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Friday, 13 April 2012

The eNews - the latest from the eBook world

The American court case in which the High Court have gone after Apple and five major publishers has sparked up the whole debate of what a eBook is actually worth in monetary terms. "This week marks a great self analysis week for eBook producers, sellers, and the poor schmuck who prices the book" Wrote John Dvorak in an insightful article for PC World and there's one problem there since eBooks are featured in the computer press while physical books are not, leading many to question what exactly is a book.

"Amazon has been the king of the eBook hill and it kind of set a fast pace around the track for what an ebook should cost. It tends to hover around $10 for top of the line books, but has bounced around all over the place. In the process of dominating the conversation, Amazon is making most of the money. Amazon is a nightmare, according to many of my publishing pals in New York.
So Apple has decided to join forces (though collude might be more accurate) with some big book publishers to find some corrupt way to screw Amazon, but the Department of Justice is trying to break up the party." John Dvorak.

Apple have defended their position - The DOJ’s accusation of collusion against Apple is simply not true. The launch of the iBookstore in 2010 fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry. Since then customers have benefited from eBooks that are more interactive and engaging. Just as we’ve allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the 

 John Sargent the CEO of MacMillan has also defended their position and wrote on his blog,. It is also hard to settle a lawsuit when you know you have done no wrong. The government’s charge is that Macmillan’s CEO colluded with other CEO’s in changing to the agency model. I am Macmillan’s CEO and I made the decision to move Macmillan to the agency model. After days of thought and worry, I made the decision on January 22nd, 2010 a little after 4:00 AM, on an exercise bike in my basement. It remains the loneliest decision I have ever made, and I see no reason to go back on it now.

Penguin books have also hit back with a statement  - A responsible company does not choose a path of litigation with US Government agencies without carefully weighing the implications of that course of action. Nonetheless, countless hours discussing this issue with colleagues here at Penguin, as well as with our parent company, Pearson plc, have not led any of us to the view that we should settle this matter. Indeed, alone among the publishers party to the investigations that resulted in today's announcements, we have held no settlement discussions with the DOJ or the states.We have held strongly to this view for two, and only two, reasons. The first is that we have done nothing wrong. The decisions that we took, many them of them costly and difficult, were taken by Penguin alone…  The second, and equally powerful, reason for our decision to place this matter in the hands of a court is that we believed then, as we do now, that the agency model is the one that offers consumers the prospect of an open and competitive market for e-books.

 Whatever happens in the long run it is clear that far from settling down the eBook market is still in a state of flux and neither the publishers nor the sellers seem exactly sure as to just what price eBooks should be. Sure there is no paper, printing and distribution involved, but the author has put a considerable amount of time and effort into the book and surely they should seek a  fair financial comeback. Many are predicting that the final result of this will be the death of conventional publishers, as authors self publish. J K Rowling recently cut out both her publisher and agent when she decided to go it alone with her Harry Potter eBooks and made a fortune. However it is doubtful that Ms. Rowling's series would be so popular without the publishers who brought the books out in the first place. There seems to be no answer but eBooks have created a truly global market and the outcome of the American court case will be felt in eBook markets around the world.

What will happen?
Who knows?
Watch this space?

And staying with eBooks I was delighted when my own publisher, Robert Hale Ltd, decided to make their back catalog available in eBook format. Hale publish many different kinds of genre fiction as well as non fiction and they have to date released a virtual wagon load of eBooks. They are also one of the few publishers who will touch western fiction,  (see wagon load does make sense, now)  and I'm pleased to say that my second novel, Arkansas Smith will be available at the end of this month. It's a good time western adventure suitable for both adults and that cherished demographic, the YA lot. The price has not been fixed and if ou buy it is means that you'll get a great time between the covers with Jack Martin, and that some of those royalties will trickle down to me and I can eat next month. Buy it now HERE - no monies will be taken from your account until the book automatically downloads on the 30th of this month. It's got text to speech enabled, a live contents page and a great story to tell.

Click on the book cover to visit it's Amazon review page.

A five star title on Amazon and a western best seller

From Joanne Walpole/ Terry James - This is by far one of the most entertaining books I have read this year. Jack Martin (aka Gary Dobbs) brings together stereotypical Old West characters, scenes and backdrops and infuses them with a life of their own. His descriptions give you enough information to form a picture without going into overload, his dialogue is obtuse (a good thing, in my opinion, and rare), his fight scenes are precise and clear. I also enjoyed Jack's turn of phrase and the humour peppered throughout the pages. It left me with a satisfied smile on my face.

From western fiction review - writing is confident and moves at pace, the story building up nicely to its final shoot-out. Smith is not the only memorable character, Rycot being one of my favourites. And for those in the know, Gary also tips his hat to a few other Black Horse Western writers by having characters named after their pseudonyms - he even mentions himself - which I felt was a fun touch.

The book is easy to read and difficult to put down, and left me eager for more tales about Arkansas Smith.

From Laurie Powers Wild West - There is a sadness about Arkansas Smith that I found unsettling and yet compelling. He has a "void deep inside himself that felt on times like a cavity in his soul. It was a need for identity that would always be there and would never be fulfilled." He's a man of few words and when he smiles, it's a grim smile that hints at a lot of tragedies played out in the past. He is an enigma who keeps his personal history to himself and who doesn't offer up too many explanations. While we are caught up in the dilemma at hand, we are never allowed to forget that we are dealing with a mysterious man here who has a few bones to pick with the world. In the post-modern world, he would be diagnosed as clinically depressed. In the 19th century western, though, he's simply trying to deal with the hand that's been dealt him.

1 comment:

Chap O'Keefe said...

Gary, I hate to say this but the likelihood of Black Horse Western ebook royalties allowing you to eat next month is as slim as you will be if you depend on them. Based on the info last passed to me, a BHW ebook author gets 25% of what's left of an ebook's selling price after the deduction of a 20% sales tax, a 50% cut to a retailer, and a 20% cut to a formatting agency. In the case of a book selling for around £2.80 ($4.50), the "net proceeds" left to the publisher, Robert Hale Ltd, are around 90p per download. Of this, the publisher will keep 75%, because the publishing industry has apparently decreed that 25% of the NET cash (not the price paid by the customer) is the standard deal to offer authors. Of course, the publisher may be able to tell us that their 75% is going to be spent on promoting and marketing your book in huge numbers to the ebook audience. Or maybe they are going to pay you more than that 25% of what's left after everybody else has been paid. Whatever, I can't see you dining out on it. One of the BHW authors among the first to be issued in the format by Hale has commented elsewhere, "Nothing yet (if ever) coming up in the way of 'rewards' from their pitiful attempt at entering the ebook racket."