As everyone seems to think Kindles are the “must have” right now, I wondered if other authors had thought of making their work available on them? The problem from what I’ve seen is that many writers are making their work available almost free of charge for electronic reading and distribution in this way- my concern has always been that making my work available in electronic format means it will just get copied around, end up on peer to peer networks, shared on people’s kindles- and no one will actually buy the book itself.
It’s pretty frustrating as it seems many writers apparently think they have to distribute all their work virtually for free in this way and therefore make nothing out of it…
Just wondered what other people’s thoughts were on this.
This is a really popular topic among publishers right now.
My view is that eBooks are here to stay but to try to look at them as ‘premium digital content’ rather than an equivalent to a paper book. They have many advantages but it is hard to subconsciously come to terms with something virtual having the same value as a physical product.
Then there are market factors affecting price. With a zero cost digital distribution you have something approaching perfect competition. Publishers are free to experiment with the price vs volume equation. The question is what price to set your content at to maximise income. I find the Kindle an interesting case study of economics, right now it seems that novels are best priced around £2-4 to make them an impulse buy. Non-fiction maintains it’s price better as it generally has a specific market who are buying it for a particular reason. However if everyone goes down to £2 then the cheap book market is also diluted and prices tend towards zero!
Regarding piracy, this is something which cannot be stopped no matter what you do. However the question should be ‘do I care?’. The arguments as to why you should care are obvious. On the plus side, if your book is popular enough for someone to go through the effort of pirating it then it is probably quite successful. Anyone who is looking up stuff on file sharing websites was probably never going to pay for it anyway so you have lost nothing from them. However you may gain is exposure if they talk about it and those people maybe won’t pirate it. My view is that the only way to stop piracy is to make content so easy to access that it makes piracy irrelevant. In my eyes spotify is a good example of this in the music industry.
Thanks for the detailed response. Sounds like some mulling over the issue is needed on my part! Not least of which is how I can make it available for Kindle, which I’m sure isn’t as easy as just using the PDF of my book! Thanks again, will havwe to see what the best way forward is
Hi Simon – no it’s not as easy as a PDF, although they can be read on Kindle, they’re not so good. I’ve had an interesting time putting my book into e-book format. Initially I formatted it with maps and hyper-links via KDP as a Word 2003 document and uploaded. Format was fine – apart from it being bright red. I didn’t realise this until I bought a copy for my I-phone kindle app as the kindle I own is black and white.
So next stage… Couldnt work out how to sort it so went onto Smashwords and used their formatting guide. Still bloody red!! So then did the ‘nuclear’ approach which involved pasting entire book into rtf format (which annihilates all formats including italics!) and re-formatted from scratch. Which was fun (at 450 pages..). Nonetheless when it was done I had a glitch free version which I re-uploaded via Amazon KDP and asked them to send an e-mail to anyone who had bought the red version that an update was available ( which they sent for free). Via Smashwords premium catalogue it’s now on Sony, Apple, Nook and a few others, although ironically the Kindle is the only one I’ve sold on ( the others have had 10 or so sample downloads thus far).
For my own part- I’m more for the exposure as I’m certain that my book will never be big-style popular, but I am happy if people read it and like it! As a minor point you can’t put it on Kindle for free via KDP – the free books are usually publisher deal things or very old books. Smashwords you can for free, but i think it may then exclude you from some forums.
Hope that helps.
Hi Ross, hmm… it sounds a bit more involved than I thought it would be (certainly sounds like you had quite an adventure!), also if it costs to make the book available for Kindle and sell via that medium, I wonder if it’s worth doing given that most people seem to want to pay only a few quid that way. Will have to think about it. Thanks for all the details :)
Sorry Simon, I think my extra long answer was confusing. Kindle is free to publish on, although they take 30% from your sale. I meant to say that I don’t think you can put your book on for £0.00 as in free to purchase. There’s a minimum pricing. Smashwords is different, although a freebie on there won’t be distributed to all retailers if free.
My kindle version has sold more than the paperback- not suprising when you think paperback is.>£10 with the delivery included whereas the Kindle edition is £2.
Just register as an author with the Amazon Kindle authors site and follow the instructions – it’s simple and as far as I can remember there is no cost for setting up a kindle edition. I have been delighted with sales of the Kindle version of my book – currently running at around 5 every week. Good luck.
Thanks David- oddly the setting up an account and stuff wasn’t the problem, it was just all the formatting woes. Once I got it right it’s done well – I’ve sold more on Kindle than in print.
Thanks for your reply.
Thanks David- I’ll check it out and see if it might be worthwhile…
Thankfully I haven’t had to worry about formatting for the Kindle; my publisher handled all that stuff. From what I’ve seen and heard it isn’t just a case of uploading a formatted manuscript in .doc or .odt format anyway and I’m not an html guru yet either. I think the big thing in respect of Kindle is the expectation by the reading public on pricing. My publisher recently lowered the price of OTOLI to £2.29 but Mystery, Deceit and a School Inspector is £4.54 and they are both selling better than the paperback editions and I think that is probably true of any book available in either format. The future of publishing is certainly interesting, however for me the same goal remains whatever the format, to be widely read by my target readerships. Money is secondary but it’s still nice to see the royalties coming in for my hard work.
I uploaded my manuscript through the KDP section on Amazon and it was available within 24 hours at a price of £2.18 with 70% of that being royalties. My problem is why has my book not been added to other ebook distributers
David, Kindle is its own format (.mobi) and has no connection to other ebook distributors – it is Amazon only. If you wanted to sell via other ebook stores, such as for the Nook, then you would probably need to upload and sell via smashwords.com or similar. (This is something we’ve chosen not to do.)
I don’t know if this answer is too late for you now, but thought I’d add it since I was browsing and came across your question.
I have never bothered with any other e book formula as I didn’t think there was much competition to Amazon with their Kindle. Does anyone know what the relative market sizes are for other e book formats and outlets?
Unfortunately I can’t even set up my bank account on Amazon to register for Kindle- as they ask for an IBAN number of at least 15 characters (my bank account number is a lot less than that) and a BIC code- as a UK bank account holder I’m pretty sure I don’t have these- but Amazon seem to be demanding these so I can get payments… oh well!