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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Why they're terrified

It's hard for those outside the science fiction publishing world to understand why so many of the people inside it are a such a collection of mentally unstable freakshows. Part of it is the genre; many of these people are simply not fit to function in the real world. You have only to look at a picture from any science fiction convention to understand this; you will not see a group of more heavily medicated people outside of a hospital or a hard-core rave.

But part of it is the human reaction to stress. And the publishing world has become increasingly stressful over the last 20 years, because it is in pretty severe contraction. The dumbing down of the West thanks to the diversity they love so much combined with the growth of video games and other visual entertainment options means there are fewer readers than before. The decline of the midlist, the advent of Amazon, and the explosion of independent publishing means that far fewer people can make a living in the traditional publishing market.

Hugh Howey and Author Earnings have been doing a great job tracking the decline of traditional publishing. And in their most recent report, they show that the Big Five are rapidly approaching one-half the size of the independent publishing market.


The most important graph for authors shows the rapidly diverging rate of ebook author income by publishing path. The Big 5 publishers are now providing less than a quarter of the dollars earned by creatives for their ebook sales. Indies are taking close to half. As detailed in previous reports, higher prices and other missteps are a likely contributor to this accelerating trend, but the reality may be that major publishers simply are finding it difficult to compete with indie authors on diversity, price, quality, and frequency of publication, as this divergence has been increasing for the last two years — well before the Big Five’s return to no-discount agency pricing. But as we can see, the transfer of market share in author earnings from Big Five to indies did steepen significantly after the Big Five’s 2015 reinstatement of agency ebook pricing.

That chart is spectacular. That purple line marks a cataclysmic decline. At this rate, traditionally published authors would realize ZERO income from ebooks by January 2019. Now, that's not going to happen, I don't think, unless traditional publishers either a) all go out of business, b) stop selling ebooks, or c) give all their ebooks away for free.

This is exactly what I was talking about when I said that Kindle Unlimited is going to kill the mainstream publishers. They can't compete with it, and since there is a finite and shrinking supply of readers, every Kindle Unlimited sale is a strike against them.

But it's worse than that. I just got a royalty statement from one of my traditional publishers. Not only is it a very good reminder of why working with Castalia House is a MUCH better deal than working with a traditional publishing house - I'd have made nearly 3X more on a Castalia deal than I did on this one - but it demonstrates that their business model simply cannot compete with ours.

Here is the simple fact. In eight years, the non-fiction book I published with them, has sold exactly two-thirds as many copies as SJWAL has sold in eight months. And ironically, the older book, which has sold thousands fewer copies, is the one that anyone would have expected to sell more. So, even though it's not precisely apples-to-apples, the point is that an ebook-focused micropublisher can already provably sell as many books as a traditional independent publisher.

In other words, they are bringing literally nothing to the table for me any longer. The Big Five theoretically still have advantages, but what is the use of having a formidable retail distribution infrastructure when there are no bookstores to carry your product? What is the use of being able to sell into Barnes & Noble when the retailer has cut down the size of the genre section to one-tenth of what it used to be?

Sure, there will be a few blockbusters, but for literally everyone else, the traditional model offers them nothing. That is why the traditional publishers, and the traditionally published, are panicking. That's why they are scratching and clawing for every award and every distinction that might help keep their heads above water.

That is why they are drowning. They call us a "tiny" publishing house, and in infrastructure and overhead terms, they are absolutely right. But we are growing nearly 100 percent year-on-year, we are growing at their expense.

And more importantly, we know that's not because of us, that's because of you. We understand, as they do not, that we can't force anything on you. We can't, and won't, try to tell you that space romance is science fiction, that left-wing diversity lectures are entertaining, and we don't believe you owe us anything.

For the first time in decades, they are being forced to compete for their readers with genuinely different competitors, and it should come as small surprise that they neither enjoy the experience nor are they any good at it.

Labels:

76 Comments:

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer April 27, 2016 1:48 PM  

For the first time in decades, they are being forced to compete for their readers with genuinely different competitors, and it should come as small surprise that they neither enjoy the experience nor are they any good at it.

You know, substitute the word voters for readers and this pretty much sums up the state of the Republican party right now.

Blogger doug whiddon April 27, 2016 1:49 PM  

"video games and under visual entertainment options"

Do you mean "Other" VE options?

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer April 27, 2016 1:52 PM  

By the way, I used to haunt Book Stores, I loved being in them and browsing in the Science Fiction/Fantasy section. At least once a week I would visit and buy a book or two.

I cannot remember the last time I was in one. Its probably over a year and I was killing time while my wife shopped in another store. Their is no reason to go to one any longer.

Anonymous TUSigmaIan April 27, 2016 1:55 PM  

So long as Baen survives the crash of Traditional Publishing, I don't care about the rest. They are the only house that still publishes new authors who are consistently reading. For the others, I only trust authors I already know and few of them at that.

@2 Doug, do you have any family in south Louisiana. I've got a number of good friends with your last name.

Anonymous Broken Arrow April 27, 2016 2:03 PM  

@3 VP has had that conversation before, and many of the Ilk routinely used to browse the SFF section at the local bookstore.

The same for the computer games section at CompUSA...

Anonymous Leonidas April 27, 2016 2:05 PM  

By the way, I used to haunt Book Stores, I loved being in them and browsing in the Science Fiction/Fantasy section. At least once a week I would visit and buy a book or two.

I cannot remember the last time I was in one.


I can remember the last time I was in one. I was dragged out by my wife because she wanted to take the kids. Not so much to look at the books, but just to get them out of the house... and let them play with the train table in the kids section.

I spent some time browsing, of course. And I remembered why I don't spend much time there anymore. It's a shame, really. In college I spent so much time at the local Barnes & Noble that an employee offered me a cot in the back.

Blogger doug whiddon April 27, 2016 2:08 PM  

@4 My dad is from Mississippi and we have family all through the south, so I'd bet money I'm probably related to your friends. Almost all Whiddon's in America are descended from one John Whiddon who emigrated to the US in 1635.

If you send this link http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~elw827/ to your friends I bet they can find themselves and trace there ancestry back to John The Emigrant.

Blogger lowercaseb April 27, 2016 2:08 PM  

Broken Arrow wrote:The same for the computer games section at CompUSA...
Now you made me feel downright decrepit...

Blogger David The Good April 27, 2016 2:16 PM  

Very good post.

Just one of my self-published books from last year (on the niche topic of Florida gardening!) is selling 5-7 copies every single day. My Castalia House books have done even better on sales and the royalty percentages I get put traditional publishers to shame. Plus, my content isn't edited into irrelevancy by editors with axes to grind. It's a great time to be a writer.

Anonymous 9-OCC April 27, 2016 2:18 PM  

Now, just write and edit better and you'll be all set.

Also, why is left 50% of the horizontal axis on the graph 8 months, and the right 50% 12 months? It's a little less dramatic when you smooth it out to reflect reality.

Anonymous LastRedoubt April 27, 2016 2:19 PM  

LOL...

Remember when CompUSA used to have games? And computer parts? Circuit City was a thing? Barnes and Noble was worth spending a few bucks in coffee to sit and read all day?

Our kids won't

Blogger doug whiddon April 27, 2016 2:21 PM  

I live a quarter mile from a Hastings (sort of like Barnes and Nobles but only found in mid-sized markets) I used to regularly go there and spend lots of money, now I hardly ever go by. If it wasn't for Star Trek novels I don't think I'd go there at all any more. Internet for the win.

Blogger Achilles April 27, 2016 2:22 PM  

In case it hasn't been mentioned Sanderson posted his thoughts on the Hugos. http://brandonsanderson.com/hugo-awards-2016/

Typical "I accept the nomination but denounce those who nominated me" routine.

Blogger kurt9 April 27, 2016 2:27 PM  

I bought my Kindle in Dec of '13. I have not bought a paper book since then. At least 80% of the e-books that I have bought since then have been self-published. The quality varies. But I can tell you that some of the self-published stuff I'm reading is every bit as good as that from traditional publishing houses.

Blogger Gaiseric April 27, 2016 2:29 PM  

@9 And if you don't mind me playing around with some speculative numbers, if you average 6 book sales a day, and let's assume a list price of $4.99 and the 70% royalty option at Amazon, we're talking, if you can keep up that sales slip, about $7,650 a year. You're not going to live off of that, but as a hobbyist pursuit to earn a few bucks on the side, that's not a bad gig.

Now, assume that you've got a catalog of 6 books that all sell at that modest pace. Now you're getting $45,900 in royalties every year.

Now assume you've got 20. What if you're a beast at cranking out titles like Jonathan Moeller and have a hundred titles in your catalog?

Sure; some of those assumptions are probably poor, but I think it makes your point in black and white; it's a great time to be a writer. And for someone who can do the work a put out a decent pipeline of product, and can beat the streets to generate even a relatively modest sales pace, its not at all inconceivable to turn that into "better than my day job" type revenue.

Anonymous RCFlyer April 27, 2016 2:32 PM  

Haha - in case anyone hasn't posted this already, Dr. Tingle has updated his Amazon biography to state "Hugo Award nominee Dr. Chuck Tingle is an erotic author and Tae Kwon Do grandmaster (almost black belt) from Billings, Montana."

http://www.amazon.com/Chuck-Tingle/e/B00SF2MTYK/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Our pleasure, Dr. Tingle, our pleasure.

OpenID basementhomebrewer April 27, 2016 2:35 PM  

The question is, how long is Mcmillan going to keep TOR in their portfolio if Scalzi doesn't start producing work that is netting more than the value of his contract?

Blogger Krul April 27, 2016 2:50 PM  

Ron Winkleheimer wrote:By the way, I used to haunt Book Stores, I loved being in them and browsing in the Science Fiction/Fantasy section. At least once a week I would visit and buy a book or two.

I cannot remember the last time I was in one. Its probably over a year and I was killing time while my wife shopped in another store. Their is no reason to go to one any longer.


Man, I used to LOVE going to bookstores. One time I was carrying a pile of books to buy, and this old man walked up to me and asked where the travel books were. He assumed I worked there, you see. Instead of correcting him, I said "Back wall, between the magazines and the cookbooks".

Must be why my home office looks the way it does. When I moved into my current residence, the movers jokingly asked me if they could check out a book or if they needed a library card.

Anonymous gxg April 27, 2016 2:50 PM  

I know I've alluded to this before, but as a successful indie romance novelist, I can say from experience that there's a noticeable difference between indie-published stories and what comes out of trad publishers.

For one thing, in indie-books, the guys are much more likely to be actual guys. They fight. They're protective. They will actively seek justice (and not through the courts) if someone wrongs them or their loved ones.

It's not just on price that indie-publishers are killing it. It's on the fact that there's a noticeable trend away from left-wing virtue signaling. I once read a trad-published vampire romance where the hot vampire drove a Prius. A Prius...?

My author fan page is a good example of something else: My readers are, for the most part, not SJW types. They're mostly married, and from what they post, happily so. They praise their husbands and brag about how wonderful they are. They post pix of their kids and talk about how much they enjoy spending time with them. If they post about the Target bathroom controversy, they're more likely to side with girls exposed to wieners over confused dudes dressed up as chicks.

Before indie publishing, 99% of all books had to go through coastal left-wing gate-keepers who, to this day, don't even realized how out of touch they are from Mainstream America.

It's similar to what's going on with Trump. The coastal elites no longer control the story. It not only drives them crazy. It's costing them money. Lots of money.

Idiots.

Blogger VoodooJock April 27, 2016 2:50 PM  

What came out in Jan '15 to account for the sudden spike in revenue for the Indy publishers? Typically and inflection point like that is due to some sort of technological shift that makes something either considerably lower cost or a functionality change that allows a expansion of end-user capability.

Anonymous Hezekiah Garrett April 27, 2016 2:52 PM  

@10

Learn to count, dipshit.

Anonymous Broken Arrow April 27, 2016 2:52 PM  

basementhomebrewer wrote:The question is, how long is Mcmillan going to keep TOR in their portfolio if Scalzi doesn't start producing work that is netting more than the value of his contract?

His novel which was supposed to be out this year has been pushed into next year due to his inability to have it ready, and he is also responsible for the 2017 novel was well. He has to have two novels ready in 2017, and due to the opportunity cost by his delay they will need to outperform.

Essentially he really needs to have two best sellers in 2017. Considering Tor's previous promotion of him and gaming the best seller lists it could happen, but one has to wonder how long his window of opportunity is going to remain open.

Blogger jaericho April 27, 2016 2:59 PM  

The only thing to add to this is, "Muwhahahahaha!"

Blogger Jon M April 27, 2016 3:00 PM  

Even the used book stores aren't as much fun as they used to be. All the good stuff is so picked over, the shelves are flooded with the sort of garbage produced over the last twenty years. The diamonds are fewer and the rough, rougher. With the better price point of ebooks (there are dozens of great books out there for .99 and hundreds at 2.99), used books can't even stake the high ground of lower costs.

Anonymous Jones April 27, 2016 3:09 PM  

"... you will not see a group of more heavily medicated people outside of a hospital or a hard-core rave."

The ravers have better drugs, the raver chicks are usually much more bangable, and believe it or not, they're more likely to be able to test reality successfully ...

Anonymous Gen. Kong April 27, 2016 3:11 PM  

I'm curious how much of the decline in the earnings for big-five authors can be attributed to the fact that the big five are largely converged, and Vox's observation about how entities end up not carrying out their designed function after they've reached a certain stage of convergence. Seriously, how concerned are the folks who call the shots at the big five with actually selling e-books?? If they're more concerned about the social justice cause, profits are secondary at best.

Of course (as has been noted about Lügenpresse), they rarely if ever actually die. The New Duranty Times and scores of similar fully-converged Lügenpresse organs have allegedly had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana-peel for decades running now, but always somehow manage to lumber on (Carlos Slim apparently doesn't care about losing a little money on it as long as it's for a good cause). Not sure if the big-five in Science Fiction publishing are worth keeping afloat for the those who run the counterfeiting machine though.

Anonymous Gen. Kong April 27, 2016 3:17 PM  

@24.
Agreed. I used to visit them as recently as five years ago. Not much point now. It's just as you say - wall upon wall of pure drek - churned out by the ton. Worth the price of used paper for the recycling plant, nothing more.

Anonymous Jon Bromfield April 27, 2016 3:24 PM  

When the Chinless Wonder was bragging about his big Tor contract, Scalzi noted - correctly - that they were essentially purchasing "Scalzi Futures," betting that his output would be worth more in the future than the dollars Tor was paying him now. Of course that also meant he was betting the opposite, that his output would be worth less.

Looks like Johnny Con is getting the better of the bet.

Blogger Student in Blue April 27, 2016 3:31 PM  

@Gaiseric
it's a great time to be a writer

Correction, it's a great time to be a writer if you're willing to get out there and get your name known.

Anonymous 9-OCC April 27, 2016 3:33 PM  

Hezekiah Garrett, sorry, 9 and 13...

So... any idea why the axis is skewed?

Blogger RobertT April 27, 2016 3:34 PM  

Kindle Unlimited is great. It has to be tearing someone a new one. I was concerned it was the authors. Good to know it's the big publishers. What I like best about kindle unlimited is you can download an entire book and check it out for free. If it's nothing, so what? It didn't cost anything. Sometimes I'll click on them just to see. IF you're a reader of any consequence, you should pop for Kindle Unlimited. I don't read as much as VD, but I used to buy more books.

OpenID denektenorsk April 27, 2016 3:36 PM  

The question is, how long is Mcmillan going to keep TOR in their portfolio if Scalzi doesn't start producing work that is netting more than the value of his contract?

Given his contract was most like based on the expectation that movie rights to two of his series were picked up and would "take off" (only to be sat on/shelved) there is (IMO) no way for him to earn out the generous advances. They can pontificate about his long (sales) tail and back library all they want - that's a lot of green to earn back.

Anonymous Senghendrake April 27, 2016 3:49 PM  

The weird thing is, indie publishing and "vanity" e-books are more like a *return* to earlier publishing trends. Gigantic publishing corporations with quasi-monopolies are a relatively recent flash in the pan.

Blogger RobertT April 27, 2016 3:51 PM  

" their business model simply cannot compete with ours. "

There's a book out there by the Susskinds father & son, "The Future of the Professions". Reading it is like watching paint dry, but it makes the same point. All professions will sooner or later feel the bite of automation. If you just automate the busy work, you'll impact every single incompetent in the profession (which is larger than you might imagine). In the accounting profession, it's the group practicing SALY, same as last year. It's already creeping in. I have two md clients who are developing apps for medical procedures. Brace yourselves, it's coming. It'll happen sooner than you think.

Blogger tweell April 27, 2016 3:54 PM  

The Big 5 have decided to double down on traditional paper books. They're charging the same or more for an ebook as they do for a paperback, and leasing more warehouse space. There are few people who will pay a premium for an ebook over a paper book, so their ebook sales are in the tank.
Automobiles are a passing fad, people will come back to the elegance of horse carriages any day now.

Anonymous WaterBoy April 27, 2016 4:04 PM  

9-OCC: "So... any idea why the axis is skewed?"

It's not a problem with the axis, as the dates correspond to actual data points. Earlier in the graph, those datapoints were 2-3 months apart; later in the graph, they are 4 months apart. This could simply be a reflection of the data release schedule by the originators, changing from a more frequent release to less frequently.

When that happens, the axis is not going to be as smooth as one with equally time-released datapoints. And it is far less sinister than you are trying to paint it.

Blogger Markku April 27, 2016 4:11 PM  

I determined the same. The average number of months between tics is 2.75 in 2014 and 4 in 2015. So, out of scientific interest, I compressed the left side so that it becomes linear.

This appears to have been made in LibreOffice. I wouldn't even know how to produce that change in the frequency if I wanted to. I don't think it's intentional, because the story doesn't seem to change when you linearize it.

http://i.imgur.com/3n2g5a4.jpg

Anonymous WaterBoy April 27, 2016 4:21 PM  

Markku: "I wouldn't even know how to produce that change in the frequency if I wanted to."

One reason that would cause this is that the labels are coded as text and not as actual data values. This would give the equal spacing irrespective of the data value; a one-month gap between datapoints would be treated the same as a one-year gap.

The solution is to code the date values as actual dates, then specify the labels using those values but formatted in a specific text code. That way, the hash marks would be evenly spaced time values (using whichever spacing you specifiy), and the datapoints would be placed relative to that scale.

Again, it would not be significantly different than what is being presented now, as you already showed. But aspies gonna aspie.

Anonymous BGKB April 27, 2016 4:24 PM  

Plus, my content isn't edited into irrelevancy by editors with axes to grind. It's a great time to be a writer.

David-Did you come up with something good to say about why people can't plant just male mulberry bushes?

Even the used book stores aren't as much fun as they used to be. All the good stuff is so picked over

You have that right, but at least if some SJW asks if they can help you find anything you can at least enjoy the look on their face when the look up Rangar Benson.

people will come back to the elegance of horse carriages any day now.

The dollar collapse or the nigapocalypse, could bring them back.

OT: Kochs CUCK for HillDOG http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/24/politics/charles-koch-hillary-clinton-2016/index.html
Related getting on a bus with women raped by Bill C, is as bad as getting on a small plane http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/25/world/americas/missing-mexican-students-suffered-a-night-of-terror-investigators-say.html?_r=0

Anonymous kfg April 27, 2016 4:27 PM  

" . . . the story doesn't seem to change when you linearize it."

Although the data points are spaced unevenly in time, the time units of the graph are not.

Blogger VD April 27, 2016 4:29 PM  

What came out in Jan '15 to account for the sudden spike in revenue for the Indy publishers?

Kindle Unlimited.

Blogger Markku April 27, 2016 4:29 PM  

Although the data points are spaced unevenly in time, the time units of the graph are not.

No, I don't think that's it. Every graph engine worth its salt would first draw the graph based on the data points, then divide the actual graph to even intervals, and then give the designations to those intervals.

Blogger Bob Loblaw April 27, 2016 4:35 PM  

The big publishers certainly need the competition. Penguin publishes a couple guys I like to read. Their earlier books were something like $4, but as soon as they became popular newer books are $14. I wanted to read Butcher's newest, but I'm not paying $14 for ebook fiction.

Anonymous kfg April 27, 2016 4:35 PM  

"Every graph engine worth its salt . . ."

Try the "graph engine" of a ruler and a pencil. You will draw a graph of even intervals, then place your data points on it.

The graph runs from January 2014 to January 2016, with January 2015 bang in the middle.

Blogger Cataline Sergius April 27, 2016 4:39 PM  

@Vox

I see on the chart that Amazon Published has dipped.

Any idea as to why?

Blogger Markku April 27, 2016 4:40 PM  

No, it looks like it runs from about mid March 2014 to early February 2016. The actual plotted line, I mean.

Anonymous WaterBoy April 27, 2016 4:42 PM  

Markku: "Every graph engine worth its salt would first draw the graph based on the data points, then divide the actual graph to even intervals, and then give the designations to those intervals."

Only if they were coded as date intervals, not integrals, as is apparent from the use of month-names instead of actual dates. It cannot guess what it does not know. Datapoint 1 is equidistant from Datapoint 2 is equidistant from Datapoint 3 is....

And as I suspected, the integrals correspond to datapoint releases, as listed on the linked page (look in the right column for "Author Earnings Report").

Anonymous kfg April 27, 2016 4:50 PM  

"The actual plotted line . . ."

The actual plotted line is not relevant. The quarterly spacing of the hash marks is.

The fact that there is no data point at exactly January 1, 2014 or January 1, 2016 does exactly nothing to change the relative positions of the existing data points on the perfectly even time scale.

Your own production skews the time scale so markedly that I would reject it as valid on sight.

Anonymous WaterBoy April 27, 2016 4:51 PM  

BTW, with this integral method you cannot insert placeholder datapoints for the missing months, either...else the graph would reflect '0' for those months and the line would be up and down all over the place.

The only way to get a date-adjusted scale would be to arbitrarily assign a date associated with each month-span (typically either the first or last day of the month), use that value for the X-axis location, and specify the hashmarks by month.

It's far more exacting than what is called for in this instance, however. The slope between datapoints is not as important as the slope over the entire interval...which was the whole point of the OP.

Blogger Markku April 27, 2016 4:52 PM  

Yes, it could be that the person who made the graph just wrote the data points on the axis, to locations where he guessed they would be, because the automatic plotting was unable to create them in a human-readable form.

But from any algorithm, I would expect all intervals to have the same 3-2-3-3-3-2-3-3... pattern, which it evidently doesn't have.

Anonymous RedJack April 27, 2016 4:54 PM  

I get a number of used books off Amazon and other places. However, that supply is starting to dry up. I haven't been to a good used bookstore in a while. I do wonder if the big chain stores can keep it up much longer. I spent to much money at Borders and B&N in the past.

Blogger Markku April 27, 2016 4:55 PM  

If we count the distance between each tick to the next, it is:

3-2-3-3-4-4-4

No algorithm would ever do this.

Anonymous kfg April 27, 2016 5:02 PM  

"But from any algorithm . . ."

The "algorithm" of the graph is "quarterly." The data points fall where they may, at the time they are available.

Does no one know how to draw a graph any more?

Blogger Markku April 27, 2016 5:04 PM  

Tics on an axis never reflect data points in a correctly drawn graph. If you mark data points, you draw them on the actual LINE.

Blogger Markku April 27, 2016 5:08 PM  

Like this.

See how the data points do not fall on the axis ticks?

Anonymous kfg April 27, 2016 5:13 PM  

"If you mark data points, you draw them on the actual LINE."

They are. You just don't see the line because it is left implied to make the graph more readable.

Each line segment of the axis is further subdivided into time units know as "days."

Anonymous WaterBoy April 27, 2016 5:14 PM  

Markku: "Yes, it could be that the person who made the graph just wrote the data points on the axis, to locations where he guessed they would be, because the automatic plotting was unable to create them in a human-readable form."

It's not that he wrote them on the graph...it's that they are in the row/column of the spreadsheet that he specified as the source for the datapoint labels.

But from any algorithm, I would expect all intervals to have the same 3-2-3-3-3-2-3-3... pattern, which it evidently doesn't have.

Look at each of the lines in the graph, and you will notice that each bend in a line represents a datapoint; that each datapoint is exactly in the middle of a gap between hashmarks; that each datapoint is directly over the end of the label for that datapoint; that each gap between hashmarks is the same distance because it isn't related to time; that each hashmark separates '1' from '2' and '2' from '3' and '3' from '4' and so on.

You aren't seeing the pattern you would expect to see on a temporal axis because it isn't a temporal axis; it is an integral one, with Datapoint 1 (labeled "February 2014"), Datapoint 2 (labeled "May 2014"), Datapoint 3 (labeled "July 2014"), etc....

Stop looking for a temporal alignment that isn't -- and wasn't meant to be -- there.

Blogger Markku April 27, 2016 5:16 PM  

Right, now I see what you mean. The engine wasn't intelligent enough to interpret them as numeric values, so it treated them as the sequential number of the row.

Anonymous WaterBoy April 27, 2016 5:19 PM  

Markku: "See how the data points do not fall on the axis ticks?"

That is precisely the same with this graph. The datapoints fall between the ticks, and so do the axis labels...end last character of which fall EXACTLY below each datapoint.

Imagine each label saying "Datapoint 1", "Datapoint 2", etc, and see if it makes more sense that way. The date paradigm is a red herring, here.

Anonymous WaterBoy April 27, 2016 5:23 PM  

Markku: "The engine wasn't intelligent enough to interpret them as numeric values, so it treated them as the sequential number of the row."

Bingo...except that it wasn't the engine which lacked in intelligence. As I said, it could have been set up that way and the engine would have handled it just fine. But a precise timescale was not as important to the author(s) as the overall trend over the past two years...as reflected in the text of the OP.

Anonymous WaterBoy April 27, 2016 5:25 PM  

Damn...blew the tags in 5:14PM comment. Hope it still makes sense.

Anonymous Millenium April 27, 2016 5:36 PM  

@19 gxg: Who are the good indie romance publishers? My mother was complaining the other day about how much B&N sucks and she is a big romance reader.

@24, Jon M: I have seen several secondhand bookshops close up and always thought it was because of amazon. That it was because all they had to sell rubbish was something I never considered despite seeing the quality on their shelves degrade over the years. I am under 30 and growing up I spent more time in second bookstores than real book stores because I preferred golden age sci fi to modern bullshit. There are still a few good secondhand book stores of decent quality but they are the smaller ones owned by someone for whom the job is a passion.

Blogger Pseudotsuga April 27, 2016 6:01 PM  

Chris Andersen predicted this in his "The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More."
It looks like his analysis is right.

Blogger Bob Loblaw April 27, 2016 6:48 PM  

The last time I went into B&N they had a total of about eight linear feet of "Science Fiction & Fantasy". Most of the floor space was taken up by huge single book displays - usually some kind of Dr Phil type hippie self-help nonsense.

Granted, I'm not in that business, but it just seems wrong to have so much floor space and so little selection. I haven't been back since.

Blogger Doom April 27, 2016 6:56 PM  

The Big 5? I thought they were already dead. Oh, and how is Tor these days? I don't even hate them. They simply no longer matter. They won't change, which doesn't make sense. But that IS the left.

Anonymous gxg April 27, 2016 7:00 PM  

#62: Millenium: Who are the good indie romance publishers? My mother was complaining the other day about how much B&N sucks and she is a big romance reader.

They don't go by publishers so much as by author name. If your Mom checks Amazon's top 100 lists, such as for contemporary romance, she'd see a lot of indie titles, even if their indie-status isn't obvious.

About B&N, here's a theory on why it sucks. With Kindle Unlimited, many big-name indie romance writers are now exclusive to Amazon. (Digital exclusivity is a requirement to participate in Kindle Unlimited.)

I pulled all my titles from B&N months ago. I hated to do it, but the financial incentives were to much to pass up. Sometimes, I wonder what's left at B&N anymore (other than trad published titles). Almost everyone I know is exclusive to Amazon.

OpenID talkinhorse April 27, 2016 9:40 PM  

With respect to the sort of people that populate a sci-fi convention, I'm flashing back to the opening pages of the great Niven/Pournelle novel, "Inferno":

"I was at a fan party, drinking with a roomful of short ugly kids with pimples, tall serious Harvard types, girls with long stringy hair, half-pretty girls half-dressed to show it, and damn few people with good manners....'You're a real sport, Allen,' said a middle-aged adolescent. He had acne and halitosis, but he published one of the biggest science-fiction newsletters around. He wouldn't have known a literary reference if it bit him on the nose."

Anonymous LastRedoubt April 27, 2016 10:29 PM  

@Bob Loblaw

Dr Phil is a putz, but y'know, for all of that, "How's that working out for you" is still a damn good reality check.

Anonymous LastRedoubt April 27, 2016 10:30 PM  

@talkinhorse

Yeah, Inferno was brilliant from start to finish, even accounting what a bitter schmuck the character was at that point.

Anonymous Eric the Red April 28, 2016 1:03 AM  

@65 Doom Doom wrote:They won't change, which doesn't make sense.

Unlike traditionalism, progressivism has no inherent objective limits to its philosophy.
The only exception is the limit imposed by death. Your or theirs, it doesn't matter, the only thing that matters is absolute conformance to the perfect dream to the ultimate end.
When the left meets Mohammedanism, it immediately recognizes a kindred spirit: “We love death like our enemies love life.”

Convergence means death of the organization.
Equality means death of personal liberty.
No thermodynamic free energy means the heat-death of the universe.

Having declared war against God and Christianity, leftism is simply a cult of death.

Blogger The Overgrown Hobbit April 28, 2016 2:43 AM  

When I get a Tor on-dead-tree or e-book with a typo or glitch, I'm stuck with it.

Castalia House will fix it.

Ca ira.

Blogger plishman April 28, 2016 3:23 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger plishman April 28, 2016 3:27 AM  

@70 The only thing leftists will accept as final truth about reality is death. For some reason, they do not dare to believe that it has been conquered. Yet it is unreasonable to believe that the most advanced being in reality does not transcend death, when we ourselves already spend massive effort on that very project - which tacitly implies that we believe it can be done. Or that He would not share the gift with us if we chose to conform our lives to His purpose.

Blogger Nate Winchester April 28, 2016 7:25 AM  

All great but won't Trump's anti-free trade policies either block Castalia house from other nations or just outright drive the price up? Should I hurry up and get the rest of the books I want from the store before it's closed to USA residents?

Blogger evilphilip April 28, 2016 1:48 PM  

talkinhorse wrote:With respect to the sort of people that populate a sci-fi convention, I'm flashing back to the opening pages of the great Niven/Pournelle novel, "Inferno":

"I was at a fan party, drinking with a roomful of short ugly kids with pimples, tall serious Harvard types, girls with long stringy hair, half-pretty girls half-dressed to show it, and damn few people with good manners....'You're a real sport, Allen,' said a middle-aged adolescent. He had acne and halitosis, but he published one of the biggest science-fiction newsletters around. He wouldn't have known a literary reference if it bit him on the nose."


It is funny that you mention that because my experience attending writers events I found that SciFi/Fantasy authors tend to be pushy, rude, unwashed people in garish clothing (or outright handmade costumes) who talked about their books and their characters as if they were "real".

In comparison I found Horror authors to be horny, hard-drinking, hard-smoking, hard-working, polite people who just wanted to hang out and have a good time. Kinda the type of people who acted the way you expect authors to act.

Anonymous A.B. Prosper April 28, 2016 5:44 PM  

The publishing industry is in for a rough ride.

So is I suspect the entire foundation of our Calvinistic Arbeit Mach Sittlichkeit society.

Its already straining but the efficiency trap from automation may well end up with a massive decrease in population

Why? As tech makes more an more jobs easy to automate, apologies for Marx here, too few people have access to a any means of production and the middle especially end up with the 21st century battle-cry "1.5 forever!"

That or we end up with something more akin to feudalism with massive amounts of deliberate inefficiency put into the system and a much more religious population on top of that.

So in the end instead of Star Trek you get Dune or Warhammer 40K , well that or a collapse for an energy dearth which will put an end to the efficiency once the power grid goes down from lack of fuel,.

Ugh.

Anyway for the shorter term, the democratizing of the system is a good thing though like most people here I miss bookstores. I still buy this or that at B&N but its not something I can do often as they don't have as much as I want within my budget

What really makes me weep for the future is that books are so valueless that we have one dollar book stores here in California where every book is well $1

Its a somewhat profitable business do the cleverness of its founder but its very sad.

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