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A Private Mutiny, Ben Bova's Latest Ebook, and Amazon

Dec 9, 2011   [permalink]

Things have been busy around here, so this is really three topics at once. :)

Topic#1... Another of my ebooks of my own has gone live! Woohoo! — A Private Mutiny is available from Amazon at:

It's the story of a group of colonists heading for the promised land of a new planet... crammed into a beat-to-hell freighter turned plague ship. :) This was originally published in the (pro-rate-paying but all too shortlived) Oceans of the Mind. It has a cool cover from Melissa Lytton. I'm also experimenting by putting it in the Amazon lending library — but that's topic #3 below. Anyway, check it out... I hope you enjoy it!

Topic#2... Ben Bova's latest ebook is now out! It's The Dueling Machine, about virtual reality warfare. Cool topic and a fun book! I also loved the cover by Clay Hagebusch so I want to give a shout out to him.

Topic#3... Amazon's Lending Library. I've decided to dip a toe in the water and see how it works with a couple titles. They say there's a $500,000 pie that will be shared with all authors in the program, so my guess is I'll end up with like 50¢ :) but it's worth a try. I've put up A Private Mutiny as mentioned in Topic#1, and two ReAnimus Press titles that should be selling waaaay better than they are because they're really good books. So if you're of a mind, you might borrow one of the titles. They are: - A Private Mutiny - Biff America: Steep, Deep, and Dyslexic - American Goliath

Soooo do check those out. (Heh heh, "check them out"...literally.) :) :)

While we're on the topic of Amazon and the library [and thus beings Writerly SubTopic#3A, of interest only to authors], I'm aware of at least four Amazon lending programs — you need a scorecard to keep these things straight. Each has potential advantages and disadvantages for authors. So for today's too-long-post, I'll just start with trying to sort them out for you.

Here's what I think we've got:

1. The Kindle Lending Library — kindle owners can loan out a book they bought to one other kindle owner for 14 days, once ever per book. All KDP books at the 70% royalty level are mandatorily included in this program; 35% titles get a choice. This seems fairly harmless, except for the clause in the agreement that says Amazon can change it any time they want to be anything they want.

Then there's the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, which seems to have three (at least) different entry paths / contracts:

2. KDP Select, announced today, allowing KDP titles a slice of a $500k/month pie based on your share of the number of borrows. As I read the agreement, you commit to 90 day terms in the program, during which you grant Amazon exclusivity. Can't sell it even on your own web site. But you get the dubious capability of making your book free to all buyers for 5 days of those 90. (I gather people complained they wanted some way to mark a book free, and this was the odd scheme they came up with.)

3. K.O.L.L. + "Author gets paid for every copy borrowed", as was announced a few weeks back, kicked off this thread, and which could be a really bad deal for authors, depending on exactly what the contract says... but nobody I've asked seems to have a copy of this agreement. It's unclear, without seeing the contract, if the author can ever actually disengage from this program, or if copies sold into it remain there in perpetuity, under ever-changeable terms. This is the kind of thing SFWA should get involved in, as a helpful thing to members and all writers. I've nudged, but not much motion as yet.

4. K.O.L.L. + "Some publishers agreed to share a pool of money somehow"... This sounds similar to #2 but for bigger publishers, and which raises questions about whether the publishers have the authority to agree to that and how authors would get paid fairly. Again, something SFWA ought to be looking into, since it offers insight into Amazon's strategic thinking and future directions.

Next up: Alec Baldwin thrown off a plane because he just can't stop reading the book he borrowed from the Kindle Lending LibraryTM on his new Kindle FireTM from :)

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