Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Anne Rice: 'Should Major Authors consider going straight to Kindle?'

Anne Rice started a fascinating thread the other day in the Amazon Kindle forum , which she titled "Should Major Authors consider going straight to Kindle?"

The question is much more complex than that, as she is loyal to her publishers, and the discussion is in detail.   But she has real concerns about Random House and their "grab" at digital-book rights.  Author and blogger Bufo Calvin wondered if her question to Kindle users should be quoted and linked and she said she was writing on a public forum under her own name and that would be fine.  So I've included some excerpts.

She wrote on Monday:
'  Some of you may wonder: why would an author like me discuss all these business issues in a public forum?  Yes, I love my publisher.  Yes, I am loyal to them.  And yes, I am very interested in the possibilities of e publishing.  But I willing to bet that nobody in hard cover publishing will become aware of this discussion.  I am willing to bet that most people working in hard cover publishing today do not even know these forums exist.  Maybe I'll be proved wrong.  Maybe my phone will ring with concerned voices from New York about my views and the views of others here.  But I doubt it.  I'll certainly let you know if it happens. '
And she added to another Amazon Kindle reader:
' Interesting points are being raised.  But --- going straight to Kindle for a major author wouldn't mean choosing to sell only through Amazon Kindle.  It might involve a deal where Amazon licenses rights to other publishers.  The question is would an ebook publisher be the best primary publisher?  Amazon Kindle could be primary, and license hard cover and paperback editions, and possibly, given Amazon's advertising power and business savy, they could do a much better job of announcing and publicizing the new book.  After all, Amazon is making history; hardcover publishers are not making history...

  If electronic books are cutting into hardcover sales so significantly that hardcover publishers are wanting to delay ebook release, I would say that ebook sales are serious sales. --- And by the way, I think holding back on ebook sales (for months to give the hardcover an edge) is a very bad idea.  It's reactionary thinking.  You cannot hold back the rise of ebooks in that way.  People who embrace this new technology and build on it, and see new ways for it to get more books to people, those people will be the winners.

  Imagine this: Amazon Kindle publishing a major writer, and offering with the Kindle a gift certificate for 50% off a hardcover copy of the work.  In other words every Kindle download of the new book would be advertising for a hardcover.  And what would the 50% off mean when Amazon already so heavily discounts hardcover books?  There are so many possibilities here.  We have to think creatively about this.  Why are ebooks making history?  Why are people paying $200 for ebook readers?  What is the way of the future? '
And yesterday, Rice posted to Calvin and the forum:
' ...I think we are having a good discussion here about an important subject. ------ I'm still unable to put into words my "sense" of how momentus ebook publishing and Amazon's investment in it is. --- When a single short story can be made available on Kindle for $3.99, something huge and new and different is happening.  And that is only one aspect of the Kindle miracle. ---- What's at work on Amazon is a view of the book world that is creative and inclusive and embracing.  That spirit is not at work in hardcover publishing.  Not that publishers aren't trying.  They are.  They love books;  they love authors.  But they're discouraged and confused.  Amazon keeps opening doors.  We need to talk more and more about this.  So, surely, do link to this thread and quote me any time you like. I'm learning here. I hope others are too.'
Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle

(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!


  1. Wow! It's great that Ann Rice is talking about this.

  2. Donna,
    I sure agree ! A strong voice where and when it's needed

  3. Thanks for this post Andrys. Fascinating! I agree w/Ms. Rice 100% - delaying ebooks by 3-4 months is just not good business and is reactionary. What will happen if they do? We Kindle/ebook readers will simply wait and buy. End result: Major publishing delays their own revenue streams by 3-4 months. How dumb is that?

  4. James,
    Very! :-) Worse, many of those who would have bought right away will have had time to read reviews, cool down initial enthusiasm for a new book by a favorite, and not buy at all.

  5. Uh, no, I don't buy hardcovers now that I'm a serious Kindle user. I don't care about the 'certificate' unless I can give it to someone else.

  6. Anonymous,
    That's a good point. It would be nice to have one that you could give someone else, as long as it was savings beyond the current discounted price of the hardcover book.


NOTE: TO AVOID SPAM being posted instantly, this blog uses the "DELAY" feature.

Am often away much of the day, and postings won't show up right away. Posts done to use referrer-links may never show up.

Usually, am online enough to release comments within a day though, so the hard-to-read match-text tests for commenting won't be needed this way.

Feedback and questions are welcome. Thanks for participating.

Technical Problems?
If you're having problems leaving a Comment, Google's blogger-help asks that you clear the '' cookies on your browser's Tools or Options menu bar and that will fix the Comment-box problems (until they have a permanent fix).

IF that doesn't work either, then UNcheck the "keep me signed in" box -- Google-help says that should allow your comment to post (it's a workaround to a current bug).
Apologies for the problems.

TIP: There's a size limit. If longer than 3500 characters or so, in a text editor, make two posts out of it.

[Valid RSS]