Thursday, May 19, 2011

Now, self-published audio books has just launched a program to let you narrate your own audiobook, or hire a professional narrator, then publish it yourself for either a flat fee (great!) or a 50/50 royalty split (not so great).

Check it out here.

Also check out some commentary about this program here.

I. Love. It.

UPDATE -- From a news release today from Amazon:
Today, less than four years after introducing Kindle books, customers are now purchasing more Kindle books than all print books - hardcover and paperback - combined. . . .

Recent milestones for Kindle include:

* Since April 1, for every 100 print books has sold, it has sold 105 Kindle books. This includes sales of hardcover and paperback books by Amazon where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the number even higher.

* So far in 2011, the tremendous growth of Kindle book sales, combined with the continued growth in Amazon's print book sales, have resulted in the fastest year-over-year growth rate for Amazon's U.S. books business, in both units and dollars, in over 10 years. This includes books in all formats, print and digital. Free books are excluded in the calculation of growth rates.

* In the five weeks since its introduction, Kindle with Special Offers for only $114 is already the bestselling member of the Kindle family in the U.S.

* Amazon sold more than 3x as many Kindle books so far in 2011 as it did during the same period in 2010.

* Less than one year after introducing the UK Kindle Store, is now selling more Kindle books than hardcover books, even as hardcover sales continue to grow. Since April 1, customers are purchasing Kindle books over hardcover books at a rate of more than 2 to 1.
For authors like me, who will have his first novel self-published on Kindle (and elsewhere) in June, this is great news. It confirms that the market for ebooks hasn't even begun to be tapped, let alone "saturated." As prices for self-published ebooks continue to undercut the inflated prices of the Big 6 publishers, more and more customers are encouraged to buy more and more books, across more and more platforms.

More warnings and advice for authors

Prolific author and self-publisher Kristine Kathryn Rusch begins a new blog series advising established authors and newbies alike about the rapid changes in the publishing industry, and how to survive and thrive in this evolving world:
Traditional publishing has lost its monopoly. It used to control the distribution of books all over the United States and, indeed, all over the world. With the success of the e-reader and ease of electronic self-publishing, writers regained control over distribution.

Concurrent with that was the rise of a new model for print-on-demand. No longer does a writer have to purchase thousands of books at the cost of thousands of dollars. The writer can upload her novel at almost no cost out of her pocket, and not print a single copy until she has an order. In fact, the POD company, like CreateSpace and LightningSource, will produce the book and ship it for the author, so there is no warehousing, no pile of books rotting in an author’s basement.

In other words, all parts of the distribution chain are now available to the entrepreneurial author. Including, as of last week, audio books, since Audible has now instituted a system in which an author can do her own audio books.

Traditional publishers got blindsided by this. So did agents, who rely on their contacts in traditional publishing to make their living. And both groups are now in survival mode. They’re trying to hang onto their hefty incomes in a new world they don’t entirely understand.

Mostly, they’re doing so by making huge rights grabs from authors.
As ever, read it all.