How Authors Balance Risks and Rewards

shutterstock_213001051When authors sign contracts with publishers, exactly what is given and what’s expected in return? What do publishers and indie authors do that makes some of them successful and others less so?

The results of the 2015 Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest Author Survey are in, and they lay the groundwork for a different way of asking those questions–one based on how authors and publishers apportion the risks and rewards of their publishing ventures.

The end of the Amazon-Hachette dispute left many key questions about publishers’ roles unanswered, and Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited payout model is still causing dissatisfaction among authors.

The latest research provides a detailed glimpse into that challenging landscape as well as a new lens for viewing it.

Much more.

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Amazon Takes Aim at iBooks Author (Pub Lunch)
The new e-textbook self-publishing platform KDP EDU lets users convert PDFs into Kindle ebooks and comes equipped with annotation features. Titles priced at $10 or higher still leave authors with only 35% royalties, although Kindle SVP Russ Grandinetti hinted at Digital Book World 2015 that some revenue splits could change.

Subscription Ebooks on the Sidelines? (Economist)
While the subscription landscape continues to grow, both in the U.S. and overseas, some still expect the hesitation of the sort Macmillan expressed before signing on with Oyster and Scribd to prevail, leaving the model something of a niche business. One observer writes that “unless the ebook market changes in unexpected ways, subscription services may have only a limited impact on consumer book publishing.”

Amazon Expected to Add 7 Million Prime Members (HuffPost)
A research group estimates about 70% of the 10 million new Prime members Amazon said it picked up at the end of the holiday season will stay on as paying subscribers after their 30-day trial expires, and that about 6 million of those will renew the following year.

Promise and Peril in Adult Fiction Ebooks (Publishing Technology)
Nielsen data presented at Digital Book World 2015 shows the considerable growth of adult fiction ebooks over the past several years, but one analyst points out there’s a heightening risk that publishers will rely too heavily on the category to generate digital growth, and that “each quarter that goes by without a Gone Girl or Fifty Shades will be heralded in certain quarters as ‘the end’ of the ebook boom.”

Three Rules for Digital Workflows (BookNet Canada)
A well-ordered content management system and a consistent, diligent approach to tagging the assets that pass through it can help editorial and production staff develop digital content more efficiently. Here’s how and how come.

Five Predictions for Academic Publishers (Pub Perspectives)
Among the things Publishing Technology CEO Michael Cairns foresees in academic publishers’ future are scaled-back paywalls and more start-ups that offer innovative solutions without turning the business on its head.

For Amazon, Movies are a Steeper Climb than TV (Forbes)
As Amazon and Netflix prepare to release their first slate of original movies in theaters, the nature of the industry could make it harder for either of them to distinguish themselves and edge out competitors.

Used Ebooks Down for the Count? (Good E Reader)
Assessing the recent news that Dutch ebook reseller Tom Kabinet must purge its inventory of suspected pirated titles, one observer wagers the odds are swiftly tipping away from it.


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