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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Not that it matters

First, let me point out that I reserve the right to give away or sell my books at any price, reasonable or unreasonable, and to change my policy at any time.

Second, because one or two people have been whining about how I only provide a few millions of words for free here but no longer give away the eight PDF and PDB files I previously made available for free download, I will point out that due to Amazon's policy, it is not possible to give away a free ebook and also sell it through Amazon. Nor can one give away free ebooks on Amazon, except for a five-day free program that they run for paid books. As I pointed out when I first took down the free links, because Amazon is now the center of the book world, one will find more readers if one sells books on Amazon than if one gives them away on one's own site, even a site as well-trafficked as this one.

Third, as it happens, because those books were available on Amazon first, I should never have made them available for free download here, with the sole exception of the collection of short stories called The Altar of Hate. Fortunately, Amazon did not hold that against me, as they understood it was done in ignorance due to the fact that the Amazon contracts were originally with the publishers and I had no reason to ever review them.

Amazon is doing a great job of bringing down ebook prices and most people recognize this. However, fewer realize that in doing so, they have also essentially eliminated the free ebook, Project Gutenberg notwithstanding.

Labels:

46 Comments:

Anonymous Stilicho August 12, 2012 10:32 AM  

Your property, your call.

Anonymous dh August 12, 2012 10:38 AM  

Do you hold it against anyone if they use readily available archive websites/tools to get that which you once gave away for free?

Anonymous jack August 12, 2012 10:44 AM  

I love Gutenberg. I have to keep reminding myself that its time again for a donation.
The prices on Amazon are low enough. Not a problem there. I like to get a hardback and a Kindle; if the Kindle version has the text to speech.

Blogger VD August 12, 2012 10:44 AM  

Do you hold it against anyone if they use readily available archive websites/tools to get that which you once gave away for free?

Nope. Unlike most IP owners, I understand the concept of price elasticity. The fact that you're willing to download a pirate book does not mean you're willing to pay $2.99 for it. Nor does it escape my attention that the most pirated books happen to be the ones on the bestseller lists.

I'd like nothing better to see my forthcoming novel as widely pirated as George Martin's latest. That would mean it was selling very well.

Anonymous Kyle In Japan August 12, 2012 10:46 AM  

I already had the free versions of the Eternal Warriors books, but I bought the others (TIA, RGD, Summa Elvetica) and certainly don't mind paying for new stuff as it comes out.

Blogger VD August 12, 2012 10:46 AM  

The Kindle will have text-to-speech, Jack. But you raise an interesting point. Would you rather have trade paperback or hardcover? Obviously the hardcover would cost a bit more, though I don't know what the prices will be yet.

Anonymous harry12 August 12, 2012 10:47 AM  

Another small illustration exhibiting how governments buy their serfs.

Every thing is free.

Anonymous jack August 12, 2012 10:55 AM  

Vox: This is your 'Magnum Opus' of fiction [to date], I want the hardcover version of this one just so it can look pretty on the bookshelve. Ordinarily the trade paper back would be the choice. I will probably read it [the first read] from hardback and Kindle. Usually, if its a good story, and there's no doubt it will be, I read like crazy for a few days and finish. Then another reading about a month later, or so. I have Summa in trade but may get it in hardback so they will match.
Vain, yes. But, heck, civilization is falling so why not a bit of vain?

Anonymous Winchester August 12, 2012 11:02 AM  

When ebooks cost as much as or MORE than new paperback something is wrong, Amazon did great when the Kindle first came out, but has let the publishers do asinine things with pricing.

"The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe"
Hardcover $6.80
Kindle Edition $7.99

Ender's Game:
$6.99 Mass Market Paperback (new)
$6.99 Kindle Edition

I don't buy ebooks anymore.

Anonymous jack August 12, 2012 11:05 AM  

Vox:

I also wanted to mention that I finished the Eternal Warriors series a few days ago. Enjoyed them, though not as much as Summa. I have those on Kindle. It would be interesting if you did number four as a 'large' book, with the kids as adults and them, somehow, living through the tribulation and joining the Heavenly Hosts at the final battle. It would be interesting to check out your writing style present day compared to then and there. You could probably scare the heck out of us with your reading of the tribulation events and battle.
Just a thought.

Anonymous Orville August 12, 2012 11:10 AM  

I like that the e-book prices are coming down, and when I can start buying books like Niall Ferguson's Colossus for half, or less, the $17 I paid for the paperback, then I will be very happy. I really hate spending $10 to $20 on a book that I will probably never read more than once. I really like the idea of a steep discount for an e-book, and would ideally only ever buy reference books in the physical format since I like to make notes and flag sections.

Anonymous jack August 12, 2012 11:11 AM  

Winchester

I don't buy ebooks anymore.

I get em for the convenience of carry around library and text to speech if the old eyes get too tired and blurry. I do agree that the pricing is sometimes surprising. Much, though, on Amazon is in the .99 to 2.99 range.

Blogger James Dixon August 12, 2012 11:15 AM  

> Nor can one give away free ebooks on Amazon, except for a five-day free program that they run for paid books.

I believe that or a similar program is available full time for those who sign up for Amazon Prme, Vox.

> Do you hold it against anyone if they use readily available archive websites/tools to get that which you once gave away for free?

Are you kidding? I doubt he'd hold against you if you got it from BitTorrent. Though with demonoid down again, that's might make it a bit harder.

> When ebooks cost as much as or MORE than new paperback something is wrong

Yes, but that's not always the case, and where it is there are probably alternatives.

My wife's account of her trip to New Zealand winter before last is available via Amazon, and the ebook is $2.99 while the trade paperback is $7.99. Her history of Randolph Macon Woman's College is like $35/volume for the hardback, while the ebook is $10 (they're available via lulu.com). That's the way it should be.

Anonymous jack August 12, 2012 11:29 AM  

James Dixon

My wife's account of her trip to New Zealand

Not above a bit of free advertising, eh James? That said, I've always been interested in New Zealand and may just get the Ebook.
TNX

Blogger James Dixon August 12, 2012 11:35 AM  

> Not above a bit of free advertising, eh James

Vox can delete the comment if he feels it's overboard, Jack.

But it illustrates the point perfectly and from a personal perspective, so I used it. I could have given hundreds of other examples, but I'd have had to go look them up on Amazon.

Besides, while the New Zealand book may interest a few people, I doubt too many here are interested in the history of a defunct small woman's college in the hills of Virginia.

Blogger VD August 12, 2012 11:35 AM  

I also wanted to mention that I finished the Eternal Warriors series a few days ago. Enjoyed them, though not as much as Summa. I

That's good to hear. I would encourage you to write a review on Amazon if you feel so inclined, particularly for Shadow and Wrath. They could use a few more, having only eight and four to War's 27.

Amazon wants all ebooks to be priced between 2.99 and 9.99, but they have limited influence with the publishers, who would prefer 99.99.

Anonymous Flinders August 12, 2012 11:56 AM  

I originally read TIA in the free PDF but bought a hardcover for my mother as soon as I'd read it. Then I got the kindle of TROTGD. If what you write is good, people will pay money.

Haven't read any of your fiction yet but I'll get around to it.

Anonymous Wayne August 12, 2012 12:53 PM  

Saw this and thought it might offer you a way of getting your book sold on Amazon for free instead of $0.99: http://www.lindsayburoker.com/amazon-kindle-sales/how-to-get-your-ebook-listed-for-free-or-put-on-sale-at-amazon/

Anonymous AXCrom August 12, 2012 1:11 PM  

"I should never have made them available for free download here, with the sole exception of the collection of short stories called The Altar of Hate."

True, but after reading them for free I bought them all anyway, just to support your effort. This blog is a daily read and the small coin I have spent purchasing your books is not even close to the amount of things that I have learned here. Fanboy? No. Constant Reader, definitely. I know what I will be reading at New Year's.

Blogger mmaier2112 August 12, 2012 1:19 PM  

Vox: are all of the previously-gratis short stories published and available now? I cannot remember and never copied them (as I probably should have).

I have bought all of the official releases so far, and would love a HC of the War in Heaven trilogy.

Anonymous JartStar August 12, 2012 1:23 PM  

@Kyle

You said you were writing fantasy. Do you need any illustrations or maps?

Blogger VD August 12, 2012 1:33 PM  

True, but after reading them for free I bought them all anyway, just to support your effort.

I appreciate it. I do the same with the authors that I particularly like. I prefer to own their books in hardcover.

Vox: are all of the previously-gratis short stories published and available now?

No, but all of the Selenoth-related ones will be, along with some new ones, in between Book One and Book Two. Just to, you know, tide people over. I'll probably do a second anthology called The Altar of Hate once I have enough stories to fill it, the old ones, the ones that have appeared in Stupefying Stories, and two or three new ones.

I have bought all of the official releases so far, and would love a HC of the War in Heaven trilogy.

If the new novel does well, there may be a chance of a hardcover omnibus.

Blogger IM2L844 August 12, 2012 1:55 PM  

I am going to download the e-book, but I am also going to seek a signed hardcover for my permanent collection if that will be a possibility. I'm also still looking forward to The Complete Guide to Economics for "Most People".

Anonymous Mike43 August 12, 2012 1:58 PM  

I find Barnes and Noble much more rational on ebook pricing. There's a ton of free stuff, new authors, and ebook authors for really reasonable prices. I have had some good luck with library loans, gutenberg, and several other sources.

Baen has a free download as well. It's a good deal for the authors, who donate free books to get readers hooked on a series. Additionally, all the books are available for purchase on their site for much more reasonable.

The Nook Color functions both as a tablet and an e-reader. While as a tablet, it is more clumsy than I would like but I don't have to have 2 electronic devices.

The Kindle Fire, I understand is similar. But I do like the brick and mortar availability of Barnes and Noble. And the staffs are knowledgeable which helps.

Anonymous Gen. Kong August 12, 2012 2:18 PM  

The free e-book (and much other free stuff) remains available at Internet archive. The navigation is a bit arcane, but one can find plenty to read for free. Gutenberg lost a lot of steam when its founder died about two years ago.

Anonymous Kyle In Japan August 12, 2012 2:35 PM  

Jartstar:

That's right. I probably will need maps and illustrations eventually, I'll drop you a line when I get to that stage. Thanks!

Anonymous JI August 12, 2012 2:55 PM  

I read books on my Kindle voraciously and lately have been seeing some very high ebook prices at Amazon. I sure hope Amazon does not corner the ebook market entirely. Perhaps the investment by Microsoft in the B&N Nook will spice up the competition a bit.

Anonymous Hipononymous August 12, 2012 3:59 PM  

Since Amazon is now collecting taxes, it will be interesting to see how business is affected.

Anonymous HH August 12, 2012 5:08 PM  

Gas at $5/gallon has pretty much shifted my price perceptions :) Any book less that $10 is fine by me... and certainly $1.99 to $9.99 for a kindle version is absolutely fair and reasonable.

As the author you have the right to make money from your creations and honestly would prefer to pay an author as a way of encouraging more works.

I think amazon is a great company .. I always look there first now for all my products, not just books.

Anonymous RC August 12, 2012 6:24 PM  

Since Amazon is now collecting taxes, it will be interesting to see how business is affected."

I hadn't read this. I ordered an item yesterday from Amazon and they applied no sales tax.

Anonymous Hipononymous August 12, 2012 10:21 PM  

I hadn't read this. I ordered an item yesterday from Amazon and they applied no sales tax. RC

From what I can tell, it is on a state by state basis.

Anonymous bw August 12, 2012 10:24 PM  

I hadn't read this. I ordered an item yesterday from Amazon and they applied no sales tax. RC

In our household, we have been charged tax (Texas) by Amazon for the past 3 weeks or so.
On .99 orders and $200 orders.

Anonymous dh August 12, 2012 11:36 PM  

VD--

Btw, at what point are you considered a novelist?

Anonymous Kickass August 12, 2012 11:38 PM  

Mancrush on GM?

Anonymous Kickass August 12, 2012 11:40 PM  

Hardcover always. They smell better too.

Anonymous VryeDenker August 13, 2012 3:24 AM  

I don't mind in the least. I paid for SE and RGD and they were both worth every cent.

Anonymous Kickass August 13, 2012 6:11 AM  

Will you ever do a signing?

Anonymous VD August 13, 2012 8:36 AM  

Will you ever do a signing?

It's unlikely. Perhaps in Milano or Roma some day if a book ever becomes a bestseller.

Blogger Markku August 13, 2012 10:08 AM  

Milano or Roma

Madonna mia, you are going native.

Anonymous VD August 13, 2012 12:27 PM  

Madonna mia, you are going native.

Prega per noi peccatori....

Anonymous WaterBoy August 13, 2012 6:05 PM  

Hipononymous: "From what I can tell, it is on a state by state basis."

Yes, and it is loosely based on what constitutes "presence" in said state. The New York statute, for example, requires a web-based seller to collect NY sales tax if the sale was "brokered" by another website that is located in NY on what is called a "click-through". This is interpreted as the website being an agent for the seller; thus, the seller has presence in NY.

Talk about your emanations and penumbrae....

Anonymous plebeian August 13, 2012 6:17 PM  

Noticed you read The Mongoliad. I bought the other day, but haven't started reading it yet. Just wondering what you thought of it.

Blogger James Dixon August 13, 2012 8:03 PM  

> The New York statute, for example, requires a web-based seller to collect NY sales tax if the sale was "brokered" by another website that is located in NY.

Which brings up the interesting legal point of where a website is "located". In our case that's fairly clear, as the server my wife uses for her website is physically located in California. But with sites like Blogger, it used to be that Google contracted with Akami and your traffic could have been coming from almost anywhere (I'm not sure if that's still the case or not). In any case, I'm sure New York tries to claim it's in New York just because the author is located there, regardless of where the server is located.

Anonymous Kickass August 14, 2012 8:15 AM  

I want to see the Ilk army assemble. Those two wont do.

Blogger Markku August 14, 2012 1:32 PM  

I want to see the Ilk army assemble. Those two wont do.

Like, to design and build questionable devices for the coming collapse...

Anonymous WaterBoy August 15, 2012 12:35 PM  

James Dixon: "In any case, I'm sure New York tries to claim it's in New York just because the author is located there, regardless of where the server is located."

Precisely. Apparently, wherever the home office of the business is located is what the determination is based upon, regardless of the server location. Presumably, they also have a business license in that state as well.

New York is not the only state -- since they were the first to pass an "Amazon Tax", nine other states have also passed such legislation...leading companies like Amazon and Overstock.com to ditch their instate affiliates in some of them.

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