In this week's Self-Publishing News, ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway takes a look at the end of the Audible Captions dispute and Kindle Unlimited payouts.
Inevitably Brexit has popped into the news this week. Arguably the biggest Brexit story on social media was a literary one. UK National Treasure Philip Pulman has said that the new coin commemorating Brexit should be boycotted, for the most age-old writerly of reasons. It lacks an Oxford Comma! Well done Philip for reminding us of the one subject more divisive than Brexit.
A big week in copyright: Audible Captions and Artice 13
It has been a big week in the world of copyright and piracy. So big that even squashing stories together we needed two paragraphs. First up is the news that the Audible Captions dispute is finally “over”. A decidedly terse lawyers’ letter from Audible informs the court that “the parties have resolved their disputes”. Those disputes, of course, were over the proposed captions feature which would have allowed audiobook readers to follow the voice reading in real time with screen captions. Publishers claimed Audible were grabbing rights to the ebook format which they hadn’t paid for. Audible claimed it was a basic accessibility feature. What the agreement they have found might be remains, at this stage, a closed book.
Meanwhile the first piece of significant post-Brexit publishing news is that the UK will not be implementing the European Union’s controversial new copyright legislation. This is something I have been covering for well over a year. EU member countries (which the UK will not be by then) have until next year to implement Article 13. This is the legislation that seeks to provide extra protections for owners of original material by clamping down on unauthorised uses of it. Some have claimed it would mean the end of the ability to create memes and GIFs. Others fear its effect on those hosting material (platforms, such as your blog, will be responsible for all ensuring the copyright of everything they host).
Libraries: More popular than the cinema
There have been some interesting stories about libraries of late, and this is particularly heart-warming. Despite the focus on digital library downloads, in-person trips to the library are very much still a thing. People in the US made twice as many of them per year last year than to the cinema. Of course, libraries are free and cinemas aren't. But still.
Piracy will find a way
Piracy is never far from our minds. Most recently we have been hearing about it in academic publishing. But this week saw a fascinating story, sent in by one of our readers. Pirates have found a way, it seems, of using the presentation-sharing tool Slideshare to give people instructions on how to download pirated ebooks. Because this is not really happening through a website, it would be interesting to see how effectively a tool like Blasty could pick it up. Of course, this ties in to our earlier story. Under Article 13, Slideshare could be in trouble.
Kindle Unlimited is 5 and a half years old. We tend to forget that when we talk about subscription services as a new phenomenon. It has had a very chequered relationship with authors. First there are the structural issues – demanding exclusivity being the main one. Then there’s the sense that it was eroding income from downloads (interesting how this parallels claims made about libraries). And then there’s the sheer size of it. This has made it victim of a lot of scams that have taken income from writers’ pockets. Which have in turn led to changes in terms and conditions that have further frustrated writers.
The latest figures (over at The Digital Reader there’s a fabulous list of every single payout pot since KU started) are really interesting. 2019 was the second year in a row that the total payout has exceeded a quarter of a billion dollars. What’s really interesting, though, is the per-page payout. These have remained relatively stable for some time at somewhere between 4 and 5 tenths of a cent per page. It's not clear just what this meas about legitimate downloads and trends. If Amazon really has clamped down on book-stuffing, for example, then there could be a massive rise in readership happening – which may lead to lower payouts. Or it could just be a small growth of business as usual.The end of the Audible Captions dispute, Kindle Unlimited payouts and top #selfpub news stories for #indieauthors, in one quick read, by #ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway @agnieszkasshoes #digitaleconomy #publishingopenup Click To Tweet
Over to You
Do you have books in Kindle Unlimited? What trends have you noticed? Let us know in the comments below.
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