The publishing blogosphere has lately been ablaze with posts about ebooks and ebook pricing. A contingent of ebook consumers are crowing that, in light of the recent Amazon/Macmillan standoff and pricing precedent that was set, ebook prices will shoot through the roof. They recently attempted character assassination using a deplorable 1-star Amazon review campaign on at least one author after he spoke out in support of this “agency model.” The backlash continues, on- and offline.
Folks on the other side of the fence — publishers and authors, mostly — are pleased by the flexible pricing model. It ensures increased revenue opportunities, which they believe will benefit their livelihoods. Outspoken proponents believe the market will easily bear “beyond $9.99” pricing. Some authors suspect this new climate will empower them to influence their ebooks’ pricing; still others in the DIY self-publishing culture view this as an opportunity to better-control their financial fates. We’ll make a living at this writing thing, after all. Our future’s so bright, we gotta wear shades.
Regardless of the pro and con positions, both camps seem to agree that a substantial stake of The Future Of Publishing hinges on ebooks, and that these cantankerous days represent an embryonic Wild West of a new stage in publishing’s evolution. Everything’s in flux. We’ll find our way.
Yet I believe that the fate of ebooks, if they are indeed the Future Of Publishing, has already been sealed — which particularly impacts authors hungry to make a living wage from their works. [Read more…]