The Wall Street Journal's Geoffrey A. Fowler and Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg report on the "technological disruption that's loosening traditional publishers' grip on the book market—and giving new power to technology companies like Amazon to shape which books and authors succeed."
As in reports described in the earlier articles linked to above, they note the success of writers such as Karen McQuestion who decided to publish her own book online through Amazon's digital-publishing area and has sold, through Amazon's Kindle store, over 36,000 copies of "A Scattered Life," which has a film option with a Hollywood producer. Amazon's imprint Amazon Encore will publish a paperback version along with a new Kindle edition in August.
Publishers have been wary of the new power of technology companies to shape which authors and books succeed, circumventing the publishing establishment.
This month Amazon is increasing the authors' take to 70% of revenue, and both Apple and Barnes & Noble have jumped on the digital self-publishing bandwagon.
The WSJ story, which is quite thorough and very balanced includes a look at the field of competitors (photos included): Smashwords (Mark Coker); Lulu (Bob Young); FastPencil (Steve Wilson); Scribd (Trip Adler), and Author Solutions (Kevin Weiss) as well as Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos of course. It also includes a couple of videoclips, including Fowler "joining the Digits show to discuss how this is threatening the traditional book industry." and WSJ's Marshall Crook offering "a brief history of the book." The article itself has its own introductory or overview video.
After the latest look at the e-book pricing battles, the article focuses on Joe Konrath (AKA Jack Wilson) who, along with Karen McQuestion (and Boyd Morrison), often share the spotlight on their unanticipated but impressive success stories.
' Mr. Konrath says he's already earning more from self-published Kindle books that New York publishers rejected than from his print books. In the past 14 months, he has sold nearly 50,000 Kindle e-books, and at the current royalty rate, he makes $58,000 per year from his self-published works. When Amazon royalties double this summer, he expects to bring in $170,000 annually.They include a discussion of what would work best for authors and publishers in this new high-tension, competitive environment with large stakes for all.
...the success of Ms. McQuestion's debut self-published novel, "A Scattered Life," illustrates perhaps the biggest long-term threat to traditional publishers: a replacement for their ability to curate and market books.
...CEO Jeff Bezos says Amazon wants to be a partner, not a threat, to publishers. "I think the real risk is that there are a multitude of publishers. Some of them are really forward leaning, and are really going after this new e-book area," he says. "If you are not one of those publishers, then I would be worried." '
A really interesting read. More here...
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