GUD’s Pricing Experiment

November 13, 2009

GUD002

What is GUD?

GUD (pronounced “good”) is Greatest Uncommon Denominator, an award-winning print/pdf magazine with two hundred pages of literary and genre fiction, poetry, art, and articles.

Our hardcopy issues are 5″x8″, slightly narrower than a mainstream paperback but solid in the hands and easy to read.

GUD’s also available on the Kindle, and in a number of eBook formats via Fictionwise, and beautiful PDF straight from us! Need more convincing? Check out what critics have said about us.

I’d never heard of this before. They’re doing a pricing experiment:

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Pay What You Want!

We’ve given you deals before, but nothing quite like this. Now’s the best time to get a PDF of any issue of GUD–for whatever price you like (minimum one US cent; though we don’t see a cent unless you pay more than 5 cents; and half the net of every sale goes back to our contributors. Help us bump their advances from semi-pro to earned-out pro rates?

Apparently the experiment extends only to the PDF version purchased directly from their website.

But if it looks interesting to you, go for the eBook version via the stores they mention.


DIY Does Not Mean Do It FREE

November 9, 2009

MoneyFliesAway

I missed this very interesting post published months ago:

The Cost of Self Publication, Ebook vs. Print: One Person’s Story

EBOOK

$3,500 for editing
$100 for a final proof
$70 for a newer version of Photoshop (eBay)
$25 for the ISBN
$2.50 for front cover image (stock photo, what can I say)
$24.95 for eBook Studio (the eReader format)
$99 to turn it into an iBook application for the iApp store*

$3,821.45

Cost per ebook FORMAT (not including in-kind labor costs for markup): $382.15.

NO DRM.

There are also expenses listed for print.

Still, you’ll notice that whether I had put it in print or not, editing was the biggest expense and that would have been spent regardless.

Unless you know good, professional, and free editing labor …

Also:

You cannot calculate the unit cost of the e-book because the unit price will always be as X approaches zero. You can only calculate the cost PER FORMAT (which may or may not include DRM). You have the opportunity for an unlimited number of e-book sales without further cost (not including web and shopping cart, etc.). For every print book I sell, I have to spend another $15.00. For every e-book I sell, I have to spend ZERO.

There are those who will argue with that. But we’ll see.

Previously here:

Group DIY: The View From Your Window
Writers: DIY Or Die!


eBook Notes For Wednesday, November 4, 2009

November 4, 2009

Digital books are coming on strong at the Apple App Store!

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Under New & Noteworthy there are four alone!

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eBook Notes For Monday, November 2, 2009

November 2, 2009

The Next Hot e-Reader: The iPhone

Unless the Apple Tablet becomes a reality, I think there is going to continue to be a market for dedicated e-readers, mostly because it is impossible to read large amounts of text on a smaller screen.

Emphasis added by me.

What century is Om Malik living in again?

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How I DRMed Twitter And Its Lessons For All

October 31, 2009

I really did want to start out with just 400 Followers on Twitter. Because I wanted to engage with people who had similar interests in publishing, writing, and electronic books.

I eventually came to see the error of that way.

But that got me to thinking about the rights of users versus the rights of producers.

I set myself up in the role of “producer” of a product: my Twitterstream.

How many restrictions could I impose on those who “purchased” that product?

Would the users pay attention to the ever-growing and increasingly-shrill “EULA” I drafted?

And what would happen if — like the RIAA and MPAA — I threatened punishment?

These are not ridiculous issues. These are the things that eBook buyers currently live with.

Here are the things I’ve learned from this:

1) Users want to do what they want to do. Despite my restricting people from putting me in Follow Friday lists or the new Twitter lists, they would.

2) People will comply with DRM but will resent it. If I threatened people with a Block (the equivalent of an RIAA lawsuit or ISP disconnection), they would comply — but some would rebel quite loudly. Suprisingly, no one could see the parallel between what I was doing and the DRM they had to face in eBook buying. The one who came closest was @BlueTyson, who called me a “cyber-tyrant.”

3) DRM is more work than it’s worth. Instead of concentrating on my “core product” — my Tweets — I always had to stop “producing” several times during the day to enforce the DRM. How much effort do companies put into policing the Internet, to look for illegal copies of their work, instead of producing better products at affordable prices?

4) People want to share. They want to put me in Follow Friday lists and Twitter Lists. This is vital for publishers who will be selling eBooks via Barnes & Noble for the Nook to understand. Do not disallow the 14-day sharing of eBooks. They’re already shackled with DRM, so where’s the harm? Allow the sharing! You have people who have made an investment in reading eBooks and want to read eBooks — and sharing allows people to read more and to discover more writers they will wind up buying.

5) A world without slack is a mean and ugly world. Pushing anyone into a corner with no other alternatives will make that person see the odds as “I’ve got nothing to lose by fighting back.” Right now, the technical skills to break eBook copy-protection are not widespread. If you cage your customers, they’ll become “Nothing to lose” combatants and will seek out the tools to break your DRM. They might even turn spiteful and go pirate, uploading those files for others. Most users who crack DRM simply do it in order to be able to read on more than one device they have paid for. This is private-use “piracy” (in sensible minds, this is called Buyer’s Fair Use!). Don’t push them into becoming outright outlaws!

Finally, I’ve created a new set of Twitter Guidelines. Contrast them with the original ones!

And, oh, all the people I’ve Blocked this week for “breaking” my DRM — you’ve been UNBlocked. Sorry for the aggravation. Think of it as being a (forced!) volunteer for a good cause.


Reading Is NOT Sacrosanct!

October 29, 2009

Apparently there was an online event held today called Publishing Business Virtual Conference & Expo.

PBV001

PBV002

Two really bizarre tweets came out of that and I can’t resist commenting.

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Read Adobe DRMed ePub On iPhone Via Germany?

October 24, 2009

LibrekaiPhone001

The answer to that question is a big maybe.

I’ve spent all day tracking down an enthusiastic Comment at another site about a German company imminently releasing an iPhone app that will permit Adobe DRMed ePub reading.

The best I could come up with is that it’s a planned feature for the future.

The company is called Libreka.

LibrekaLogo

It’s a consortium set up between many German publishers and select bookstores as a defense against Google Book Search and Amazon. It’s really a screwy system in that — if the translations I’ve read are correct — in order to buy an eBook, a buyer has to input some data about a local brick-and-mortar bookstore so they get a cut of the sale.

This is, after all, Germany, where it is illegal to discount the cover price of a book.

Here are the reports:

libreka! Design with new features in new design [Original German]

Also new is the libreka! Application for the iPhone from Apple. It can be used in the contents of libreka! reading and researching. Moreover, it is possible to buy e-books on the application for reading on the iPhone. From the beginning of November, the application via the App Store can be downloaded.

Boersenblatt: libreka! with changes [Original German]

The libreka! Application for the iPhone allows users of smartphones with the content of libreka! reading and researching. “Our goal is to enable the widest possible range of devices to access libreka!” Says Ronald Schild. In future, it is also possible to buy e-books on the application for reading on the iPhone. The application can be downloaded from Apple in early November on the App Store.

Boldface emphasis added by me.

That sounds like there isn’t going to be any Adobe DRMed ePub reading capability in version 1.0. Plus, not only haven’t they posted a press release of this software on their own site, there is no press release regarding any licensing agreement with Adobe for such an iPhone application.

Libreka has also had some recent scandal, with a disaffected insider distributing a four-page PDF to the press blowing the whistle on the venture.

[Update] Libreka: Only 32 eBook sales in 09/09?
[Original German]

How bad it is actually ordered to Libreka, now an employee shall be open from the inner circle of the project. In a four-page letter to themenaffine media (songs: “Libreka unvarnished” does not hold back) the insider with delicate details. According to the platform in its current form is Libreka 1 million per year to swallow – a sum, which is currently virtually no revenues are facing.

Sun had been less test purchases throughout the month of September, just only 32 eBooks sold at retail, says the letter. Even with the recent download-Days, the response was rather mau who had been free eBooks per heruntergelanden just 1000x.

Since that Google translation is just about hallucinogenic, this is the link to the PDF itself (do Save As…).

So while some other sites have reported Adobe DRMed ePub capability for iPhone is coming real soon now, I tend to believe we’ll still be waiting for it.



eBook Notes For Monday, October 5, 2009

October 5, 2009

A mixture of print, book-related, and e this time.

Muslim honour killing book cancelled over safety fears

Islamisation refers to small but significant erosions of our freedom, bit by bit, demand by demand, concession by concession.

If freedom of expression is the issue, distribute it via BitTorrent.

Film-writer Nick Rowntree celebrates release of £5m movie The Tournament

“The boy least likely to succeed – that’s what they said about me at school. … If any of my teachers knew that I was now a film-writer I’m sure they would drop dead from shock at the thought that I could even manage to string a punctuated paragraph together.”

Jordan book ban over 4th memoir

Bookshops are threatening to boycott Jordan’s looming autobiography – because it’s her FOURTH in five years.

Fine. Tell the bookstores to go to hell. Release it electronically.

Stickee goes multimedia to promote Conn Iggulden’s new book Tollins: Explosive Tales for Children

Harper Collins Publishers has unveiled the campaign, www.SaveTheTollins.com, to promote the launch of the book by Iggulden, whose previous works include The Conqueror Series and The Dangerous Book for Boys.

Very odd. Using basically a web-only digital book to promote a print book. This seems backwards to me.

Ads on the iPhone Makes Perfect AdSense!

As of today, publishers can now drop smart phone optimized AdSense ads inside their mobile content.

There’s the future of the “free” eBook — and “free” digital book. It will contain ads. See the screensnap at that link.

A Letter to 84 Charing Cross Road

Sixty years ago today, on October 5, 1949, Helene Hanff wrote a letter to a bookstore in London. Marks & Co. was located at 84 Charing Cross Road; Miss Hanff was located on East 95th Street in New York City.

This is such a beautiful, wonderful story. Get away from your PC right now and see the movie version of the story starring Anne Bancroft.

Why the Digital Revolution is Missing the Big Picture

Ebooks should expand the book buying market, not be used as an alternative for the print edition. Look at the ads for the iPod: they’re fun, they’re cool, they feature all sorts of (pastel-colored) people who are far funkier than anyone you or I know grooving to the licensed beat.

I’d find people dancing to reading material — e or p — very disturbing.

What is a Vook, and How Will It Change Publishing?

These vooks may not replace the mainstream novel but they could represent a smaller, short story based product that could make authors money in between novels.

Why We Need $4.00 Books

Most books are too expensive. Compared to lower cost alternative media sources, books are becoming niche consumables like caviar.

In my first job, as a temp, I made $5.00/hour. That was the late 1970s and that was great money, above the minimum wage. I could afford whatever mass-market paperbacks I wanted. Today the U.S. minimum wage is $7.25 — and that sometimes won’t buy somebody one mass-market paperback. Affordability is the key to reading, to getting people to build personal libraries.

Archos 5 Android Internet Tablet First Impressions. (Long!)

Good ebook reader s/w (FBreader and Aldiko work well and are very comfortable in the portrait format)

However …

My advise to potential customers at this stage though is to wait. V1.022 software is too buggy for most people and Archos don’t deserve an early rush on sales for such poor quality control. Take the time to check other reviews and opinion and stay tuned here. I’ll test each firmware as it comes out and give a thumbs-up when I think it’s ready. Disclaimer: I’m assuming I don’t have a faulty device.

Still, look at these photos:

Archos Android Internet Tablet _1_
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Archos5text
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Photos stolen borrowed from the UMPC Archos 5 Internet Tablet Photo Gallery

I believe both of those are FeedBooks via the built-in web browser. Over at the UMPC Portal post, there’s also a one-hour embedded video which I haven’t yet viewed. Perhaps in that Chippy demonstrates both Aldiko and FBReader. I like the stats on battery life. With brightness turned down to an eye-friendly level, this could be very good for some formats of eBook reading — once the software is stable.


The Coming Collapse Of eBook Prices

September 20, 2009

I doubt he read my post — Would A US$50 eBook Reader Be A Disaster? — which preceded his by over a week, but he comes to the same conclusion I did.

The price is right?

As I hovered over the buy now button [for the new Nick Cave digital book of The Death of Bunny Munro], I realised that what was stopping me was the price. $29.99 (in Australia). Now, I just dropped $38 in Borders for a paperback for my mum last weekend, so that price is in line with what Aussies pay for printed books. But I had also just bough Gangstar, a Grand Theft Auto clone for my iphone a few days previously. That game has already given me hours of (frustrating!) gameplay for the princely sum of $8.99. Not long ago I would have happily paid $50 for a Nintendo DS game, but my value expectation has been totally re-calibrated by the app store.

And then there’s this. Apple’s itunes LP format, introduced last week seems to open up a different approach to multimedia publishing. Whilst not an iphone app, Tyrese Gibson has released a itunes LP comic book which combines a graphic novel, multimedia elements and music. All for $1.99.

So it’s pretty clear that the there is a different pricing model at work in the itunes space – in fact most online spaces. In that realm, $30 for almost anything seems way out of sync – even if it’s a relative bargain in the printed book world.

Bold emphasis added by me.

What distresses me here is that Nick Cave’s work is not an eBook — it’s a digital book. It’s nine-hundred megabytes of material. And it includes an RSS component that will keep Cave fans in touch with news about him.

If he is unwilling to pay for all that — what does he think the comparable price of a lightly tarted-up text file (aka ePub) should be?

And what about everyone else now too?

Previously here:

Writer Nick Cave At NYC Barnes & Noble
How The Axis Of E Is Killing Publishing
The Continuing Horror Of ePub
Would A US$50 eBook Reader Be A Disaster?
The Devaluation Of The eBook
ePub: The Death Of The Index?
The eBook Cover Scandal
He Understands Something Is Missing
Where I Stand Now
The Axis Of E Book Holocaust
English-Subtitled Editis Smart Digital Book Video
The Issue Of eBook Pricing
Why eInk, ePub, And eBooks Will Fail
Dumb eBooks Must Die, Smart eBooks Must Live
ALL eInk Devices: BAD For eBooks!