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Who's the publisher?

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I've been playing around with browsing the Kindle Store; the sort-by-lowest-price function is a great way to find ebooks that publishers are giving away free as a promotion, such as Murder List by Julie Garwood. These are great because you "buy" them as effortlessly as a regular Kindle book but they cost nothing.

The lowest-to-highest sort also showed me that the Kindle Store includes short stories as well as Kindle Books. But another thing I noticed is that Amazon does not show the publisher of a book until you call up the entry for that book and scroll down a couple of screens to the details. I'm not sure what's driving that decision; it might be just to save space, but is also hides the fact that a lot of the out-of-copyright books have no true publisher. For Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the publisher is merely "Public Domain." The price, by the way, is 25 cents, a bargain if ever there was one.

But another effect is that self-published books are hard to spot. When they have a graphic cover, they look just like books from full-sized publishing houses. It's only when you look at the details and see the author's name as the publisher that it's clear it's a self-published book. Since CreateSpace makes it easy for authors to self publish ebooks on Amazon, I can see the potential for this to change the dynamics of self-publishing.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 18th, 2009 01:04 am (UTC)
Kindle books are created separately from their original publishing source. Or, at least, they can be.

I've Kindled both my own self-pub books and one that was published elsewhere. I later found out the publisher didn't want me to do that. I think he's nutzoid. Still, I've low-profile that edition. I can't delete it, it turns out. The only way to get it off the lists is to turn myself in as a pirate to Amazon's legal department. The hell if I'll do that! It is, after all, my damned book!

Now, don't be so hard on those CreateSpace or Lulu folks. I'm getting a tad defensive about the trash talk. My books are decently midlist in quality. Yeah, you don't want to take a chance on a self-pub, but maybe I don't want to buy a book from a big publisher. There are plenty of duds there, too. Use the Search Inside feature and take a sample on printed books. Amazon lets you download a free sample on the Kindles, so what have you got to lose?
Jan. 18th, 2009 07:44 pm (UTC)
That was kind of my point. I was saying that with ebooks, self-published books are on a more equal footing than is the case with printed books. The way Amazon has structured the browse function, you in effect, take each book on its own merits. And I agree the free sample option is fantastic, especially when I see a book by an author I never read before, whether big publisher, small press, or self-pubbed.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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