This week in the Kindle!
Yes, the Kindle news is flowing fast and furious as everyone assesses their favorite new white book thingy of the future. What does it all mean? Um. Depends on who you ask.
First off for your nuts and bolts review, David Pogue always delivers a great rundown and he likes the new version quite a bit. Meanwhile, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos went on the Daily Show to talk to Jon Stewart, whose conclusion was essentially: “It costs what now?” (Also on the Daily Show: confirmation that they are working on books beamed to brains. Bezos: “We’re working on that.” Well, hurry, please!)
Of course, we all know by now that the Kindle 2 is stirring up controversy with its text to speech function, and the head of the Author’s Guild took to the pages of the New York Times to assert that authors have a right to a share of revenue from derivative audio uses, even if said audio sounds crappy at the moment. (And especially since the said crappy audio is getting better).
How do authors feel? Well, Neil Gaiman came out very quickly against the Author’s Guild stance by saying that when you buy a book you’re buying the ability to read it out loud (although actually, the Author’s Guild isn’t disagreeing with this — just having an e-reader do it) and that no one is going to confuse it with an actual audiobook.
Author Jason Pinter strongly disagrees with Gaiman: Amazon is making money off of the technology, and he says that authors have to stand up for their share of the pie when the market is segmented, particularly because the technology is only going to improve. In a nod to Gaiman, Pinter writes: “Major bestselling authors have less to worry about because the bookstores (and audiobook producers, and all other tributaries) can expect a certain number of sales. As tides rise, people with bigger platforms will be able to keep their heads above water. But the situation is different for authors who must squeeze out every bit of potential book revenue to stay afloat.”
Well. At least we’re all agreed that Amazon is going to completely dominate the new book world, right? Um….. Also depends on who you ask.
First up, writing for Slate is Farhad Manjoo, who writes that publishers are doomed as Amazon uses the Kindle to gobble up an increasing share of the e-book marketplace and will subsequently flex its muscle a la Apple and iTunes. Meanwhile, Mike Shatzkin argues that Amazon will lose its competitive advantage in an e-book world as new devices challenge the Kindle and as the new companies don’t have to worry about Amazon’s huge logistical advantage with physical books. (HT Maya Reynolds)
Got all that? Welcome to the new publishing world! We totally have this under control.
Hmmm…. did I forget anything? Oh yeah: here’s what your Kindle looks like naked.
In non-Kindle news: more fallout from the Great Query Flood of ’09, as agent Rachelle Gardner was forced to abandon her policy of responding to everyone, and would like everyone to please remember that we don’t have time, nor are we paid for, personalized responses to every manuscript we receive. But we still try.
And finally, ever wondered whether you or one of your fellow writers have crossed the line from confidence straight into delusion? J.A. Konrath has a helpful breakdown.
Have a great weekend!