Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Doused by the Newest iWave

So have you heard the news?

No doubt you're quite aware of Apple's brand spankin' new iPad. But what you may not know is that publishing biz folks think this new gizmo is about to set the industry back on its heels like nothing since the printing press.

Why the big hooha? Well, it's a bit complicated and I do recommend you read the blazing insider blogs burning up cyberspace as we speak, but basically Apple is breaking new ground not only in attempting to usurp Amazon's world's largest bookseller status, but in completely altering the economics of eBooks for both publishers and authors for all time to come.

In my opinion, the economics needed to be shaken up. So this is not a bad thing.

Amazon has been lording its eBook czar-ship with a heavy hand in limiting Kindle books at $9.99, despite publishers fighting for $12.99 or $14.99 for hard copies that sell for $24.99. As authors, we're acutely aware of the paltry royalties we earn on the $24.99 book sale; the pittance we receive for the eBook won't buy a twin pack of ink.

And I've been irritated with Amazon anyway for years of threatening to drop self-published and small press-published books created outside of their own profit-lined walls. Greedy, greedy, greedy.

And then there's the Macmillan thing. Scary, that. Last week, Amazon, apparently miffed over recent faltering negotions with the prestigious publishing house, Macmillan, up and pulled every single Macmillan book not only from, but free sample chapters that had been downloaded from Amazon onto Kindles suddenly disappeared into thin air.

Poof. Gone. How'd they do that?

Can we really control the eBooks we purchase ... or not? Could they, too, be sucked into an electronic black hole one day?

So from my POV (that of an author watching her dwindling royalties sail into the sunset), I'm a little relieved that someone is making waves. I just hope the waves don't eVolve into the perfect storm and capsize those of us in dingy's trying to stay afloat.