Amazon Throw Down The Gauntlet: Four New Devices, Basic Kindle $79, Tablet $199

In a very slick presentation in New York this morning, Amazon announced details of four new devices, surprising everyone with their aggressive pricing. The basic Kindle (now without a keyboard) will retail for $79 (with Special Offers, $30 extra without). It’s a new model, faster page-turns, slightly smaller (same screen), black and white e-ink, wifi, one month-long battery life, and is 30% lighter than the Kindle 3, weighing a remarkable 6 ounces (that’s 170g for my metric peeps). It will hold 1,400 books. The Kindle Touch is priced at $99 (again, without Special Offers for $30 more), same e-ink, same wifi, and despite the touchscreen, is lighter than the Kindle 3. It has a two month battery life and holds Read More…

Amazon’s New Tablet – Kindle Fire – Takes Aim At Barnes & Noble, Not Apple

TechCrunch (again) had the scoop last night. Amazon’s much touted announcement tomorrow will be the launch of their new tablet, dubbed Kindle Fire. Aside from ad copy that writes itself (Kindle Fire Sale, anyone?), the details are surprisingly underwhelming. This is not a device to take an Apple’s all-conquering iPad, but a closer look indicates that Amazon may have a different target. The big disappointment, leaked earlier in the month, is that there is no e-ink, and instead will be a backlit LCD screen. The development of color e-ink is still ongoing. Indeed, according to gdgt.com, sources inside Amazon state that the Kindle development team (known internally as Lab 126) “opted not to take on the project, in favor of Read More…

Amazon’s New Tablet – Kindle Fire – Takes Aim At Barnes & Noble, Not Apple

TechCrunch (again) had the scoop last night. Amazon’s much touted announcement tomorrow will be the launch of their new tablet, dubbed Kindle Fire. Aside from ad copy that writes itself (Kindle Fire Sale, anyone?), the details are surprisingly underwhelming. This is not a device to take an Apple’s all-conquering iPad, but a closer look indicates that Amazon may have a different target. The big disappointment, leaked earlier in the month, is that there is no e-ink, and instead will be a backlit LCD screen. The development of color e-ink is still ongoing. Indeed, according to gdgt.com, sources inside Amazon state that the Kindle development team (known internally as Lab 126) “opted not to take on the project, in favor of Read More…

Building A Sustainable Writing Career: How To Develop Multiple Income Streams

Let’s admit it: we are all very reliant on Amazon. Now, this isn’t a dig; there are lots of valid reasons why Amazon tends to be favored by indies. Aside from having the most intuitive, powerful digital self-publishing platform and the majority of the market, Amazon is considered the most “indie friendly” of the retailers. I don’t mean Amazon necessarily goes out of its way to do us favors, but at least they don’t actively sabotage our visibility like Barnes & Noble and Apple. When you add all of that to relative ease of marketing to Kindle users compared to other e-reader owners, it’s easy to see why Amazon can be responsible for 80% to 90% of a typical indie’s Read More…

Share The Wealth: A Radical Solution To Translation Costs

The opening of Amazon Spain on Wednesday and a planned Kindle Store for later this year, as well as widely rumored expansions into France, Italy, and India, has many writers thinking about international markets. In my blog post on Friday, I discussed the opportunities that present themselves in Spain for self-publishers who aren’t hamstrung by territorial restrictions and whose competition will be high-priced books from local publishers, which Amazon are legally prevented from discounting by more than 5% for the first two years of publication. Several commenters pointed out that for most writers the cost of a professional translation is prohibitive (running to several thousand dollars per book). And you really need a professional to do the job – automated software Read More…

Exclusive: Chapter 3 of A Storm Hits Valparaíso

The best piece of writing advice I ever received was write the book you want to read. The kind of books I love have a huge cast of characters, often starting in completely separate, exotic locations, whose narrative strands gradually interweave. I think readers – of any genre – like some kind of puzzle in the story. They like figuring out where things are going to go next. One of the writer’s jobs is to give them enough information here and there, and then pull the rug out from under their feet. If you do it too often though, you will piss them off. But if it’s all predictable, it will get boring too. This tension is one of many Read More…

Amazon Launches In Spain, Kindle Store By Year End

Amazon made the first move in its latest wave of international expansion by finally throwing open the doors of its long-mooted Spanish site Amazon.es. Amazon’s eighth store outside the US (following Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and China), will stock the usual assortment of books, games, DVDs, appliances, and electronics, but neither the Kindle nor e-books, for which Spanish customers will continue to be re-directed to Amazon.com. Respected Spanish daily El Pais has a source which claims that an official Kindle Store – selling both the device and e-books (including local-language books) – will be open before the year is out (link in Spanish).

AAP Figures for June Show Dramatic Print Slump, Continuing Ebook Explosion

The American Association of Publishers (AAP) figures for June were finally released last week (about a month late), and the news is not good for fans of print books. Like the figures for May, all major print categories are down, while e-books continue to surge. But the headline figure this month is that trade paperback sales, which are usually reasonably robust, have just collapsed. The figures in the table below are in millions of dollars. You should note that this month there are just 78 houses reporting print data and only 15 reporting e-data, so the usual caveats apply (although the trends are clear and confirmed from other sources).

Numbers For August: Sales & Revenue Rise Again

Regular readers will know that I post my monthly numbers in terms of sales and dollars. Today, I have August’s numbers for you. If you have an aversion to sales talk or wallet peeking, look away now. I have just returned from vacation, and before I get stuck into the numbers, I would like to thank all my guest posters who kept things ticking over in my absence with some fine articles. So, to the numbers. In short, as you can see, August was my best month to date.

Numbers For August: Sales & Revenue Rise Again

Regular readers will know that I post my monthly numbers in terms of sales and dollars. Today, I have August’s numbers for you. If you have an aversion to sales talk or wallet peeking, look away now. I have just returned from vacation, and before I get stuck into the numbers, I would like to thank all my guest posters who kept things ticking over in my absence with some fine articles. So, to the numbers. In short, as you can see, August was my best month to date.

Bob Mayer: Publishing Is The Wild West – Danger, But Possibility Too

I’ve spoken about Bob Mayer many times here. And if you have any sense, you will be reading his blog regularly. He has seen it all and sold millions of books the old fashioned way. But now he is publishing himself – and other authors too – to huge success. I invited him along to share some of his thoughts. Here’s Bob. *** I received an email from an editor in Italy who publishes some of my books responding to a question I’d asked:  What was the state of e-publishing in his country?  He replied that it was like a Sergio Leone movie where all the publishers were standing in the street with their hands hovering over their pistols, but Read More…

Crowdsourcing Book Promotion: Scott Nicholson’s Social Experiment With $$$

I heard what Scott Nicholson had planned for September a couple of weeks ago, and I was intrigued. Ok, I wasn’t just intrigued, I was jealous. It’s a superb idea and I think it’s going to work very well for him. Scott is very clever, always looking for an angle, and we are fortunate to be able to stand on the sidelines and watch and learn. Without further ado (can you tell I’m in the middle of writing a wedding speech), here’s Scott. *** Indie authors have the same tools—content creation, formatting, editing, graphic design, and distribution—as publishers when it comes to developing ebooks, whether the indie author tackles the job alone or outsources some of the tasks.

Crowdsourcing Book Promotion: Scott Nicholson's Social Experiment With $$$

I heard what Scott Nicholson had planned for September a couple of weeks ago, and I was intrigued. Ok, I wasn’t just intrigued, I was jealous. It’s a superb idea and I think it’s going to work very well for him. Scott is very clever, always looking for an angle, and we are fortunate to be able to stand on the sidelines and watch and learn. Without further ado (can you tell I’m in the middle of writing a wedding speech), here’s Scott. *** Indie authors have the same tools—content creation, formatting, editing, graphic design, and distribution—as publishers when it comes to developing ebooks, whether the indie author tackles the job alone or outsources some of the tasks.

“Free” Really Can Make You Money – A Dialogue With Moses Siregar III

There is a lot of talk at the moment about free books, whether they cannibalize your sales or those of other authors, and whether all content will be free in the future. I’ve always argued that “free” can drive up your sales, but it really needs to be part of an overall strategy. In July, fantasy author Moses Siregar III wrote a fascinating guest post on a radical approach he was taking with “free”. He also promised to come back after his novel was out to tell us all if it worked or not. We spoke at the end of August over the course of a couple of days. Dave: Hi Moses. The last time we spoke, you were about a week Read More…

"Free" Really Can Make You Money – A Dialogue With Moses Siregar III

There is a lot of talk at the moment about free books, whether they cannibalize your sales or those of other authors, and whether all content will be free in the future. I’ve always argued that “free” can drive up your sales, but it really needs to be part of an overall strategy. In July, fantasy author Moses Siregar III wrote a fascinating guest post on a radical approach he was taking with “free”. He also promised to come back after his novel was out to tell us all if it worked or not. We spoke at the end of August over the course of a couple of days. Dave: Hi Moses. The last time we spoke, you were about a week Read More…