I couldn’t see any reason that I
needed one; then I got one for Christmas.
I made a resolution for 2011 to
read more. The Kindle is making that much easier to accomplish as well
as saving me some money. I can also load manuscripts on it that I need
to read, which is very helpful.
There are quite a number of
other e-readers on the market, and I find each has its dedicated
supporters, and I don’t want anybody to take this as a Kindle promotion
over any other e-reader.
Having said that, Kindle is
currently the big dog in the market as far as the number of sales and
the amount of available content. I don’t care to predict whether it
will hold that position or be overtaken. My crystal ball broke some
years back, and I have been unable to find a replacement. I perked up
when I started seeing some royalty statements coming though with over
half of the sales being Kindle sales.
As a writer, that prompted me to
take steps to ensure my titles were on Kindle. I’m in an
invitation-only group that includes some of the most widely published
Western writers today (it’s a mystery to me why they asked me to join).
One of the top priority items for them is getting their backlists on
e-readers, particularly Kindle, plus looking at simply publishing some
things there to begin with.
The second half of that strategy
interested me. I am getting submissions from people who have published
their books on the Kindle and are now looking to me to represent the
project for print publication. Several times I had such a question and
decided to survey editors to get an answer. They have been terrific
about helping out.
I tried to phrase the question
in such a way as not to lead the answer, so I simply told them I was
getting this type of submission and I was curious about their attitudes
toward them. The results were very interesting.
percent say it would not matter to them either way.
percent say they would consider a self-pubbed or Kindle, but the odds
would be against them.
percent said they would not buy a manuscript that had been self-pubbed
or e-pubbed, or would require the e-rights in the contract, which most
said they felt getting those rights released at Amazon would be
difficult, since once a book is on Kindle, Amazon is very reluctant to
release it. For all practical purposes that is a no or doubtful on
16 percent said they would consider it but only if significant sales
numbers could be demonstrated.
few of the representative editorial comments included:
“This sparked an interesting
discussion. Basically, we’d view a Kindle edition as a self-published
version. For now, it’s going to be harder to benchmark what makes a
successful Kindle sales number. And if we were to take a book that had
been pubbed on Kindle (and its ebook kin), we’d expect electronic
rights to be part of the package that we’d be buying, so previous ebook
editions would have to go away prior to our publication.”
“An interesting new development
. . . our current stance on that is we won’t look at a manuscript
previously published, whether it is self-published, ebook, or with a
use Kindle and Nook
editions in a huge way, both in promotions and sales. To have a
competing (and unedited) edition out there would create problems,
especially since Amazon will not remove a book from their site once
it’s been published.”
“An interesting question,
Terry. And thorny. We won’t publish a book without acquiring electronic
rights, so I’d recommend pulling the book from any sites before
submitting it. Like any self-pubbed work, we’d want to know how widely
it’d be distributed. So we would want to know how many downloads it’d
“Generally we are not
interested in taking on anyone that has already put their books online.
One of the reasons is that in order to present that book to buyers of
the major chains, our distributor has to present it at least six months
before the book’s release. Those authors that are so anxious to release
their books online don’t realize they are shooting themselves in the
foot, so to speak, because once that book is released, it becomes a
backlisted book and the buyers don’t want anything to do with it.”
“Since we don’t contract for
print rights only, if a title is already published in any format, it
usually precludes us from contracting at all. We do take some reprints
(contracting both print and electronic rights) but usually from
established authors who already have a readership and on titles that we
feel will do well regardless of the fact that they have been previously
I found the results and the
varied comments interesting but not surprising.. Seven percent is
pretty small odds for me and they were from primarily small houses. I
suppose it would then come down to my wanting to represent the
manuscript unless the ebook was down and/or the sales numbers up.
In my opinion, this will change
as technology continues to evolve, and it bears continued scrutiny.