Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Kindle Unlimited

Why Smashwords ?


I self-published my novel nearly seven years ago. At first, I was using FastPencil; with a print and ebook edition distributed to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and a number of other retailers… Smashwords Review and Predictions

In September of last year, I switched to Smashwords.

That meant dropping the production of the print version; but, one day, I may add print back…

I feel good about the move to Smashwords—it feels “cleaner” than Amazon (none of that seemingly constant “How is Amazon mistreating authors again?” stuff…); though, I still sometimes buy a kindle e-book…

I’ve done quite a bit of posting here about Smashwords; if you take that last link, you might see this post at the top of the scrollable list…

One thing about Smashwords, even though it’s e-book-only—they distribute much more widely than Fastpencil.

I know many writers are still stuck with the idea that having a book at Amazon is required; but, that’s as outdated a notion as thinking that the only way to publish is with the Big 5…

So…

I recently got an email from Smashwords that led to two interesting articles…

The first is Smashwords 2017 Year in Review and 2018 Preview.

That one is about Smashwords, itself…

The second is 2018 Book Industry Predictions: Are Indie Authors Losing their Independence?

The beginning of that second article is a fascinating history that details the travails of Indie authors vis-à-vis Amazon…

Then come the predictions for 2018—separated into Clouds and Sunshine…

Here are the bullet-points ( reading the full article will make you wise :-)

Clouds

1.  2017 will be another challenging year for the book industry

2.  The glut of high-quality low-cost ebooks will get worse

3.  Barnes & Noble is sick and will get sicker

4.  Kobo’s sales will falter

5.  Devaluation pressures will persist

6.  Single-copy ebook sales will decline

7.  Romance authors will feel the most pain from KU {Kindle Unlimited}

8.  Large traditional publishers will reduce commitment to romance

9.  Email list fatigue

10.  Pressure will build to drop author royalties

Sunshine

11.  Audiobooks will be a big story in 2017

12.  Audible will face increased competition

13.  Readers will still pay for books worth reading

14.  New subscription services will be introduced

15.  Calls will grow in the US for antitrust action against Amazon

16.  Indies will reassert control over platform

17.  Indie authors will take a closer look at podcasting to reach new readers

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“Ten Trends Shaping the Future of #Publishing”


If you use the Top Tags widget (down a bit in the left-side bar) and click on Mark Coker ( you can also just click that last link :-), you’ll find 22 posts that are involved, in some way, with his ideas (this one will be there, too…).

Mark is the Founder of Smashwords and one of the most savvy folks on the planet when it comes to the potentials of Self-Publishing.

If you’ve never heard of Smashwords, this quote from the site should be informative:

“Smashwords offers a catalog of over 350,000 vetted, well-formatted ebooks from over 100,000 authors and publishers.”

Mark had an article in Publishers Weekly called 10 Self-Publishing Trends to Watch.

I recommend that any writers or publishers reading this post go read the full article (also, readers who want some insight into how books are evolving…); but, here are his main ideas with a few other snippets to entice you to take the link to all of Mark’s valuable information:

“The future of publishing is fraught with opportunity and peril.”

That’s Mark’s first sentence—here are his main ideas:

* The rise of e-books

* Publishing and distribution democratized

* E-books going global

* The rise of indie authorship

* Indie authors are taking market share

* The stigma of self-publishing is disappearing

* The glut of high-quality, low-cost e-books will worsen

* Amazon is devaluing books with Kindle Unlimited

* Kindle Unlimited is undermining single-copy sales

* Indie authors are writing the next chapter of their industry’s story

Now, just a few cool sentences:

“Although the rate of growth has slowed for e-books, the affordability and accessibility of digital will continue to erode print readership.”

“Much of the opportunity for authors in the years ahead will come from international markets.”

“Every week, indie e-books top retailer bestseller lists, and hit the USA Today and New York Times lists.”

“…your e-book will forever be discoverable…more books will chase fewer readers.”

“The power center of the publishing industry is shifting from publishers to writers.”

Don’t forget, this man is at the center of the e-book and self-publishing revolution…
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“Is Amazon Working to Kill Single Copy Ebook Sales?”


The quote I chose for the title of this post is from Mark Coker in an article on the Smashwords blog.

I’m bringing his article to the attention of any of my readers who are writers (or, have friends who are writers) and who might think that Amazon is the best place to sell their books

A few excerpts, beginning with the Setup:

“…Amazon quietly announced that because they’re pricing their Kindle Unlimited ebook subscription service at $3.00 per month in India, authors will now earn less.”

“…back in March….I warned there was nothing stopping Amazon from waking up one day and deciding that their $9.99 subscription service should be priced at $3.00 instead.”

Kindle Unlimited is a service many authors want in on but they have to put their book in KDP Select first, which demands they not sell that book anywhere else

Mark commenting on his March warning:

“It’s an inevitable outcome when authors surrender full pricing and compensation control (via their KDP Select enrollment) to a company whose entire business model is predicated upon commoditizing and devaluing products by stripping suppliers of pricing control.”

“Kindle Unlimited is training readers to think that single-copy ebook purchases are too expensive.”

“Enjoy your single copy sales while they last.”

Check out the full article for more background on what Mark’s saying; but, do take to heart this last excerpt:

“As I’ve written previously, indie authors have the power to prevent this bleak future.  All they need to do is stop enrolling their books in KDP Select before it’s too late.  Spread the word.”

When I published this post, there were 63 comments after Mark’s article

One of the most interesting was this:

“The problem is, this harms ALL indie writers, not only those who are in KDP Select. Very ugly. But you nailed it when you said the problem is greed. The business model is greed on Amazon’s part, and the decision to enroll in KDP Select in the first place is greed on the part of short-sighted authors.”

Friday Bonus:

Check out this chilling report on Forbes about Amazon’s first physical book store………

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