Friday, March 12, 2010

Storms in the Summer

This year feels like it's building up to be something huge for eBooks. New devices, new royalty rates, it all sounds so exciting. But is it? Or rather, who will benefit this year? The whole Amazon Kindle deal is picking up speed. They will be hiking up the royalty rates to 70% but with a few catches including the one that demands books be listed between $2.99 and $9.99. It will be interesting to see how this is dealt with by writers and publishers alike. Amazon are forcing encouraging writers to set prices a certain way, something about this makes me go *dislike*.

I know a lot of low pricers are already gearing up to change to the $2.99 option but I wonder how readers will react. And for those who don't live in the U.S., Amazon add on a couple of dollars to the price anyway. Will $2.99 still feel low enough to count as an impulse buy? The major publishers who set prices at higher than $9.99 don't seem incredibly impressed by the up in royalties if it means they have to lower their set prices but imo they are extremely short sighted to have eBooks priced so high in the first place. They are blind to the bigger picture.

I've been pondering this lately and wondering how Amazon's competitors will deal with these changes. I would like to think that more people will turn to places like Smashwords in order to find cheap Ebooks and perhaps some more well known authors will also dip their toes in Smashwords' waters. I don't mean to be a fan girl but I like the forward thinking of places like Smashwords, how keen they are to progress and adapt and most of all how easy the process is for writers. As opposed to Amazon which can be painful to say the least.

I know the exposure at Amazon is far greater but they don't ever seem to live up to the hype. Their tactics this summer could, in all fairness, work extremely well. They could end up truly monopolizing the market or (and I really prefer this idea) they could be blown out of the water by their competitors. Either way it will be interesting to watch. There is a lot brewing this year and I'm curious as to who will end up with the power.

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