Amazon vs. Hachette—and YOU!

A good, thoughtful look at the Amazon/Hachette dispute.


Book Prices

Amazon-Hachette Dispute

I won’t tell you what to think.

  • I will make some points for both sides.
  • I will mention ways that this may impact both authors and readers.
  • I will show you what you can do, no matter which side you favor.

The main point is that Amazon appears to be pushing for more e-books ordinarily priced above $10 to be priced at $9.99. Hachette (and other publishers) appears to want the freedom to price e-books as they see fit, including those in the $14.99 to $19.99 price range.

A little clarification:

  • Amazon openly acknowledged that some books, such as e-textbooks, should be priced $10 and up (see Reference 1 below). Amazon is NOT insisting that ALL e-books should be $9.99 or less.
  • Hachette is NOT asking to price ALL e-books $14.99 and up. The issue arose over specific e-books.

Whether YOU read books or write them, YOU  are…

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Indie Publishing: What’s Copyright?

Meriam-Webster defines copyright as “the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (as a literary, musical, or artistic work).

Copyright protects your intellectual property (for our purposes, your book or ebook) as soon as it’s put into permanent form (again, for our purposes, your book or ebook).

While your de facto copyright exists from that moment, the length of time for which you will keep that copyright protection varies from country to country. In the United States and the European Union, protection lasts the life of the author plus 70 years. But in some countries – notably Canada and New Zealand – copyright protection lasts the life of the author plus 50 years. Additionally, you may want to formally register your copyright with your country’s copyright board, as that copyright certificate of registration can be used in court as evidence of ownership.

Find the copyright detail for your country at these sites:

United States Copyright Office

Copyright Board of Canada

European Union

Australian Copyright Council

Copyright Council of New Zealand

Copyright recognizes that your fictional world/characters belong to you, but it’s not uncommon for writers to have similar plots. You can copyright your story, but you can’t copyright an idea.

You also can’t copyright a book title. My book, Sin Eater, lists along with at least a half dozen other books on Amazon of the same name. That’s not even taking into account the variations of that name: The Sin Eater, Sin Eating, etc.

What’s the difference between copyright and a trademark or patent? While copyright protects the original work of writers, a trademark protects words, designs, symbols or phrases (eg., KleenexTM)  and a patent protects inventions or discoveries.

We’ll explore more about copyright and its relationship to fair use in upcoming blogposts. For now, your take-away point should be that copyright automatically exists when an original work is created.


Building a Killer Email List

Great idea!

David Gaughran

wanted-alt71-200x300There is a lot of upheaval in publishing today and I think that’s likely to increase rather than decrease. The best insurance policy any writer can have against the future is a targeted mailing list.

I’ve written before about how the author with the biggest mailing list wins, and I’ve invited Nick Stephenson along today because he’s got some great ideas on how to boost your list.

The cool thing about his approach is that it’s something anyone can do. And, as you will see, it really, really works. Here’s Nick with more:

Building a Killer Email List

As an author, I try to read as much as possible. I tend to get excited over 8 or 9 different authors across a few different genres, and I always buy their new releases as soon as I hear about them. Whenever I find out there’s a new book on the shelves, I go…

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Indie Publishing – Is it For You?

I’ve been fortunate to have published across a diverse spectrum – fiction, non-fiction, travel, business, food, education, relationships. Until this year, my writing has been published the traditional way (editor, publishing house), but this year I opted to try out self-publishing.

And it’s been a blast.

I started by publishing one of my out-of-print books (my publishing house, like so many, has gone under), a piece of non-fiction on conspiracy theories. There was comfort in knowing the material was solid, especially as I navigated the uncharted channels of self-publishing. I’d considered self-publishing years ago, when indie publishing online was in its infancy, but was put off by all the layers legwork.

There are a lot of hoops to jump through in indie publishing. Viewed at once, it can be overwhelming, but broken down into single tasks the job becomes do-able. Get an EIN, an ISBN, a CIP. Decide on a single source aggregate distributor (simpler, but lower royalties), handle distribution yourself, or some hybrid of the two. Social networking platforms. Goodreads, Books In Print. Beta readers, cover artists, editing.

Have you toyed with the idea of self-publishing? I’m not gonna lie. It’s a lot of work. It’s also a lot of fun. If you like control of your projects and love to learn, indie publishing might be for you.

This set of blog posts will be a breakdown of the steps you’ll need to take to get from I’ve-Written-A-Book to I’ve-Published-A-Book. I’m Canadian, so my experiences will have that flavo(u)r, but many of the steps will be common to anyone looking to publish. Example: In Canada, ISBN numbers are free; in the U.S., ISBN numbers must be purchased. Where possible, I’ll include country specific information.

Welcome to my world of indie publishing and I hope I can make your journey to publication less complicated than mine was.