Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My Writing Week 4 (5)

Hi all,

I am a bit late this week with my post. When it hasn't been too hot to write, I have been working on an article for Divine.

Where Have All The Free Ebook Gone?

I had my first look at the Amazon Kindle ebook bestseller list on Tuesday and found no free ebooks in the top 100. Had consumers finally decided there is no such thing as a free lunch and, rather than contribute to the destruction of the publishing industry and author incomes, decided to pay for all their ebooks? I don’t think so. There are still thousands of free ebooks on Amazon. What has happened, it seems, is that Amazon no longer lists free ebooks in the bestselling lists.

Why have they done this? Is it because a free ebook is not “sold”, just downloaded, and therefore it can’t be a bestseller? Or is it because Amazon wants to hide the dominance of free ebooks? Or is their some other reason.

I have been checking the top 100 bestselling ebooks about once a month for the past year and over that time the number of free ebooks in the list went from about a third to half. So by the end of this year, free ebooks could have made up two-thirds or more of the bestsellers. Amazon would not be making any money out of two-thirds of its bestselling ebooks, did it want to hide this fact from its shareholders? Or perhaps they were worried that consumers who looked at a bestselling list that included so may free ebooks would think why should I ever pay for them.

The new free on the bestselling list is 99 cents, with 23 of the top 100 at that price. To me, charging 99 cents is like saying, I’m not sure my ebook is good enough for someone to actually pay me for it. There were 13 ebooks priced from a dollar to $2.98. At the ebook guru recommended price of $2.99 there were 11. From $3-4.99 there were seven. From $5-$7.99 there were 18. From $8 to $8.99 there were 5 and at $9 and over there were a massive 21. One price was unknown (not available in Aust) and another was 95 cents.

Ebooks Now Available Through Readings.

Yes, you have read right, the Melbourne institution Readings bookstore is now selling ebooks online. Be warned the website is annoying to navigate with many deadends. They are selling a very limited number of ebooks from publishers like Text Publishing. They are using Monocle, open source software, so anyone with a web browser can read the ebooks. If your ereader doesn’t have a web browser, you wont be able to read their ebooks.

I was amazed at the prices that Readings were charging, they averaged around $15 per ebook. How much of the $15 would the publisher and then the author get? I will be interested to see if they bring the prices down so they can compete with Amazon.

Lack of Sleep Limited Writing.

It uncomfortably hot for sleeping last week and it didn’t help when Garage Boy decided to play his doff doff music until three in the morning. It was at that level where it was just discernable over the noise of my air conditioner. On another night I might have been able to ignore it and fallen to sleep. But not that night. I found earplugs and my white noise CD useless against the bass noise. I turned end to end in bed so my head was not next to the window. I told myself to ignore the noise, it was the heat keeping me awake.

I ended up going outside and screaming something like: I would like to get some sleep tonight, so will you turn the fucken bass down or put some headphones on you stupid little prick. The music went off. He has kept it down for the past week too. I have previously tried to reason with him, but abusive yelling seems to be the only thing that works.


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