EBOOK MARKETVIEW: EXAMINING AGENCY-MODEL PUBLISHERS' SHARE OF BESTSELLER LISTS
"If following ebook bestsellers is like announcing a horse race, then independent, self-published titles had the inside track early in 2011. The “agency-model” publishers’ share of the Kindle bestseller list from December 2010 into February 2011 declined steadily; the Nook list’s agency share held more or less firm after an initial January drop. That early start, if it continued, would have been bad news for mainstream publishers; with individual titles, visibility on bestseller lists is critical for sustained sales. But since mid-April, agency-model publishers’ share of both lists has held steady, even improving for short intervals, indicating that we may have reached a stable point for now."
THE COST OF EBOOKS - REVISITED
"Last year, I wrote a post for Teleread on the true cost of ebooks, using my own collection as an example. The recent dialogue between Rich Adin and I on the relative costs of print books (in which real estate for paper book storage is a factor) vs ebooks (in which device costs and higher list prices due to no secondary markets are a factor) had me re-examining this issue. So, how did my ebook costs net out?"
THE CHANGING NATURE OF THE PUBLISHING VALUE CHAIN
"For me, key to all forms of innovation is knowing what you are good at and what not. Knowing what you will be able to do and what not. A publisher has, traditionally, never been involved much with the consumer. Our business was mainly with retailers. In the meantime, the retailers got very good at knowing who their customers were and catering to their needs. This is something we should not have allowed to happen. But we did."
KINDLE BOOKS NOW OUTSELLING PRINT BOOKS
"That prediction seems to be true: the iPad doesn’t seem to have affected the growth of Kindle sales, especially given that “40% of iPad owners have not read a book on the device, with 45% of survey respondents saying they instead read e-books on the PC or Mac,” as The Bookseller summarized a report from Simba Information, a media forecasting firm."
THE STOCKHOLM SYNDROME THEORY OF LONG NOVELS
"I was a big believer, in other words, in the Slim Prestige Volume. Nothing over 400 pages. Why commit yourself to one gigantic classic when you can read a whole lot of small classics in the same period of time, racking up at least as much intellectual cachet while you were at it? I took Hippocrates’ famous dictum about ars being longa and vita being brevis as a warning against starting a book in your twenties that might wind up lying still unfinished on the nightstand of your deathbed. Aside from the occasional long novel––one every twelve to eighteen months––I was a Slim Prestige Volume man, and that seemed to be that."
"Every utopia is a fiction, with necessary flaws that prevent it from ever becoming real. I don't believe in utopias. Particularly technological ones. (That doesn't stop critics from accusing me of being a technological utopian.) My aversion to utopias goes even deeper. I have not met a utopia I would even want to live in. I don't have to worry about that nightmare because utopias are impossible. Yet dystopias, their dark opposites, are possible, though unlikely."
WHERE DOES MY BOOK FIT? FIGURING OUT YOUR GENRE
"Genre is a great tool to help guide your story as you write, but don’t let it become something that bogs you down trying to label it. Don’t look for weird sub-sub-genres to perfectly define your story. (or use too many genres to define it) Plenty of books have elements of plenty of genres. Don’t try to be all things to all people and spread your story too thin. Look at what’s at the heart of your story and then see where it fits. Or, decide where you want it to fit, and make sure you have those fundamental elements in your story."
ARE WE LIVING IN A SCI FI FUTURE?
"For example, while HG Wells seems to predict space flight in his 1901 work The First Men in the Moon, the spaceship he describes flies by means of a gravity-repelling paint. You shouldn't take the first part seriously, Mieville explains, if you are aware of the second. The point is, though, that science fiction has never been about predicting the future. If it happens to get some things right, then all well and good: the point is the point of any literature - to tell a good story."