More indie sales stats to study this week, plus a new ebook distribution deal, long-running copyright battles, going after fake reviewers, and great author events coming up.
It's all news to Valerie Shanley as she gets the latest stories from ALLi partners and friends
Smashwords digs in to Gardners world
The new retail and library distribution agreement between Smashwords and Gardners, the UK's largest book wholesaler, has just swung into action. For indies signed up to Smashwords, ebook distribution will be automatic.
“If you want your books distributed to these new Gardners channels, your Premium Catalog-approved books (excluding erotica) will automatically flow to them,” said Mark Coker on announcing the partnership last week. He estimates that most Smashwords books “will be listed at these services within six to eight weeks, although titles may appear earlier or later than anticipated.”
Not surprisingly, Coker does not recommend authors opting out (the option is there on the Dashboard Channel Manager). As of yesterday, Smashwords has begun delivering 230,000 ebooks, sourced from over 100,000 indie authors and small independent ebook stores, significantly expanding their global distribution network. Gardners serve customers in 138 countries, including 2,000 public libraries in the UK and 400 academic libraries in the UK, Europe and the Middle East.
Amazon dominate US, but Apple is international core
Another week, another set of figures for wordy folk to figure out. The latest Author Earnings October Report reveals “when indie books without ISBNs are included in the statistics, Amazon accounts for 74% of all US ebook purchases.” Kobo, Apple, Nook, and Google Play account for that remaining 26%. At those 4 other stores, the report goes on, self-published indie ebooks make up 22% of all ebooks purchases and take in 32% of all author income generated by ebook sales.
For those of us challenged by all of those charts and graphs, check out interesting analysis on the stats by author Kristine Kathryn Rusch on her ever wonderful Business Musings blog. While Amazon currently dominates US ebook sales, Rusch comments, indie authors should become more aware of the growth by Apple internationally.
“Apple is the biggest player on the international stage, with an Apple store in damn near every major city in the Western World, and many in Africa and Asia as well. When I tell indie writers to go wide with their book distribution, I’m not telling them that because they can get 26% of the U.S. market. I’m telling them they need to pay attention to the international market.” .
The great online fake-off
Amazon has filed a lawsuit against over 1,000 people it claims are writing fake reviews on the US version of its website. The legal action follows a sting by The Sunday Times in which a fake ebook, Everything Bonsai!, rose to the top of the Amazon UK Kindle chart after the paper paid reviewers $5 (£3.26) for five-star reviews via the website Fiverr.
The Amazon lawsuit declares, “Despite substantial efforts to stamp out the practice, an unhealthy ecosystem is developing outside of Amazon to supply inauthentic reviews.”
The Bookseller reports Amazon's intent is not going after Fiverr, but the 1,000 plus “John Does” behind the reviews, whose identity will be revealed, adding it “is entitled to recover defendants’ profits, actual damages and costs in an amount to be proven at trial or statutory damages of up to $100,000 per domain name, treble damages, attorneys’ fees and transfer of the infringing domain names to Amazon.”
All’s fair and on the books
The decade-long Authors Guild v Google copyright case litigated in the United States took another turn last week with rejection of infringement claims made by the writers’ organisation. As reported in TechDirt, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York found that the Google Book Search database “provides a public service without violating intellectual property law.”
Mary Rasenberger, Executive Director of the Authors Guild, New York, said the “The Authors Guild is disappointed that the Court has failed to reverse the District Court’s faulty interpretation of the fair use doctrine. It’s unfortunate that a Court as well-respected as the Second Circuit does not see the damaging effect that uses such as Google’s can have on authors’ potential income.”
But others are pleased by the court’s decision. The University of California is among many institutions commenting favourably. In a library post, it said they “applaud the ruling by the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals” adding that Google’s Book Search serves “the shared interests of all who seek to advance human knowledge and understanding, without harming the interests of copyright holders.” Time to move on, Authors Guild?
Have you got issues? Air them on Author Day
November 30th is the date for a one-day, issues-driven conference dedicated to the creative core of publishing: that’s you, dear authors. Taking place at 30 Euston Square, London, the inaugural Author Day sets the scene prior to FutureBook Week 2015, with an invitation to authors, self-published and trade-published, as well as agents, publishers and author advocates to have their say. Among the headline speakers with plenty to say is our own ALLi Director, Orna Ross, UK Society of Authors chief Nicola Solomon and Kate Pullinger.
Porter Anderson, Associate Editor of FutureBook explains what will make this an author conference with a difference.
“It’s all about issues impacting authors, what they're up against, how publishers and others in the business understand and interpret these issues alongside them, etc. And we have a direct mission of formulating a statement for the FutureBook Conference that follows on the Friday after our Monday 30th November Author Day.”
A shout out to ALLi members too, who are welcome to use a special code, ALLi10, which will provide users with a 10% discount. (The Early Bird offer currently takes £30 off the actual ticket price. The 10% will be applied on top of Early Bird offer. Early Bird runs only to the end of the month, 30th October, so members will want to use this quickly to get the max savings.)
Frank discussion and lively debate is signalled. Find out more and register your place here.
All you need to know about self-publishing over an informative and engaging Saturday – that’s the promise for 7th November by Writers & Artists UK on their Self-publishing in the Digital Age event. Best-selling authors and industry experts, including ALLi Director Orna Ross, will cover a range of topics from introduction to self-publishing to editing, cover design, getting your books into readers’ hands, and much more. Check out the schedule and book your place here.
The Reading Room (New York, New York) has launched its third Aspiring Writers Competition giving first-time authors an opportunity for feedback from readers and industry professionals, as well as exposure to readers. Entrants can submit online the first 500 words of their novel throughout Sunday 8th November; voting opens on 22nd November. The five shortlisted submissions will be presented on The Reading Room, where members can read, share, and vote for their favorite entry. Check out more details here.#indieauthors: Latest & biggest #selfpubstories this week in @vshanley's weekly bulletin Click To Tweet