This is just nuts. Amazon loves books? Do they know how to read any?
Originally posted on Graeme Reynolds's Blog:
This is a really strange blog post to have to write, simply because the situation is absurd. It would be comedic, really, if the situation was not costing me money and resulted in one of my best-selling books being unavailable in the run up to the busiest time of the year.
Let me tell you a little story.
I was sitting in front of my computer on Friday night, as is often the case, talking to friends on Facebook, randomly browsing things that seemed interesting and, in this particular case, attending the launch party for Chantal Noordeloos’s latest Coyote book, when I had an email notification arrive in my inbox from Kindle Direct Publishing.
The email was titled rather ominously as
Kindle Quality Notice: High Moor 2: Moonstruck – B00BVC7MKW
Now – Moonstruck has been out for around 18 months now. It’s done well for itself and, at the time…
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Book publishers are incentivizing midlist authors to abandon them for Amazon
So when you’re a company that’s dealing with revenues in the billions (with a B), suddenly a product that can only sell a few thousand units and is ultimately “unscalable,” isn’t worthy of investment. So instead they invest in products that have the potential to not only sell millions of units, but also spawn spin-off merchandise and movie deals.
This has been happening for quite some time. It was evident way back in the early 1980s. Alarms were sounded back in the 1970s.
And here’s something the publishers haven’t taken into account. Even books that can grow into the kind of scale they seek don’t need them.
Exhibit A, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first appeared in an American comic book published by Mirage Studios in 1984 in Dover, New Hampshire. The concept arose from a humorous drawing sketched out by Eastman during a casual evening of brainstorming and bad television with Laird. Using money from a tax refund, together with a loan from Eastman’s uncle, the young artists self-published a single-issue comic intended to parody four of the most popular comics of the early 1980s: Marvel Comics’ Daredevil and New Mutants, Dave Sim’s Cerebus, and Frank Miller’s Ronin. The TMNT comic series has been published in various incarnations by various comic book companies since 1984.
The Turtles started their rise to mainstream success when a licensing agent, Mark Freedman, sought out Eastman and Laird to propose wider merchandising opportunities for the franchise. In 1986, Dark Horse Miniatures produced a set of 15 mm lead figurines. In January 1987, Eastman and Laird visited the offices of Playmates Toys Inc, a small California toy company that wanted to expand into the action figure market. Development was undertaken by a creative team of companies and individuals: Jerry Sachs, ad man of Sachs-Finley Agency, brought together the animators at Murakami-Wolf-Swenson headed by Fred Wolf. Wolf and his team combined concepts and ideas with the Playmates marketing crew, headed by Karl Aaronian, VP of sales Richard Sallis and VP of Playmates Bill Carlson.
The established publishers can never, ever be as hungry as an individual who can see an opportunity and pounce on it.
Just ask — and here’s Exhibit B for the win — the McDonald brothers who met Ray Kroc!
Century 21 FX Exclusive
I understand how they’re marketing to collectors. But some of us out here are no longer collectors — yet we’d still like the information and images.
So why limit this to print and limit possible income?
There is no war between Amazon and Traditional Publishing
My interest in publishing has declined. There are only so many times I can bang my head against a wall. Still, from time to time I will point to worthwhile publishing-related posts. The above is one of them.
According to a Weibo communiqué, the book about Xiaomi (which is not, in fact, written by Lei Jun — he did just the preface) has 180,000 copies in print.
I came across this extraordinary collection of dime novels (actually they cost a nickel, but let’s not quibble) on Google Books, called Secret Service, featuring the exploits of Old and Young King Brady.
Here’s some information first from two sites:
Old King Brady
Public Domain Super Heroes: Old King Brady
According to this site, it was published from 1899 to 1925 — 1,374 issues in all! — which has to be some sort of record.
Out of that huge run, Google Books has one hundred issues. Of course I grabbed all of them.
What no site really mentions is just how absolutely racist this publication was.
It was basically these two white guys beating the shit out of Chinese, Blacks, “Hindoos,” dwarves(!), and Mexicans — with the stray white guy here and there.
I’d never seen anything like this before in my life. Cover after cover with non-whites as the villains. And this was considered mainstream entertainment!
After the break, some of the jaw-dropping covers.
A Plague of Words
To wit, I’m simply blinded by choice. I can’t make up my mind what to read because there’s so fucking MUCH to read and I want to read ALL of it…
From writer Alan Glynn, whose excellent novel The Dark Fields was transformed into the rather shallow movie, Limitless.
He has a full-blown blog too, with several short stories. All this time I didn’t know — because he sucks at promoting himself.
Anyway, what Alan says is what most readers can identify with. And what’s weird is that while I sit here typing this, I realize I don’t have the same impulse towards TV and movies. I haven’t yet seen all of Breaking Bad, but I’m not in any panic to do so — as I am to get to all the books I have waiting to be read.
Previously here and at my other blogs:
Crime Always Pays: Origins: Alan Glynn
Limitless, The Movie
Lose Your Mind
Go Buy Winterland By Alan Glynn!
Writer Alan Glynn Speaks!
Calling Alan Glynn!
Baldur Bjarnason has taken up the book publishing cudgel I’ve more or less abandoned in disgust.
This is a must-read: Except, except, except
There’s nothing there I disagree with. Some of it I’ve said myself years ago.
And that’s the fucking thing with book publishing: People have to say the same thing over and over again because it never sinks into their lizard brains.
No. Not picking up that cudgel again.
Zola Books Acquires Bookish.com
The site that was supposed to save the asses of the Big 6 (now 5) of publishing against that meanie Jeff Bezos and his ferocious beast Amazon, was dumped in what looks like a fire sale price to a non-publisher.
I never got around to checking out this site in depth. That is, beyond its WTF TOS.
Now I am pleased that I will never have to look at it ever again.
Amazon wins again.
Books didn’t tell you how long it took to read a chapter.