Monday, July 01, 2013

Bullseye, but not the target I expected

The Power of Free on Amazon Kindle
Glen Chapman
Nonfiction 22 pages
Amazon Digital Services. 2013

I've read a number of books on self-publishing eBooks. Some were free; others I paid for. Just about every one of these eBooks offers clever marketing tricks. Some tricks seem to work. Others seem impractical or unethical. This book isn’t packed with tips. Its chief virtue is its discussion of how downloadable MP3s changed the music industry and how eBooks will change the publishing industry.

In previous years if you wanted to record and sell your music, or write and sell your book, you had to hook up with a record company or book publisher. These acted as gatekeepers and ensured that only those titles with presumed commercial potential were available to consumers.

That has changed. Musicians and authors are now able to self-publish their work with a minimum of equipment and cost. Enter the long tail. When publishing involved high production costs and inventories, it made sense to promote the most popular titles—those with sales represented by the peak of a statistical curve. But, when traditional costs no longer count, sales at the tail of the curve increase. The tail becomes longer as more sales occur in fringe, rather than, mainstream, segments of the market.

This is great news for online vendors. With minimal inventory cost they can profit as much from the sale of fringe products as from mainstream ones. But can the self-publishers profit as well? Chapman wonders what the future will bring for self-publishers. If you buy this eBook, do so for its discussion of traditions, recent trends, and the long tail, not for marketing tips.

About Me

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Dave Loeff (davelef.com) is an author and graphic designer. In addition to fiction, Dave writes about graphics, travel, and other topics. Find him at http://truthandtalltales.com.

Dave worked domestically in the sewn goods industry, before he became a buyer in Taiwan. He subsequently worked as a mental health clinician, technical writer, computer technician, and graphic designer.

His freelance services include conversion of manuscripts into eBooks, photo retouching, book design and illustration,