Friday, February 5, 2010

Schism Between Authors and Readers

Something that Jay Wells said on twitter made me think if there's schism between authors and readers. She said:

Saddest thing about this e-book drama is it's creating schism between authors and readers because of some misconceptions about how publishing works.

I think she's partially right, because most readers don't get how the publishing of a book works, they probably don't think about it. But the biggest complaint that I hear around me and on Internet is not about authors, it is about publishers. I have the impression that they are pictured as greedy companies that are always getting an unfairly big part of the cake, keeping all the reins while paying authors peanuts.

Regarding "the current e-book drama", I think readers don't really trust publishers. Regarding e-book pricing, they want from the publishers, at least, a trustworthy dynamic scheme as it is applied to paper books. If the publishers say "e-book prices will always be available at 70% of the p-book prices" then I'm sure most of the readers will be go home to their reading devices happily. However, they don't trust such a promise because currently one can pay $14.99 for an e-book from the same publisher that's selling the mass market paperback for $7.99. Now, this is upsetting!

So it's not so much authors that they are angry with, because readers know that their hands are tied. However, readers believe that authors are still closer to the publishers than themselves. For example, to protest the unavailability of an e-book, they can decide to give unfair 1-star reviews to a book, hoping that the author whose book's Amazon rating is harmed will be strong enough to change some things.

In this current e-book pricing struggle, I think one of the questions that a reader asks himself is "Why would an author, especially someone who is already published, not consider a royalty program such as Amazon's?" Amazon's new royalty program says:

This new program can thus enable authors and publishers to make more money on every sale. For example, on an $8.99 book an author would make $3.15 with the standard option, and $6.25 with the new 70 percent option.

It just looks like readers are eager but most authors and all publishers are afraid of the e-book phenomenon.

No comments:

Post a Comment