Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kindle E-Book Distribution Advantages, in my Opinion

E-books are eco! Do authors have
as much control, however, when pro-
grammers access the numbers first?
With most book sellers, including Createspace, authors are limited as to the prices they are able to set for their e-books; although, few costs are involved in getting an e-book out to readers who've purchased them.  An e-book's cost to the platform which sells them, may include server storage, data transfer, and download costs which are usually determined by the megabyte and deducted from the royalties given to authors.  A fee of 13 cents per megabyte by the platform results in a 65 cent deduction from an author's royalties per e-book in sales for a 5MB book - usually over 200 pages.  This is rather inexpensive, and the best part is there isn't any shipping involved, binding, or printing. What this means for the planet is less fossil fuels are required, less tree matter, and fewer chemicals in things like book binder's glue.

It's a green reading experience, but, when author's receive their fair share, it isn't a job reducing enterprise.  In fact, the more lucrative the e-book publishing experience becomes, the more jobs develop out of that experience. Authors can afford to hire book cover designers, book trailer artists, and landing page techies.  Professional freelance editors would be more in demand as well as page designers and marketers like TweetYourBooks.  In fact, every angle in the marketing process from analytics like Gigalerts to public relations like PRWeb do better when online authors do better at earning royalties for a job well-done.

The question when undertaking the job of writing a book and getting it to market is why would an author - or book seller for that matter - agree with charging only 99 cents?  The reason is the numbers of customers who look for bargains like a 99 cent book, and the fact that an e-book can meet those customers' demands without draining the platform or author with charges.  Not all platforms allow authors to charge only 99 cents per book; however, but Kindle at Amazon does.  Some e-book publishing platforms require a minimum be met first, because the platform 'takes'  a share from each project by taking their percent from each book's sale.  For example, the price of an author's e-book, might have to be similar to the price of their paperback with the same title, because the platform takes virtually the same cut despite the fact that the e-book is much less costly to produce and deliver.  In fact, e-books are not produced at all.  The author does the work involved in producing the e-book; and, the delivery and storage, as already explained, is cheap.  Therefore, a platform taking the same cut from an e-book sale as from a print book sale is exhorbinent compared with the near zero costs to offer e-books to the general public.

In other words, if an author's paperback is priced at 9.99 and the platform is taking 4.00 of that price, the e-book on that same platform cannot be priced below their cut of 4.00 .  The platform is expecting to take the same cut per e-book, even though the manufacturing costs are zero.   What this means for the author is that to receive as much in profit as the platform does for storing it (which Createspace and Lulu don't even do), he/she must add another 4.00 to the price so as to receive as much in royalty after the sale.  So, even new authors end up with an 8.99 e-book, with some money going to a fee for distribution of the book from server to reader, and storage. 8.99 for an e-book is not a bad price if the readership already trusts the author's work and loves their books.  For new or little-known authors, this price begs consumers to trust them too early.  Usually only flashy advertisements or very well-done campaigns gain that kind of devotion (such as those the Big 5 publisher's marketing departments create). Some even generating fans before buying the books because they liked the ads.  A 99 cent e-book gives customers an incentive to buy without having to risk any real loss.  Most people like adding  e-books to utilize a gift card's last dollar, or include another purchased item in order to add value to an online shopping experience.  The career path of e-book authors is a long one, and attracting that kind of trust and enjoyment from customers who read and buy books is then worth their every penny, rather than being a drain to their pocketbook.  Its sort of an ad campaign without having to invest, although it does take longer to see the results.

Another great reason to like Kindle as an author is the sample chapter or excerpt feature.  Reading a chapter or portion of the book before purchase gives customers a better idea of the book which decreases the chance of disappointment.  They'll know if its a comedy, drama, or if they like the 'voice' the author undertook in the writing, before getting upset at its content later on.

Kindle also has a lending program where readers can loan an e-book out once per purchase called Kindle Owners' Lending Library.  Authors can choose to opt-in and allow their e-books to be loaned out or not.  I always opt-in, because book loaning means the reader is able to share their recommendations with friends, adding value to their purchasing power.  It also helps create fans of characters, because both readers know these characters and can now talk about them with friends.  If you are not yet an Amazon Best-Selling author, I recommend opting in so that readers have the power to reach out with your book to a friend without going it alone should need arise.  That a reader would loan your e-book to a friend is a kind of 'word of mouth' devotion that is similar to recieving a great review.  Although the effect takes longer to be noticed, it also lasts longer in the marketplace. Most authors worry that if there is lending of e-books allowed, they won't receive their money from royalties from that second reader, but there is a greater trust conveyed; and, that trust is the kind that flashy ad campaigns generate - the same kind that causes readers to easily shell out more dollars on next books from the author who got them there, or next books in the series, whatever.

This brings up the last topic of this post, the MatchBook program on Kindle which authors can also opt-in or out from, giving authors the choices that make us like Kindle.  For authors who offer print books, MatchBook allows them to sell thesame title as an e-book for 2.99, 1.99, 99cents, or even free to their readership, once those readers have already purchased the print version of the book.  This helps an author jump past the requirements of platforms like Createspace or Lulu's e-book pricing previously explained. With MatchBook, authors can add that purchasing incentive to their trusted readership even though the platform's pricing calculators told them they'd have to charge more.  I don't offer print books at this time, but it seems like an obvious choice to opt-in at MatchBook for me.  Many authors believe the e-book version of their titles should cost the exact same price as the hardbound versions, because, the e-reader experience is now the preferred platform, sort of like a fine wine costing more than a regular vintage.

For now, having just reduced my kid lit, vampire series, novel e-books to 99 cents each, I like thinking that my books are considered a bargain. I like that they are e-for-eco-books and didn't require any trees to be cut or fossil fueled trucks to pollute the atmosphere; and, I even like thinking that I've not only helped children become more literate in a fun, action-packed way; but also, helped stop the iceburgs from melting by the end of year 2038.  I should buy myself more capes when I receive more royalties for my e-books costing less than 1 dollar a piece! Don't assume I do not understand the reasons authors charge more for books, ask the same price for their hardbound as their e-books, and refuse to allow lending - I do.  I plan to slowly accelerate my pricing and this advice can be found in an e-book called Crush It With Kindle, also available on Youtube.

This faerie adventure tale enchants the whole family
with the antics of the North Woods' magic folk.

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