in iBooks? or How do we increase sales in iBooks? Its not an easy question to answer. One of the things I’m working on today for Cool Gus Publishing is to add links in our website to where our eBooks are available on other sites. We believe this is a good service for our customers and some people just want that easy “one-click” from Amazon or prefer to buy from Barnes and Noble, supporting the bookstore.
But working inside of iBooks is all together a different bird simply because its contained in iTunes.
Recently, Apple sent us a couple of PDF’s about how to promote and market using some of their tools. We got this email because we use iTunesConnect to load our books directly to the iBookstore. Here are a couple of things I think are useful and are not that difficult to use."
Bob Mayer's Blog
SELF-PUBLISHING AND THE BURDEN OF PROOF
"Traditional publishing is, for better or for worse, the current status quo. A book goes through the onerous task of reaching an audience — agent to editor to publication to bookshelves — and that’s the way it’s been for decades. Self-publishing has always existed, sure, but over the last many years it has been a fringe act. This is no longer true, of course, but that doesn’t change the fact that this current wave of self-publishing possibility is very new. It is not the status quo.
Which means the current “system” is geared toward traditional. What do I mean by that? I mean: Reviews. Interviews. Awards. Rights. They all lean toward traditional and in many cases exclude indie efforts entirely. Now, the easy, knee-jerk response is, “Fuck them! They don’t want me? I don’t want them.” Except, you do want them. Some self-publishers do very well but plenty more find themselves struggling — and, in many cases, struggling with a beautiful, brilliant novel. Those struggling would likely find themselves reaching a broader, deeper audience with — repeat after me — reviews, interviews, awards, and rights. With those you would in fact reach more readers. (And remember, it’s readers we’re talking about here.)
Next comes the question: “Why are self-publishers excluded?"