Friday, September 6, 2013

The Market Is Deciding This, Not the ALA, PW, B&N, Indie Booksellers, etc...

Tick Tock
Scroll down and look at the topics of the other posts on this blog. Libraries kowtow to Overdrive, which in turn kowtows to the Big 6 5. Indie Bookstores don't accept innovative ideas, and instead, cling to the idea that "there isn't enough room, we can return big publisher's books," etc. Please, take a look at my suggestion below, made to independent bookstores: take a free copy from a self-published author as a "store copy," which can be ordered from your store with NO RISK. Barnes & Noble can't do this because the book needs to registered in their in-store system (also illogical since my book is available on and in Nook format).  Remember Nook?

Amazon and Now Oyster
Amazon Prime can easily be modified/enhanced to include book. Oyster is a new startup, and has the right idea: it has signed up Smashwords. So for one fee, you can borrow an ebook. The selection will naturally be MUCH MUCH MUCH wider than that available at libraries, that have kowtowed to the Big 5 and Overdrive. Many libraries rely on PW, Booklist, NYT Book Review, etc as the sole source of information, which in turn are funded by the Big 5.
Who is to blame? Not individual libraries or individual librarians. It is the management of the ALA. PERIOD. If you pontificate too long, the market decides for you: you are not the only smart person in the room. And that person may know someone with money to post to fight the illogic. Meet Jeff Bezos, and now, another new entrant.
Who wants to bet on which party responds first? Amazon or Libraries. Oops: I get to take Amazon. You can have the field.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Book Publishing Establishment Wrong, Again: Amazon's Awesome MatchBook

If You Don't Laugh, You'll Cry
So you buy the print edition of a book from amazon, and get the ebook format at a discounted price for those that want to buy it. That is the way this works. 

This Non-Sensical Comment
Then I read this post, and saw this....
However, Philip Jones, editor of trade publication the Bookseller magazine, was less enthusiastic.
"I'm sceptical about whether the reader actually wants it," he told the BBC."As far as I can tell most people read in one format, so they choose print or they choose digital and it's quite rare that they read both.
"However, I can see there would be advantages for students or for people who have particularly weighty hardbacks that they'd like to read in print form at home and then as an e-book on the road."
At least, the publisher of a "trade magazine," i.e. one that solely relies on the largest book publishers, left himself an "out," just in case. I guess.

You can see the value to readers from's MatchBook in this simple post. If, after reading the post, you cannot figure out why Amazon's deal is great for readers, and for self-published authors, then you require some basics of fundamental logic.

Monday, August 26, 2013


This Conversation Occurred on August 23 2013
Me: Can I speak with the CRM (Community Relations Manager)?
BN: She isn't here but I am the store manager.
Me: I am the author of this book, and I am giving an information session at the main library later in September. The book is a top-selling book in the Medicare/Medicaid category on Would you consider consignment for my book? I have copies with me.
BN: We don't take consignment.
Me: You can find the book on and it is available in Nook version also. My book is on the shelves in two other Barnes and Noble branches in other locations.
BN: We do put books on shelves for local authors.

Do you see the issue here? Rules that don't make any commercial sense. Spare the irrational, illogical "reasons." The market is deciding. Bricks and mortar bookstores are not flexible enough: this is a case in point..

By the way, I guess "local authors" doesn't extend to a 1.5 hour drive.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Obama and Amazon

Indie Bookstores Still Whining Complaining
On the Publishers Weekly website, this article appears on the front page of the website.
You have gotta be kidding me. 33 people lose their jobs for every $10 million shifted from bricks-and-mortar to Did they calculate the amount of consumer savings that occurred to the 300 million people that live in the U.S. alone? Did they calculate the opportunity cost of those savings to households around the country?

Stop Complaining, Start Improving
It is fundamental microeconomics, and its dynamics occur in every corner of the planet. New developments naturally occur, and those that adjust fastest get the spoils. Those that do not perish. So independent bookstores need to adjust and they need to do it yesterday.

In Other Words, All the Other Observations on This Blog Still Apply. Next.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Salon Should Be Ashamed of Itself

Salon Sets the Bar LOWWWWWW
Read this post on the popular Salon website. Please tell me that bookstores have a better strategy than this, i.e. begging Amazon to stop pushing the envelope.

Why Amazon Won't Stop: Microsoft, Blackberry, Nokia...
So you remember Microsoft? They were sued for being monopolistic. To which Bill Gates protested, saying that the speed of change was too great, and that the next great thing could obviate Microsoft. Well, guess what? Google happened, followed by iPhone and voila, if not for Microsoft servers that businesses require, we might all be using Chrome OS now. Remember Blackberry and Nokia? Me neither. Apple and Samsung have crushed them. THAT is why amazon will not, cannot follow the pathetic advice of this article.

Salon is to blame
Salon should be ashamed of itself. The feedback loop described in this pathetic article would occur so far in the future that multiple business models could be created in the meanwhile. I am speechless, not because the opinion exists, because there are idealists that grasping at straws, and I can understand. However, for Salon to publish this drivel is sad, unrealistic, and doesn't further the objectives of independent bookstores.

Oh, now I get it. Salon isn't meant to be taken seriously. Next.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Dear Amazon, Please show libraries how it is done

Open Letter to
Pretty simple: just use Amazon Prime, charge a little more, and merge your lending program into it. You are going to have to pull the restriction of exclusivity, but that will be worth it due to increased revenues. As part of the Amazon Prime membership, the member can lend their books a fixed number of times to other Prime members. Yes, there are some wrinkles that require ironing, but the bottom line will be that you will solve many of the problems posed by the traditional book publishing and distribution industry (the ones that you have not addressed already).  You will have delivered the message to libraries that have refused to change with technology at the same pace that technology and business have evolved. Libraries have had enough time, from the catbird's seat, to watch everything unfold. 

Here Are Your Statistics
Maximize Your Medicare is currently the 15,000 ranked book, after 8 months, ranks consistently in the top 3 of Medicare/Medicaid books on, and Health Insurance categories. Here is how dominant you are. Print outsells ebook 75%/25%, which makes sense given the fact that it is a non-fiction book. 87% of all print books sold are directly from 94% of all ebooks are sold directly through It isn't as if the book is unavailable: the book is available via Ingram, Baker&Taylor, Baker&Taylor's Axis360, Kobo, Apple's iBookstore, Barnes&Noble, Smashwords, Sony, IndieBound, i.e., on order at virtually every place that sells books using the dominant book distribution channels. In addition, indie bookstores have had access to a free offer from me to display a store copy, instead of the many, many unsold copies of I Love My Cat on their shelves.
All you need to do: require that be the only ebook lending distribution channel, and the answer will be yes. You can easily calculate the price that you will compensate me.  I highly suspect that will be the case from many others. 

Then, Call the Big 6
Once this catches on, then you will deal with the largest book publishers, on your terms, which will be hugely in your favor. Don't worry, the largest book publishers and the book publishing industry will be in the same place, adhering to age-old business practices that you have been punishing with impunity for years. By the way, I strongly doubt that the Big 6 will be attempting to raise prices for access to the their licenses at anything close to the rate that Inferno costs a library. 

Self-Published Authors Everywhere

P.S. If I am wrong, please kindly tell me how, right here. Intellectual honesty requires a respectful difference of opinion and the internet is excellent for that. If you think that I am wrong, I am all ears. That said, don't forget your name. I didn't.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Libraries, ebooks and Book Publishers

Aren't You a Little Embarrassed?
This is almost comical, really.
a. Big publishers charge libraries a much, much higher price for a single copy of an ebook.
b. Libraries deploy Overdrive.
c. Overdrive only really uses the big publishers.
d. The big publishers have high barriers to entry for authors/content.
e. Libraries complain about access to content.
You can "yabit" all you would like: now you are the Big 3 per the first entry on this blog. Meanwhile, is just distributing all around you, and if you don't watch it, amazon could relax the Kindle lending program, and then what will you say?  

The Real Problem? Point C: Overdrive
Using Overdrive is like sleeping with the enemy. Hasn't the book publishing/distribution industry learned anything? The oligopoly is being challenged at every turn by amazon, which has capital to exploit every inefficiency. Let's be clear: Overdrive uses the big publishers, the very same ones that are charging libraries many times more than it charges consumers on That consumer can now lend that copy to a friend for free using Amazon Prime. The barrier for establishing "Jae's Public Library" on Almost none. Libraries will need to challenge Overdrive on this practice and right now. Otherwise, you will have empowered the big publishing houses, not challenged them. Any little leverage libraries have remaining? Dust.

ALA Isn't Innocent
Read the annual letter from the ALA president, which sets the priority of ebooks and libraries on negotiating with the Big 6 publishers. THIS IS A DOOMED STRATEGY. Libraries do not have the requisite LEVERAGE to exert influence on the "negotiation." So, library systems are purporting to offer ebooks via Overdrive, and around we go again, in the profoundly irrational manner that currently exists.

At Least SOMEONE Gets It
If you think that I am just criticizing for fun, you're wrong. I am writing this because I would rather see libraries survive. At least Douglas County CO understands the depth of the issue, and doing something. Read this article. Mr LaRue is right: libraries are getting the short end of the stick by all its suppliers. Look at the list a-e. Book publishers, and Overdrive combine to make the availability of content to your patrons difficult. I can tell you that it is almost impossible to offer my top-selling book on Medicare via Overdrive. There is almost no defensible reason for this.
Baker and Taylor Axis360, however is different: Smashwords can supply to Axis360 if the author chooses, and a library can use Baker and Taylor's platform to order a Smashwords' produced ebook. Here is an example: my book is offered here via Axis360 at the Eastern Monore Public Library.

Book Publishers Are Doing What Oligopolists Do
Just understand the phrase, "Where you stand depends on where you sit," a phrase I read as a youth in Graham T. Allison's Essence of Decision (awesome book). Libraries will need simple market forces to bring prices lower; DCL and Axis360 or similar platform are the way forward. Now the challenge is getting the right information into hands of the libraries so they know about books. Library Journal, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, New York Times Book Review, right?
LOL: there is another list like the one in the first paragraph, but that is for the next post.