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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, December 23, 2009


Over here, blogger extraordinaire Andrew Wheeler and I have been exchanging some comments about the latest Kindle statistic from Amazon. We got to exchanging on the royalty reporting publishers are providing for e-book sales, and I thought I'd paste a chunk of one of my comments here for the hometown crowd to enjoy, with a few add and extends...

Don't get me started on e-book accounting with the major publishers.

Some companies like Macmillan (Tor, SMP, FSG) aggregate all the e-book sales into one line, so there's no format information.

Penguin gives a separate page for each ISBN, meaning each e-book format, but doesn't tell you what ISBN is what format. You guess that the page with the big shitload of sales is the Kindle, that the next biggest is Sony, and that after that life is too short. And since Amazon doesn't attach an ISBN to its Kindle pages, it really is a guess. Since these statements are six or eight highly uninformative pages, I end up aggregating the sales onto my spreadsheets.

Harper also has separate pages, but also has a summary section, and does list formats. But none of these formats are Kindle; you need to know or ask to find out that those sales show up on the MOBI line. Since Harper does provide format information, I do track formats when entering on to my spreadsheets.

Random House doesn't give entire separate pages, so less paper waste, but does print out e-book sales in ISBN lines, again with no format information attached. So same as Penguin, we take the total e-book line and aggregate for the spreadsheets.

As yet, I haven't seen any publisher that's reporting on an e-book sales in a way that is both concise and informative, and many publishers that manage to spew out considerable amounts of paper which offer surprisingly small amounts of information.

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