Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kindle Lending Library - My Opinion

Eoghann Irving called my attention, stream on Google+ concerning the Kindle Lending Library and here's what I had to say about it.

42wd Publishing

A Publisher's View

Since we're a community sourced publishing company we don't tend to follow the standard publisher / epublisher views and business models. In fact, we're out right challenging the standard way of publishing and ruffling some feathers in the process. The reason being is that we are more concerned with the author than the actually making of the money. Don't get me wrong, we're about making money but we're about doing it with the content creators; not instead of them.

So keeping the above in mind, the first thing that I question is are the authors getting paid? According to the write up they are. Are they getting paid fair value? Well now that's a question to be debated. 42wd Publishing uses a profit sharing model for fair value compensation. In other words, no one makes any money until all the bills are paid and then we split the profits 50/50. We also make the bills transparent in case the content creator ever has a question about them. If any new bills occur the author is notified, payment for 42wd Publishing and the content creator is interrupted until the bill is paid and then both the author and 42wd Publishing start earning again. And if you were wondering, bills would be things that 42wd Publishing has to go outside of itself and pay for. In other words, because 42wd Publishing continues to market the content creator we continue to incur cost that are never transferred to the author because we do it in house. So the end result is that the total profit of the author ends up being greater than that of 42wd Publishing. The author wins, which, as we all know, isn't the standard in the current publishing and epublishing world.

As to the question of control of property that was brought up, 42wd Publishing uses open ended perpetual sales and merchandising contracts. In plain English, when you sign a contract with 42wd Publishing you can still take your creative work somewhere else but we get to publish it first and if you do decide to stop using 42wd Publishing's services and products we retain the right to continue to publish and or merchandise the works that you submitted to 42wd Publishing LLC up until your discontinued use of our services and products - and you continue to get paid. The translates into the content creator having as near full control of their creation as possible while still protecting 42wd Publishing's investments.

Keeping that in mind, we all know that giving the content creator any real control of their creation simply isn't the way that the standard publishing model works. In today's world of publishing and epublishing you sign a contract and you are locked into that publisher and whatever they want to do with your work, even to just shelve it. Believe it or not, this is a fairly common practice, shelving a author's work. From my understanding, this is done so that the publishing company that the author signed with can't take their work to a new publisher and the new publisher make money off of what the old publisher knows will be a good selling book but they don't have the money to push. This shelving process is a blatant example of how content creators don't have control over their work.

Add to the taking of control by the standard publisher the distribution contracts that Amazon, and similar distro sites use, and the content creator has no control over their work.

Frankly I don't think the contention is over if the author's have control over their work on Amazon. I think the contention is really coming from the publishers loosing their strangle holds over their stables of content. Notice I didn't say authors, I didn't say authors because the content is typically the focus of most publishers. If you don't believe this is true go find a publisher that is willing to do what 42wd Publishing LLC is doing with Carrie K Sorensen, Jessica Ralston, Donnelle Wheeler and Stephanie Reeves. We're working with each of these content creators to improve not only their skills but their community presence and their out reach to fans and readers - at no cost to them. I and 42wd Publishing is doing this at our own cost before they earn penny one. In fact, we don't plan to start making money off of them for a while. We want them to be as successful as they can be because if they are successful then their creative works will be successful and, of course, we'll make money, but more importantly they will have greater earning potential for themselves.

To be completely honest, to get published you don't need a publishing company. I know, it sounds insane coming from a publishing company but you really don't. You can do print on demand and you can make your own eBooks and some content creators to fairly well that way but, that I can recall right now, none of them make it to the big game [ If you know of some self published authors that have made it big time feel free to share them so they can get some credit for their success. ].

The reason why content creators need publishers now is to help them grow on a creative level, a marketing level and a sales level. publishers and ePublisher should be more like agents, marketers and creative coaches in today's world. Our jobs, publishers and epublishers, should be to help you get published and or to help you get to the point that you are publishable, not trying to figure out how we can keep control of your work for personal corporate profit.

The reality is that this simply isn't happening right now. In fact, it currently is an up hill battle for 42wd Publishing; but, we'll get there and we'll get there together.

My view as an content creator - novels and comics - obviously includes all of 42wd Publishing LLC views, since I did create the company, but also extends to the issue of control over creative work. I'm seeing these battles between iStore, Amazon, and even Google Books over who has control over what but I've not seen any concerted effort to protect the content creators rights. In fact, most of the contracts I've seen require that the author give up a great deal of her/his rights. This bothers me because there really isn't a true voice for the content creators. This lack of voice is one of the reasons I created 42wd Publishing. The company isn't just about making profit, obviously we want and need to make money, but about changing the publishing and epublishing world.

I like the idea that the author is still getting paid in Amazons lending system, some programs don't pay the authors. What does concern me is that they really didn't ask anyone. So far, I've not hear of one indie author being consulted in any of this. To me, it seems like these battles are occurring between the standard publishers and epublishers with complete disregard for the indie authors. I've also not seen much mention of the smaller publishing companies either. Now this could just be an over site on the media's part but my gut says it's not.

My view as a consumer says that the Amazon lending program is a pretty good idea. I can get a book by an author I was wondering about, read it and then go buy more of them if I like them. In fact, it might even encourage me to sign up for the Amazon program they talk about; but, it wouldn't inspire me to replace my current tablet with a Kindle Fire. Since my publisher views and content creator views are part of my consumer views I won't go back over them; but, from a consumer perspective, it does seem like a good idea.

The Summary

42wd Publishing LLC - Content creators need a better pay model and publishers / epublishers should be focused on growing the content creator and make their money that way.

As an Author - I'm concerned that the battle for control is between distribution companies and publishers and is leaving out the indie authors. I think we need a strong voice in the industry like 42wd Publishing LLC is working to be. Note: even if it's not 42 wd Publishing we still need a strong voice.

As a Consumer - I actually rather like the idea. If I had a Kindle Fire I'd probably sign up for it; but, I'm not buying a new tablet with lower specs to replace my higher end tablet.

1 comment:

  1. The lending library’s collection of “well-known” books and a lot of stuff that came out a year ago that you never heard about that will hold your attention. Thanks, for sharing.
    publish kindle book