When a self-published author contacts someone in the collection development department at my library, we let out a collective groan. Inevitably, our answer to the request to add their book to our collection will feel personal, which is awkward. It will definitely mean more work for us no matter what, and for acquisitions and cataloging staff as well if we do accept the book as a donation or decide to purchase it.
Librarians don’t want to buy your self-published book, but not for the reasons you think.
I’ve been thinking about self-published books and their place in libraries a lot recently, as my library has been updating our collection development policy and brainstorming ways to streamline how we deal with requests from authors to include their self-published materials in our collection and how our collection development work complements our strategic goal of supporting content creation in our community.
With all the recent news surrounding this issue, I thought it would be a perfect discussion topic for this week.
It was bound to happen. When the popularity of the streaming service, Netflix started to increase, very likely someone would come out and say, “what about a subscription service for books?” This allure of having unlimited access to certain products or form of entertainment was bound to approach our beloved books. So let’s take the time to list the book subscription services that are catching up with the trend:
Kindle Unlimited: For $9.99 a month, you have unlimited access to 800,000 books and over a thousand audiobooks that is accessible to any device.
Oyster Unlimited: Unlimited access for $9.95/month to over 1 million bestsellers and also has an Oyster store where you can purchase a book that is not under the Oyster Unlimited program.
Scribd: Unlimited books, audiobooks, and comics on any device …all for $8.99/month.
In an email sent to the authors, Amazon went into further details on how they would actually be paid:
The company said that customers of its two services read nearly 1.9bn pages in June, while it expected to pay at least $11m a month for June, July and August.
That means the payment per page read could be as low as $0.006, meaning that an author will have to write a 220-page book – and have every page read by every person downloading it – to make the same $1.30 they currently get from a book being downloaded.”
However, only a some authors will see benefits from this:
Not every author will lose out, however. Since the overall amount paid out to writers is intended to remain the same, there will be winners – mainly those who write longer books that are read in full.
That has led some to argue that Amazon intends to reduce the income of authors of shorter works in an effort to alter the composition of the library. If that is the company’s intention, Lucas argues that Amazon is missing the point.”
Who knows what Amazon’s true intentions or motives for this new payment plan. I just have a disturbed feeling that in the end the only people who will end up hurt are the writers.
Amazon announced today that starting July 1, self-published authors will be paid in royalties based on the amount of pages a Kindle reads, instead of the amount of times the books has been downloaded. This means if a reader abandons the book halfway through, the writer will only receive a quarter amount of royalties compared to the full amount they would receive if the reader decide to finish reading the book. As reported by the Telegraph: Continue reading “Amazon to Pay Kindle Authors Only for Pages Read”→
I was listening to this podcast done by the blog The Readers and two of the bloggers, Thomas and Simon, were discussing an interesting topic: self-publishing. Simon claims that due to self-publishing’s popularity, there is a lot more bad writing being put out there in the book world.
I haven’t read that many self-published books and Simon is entitled to his opinion but I can’t agree with this. This was brought up during the podcasts because of the hype surrounding the upcoming film release of Fifty Shade of Grey. Now Fifty Shades of Grey is no masterpiece but I do think it’s unfair to combine all self-published books as bad just because of one really bad book. I haven’t read that many self-published books but the ones that I have read were pretty decent. Maybe not “I’ll reread them in the future” material but not horrible. Continue reading “Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing”→