January 17th, 2009

Earth from space

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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