Jude Hardin posted a link to a Huffington Post article on Joe Konrath's blog: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/31/e-books-settlement-apple-j...
that makes fascinating reading, especially in the analysis of how this will affect not only e-book prices, but also hardcovers. Take note also of the 5 big publishing houses involved in the suit.
I see in other news that publishers are making a lot of money frrom their e-books at the moment, so much so that they are stunned. This should change when authors refuse to sign their e-rights away for 15 % royalties.
They started that consignment stuff during the Great Depression. What a fast evolving industry!
Publishers were very slow to get into e-books, but it's still too early to count them out entirely.
I'm not counting them out at all. But it seems as though they're fighting to maintain the status quo, and that's just not going to happen. Consumers want lower-priced ebooks, and authors want better contracts. The major publishers need to find a way to make that happen. Otherwise, they're going to have a tough, tough time of it.
If you apply that to all delivery systems, then book stores would order the books, and what they can't sell would go on a sale table rather than be returned to the publisher. The store would take the loss if any.
Bookstores, and other retailers who carry books, can price the books however they want to. When you buy a bestseller in hardcover at Walmart for $17, Walmart is taking a loss.
The agency model prevents that from happening, thereby allowing publishers to keep ebook prices unreasonably high. It just blows my mind every time I see new release where the hardcover only costs slightly more than the ebook. And, on some older releases, the ebook actually costs MORE than the paperback. The reason is obvious, yet unsustainable in a digital world.
Unlike most self-pubbed authors, I've discovered that price isn't as relevant in my case. I write for a niche market, and my readers will pay anything. Unfortunately, the numbers remain small. But sales and giveaways haven't produced great results for me. Obviously, one size doesn't fit all.
But that's really true for 99% of authors, isn't it? It's really very few authors that break out of their niche into bestseller status.
The question is can you find a niche big enough to make writing another book worthwhile?
Maybe the ebook will make it possible for more authors to find that niche.
No, very few mystery authors set their novels in 11th c. Japan. For obvious reasons: readers are rarely interested in the history of that country if it predates WWII. They also don't like characters with foreign names. Most readers of mysteries like modern cozies, closely followed by noir and hardboiled. Histmyst sells only if it's set in Europe, preferably England. Thrillers sell better than noir and hardboiled mysteries, and vampire romance sells better than all the rest. If I wrote any of those books, I could make huge sales at the 99 cent mark and draw enough readers to make big money and have my name appear among the bestsellers on Kindle. As it is, things don't budge at 99 cents, and the downloads of freebies do not translate into big upswings of other sales. That method doesn't work for me, even though I have fans who own all of my books and beg for more.
Take note that Konrath writes modern American hardboiled mysteries and thrillers.
I think it's riskier to go after the larger niche. More competition. Finding a dedicated readership, even if it's smaller, seems to yield better results long-term.
Boils down to who you'd rather be. The big fish in the small pond or the little fish in the big pond?
Benjamin, it's the money that counts. I have returning readers; I need more people trying the books.
When you're new, then perhaps you're better off with the small niche, but even that won't last if the books don't bring readers back.
Small fish in big ponds always have to be careful not to be eaten.
Maybe the small fish in the big ponds grow and start eating the big fish. :) In a small pond, they'll starve to death.
I think we'll all be lungfish at some point.