About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

something else to worry about

Ian Randall Strock, the high poobah of the excellent SF news site SFScope, which anyone interested in the genre should bookmark or RSS, gives us all something else to be depressed about. As he points out here, the e-book age makes record-keeping and auditing a little more challenging. We don't as yet have a tracking system for e-books like Nielsen Bookscan does for printed books. And with printed books, the publisher and maybe its distributor are responsible pretty much on their own for shipping books and processing when they come back, and these things can be tracked and checked in different ways if the need arises. But for e-book sales, the publishers are almost entirely dependent on third parties, who can decide to play games in their reports to the publisher. And if the author goes to check on the publisher, that third party piece of paper is the only thing to look at. Hmmmm. Can we force the publisher to audit an e-book retailer if we think the retailer is playing games? Thanks, Ian. This will help me sleep better at night.

1 comment:

Maria said...

There are a lot of disadvantages to being self-published, but the reporting on sales is not one of them. Okay, it probably isn't that great for time-management, but I can get instant reporting day or night from Amazon's system as well as Smashwords. Not so quick via those entities that get distributed from Smashwords (B&N, Sony, Fictionwise and Kobo in Canada.)

But seriously, it was fascinating to watch when the Christmas pickup started, to get some idea of what happens when a review is done (and it depends on which site does the review) and so on.

Many of us have been wondering if the Macmillian/Amazon spat helped other books sell either by default (Macmillan wasn't available--did customers just buy something else?) Did other books sell because Macmillan titles fell out of best sellers and hot seller lists on Amazon and were therefore not as visible to a browsing audience?

I wish I knew that answer. I believe those lists help sales --and I've read on blogs (which should probably be taken with a grain of salt) that larger publishers are frustrated by some of those lists being dominated by "free" or 99 cent books.

(Let it be said that I wish no bad on any author, Macmillan or otherwise--my watching stats was merely for the knowledge I might gain.)