From print to e-press

Lesbian short story and novel publishers.

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From print to e-press

Postby FranW » 09 Apr 2010, 13:53

Cecilia Tan of Circlet Press has a fascinating article on how Circlet was forced to go from a print market to an e-market, and what it's meant for the company.

http://www.circlet.com/?p=1024#more-1024

Tidbits:

I didn’t get into ebooks and place myself on the cutting edge of new book technology because I thought ebooks were really cool and I wanted to be where the action was. No, I was essentially FORCED to become an expert on ebooks or my company was dead in the water.

...

If you looked at my list of Key Accounts from ten years ago, you would see a list of 50 wholesalers and retailers. Exactly two of those 50 key accounts are still in business, and they are Borders and Barnes & Noble. And what would happen if either of the two big chains decides not to order a title? We had no choice but to cancel it.

...

I now have a freelance staff of six developmental editors who are acquiring and editing ebooks in our niche, and at the rate we are going, this summer looks like we will peak out at releasing a new ebook title every week. Many of them will only sell a few hundred copies over the next 2-3 years, but each one will earn a significant profit over what was invested, and many will make for the authors more than we ever paid on printed books.
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Re: From print to e-press

Postby Proofrdr » 17 Aug 2010, 22:53

Mass Paperback Publisher Goes All Digital

It's happening so much faster than I expected!
Wall Street Journal, 6 August 2010 wrote:Dorchester Publishing Inc., a closely held book and magazine house, said it is making the switch after its book unit sales fell 25% last year, in part because of declining orders from some of its key retail accounts...

The decision to go digital could be a sign of things to come for other small publishers facing declining sales in their traditional print business. Dorchester's switch will likely result in significant savings at a time when it expects its digital sales to double in 2011.

Dorchester, which has been publishing mass market paperbacks since 1971, publishes 25 to 30 new titles a month, approximately 65% of which are romance works. The company launched its first mass paperback titles in 1971.


On the other hand, Random House is taking a wait and see attitude. I expect sheer volume affords them that luxury.
The country's largest consumer book publisher, Bertelsmann AG's Random House Inc., said it continues to be a strong believer in mass paperbacks. One of the country's most successful mystery writers, the late John D. MacDonald, is available from Random House exclusively in mass paperback.

"It's still a viable, popular, lower-priced alternative to the other reading formats," said Stuart Applebaum, a spokesman for Random House. "It also has a committed readership. Will that commitment be forever in a transformative marketplace? We'll have to wait and see."
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Re: From print to e-press

Postby FranW » 18 Aug 2010, 07:49

Yeah, but Proof, for Dorchester, I don't think this is a calculated move to grow their business. I think it's a desperate retrenching. There's been a lot of talk about how they're nearly bankrupt, they haven't been paying their authors royalties because their cash flow is in the red, they've cancelled contracts for forthcoming books because they can't afford to put them out, etc. So I think that they're downsizing to an epublisher because it's that or go bust altogether. Check out the Dorchester discussion on Absolute Write; it looks pretty dismal.
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Re: From print to e-press

Postby Proofrdr » 18 Aug 2010, 11:43

Ah, I wasn't aware they were in that much trouble. I guess then that's a logical move for them.
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Re: From print to e-press

Postby FranW » 22 Sep 2010, 07:50

An interesting article about SF and e-books:
Tor Books senior editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden, in Melbourne earlier this month for the World Science Fiction Convention, says 10 to 12 years ago ebooks were like the old joke about Brazil: "It's the country of the future and always will be".

"We had this unbelievably bad ratio of thousands of hours of meetings to hundreds of dollars worth of sales, so a lot of the industry got kind of accustomed to ebooks as an ever-receding future," he said. But in the past couple of years he says ebook revenue has gone from 0.5 per cent of revenue to anywhere up to 10 per cent and now in domestic airports in the US he sees as many people reading ebooks as the old-fashioned printed variety.

Tim Holman, publisher with Orbit in the US and UK, reports similar growth, and says high-profile hardcover releases, urban fantasy and romance titles are doing particularly well.


And the debate on DRM:
Publishers have also been trying to find the right path with digital rights management (DRM) - software which prevents content from being copied. Nielsen Hayden concedes that piracy has reached a "wholesale and possibly even malign level" but offers the oft-quoted Tim O'Reilly aphorism that the big enemy of most genre writers isn't piracy, it's obscurity. "I think we need to be careful of letting fears of piracy completely overwhelm common sense and make it impossible to provide a reasonable experience to our customers," he said. "If you start out treating your customers as if they're potential felons you're not going to get a happy set of commercial transactions."

British sf writer Charlie Stross - who has been reading ebooks since 1998 - says DRM will hold back adoption of ebooks unless it is very lightly handled, and in the long term will have to go. "We tend to forget that paper books already have more than one reader," he said. "The best estimates I've heard are that for every book sold there are four or five readers at some point in its life span. Attempting to sell an ebook for the same price as paper edition and then preventing the purchaser from lending it to their friends - what's going on there?"

Nielsen Hayden says some efforts are being made, pointing to Barnes and Noble - the biggest retail bookseller in the US - which allows ebook buyers to lend their books to others with Barnes and Noble accounts. Holman disagrees that DRM is going to significantly hold back the adoption of ebooks, and says Orbit has no plans to change its approach. "We think that DRM is a significant factor in terms of protecting an author's copyright, and most ebooks that are sold through the major channels have DRM incorporated," he said.

More here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010 ... ertainment
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Re: From print to e-press

Postby FranW » 24 Dec 2010, 07:42

An excellent post by Paul Cornell on e books versus paper, which really gets at the heart of the matter. It also explains how and why piracy occurs. Well worth reading.

Publishers have always thought that when you buy a hardback, what you're paying more for is the chance to own it on the day of publication. Paperbacks are cheaper because they come out a year later. The reading public, on the other hand, always thought what they were paying more for was the extra physical mass and quality. (Actually, a hardback costs, one publisher told me, only from 50p to a couple of pounds more to make.) So obviously publishers think an e-book, out on the day of publication, should cost the same as a hardback. And obviously the reading public think it should cost less than a paperback. From this difference in perception stem all subsequent horrors.


The concept that one should give away the e-book version of a title online, and then make money through sales of the physical version of that book, as espoused by some well-known authors, only makes financial sense (to anyone making a living purely on their writing) while the e-book market forms a small percentage of the general market. If, as seems possible now, e-books become the favoured format, then authors doing that will be left sitting on the kerb with signs saying 'will write for nothing'. I've been present when one major author, known for their support for this system, changed their mind in the face of recent developments. To bet one's career on the idea that a new delivery system will fail to become a major force seems to me to be betting against the future


http://www.paulcornell.com/2010/12/twel ... s-ten.html
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Re: From print to e-press

Postby FranW » 30 Dec 2010, 11:18

An experiment by mainstream SF author Jim Hines, which shows why throwing an e-book onto Amazon does not equate with instant success -- or any success at all:

Earlier this year, I was studying my royalty statement from DAW, comparing my print and electronic sales. I’ve been hearing for years that print is dying and e-books are the future, so I was rather surprised to find that electronic sales made up only 3-5% of my overall book sales.

Certain champions of self-publishing were quick to point out what I was doing wrong. My books were priced too high at $6.99. Digital rights management (DRM) was hurting me too. And of course, by going through a major publisher, I was cutting myself out of the big royalties.

So I decided to experiment. In October, I put my out-of-print mainstream novel Goldfish Dreams up for sale on B&N and Amazon as a $2.99, DRM-free e-book.

http://www.sfwa.org/2010/12/guest-post- ... h-e-books/

You can guess what happened, eh? Even though, as Jim points out, he's got a readership base, he's got a blog with thousands of readers who he informed about his e-book being available, and his book was professionally edited when it was first released.

After roughly two months, I’ve sold 33 books through Amazon and 4 through B&N, for about $75 in royalties. Hardly the thousands certain voices led me to expect. By comparison, in the past eight weeks, Bookscan tells me that my backlist with DAW has sold 2200 books, an average of 370 per book. Even the book that came out more than four years ago sold about 280 copies. Those royalties come to more than $1000.
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Re: From print to e-press

Postby sbarret » 31 Dec 2010, 06:43

Yep that matches my limited experiences too. Remember when I experimented with tossing a novella up on both kindle and pay pal off my website? I took down pay pal but left kindle up. It two years it's sold maybe five copies.

That said, a lager portion of my actual royalties is coming from ebook sales. I haven't calculated how much yet but it's more than 30% i think.
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Re: From print to e-press

Postby FranW » 23 Jun 2011, 14:26

An interesting interview with Angela James, who worked at Ellora's Cave, ran Samhain, and now runs Carina:

http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/157 ... quin-ebook
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Re: From print to e-press

Postby Proofrdr » 24 Jun 2011, 00:14

Wow! Lesfic really is small potatoes. Minuscule, actually.
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