Friday, April 01, 2011

Self-Published eBooks Are a Realistic (and Profitable) Option

A friend of mine told me about some crazy author, Barry Eisler, who turned down $500,000 from a big name publisher so he could self-publish his work as an eBook for sale on Kindle, B&N, etc.  Let me repeat that: he turned down half a million dollars so he could sell his own book on his own online!  That's some serious freaking coin to turn down!

Another self-published author, J.A. Konrath, has a blog on which he posted an interview he had with Barry Eisler about his decision, the current state of the publishing industry, and the future of self-publishing.  It's a great read, albeit a VERY long read, but you should definitely read it.  I've been checking out J.A. Konrath's blog regularly since I read that interview, and he has some good stuff on there.  I even picked up one of his books for $0.99, which I hope to read after I take USMLE Step 1 in June.

I've been wondering why some of my favorite authors, like Orson Scott Card, don't just drop their corporate publishers and do their own thing online.  Seeing as most authors only get 14.9% of online book sales, they can make MORE money per sale (70%) if they self-publish and lower the price to $2.99 instead of the publisher's standard $9.99-$14.99 price.  And if they're a big name author, they could still get away with $9.99 and pocket a LOT more money than they would if their publisher offered the ebook instead.  I've always despised the fact that when I purchase a book, so little of my money goes to the actual content creator, but I had no idea it was only a paltry 14.9%.

It's an interesting development, and I hope more authors go that route in the future.  It bothers me to no end when publishers gouge customers on ebook prices, sometimes even making them MORE EXPENSIVE than the hardcover or paperback version!  I don't mind paying $10 for a book -- the author deserves it! -- but I'd feel much better about it if I knew the author was actually getting more of that money.  The corporate publishing model is outdated and unnecessary, and the sooner authors, publishers, and readers realize this, the better off everyone will be.

Let's try not to have a repeat of the music industry resisting digital sales and trying to force customers to purchase their music the way the music industry wanted them to.  That's what the publishers are trying to do by delaying ebook releases and/or raising the price, and it's very off-putting to customers like me who just want to enjoy the latest from their favorite authors while making sure those authors receive proper compensation for all their hard work!

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