Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Thought: Why Kindle?

Friends and I are going through the initial steps of publishing our work in eBook format and there is a lot to consider. The first decision we had to make was which format would we use? The answer to that was relatively easy: Kindle. The 'why Kindle', is more interesting and may be one of the problems with existing bookshops/chains.

Amazon allows anyone to upload their book for sale via their website, providing it passes a few tests, such as is it pornographic or a hate-filled rant, both of which would disqaulify you. You can then set your own royalty rate and wait for the cash to come in...or not. The beauty of this is, aside from time, there is no cost to the author and it is easy to do.

I looked at other UK book companies and found no similar system, not even in a beta phase or with a restricted use. Nor were there any similar systems in place for Sony's ereader or on B&N's website.

This is a puzzle. In an electronic age, with ebook sales accelerating, why aren't more companies taking this route? By encouraging people to use their website to sell ebooks, Amazon are virtually guaranteeing sales of their Kindle ereader.

I can't help but wonder whether the traditional publishers have got their heads around ebooks or the digital age. Amanda Hocking and a few others have shown what can be done when you sell direct via Kindle. If Waterstones, Barnes & Noble and Sony encourage authors to sell from their websites, as Amazon do, they may make the transition from the current, print dominated age, to the digital age as strong as they are now. If not, they may still survive, but in what state?

It promises to be an interesting few years ahead.


DRC said...

The thing that scares me about Amazon is that it allows 'anyone' to publish their work. Where, in some instances, this may be a cracking idea for authors, works fail to go through the usual filtration, and there's no guarantee that what you're buying and downloading is going to be any good.

But my opinion may change once we publish our work in

Amanda Borenstadt said...

I love the Kindle as a reader. You can download samples of books before buying. Very helpful. It's the next best thing to browsing in a real bookstore.

PV Lundqvist said...

Smashwords distributes to Sony, Apple, et al; there's that back door. UK and the rest of the world does seem a step behind.

I've heard that Kobo is coming up with it's own DIY pub platform. They're outside of the states, Canada I think. We'll see.

Martin Willoughby said...

DRC: There is that danger, but it also exists with the written word. Can you be sure that the book you're buying isn't a turkey. I've bought a few, despite reading some of the inside.

Amanda: I agree with that, even though I don't have one.

PVL: I'll check those out, thanks.

Milo James Fowler said...

Looking forward to monitoring your progress. What are you planning to set as the price? I've heard Amazon gives you plenty of options as far as that goes.

Martin Willoughby said...

Milo: We're not sure about pricing yet, that remains to be discussed (along with many other things).

Evy_G said...

The only thing I fear with the coming of a more advanced technological age and the Kindle as well as Amazon is what's going to happen to bookstores.Already the second largest chain of bookstores has been closed down and to those who enjoy having tangible copies might not be able to get them anymore.Then again the convenience and availability is great for those new authors and Kindle buyers.

Martin Willoughby said...

Evy: Bookstores will only die out if they don't take advantage of digital technology. On Amazon you can only download Kindle books. Bookstores could handle all formats for all ereaders. The question is, can they be flexible enough and open enough?