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Michael Gracie

Thank You Delta Airlines

kindle-deltaYours truly got distracted during a recent flight, and left his Kindle full of fly-fishing how-tostechnical papers on particle physics … Dr. Seuss sitting in the seat as he rushed to catch his connection moseyed to the bar with said distraction.

Upon reaching my final destination, I jumped online and deactivated the device, then called Amazon to report the loss. [Side note: Amazon actually has people who answer the phone for such issues … awesome] Then I filled out a Delta Airlines lost and found report.

Later that evening a Delta representative called: “We might have found something of yours, and just need to ask you a few questions about this thing.” I answered in-kind, and a few days later the thing was sitting in a Fedex package, on my doorstep.

MG signing off (to say nice work Delta, then get back to being distracted)

Now available for consumption: Pulp Fly Volume II

THE HAMMER: Looks good. TOC, menu-ing, etc. spot on. I think we’re there.Pulp Fly

40 minutes later…

YOURS TRULY: Tis done. Now we wait.

THE HAMMER: Nice. Whiskey time.

YOURS TRULY: Good idea.

Then I check the liquor cabinet. It’s empty.

“What a shithole this place is,” I think to myself. “The proprietor must be a real ass.” [Editor’s Note: He is.]

20 minutes and four miles whiz by…

YOURS TRULY: Ahh.

You can now grab Pulp Fly Volume II for both Kindle and Nook.

MG signing off (to get prepped for the next adventure)

Pulp Fly Volume One now available

We even got a few emails asking if the April 1st release date made the whole thing a joke. But after pulling out our remaining hair waiting patiently for a corporate giant to complete its review, Pulp Fly Volume One was released to the Amazon store sometime after noon yesterday.

You can grab it from this link: Pulp Fly Volume One.

We’ve already had a few requests for other versions (i.e. Nook and iTunes/iPad). The B&N version should arrive within the next few weeks (post-sleep catch-up); a native Apple version will come when Apple decides it should come, as in we’re wading through (and waiting on) their publisher application process to do its thing. As our fine lodge-running friend Andrew Bennett noted, however, you can still read Kindle books on your PC or Mac, as well as on your iPad or Android device – not to mention your Kindle. All you need is the Kindle app, which you can grab for iPhone, Windows PC, Mac, Blackberry, iPad, Android, and/or Windows Phone 7 here.

MG signing off (to do some reading)

The cost of publishing on the Kindle

A group I’m a part of is in the process of assembling a publication directed straight to Kindle, so I found this analysis timely…

The amount of revenue each publisher earns for their Kindle newspaper/magazine is calculated thus:

(Price – delivery costs) x 70%

“Delivery costs?” I hear you cry. This is the wonderful world of electronic publishing: Amazon hasn’t got an army of paperboys popping the newspapers through letterboxes each morning.

It does, however, pay for “free” 3G connections in the souped-up version of the Kindle, and someone has to pay for that data. And that someone is largely (70%) the publishers, particularly those who want to include anything other than plain text in their periodicals.

I’m not sure how applicable it is, as 1) we’re not doing a periodical, and therefore 2) not going to worry much about images. But it deserves revisiting my own analysis of the matter.

Three wishes, for the Kindle

Amazon KindleI’ve read several books on my particular device, and am happy to say it’s a pleasure. Now, however, I wish the Kindle had a little more.

In no particular order…

1) An email client. I think a scaled down version of say Thunderbird would suffice. It could be made accessible by wi-fi only, and with attachments disabled. Rich text, however, would be nice.

2) A notepad. Simple enough, particularly considering the Kindle has a decent little QWERTY keyboard on it. Allow note taking, and saving as files under a particular collection.

3) A WordPress client. Heck, my Blackberry has one, so why not the Kindle? Again, connectivity through wi-fi only, but this device would be a great mobile blogging unit even if it was just text.

MG signing off (to dream of understanding the API, so I could fulfill these wishes myself)

Captain Joshua Slocum by “Kindlelight”

Twas two nights after Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring…except the dog, who was pacing around in the dark while I read Joshua Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around The World on my new Kindle. For free I might add, and by candlelight (though not of my own choosing).

I’d hear later that a station caught fire in Aurora, and while Xcel was quick to re-route power they forgot one section of the neighborhood, my block. It always happens that way, but no matter. I keep a stock of hand-rolled beeswax candles around for just such occasions (they burn slow, really slow), so I read the first person account of a man circumnavigating the globe on a sailboat he built with his own two hands. I couldn’t have been more absorbed by the story if I’d read it from paperback, and my impression of the Kindle is such that I probably never will.

Bother with another paperback that is.

MG signing off (to flick the power switch)

eBooks provide benefit across the publishing value chain

It’s out of print, a familiar moniker for those seeking titles long since published, particularly when the author put their best foot forward on the first attempt and nobody has been able to match it since. The publisher has a choice to make: do a small run and risk sitting on 999 copies, or forgo the cost along with the potential revenue. In either scenario, the author has little to gain. Meanwhile, by the time the house has distributed the second printing, the original purchaser has already made their decision – picking up a used copy in the secondary marketplace.

They could have bought the eBook.

Authors are fretting that the pricing strategies employed with eBooks are putting the pinch on their ability to make a living. What was once a $75,000 advance has turned into a $15,000 upfront slug, and some are now questioning whether their creativity must now be supplemented by a W2 plus dental insurance. The price gap between the tangible and intangible delivery is supposedly the cause, but in economic terms the responsibility for success is being spread further across participants in the system.

Dollars and sensee-books

Based on Wall Street Journal estimates, a large publishing house takes 50% of the retail price of a debut literary fiction. After paying the author their cut, the publisher still has to cover costs for editing, design, marketing, and the printing itself.

Under the eBook scenario, the price drops by 54%, but the publisher and author are now taking a bigger piece of the pie. The publisher’s share is down five dollars per book, but printing costs are no longer in the picture. We’ll assume that other publication costs fall too, but it’s likely the lion’s share of it was absorbed during the first printing. The publisher and author reap more of the rewards, but all players must work harder for success. At the writing level, selling 10,000 print editions is roughly equivalent to 18,500 eBooks1, as far as feeding the family goes. The retailer’s gross margin, however, is cut in half2, so you have to think they (i.e. Amazon) are in it for the volume.

Moving to small publishers, the outlook changes. Retail prices are lower across the board, but smaller print runs means higher distribution costs, hence a smaller percentage for the publisher and author. Call that a cost for being discovered, particularly where access to major publishing firms doesn’t exist. When you move to eBooks, however, you are now dealing with an organization bearing less overhead – it stands to reason more of the retail price of the book could be passed on to authors. If you (again) assume that editing, layout, and other fixed costs of production are absorbed during a first printing, it’s a slam dunk – with 20% of the retail price going to authors, 10,000 now equates to only 12,500 in digital form3.

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