I have spent much of the past week the same way I have spent the last week of August for much of my adult life: at the Mind Sports Olympiad. I had the honour, on Wednesday, of retaining my title of European Speed Reading Champion. It’s a controversial discipline. Reading, like eating, is supposed by many to be something to do slowly. But for me, speed is the only way of giving myself a fighting chance of completing any part of my to be read pile before I die.
Walmart Embraces Ebooks as Barnes & Noble Stores Drop Nook
Large retail chains moving into the digital book market is nothing new. It happens a lot in Europe in particular. But this week sees a true giant, Walmart, entering the action. And going all in with their offering. They have announced they are opening an ebook store. There is also a partnership with Rakuten's Kobo and Overdrive. This will see them launching a $9.99 a month subscription service for one audiobook a month (undercutting Amazon). In addition, readers can not only buy Kobo books and readers but access the Overdrive library resources. Talk about bells and whistles! Forbes has an interesting interview with the CEO of fellow subscription service Scribd, who claims to welcome the competition in this area.
All of this comes as Barnes and Noble drops the Nook ereader from its bricks and mortar stores.
Amazon: Audiobooks in Kindle Unlimited and KDP Print
Some great detective and advocacy work from Nate at The Digital Reader on Amazon's enrolling of audiobooks into Kindle Unlimited. They had been doing this without seeking author's permission, and not paying them. They will be rectifying both of those issues and, it is hoped, not repeating the mistake.
Still with Amazon, and the really big news is the completion of the swallowing of Createspace by KDP Print. By really big news, of course, one means the impact rather than any element of surprise. It will be interesting to see if this causes any big changes in practice for authors, but I will highlight the last point they make on the page making the announcement:
“If you want to download files stored in your Project Tool box or any CreateSpace reports, we recommend that you do so before you move to KDP. After the move, you won't be able to access these files on CreateSpace.”
When Magazines Want Everything
One of the things that most vexes writers is what might best be called overreach of terms and conditions. Sometimes this comes from publishers. Indeed the difficulty of having rights reverted to books that were no longer being marketed in any way, shape or form is one of the main reasons traditionally published authors go indie. There can also be overly exacting demands from competitions. But little vexes writers more than magazines. A few years ago it was Mslexia, a magazine that had been a fabulous way into the marketplace for new writers.
Now it is Woman’s Weekly making a grab. This is another publication that has been a great place for authors to make some extra cash and cut their teeth. Their new contracts offer a reduced fee and signing over of all worldwide rights. The magazine industry, like many authors, is struggling these days. I'm not sure stripping authors of the likes of second sale rights and even attribution is the best way to reverse that. What will the magazine's next step be – farming its fiction out to content mills?
Indie Lab, Exciting Events, and Ingram's new podcast
Let's end on a positive note. ALLi is involved with some incredibly exciting projects in the coming months. This is a whirlwind tour of just a few. ALLi has been involved with the rebranded and relaunched DigitalBookWorld for a little time now. There is an ALLi discount and scholarships worth $1000 available for the event. You can find full details here.
There is also an ALLi discount for Indie Lab, a great new event from Writers Digest that puts the spotlight on indies (and massive shout out to Guy Gonzalez, one of the first people to help me on my indie journey a decade ago, who is taking the lead on this and is now Publisher with Writers Digest). ALLi's own Michael Le Ronn will be speaking. Look out for details of an ALLi scholarship here too! ALLi is also involved with events by Bookbaby and Writers' Game (see the events listings).
And finally, ALLi is sponsoring a new podcast series from Ingram Spark on key elements of the indie business. You can start listening here.Top #selfpub news stories for #indieauthors, in one quick read, by #ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway @agnieszkasshoes #digitaleconomy #publishingopenup Click To Tweet
Upcoming Conferences and Events
Historical Novel Society Conference, Aug 24-26 [Scotland]
What Makes a Writer, 5 Sep [London] Act Like a Writer Think Like a Business, 20-22 Sep [Las Vegas] Gothenberg Book Fair, 27-30 Sep [Gothenberg] Indie Lab, 29-30 Sep [Cincinnati] (ALLi discount and scholarships available)
Digital Book World, Oct 2-4 [Nashville] (ALLi discount and scholarships available)
Ness Book Fest, Oct 4-7 [Scotland] Frankfurt Book Fair, Oct 10-14 [Frankfurt] Helsinki Book Fair, 25-28 Oct [Helsinki] Croydon Litfest, 27 October [Croydon, UK]