Posted 9 hours ago

"People come to me on waves of memory, but all of them are ghosts. The sound of a distant ocean covers me with surf, that tide that bears me back eternally into the past, back to the place where I was born. My mother took me out in our little fishing boat, out on the open water of the sea. The thrum and hiss of surf upon the shore behind us, the breaking rhythm never ceasing. My mother waited until we were out of sight of land. She waited to tell me the secret."

from the novel Sinful Folk

(Source: burrrr-ee)

Posted 1 day ago

Amazon Finally Hits Back

Dear KDP Author,

Just ahead of World War II, there was a radical invention that shook the foundations of book publishing. It was the paperback book. This was a time when movie tickets cost 10 or 20 cents, and books cost $2.50. The new paperback cost 25 cents – it was ten times cheaper. Readers loved the paperback and millions of copies were sold in just the first year.

With it being so inexpensive and with so many more people able to afford to buy and read books, you would think the literary establishment of the day would have celebrated the invention of the paperback, yes? Nope. Instead, they dug in and circled the wagons. They believed low cost paperbacks would destroy literary culture and harm the industry (not to mention their own bank accounts). Many bookstores refused to stock them, and the early paperback publishers had to use unconventional methods of distribution – places like newsstands and drugstores. The famous author George Orwell came out publicly and said about the new paperback format, if “publishers had any sense, they would combine against them and suppress them.” Yes, George Orwell was suggesting collusion.

Well… history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

Fast forward to today, and it’s the e-book’s turn to be opposed by the literary establishment. Amazon and Hachette – a big US publisher and part of a $10 billion media conglomerate – are in the middle of a business dispute about e-books. We want lower e-book prices. Hachette does not. Many e-books are being released at $14.99 and even $19.99. That is unjustifiably high for an e-book. With an e-book, there’s no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out of stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation costs, and there is no secondary market – e-books cannot be resold as used books. E-books can and should be less expensive.

Perhaps channeling Orwell’s decades old suggestion, Hachette has already been caught illegally colluding with its competitors to raise e-book prices. So far those parties have paid $166 million in penalties and restitution. Colluding with its competitors to raise prices wasn’t only illegal, it was also highly disrespectful to Hachette’s readers.

The fact is many established incumbents in the industry have taken the position that lower e-book prices will “devalue books” and hurt “Arts and Letters.” They’re wrong. Just as paperbacks did not destroy book culture despite being ten times cheaper, neither will e-books. On the contrary, paperbacks ended up rejuvenating the book industry and making it stronger. The same will happen with e-books.

Many inside the echo-chamber of the industry often draw the box too small. They think books only compete against books. But in reality, books compete against mobile games, television, movies, Facebook, blogs, free news sites and more. If we want a healthy reading culture, we have to work hard to be sure books actually are competitive against these other media types, and a big part of that is working hard to make books less expensive.

Moreover, e-books are highly price elastic. This means that when the price goes down, customers buy much more. We’ve quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000. The important thing to note here is that the lower price is good for all parties involved: the customer is paying 33% less and the author is getting a royalty check 16% larger and being read by an audience that’s 74% larger. The pie is simply bigger.

But when a thing has been done a certain way for a long time, resisting change can be a reflexive instinct, and the powerful interests of the status quo are hard to move. It was never in George Orwell’s interest to suppress paperback books – he was wrong about that.

And despite what some would have you believe, authors are not united on this issue. When the Authors Guild recently wrote on this, they titled their post: “Amazon-Hachette Debate Yields Diverse Opinions Among Authors” (the comments to this post are worth a read). A petition started by another group of authors and aimed at Hachette, titled “Stop Fighting Low Prices and Fair Wages,” garnered over 7,600 signatures. And there are myriad articles and posts, by authors and readers alike, supporting us in our effort to keep prices low and build a healthy reading culture. Author David Gaughran’s recent interview is another piece worth reading.

We recognize that writers reasonably want to be left out of a dispute between large companies. Some have suggested that we “just talk.” We tried that. Hachette spent three months stonewalling and only grudgingly began to even acknowledge our concerns when we took action to reduce sales of their titles in our store. Since then Amazon has made three separate offers to Hachette to take authors out of the middle. We first suggested that we (Amazon and Hachette) jointly make author royalties whole during the term of the dispute. Then we suggested that authors receive 100% of all sales of their titles until this dispute is resolved. Then we suggested that we would return to normal business operations if Amazon and Hachette’s normal share of revenue went to a literacy charity. But Hachette, and their parent company Lagardere, have quickly and repeatedly dismissed these offers even though e-books represent 1% of their revenues and they could easily agree to do so. They believe they get leverage from keeping their authors in the middle.

We will never give up our fight for reasonable e-book prices. We know making books more affordable is good for book culture. We’d like your help. Please email Hachette and copy us.

Hachette CEO, Michael Pietsch: Michael.Pietsch@hbgusa.com

Copy us at: readers-united@amazon.com

Please consider including these points:

- We have noted your illegal collusion. Please stop working so hard to overcharge for ebooks. They can and should be less expensive.
- Lowering e-book prices will help – not hurt – the reading culture, just like paperbacks did.
- Stop using your authors as leverage and accept one of Amazon’s offers to take them out of the middle.
- Especially if you’re an author yourself: Remind them that authors are not united on this issue.

Thanks for your support.

The Amazon Books Team

P.S. You can also find this letter at www.readersunited.com

Amazon Finally Hits Back was originally published on NedNote

Posted 1 day ago
Good books don’t give up all their secrets at once.
Stephen King (via a-novel-ty)
Posted 1 day ago

You Reading This… Be Ready.

Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life -

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

—William Stafford

Posted 1 day ago
“On most nights under the winter moon when we have made our camp, around us echo faint sounds of that other hidden world—the one of meadow and forest in the night. The melody of whip-poor-will, the cry of hunting owl, the scurrying rush of vole and chasing fox. It is as if some great razor scraped the life from this sheet of white-edged vellum, leaving only blank.”
— from the novel Sinful Folk

“On most nights under the winter moon when we have made our camp, around us echo faint sounds of that other hidden world—the one of meadow and forest in the night. The melody of whip-poor-will, the cry of hunting owl, the scurrying rush of vole and chasing fox. It is as if some great razor scraped the life from this sheet of white-edged vellum, leaving only blank.”

from the novel Sinful Folk

(Source: khanhcept)

Posted 2 days ago
“I can see her now. On the day we take the forest path to the deep stream beside the alder copse. There a plover calls in the deep woodsy stillness, and then a pair of martins dart across the over-grown path. Through the trees can be seen the thick and fast-moving line of flowing water, a steep bank beneath our feet and flowering at the edge of the water, the purple loosestrife and meadowsweet of spring.” 
— from the novel SINFUL FOLK

“I can see her now. On the day we take the forest path to the deep stream beside the alder copse. There a plover calls in the deep woodsy stillness, and then a pair of martins dart across the over-grown path. Through the trees can be seen the thick and fast-moving line of flowing water, a steep bank beneath our feet and flowering at the edge of the water, the purple loosestrife and meadowsweet of spring.”

from the novel SINFUL FOLK

Posted 3 days ago
jennnotjenny:

What She Read: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
 
Image from Shannon Donnelly
I  usually avoid books with paranormal plot twists. The mention of…

View Post

jennnotjenny:

What She Read: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

 

Image from Shannon Donnelly

I  usually avoid books with paranormal plot twists. The mention of…

View Post

Posted 3 days ago
Music and silence… combine strongly because music is done with silence, and silence is full of music.
Marcel Marceau (via un-control)

(Source: observando)

Posted 4 days ago

Book Quote:

"People come to me on waves of memory, but all of them are ghosts. The sound of a distant ocean covers me with surf, that tide that bears me back eternally into the past, back to the place where I was born. My mother took me out in our little fishing boat, out on the open water of the sea. The thrum and hiss of surf upon the shore behind us, the breaking rhythm never ceasing. My mother waited until we were out of sight of land. She waited to tell me the secret."

from the novel Sinful Folk

PHOTO: matialonsorphotoby matialonsor

Posted 5 days ago

galaxiesanddust:

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë + Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Posted 5 days ago

"Cold tears as salty as ocean spray wet my face. I remember the day before she died, my mother took me out in our little fishing boat, out on the open water of the sea—the thrum and hiss of surf upon the shore behind us, the rhythm never ceasing. And she taught me something: strange and secret words in a foreign tongue, a lilting singsong cadence to it."

from the novel Sinful Folk

GREAT PHOTO from: thauwntaken by me x

Posted 6 days ago

"The fire blazes, sparks rioting above the earth, rising into the night. In the reflected blaze, the masks of the players packed in a cart glimmer behind us, false faces shifting in the light."

from the novel Sinful Folk

(Source: man-and-camera.com)

Posted 1 week ago

Grow from Books! (Great image via indietroveContemporaryEarthArt)

Posted 1 week ago

"Hillocks and haystacks rise up, isles in a smoking brume. After the snow of the night before, the day is washed clean: all is silver and bright with ice, and a light wind moves us forward. Here and there snow has blown aside, revealing the line of the great white stone road that slices through the hills. It is an unswerving line marked by the Romans, carved straight out of this untrammeled landscape.”

from the novel SINFUL FOLK

PHOTO: Coquihalla Mountain ➾ Luke Gram

(Source: man-and-camera.com)

Posted 1 week ago

"Sound carries far here in the trees. Snow slides off a heavy oak as some creature shuffles through the woods, and ancient branches snap. Out of the corner of one eye, I see the flash of colored feathers. It is a yellowhammer, black eyes flickering in a hedgerow, tiny breast plumped out in golden livery, streaked with colors rich and brown. It was calling in its winter song:

    A little bit of bread and no cheese—

    A little bit of bread and no cheese—

Moments later, the bracken flutters and the slight shadow of the bird darts into the woods. Deep in the forest now, I hear a low voice that wends back and forth, whispering in secret.”

— from the novel Sinful Folk 

PHOTO: 90377unbenannt by marzukrene on Flickr.



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Reaching Me: Ned Hayes · Seattle, WA · 206.321.7981 · ned AT nednotes.com