Mar 112012

“We need to be stronger, faster, and smarter. We must be better trained than any writer in human history,” says social-media expert Kristen Lamb.

Keep the “stronger, faster, and smarter” mantra in mind as you read this week’s edition of Industry News. Publishing is changing, and writers must adapt.

The Department of Justice’s threat to sue Apple and five of the Big Six publishers for allegedly colluding to increase the prices of e-books (via the agency-pricing model) is likely to result in an out-of-court settlement that will lead to reduced prices on ebooks, says Jeff Roberts of The Wall Street Journal offers background information on the issue.

Scott Turow, Authors Guild president, decries the end of agency pricing and slams Amazon, an agency-pricing foe.

Here, Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler, traditionally published authors who now sell via Amazon, challenge Turow’s arguments.

Digital-book consultant Mike Shatzkin isn’t as keen as Konrath and Eisler for the end of agency pricing.  Shatzkin says authors, particularly indies, will pay a premium for the discount. “The independent authors will feel the pain first. Agency pricing creates a zone of pricing they can occupy without much competition from branded merchandise. When the known authors are only available at $9.99 and up, the fledgling at $0.99-$2.99 looks very attractive and worth a try. Ending agency will have the “desired” effect of bringing all ebook prices down.”   

Random House is the only one of the Big Six publishers willing to sell its ebooks to libraries for lending without restrictions. When it announced it would charge libraries more per e-book, no one expected “more” would mean as much as a three-fold hike in price.

In an interview with Jeff Rivera at Digital Book World, indie author Seth Godin had this to say about e-book lending at libraries: “Libraries are like the radio for books. Not a money-maker for all, but a great way to spread an idea. I don’t think you can find a single author who suffered any damage at all because too many people took his book out of the library.”  The interview also touches on the future of publishing and the role of agents.

Yes, this is the RWA-WF chapter, but would any of us turn down a chance to get agents’ take on the state of publishing, even if the information comes out of Sleuthfest? I thought not.  Here’s the scoop from Kim Lionetti of BookEnds, LLC; Jill Marr of Sandra Dijkstra Literacy Agency, and Nicole Resciniti, of the Seymour Agency.  (Thanks to mystery writer Diane Capri who steered me to the Babes in Bookland blog.) 

Fans of The Intern applauded when Hilary Smith signed a contract with HarperCollins for two young adult novels. Now, she shares her experience with revisions and compares/contrasts indie and “legacy” publishing.

Without an arsenal of novels, authors have nothing to promote, says legacy-turned-indie author Bob Mayer. “While discoverability is key in digital publishing, sustainability trumps it.  And sustainability comes from consistent, great content that your readers love.”  (Thanks to RWA-WF’s Patti Yager Delagrange for the link.)

Former literary agent-turned-MG-author Nathan Bransford disputes the notion that self-publishing has peaked. On the contrary, it’s just getting started, he says.

Have a stronger, faster, smarter week.  See you next Sunday.

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