The Digital eBook Library Express
This week has been the week of conference calls. I’ve had one every day except today. I tease Bob that he can call himself a publishing whore as long as he doesn’t include me, but the reality is we must be open to new innovative ideas and that means trying a variety of things. Bob and I have tried just about everything. We even have credit cards that light up. We really do. A partnership that formed with Dynamics a year ago at Thrillerfest. It was pretty cool to get an email from my husband with this picture attached at the CES conference, the largest electronics show. What great exposure for Bob’s new Science Fiction Series, Nightstalkers. And exposure and discoverability is the name of the game.
Today, Bob emailed me a blog post to go over where he mentioned how he feels NY is about 18 months behind. I emailed him back with I feel like we’re always about 12 months ahead of everything. A few years ago we started serializing Chasing the Ghost. We broke up the book into I believe 9 or 10 episodes. We called it going back to Dickens. We thought we were brilliant, but it didn’t work out as we had hoped. But now serials are a hot topic. Of course, we’re not the only people who thought of doing serials…great minds and all that.
Bob blogged about hybrid authors back in 2011 and now DBW has decided this is their new catch phrase to describe authors like Bob. They did do an excellent survey about what authors really want, but that’s for another day.
About a year ago, we spoke with King County Library in Seattle, (they are one of the largest library systems in the country) about offering our digital catalog to their customers. It didn’t happen, but this week we partnered with Douglas County Library in Colorado. They read Bob’s blog post at DBW about our partnership with Jennifer Probst and contacted us about partnering with them. I had a wonderful chat with two of the librarians and we got the ball rolling. They bought 97 titles (all of our authors).
There is a battle going on between libraries and publishers, but as the Forbes article points out: it’s the wrong war. Questions over copyright, DRM, libraries surviving digital, pricing…Interesting enough, in this article they mention how eBooks are priced to libraries, specifically the same library we just partnered with. Here is a quote from the article:
“The challenge to libraries is not insignificant. Four of the six publishers are not providing eBooks to libraries at any price. The other two – Random House and HarperCollins lead the industry with two different models. Random House adjusted eBook pricing in 2012. While the prices on some books were lowered, the most popular titles increased in price – some dramatically. Author Justin Cronin’s post-apocalyptic bestseller “The Twelve” whose print edition costs the Douglas County Libraries $15.51 from Baker & Taylor and whose eBook is priced at $9.99 on Amazon was priced at $84 to Douglas County on October 31st.
HarperCollins meanwhile has adopted a different model, selling eBooks to libraries at consumer prices but electronically limiting them to 26 lends and then requiring that the book be repurchased. Robin Nesbitt sees this as fairer to libraries, but she points out that it’s still much more expensive than print books, “I get forty to fifty lends from a bestseller in library binding. But at least they’re playing.””
You can see the disconnect.
Now, authors want to be paid for their work and publishers don’t want to lose potential revenue and I’m all for that.
In order to sell books, readers have to know you exist. You can shout ‘buy my book’ all you want all over the place, but only two things sell books.
- Product Placement
- Readers talking to readers
As we’ve learned, the first one helps, a lot. The Jefferson Allegiance went straight to #2 on Barnes and Noble best seller list on it’s first weekend because of Nook First (another program we suggested) and a key blog post on the Barnes and Noble site. My book went right into the top 10 (right up there with Shades of Gray) because of a dedicated email and Nook First.
Discoverability happens on 3 levels.
- In stores
- On websites
- With Readers
With readers is the key ingredient to success. Why is any of this relevant? Our partnership with Douglas County Library, while we will make a few dollars off the deal (our deal is discount off list price, so the library isn’t paying more than a customer is paying) isn’t about money. It’s about discoverability. Readers hang out in libraries. Readers ‘check’ out eBooks from libraries. Readers recommend great books. Readers, once they love your style, will go and BUY every book you ever wrote.
Hybrid Authors, and especially our authors, are in a unique position. We’re getting backlist and frontlist into the library system. Sure, we are in Overdrive, but any library that wants to partner with us, give us a call. Our goal is connect authors with the most important person: the reader.