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iPad, Kindle, And Me

Posted on Tuesday, Jun 22nd 2010

News pours in from all quarters . . .  Apple sells 3 million iPads in 80 days. Amazon cuts prices of Kindle. The e-books market is heating up, and as far as I am concerned, the two key players that matter are Amazon and Apple. Why?

Because, the publishing game is changing.

Because, authors are gradually getting freed from the clutches of the intermediaries.

Because, a direct relationship is getting established between the authors –the primary creators of value in a book – and their readers.

As an author, I love working with Amazon. I have published five books in two years with them, and all are available on Kindle. This year, 40% of my sales are coming from e-books, which was not the case a couple of years back. Amazon offers 35% royalty so far, and this is moving up to 70%. Royalty $$$ land in my bank account – direct deposit– monthly, and I can monitor sales every minute on an online dashboard.

I have to believe that Apple will, in time, offer a similarly convenient and financially lucrative offering for authors.

I don’t mind at all that Amazon sells Kindle books at $9.99, because at 70% royalty, I am getting $7 per book.

In the long run, the intermediaries will all be dead. Apple and Amazon will, most likely, dominate the market, and democratize it for the authors. B&N, SONY, and others, to compete, will need to follow suit. [As an aside, if you want to track the Amazon vs. Apple e-book battle, read Om Malik’s excellent analysis on why Kindle emerges as the ultimate winner. I happen to agree with him.]

Anyway, publishers, in particular, have abused authors with their horrendously unprofessional attitudes. My publisher in India is Hachette. They have rights to two of my books. They don’t pay royalties, don’t respond to e-mails, and it seems that to extract royalties from them, I have to file a lawsuit. I would never have believed that a publisher of international repute such as Hachette could be so unprofessional. One learns every day.

The other intermediaries that I have dealt with are also equally unprofessional, but they matter less to me.

I look forward to the day when these parasites will all be dead!

P.S. We’ll soon be doing some cool promotions for my Kindle books. Stay tuned!

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I agree with a lot of your post, but I don't see Apple entering this market at all. They produce hardware, everything else is just a means to sell more hardware. Music, Video and now books are the carrot to lead you to the stick (ipad, iPhone). Apple doesn't care about authors or publishing, they just want to make sure that if you want to buy it, they can sell you the player without having to subsidize the content.

Malcolm Lloyd Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 12:32 PM PT

Apple is all about the full user experience -mainly delivered through software. They have already announced that this is coming. In fact, you already can do this, although not as smoothly as people would like.

sramana Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 9:41 PM PT