Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Case for Working With Your Hands - NYTimes.com

The Case for Working With Your Hands - NYTimes.com: "One shop teacher suggested to me that “in schools, we create artificial learning environments for our children that they know to be contrived and undeserving of their full attention and engagement."

This is the thing. It is really rather hard to put much effort into something you know has little to no value. This also is obvious to pretty much everyone, but for some reason things don't change. There is something the matter here and so everything is distorted. I wonder what is causing it?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Amazon fails Marketing 101

Amazon losing money on $9.99 e-books | TeleRead: Bring the E-Books Home: "Amazon has to pay the same wholesale price to the publishers for e-books as for print editions of those books—more or less half of the print edition price. (So do other e-book vendors; this is why even Fictionwise must charge excessive rates for books from publishers such as Random House, though they do they best they can to bring the prices down with discounts.)"

Wait the idea is to give away the razor and sell them the blades, not the other way around. I think someone just failed their Marketing 101 class. Not that they should give away Kindles but they could drop the price way down. The loss-leader is supposed to be the hardware not the content. I still think that idea of the newspapers offering a free Kindle with a year's subscription would at least forestall the end of the newspaper. I saw that the New York Times is working on a ereader of their own but they don't have a lot of time left, just use the Kindle to stop the bleeding.

Amazon also just announced that they are going to be publishing books on their own under AmazonEncore. Actually what they should do is offer an Apple App Store split with authors who sign up for that for the Kindle version, a dead-tree version would be different of course. They would be flooded with authors and books and that is fine Sturgeon's Law holds in any case, most of it will be junk but so is what we have now. But Amazon makes it a lot easier to find in their store compared to the App Store so they have the advantage.

Sure the other publishers and the Author's Guild won't like it but when you realize that you can't win the game you are playing you just have to change the game that is being played.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

With E-Readers Comes Wider Piracy of Books - NYTimes.com

With E-Readers Comes Wider Piracy of Books - NYTimes.com: "“If iTunes started three years earlier, I’m not sure how big Napster and the subsequent piratical environments would have been, because people would have been in the habit of legitimately purchasing at pricing that wasn’t considered pernicious,” said Richard Sarnoff, a chairman of Bertelsmann, which owns Random House, the world’s largest publisher of consumer titles."

This is an interesting problem. Amazon is not really helping here. Most Kindle books are $9.99 not a bad price in general but it is higher then that of the paperback version, which is often a couple of dollars less. An ebook has a storage and delivery and duplication cost measured in fractions of a penny.
So that feels wrong to pay more for an ebook then a paper book with all the printing, transportation and storage costs.

Then there is the payment structure. Amazon gets 70% of the unit price and the publisher AND the author get to split the remaining 30%. Actually the author usually gets their typical 3% and the publisher gets 27%.

What does the publisher do with that 27%, they say they do marketing but every time I read about an up and coming author it translates into diddly-squat. As an author you have to do your own marketing or you'll sell nothing.

Now look at what Apple is doing with iPhone.apps they also do a 70/30 split but the developer gets 70% and Apple gets 30%.

Now how should I spend my time? Selling on Kindle nets me $0.30 per $9.99 book or on the iPhone where I net $0.69 for each $0.99 app I sell and it can be an ebook. An interesting problem, eh.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Swine flu strikes the downsized newsroom - LA Observed

Swine flu strikes the downsized newsroom - LA Observed: "Editor-in-Chief: (Staring at CNN coverage of Swine Flu outbreak) We need something good and local on this swine flu thing. Get someone at the university to explain how this god damned thing jumped from pigs to people, how are they tracking it, what the hell does it all mean? Get that guy who did that piece on the flu vaccine shortage a couple years ago, remember that sidebar he did on the 1918 flu? That was great.
City editor: Koprowski?

Editor-in-chief: Yeah, Koprowski!

City Editor: Corporate laid him off. Health care reporter. Non vital."


This is just apocryphal but you can be sure a conversation very much like this actually happened in a newsroom somewhere. Read the rest.