I wish, as a content creator (newspeak for writer) that I didn't have to worry about the business side of books. But I'd like to go on being a writer, publishing books and stories, being active in the field. So--with a sigh--I gird my loins and plunge in to the fray.
I've just read a long post by Steve Ross, a former Harper Collins executive. He, along with many other editors and execs, lost his job in the recent downturn in publishing, but he still has good things to say about the business and the people who work in it. Following on a most illuminating lunch in New York with my agent and my brand-new and most charming editor, I found this discussion fascinating. Despite resistance, the e-book is most definitely here to stay, and I was pleased to hear that Kensington Books is actively looking for ways to use the trend.
Amazon reports, according to my agent, that 45% of its sales are now e-books. He was quick to point out that the number means volume, not dollars, and it sent me to my contracts to check the royalty structure. It makes Ross's essay all the more interesting. $4.00 books? $0.00 cost for the top ten e-books? Brrrr. Scary.
Ross quotes from two sides of the discussion, and says: Both blogs are, to this reader, rife with fallacious thinking, faulty reasoning, and/or tunneled perspectives that ignore the complex realities that publishers face during this turning point for the industry. But at a time when it is in the best interests of everyone who loves books to help the major houses endure, they're being scapegoated, demonized and ridiculed for trying to survive with the crippling business model they've been handicapped with for decades.
It's worth reading the whole piece.