Sunday, April 17, 2011

New Lower Kindle Price $114, With a Catch

I went to Amazon's site this morning and noticed they are selling the $139 Kindle for $114, if you agree to automatically receive ads on it. Apparently this offer has been up for at least a few days (I'm not sure how I missed it, as I order from Amazon a couple times a week for business supplies).

So, for $25 off, you get the WiFi only Kindle, but you agree that Amazon can automatically display ads on it. The good news is that, at least for now, the ads only show up on your homepage and your screensaver. I haven't taken the time to read the fine-print, but I wonder how much leeway they've left themselves in changing when and where the ads display.

There's all sort of neat things you can do with ads in ebooks: Ads that appear when you turn the page. Links that appear right in your book, transporting you to an advertiser's webpage if you click on them. Ads inserted between paragraphs. Wait, did I say, 'neat things'? I meant, horrible things. There's few more devastating ways to mess-up the reading experience than break the reader away from the story with an ad.

Yes, Amazon is known for being very consumer friendly. I've had great customer service almost every time I've had an issue. But still, I don't trust any corporation with power over my valuable reading time. I know many of you are like me, so busy, that it's hard to find even 15 minutes of uninterrupted time to read. Is it really worth $25 to risk those few golden minutes?

Honestly, I'm really surprised Amazon didn't lower the price below $100, the magic price point that really would drive sales. It seems like a big misstep on their part. If you've never worked in marketing, sales or retail, you may not know that $99 is one of the biggest sociological price points.

Now, I'm not 100% against the idea of a few ads in between books. If the terms are clearly spelled out (which they might be) and they have some sort of expiration date; even, say three years (which they don't appear to); then I might be willing to sign myself up for something like $50 off.

But indefinitely giving away a portion (no matter how tiny) of my valuable reading time for a lousy $25 bucks? No, I don't think so.

Friday, April 15, 2011

E-book Sales Top Paperbacks--Just Not Mine

I imagine, most everyone has seen this, but just in case, the Association of American Publishers just announced that E-book sales have topped paperback sales for the first time. I suspect it will not be long before ebook sales top both hardcover and paperback sales combined.

But that doesn't mean there's a bonanza just waiting to be made self-publishing ebooks. I've been giving out free e-books and even selling two (one at 99¢ one at $1.79) and I can tell you it's not as easy as putting them out and waiting for the dough to come rolling it. That's not to say you can't make big bucks by publishing your own works as ebook, but it takes lots of work and the market isn't ripe for kidlit yet.

In a couple months, I'll have had my e-books out for a year and I plan to post my results as well as lessons I've learned. In the mean time, my advice is play around with indie publishing, if you want to give it a try. Maybe publish a few shorts or a drawer novel, but don't dump your agent (or agent search) just yet!