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Apple treats authors much better than Amazon — 3 Comments

  1. Marvelous! I’ve been pointing out Apple’s advantages for some time. Now I no longer feel like that biblical “voice crying in the wilderness.”

    Here’s my own advice to authors about applying the Amazon/Apple differences, particularly for authors fortunate enough to have an eager fan base. It’s to adopt an Apple-first, Amazon-later policy. That gives added income and flexibility of Apple, while still taking advantage of Amazon’s larger market share. The steps would go like this.

    1. Release the iBooks version in epub. Apple now claims that its week-long delay has been reduced to a single day in most cases.

    2. Begin publicizing the book.

    3. Perhaps release a similar epub version through Smashwords for B&N, Kobo etc.

    4. More publicity.

    5.. Then and only then begin to work on a version for Kindles. Amazon will accept an epub for conversion, so you might go that route. Otherwise, do what it takes to create the mobi and KF8 versions for Amazon. Don’t worry if that means a week or two delay. Remember, you want sales to go to Apple. Only bring out the Kindle version quickly enough to avoid upsetting Kindle diehards.

    6. One final burst of publicity.

    That puts some heat on Amazon. As the linked article notes, Amazon had been paying a mere 35% royalty across the board. It only shifted to a partial 70% policy when it became afraid of what Apple’s iPad/iBooks would do to their sales. Amazon will only move more fully to Apple’s more generous policies if its sales, marketshare an income are threatened by authors and publishers shifting as many of their sales as possible to Apple and the other vendors.

    Keep in mind what that means. It means that for some authors their Amazon income will almost double.

    Those shifting sales are also perhaps the only thing that will get Amazon to abandon its proprietary formats and go with epub, a move that would make the lives of authors and publishers easier.

    Two further remarks:

    1. Apple needs to do with iBooks what it did with iTunes, which is port the app to Windows. Then people who for work or other reasons must use Windows machines will now have reason to buy iPhones and get their ebooks from the iBookstore.

    2. Apple should create a web-based system for authors to upload ebooks much like that used by Amazon and Smashwords. That’d end the ‘but you have to own a Mac” problem with authors. That’s especially important for attracting foreign authors, where Mac ownership is less common.

  2. Great points, Michael!

    The only change I wold make is to dump Smashwords and use Draft2Digital. D2D takes ePUB3s with fonts, SW does not. Also D2D will take up to 50 MB (I think), and SW is still stuck with 10 MB AFAIK. D2D still gives about 65% which is far better than Amazon.

  3. Thanks, I’ll definitely look into Draft2Digital.

    Smashwords does seem to love their Word-for-Windows meatgrinder enough that their support of epub seems to come up a bit lacking. My latest ebook, after it had been accepted by Apple as an epub, was rejected by Smashwords as “too complex.” I pointed out to support that it’s a book that needed complex formatting and that Apple and epub certification find it OK. They did then pass it through, which is great, but I rather not have that hassle and the embedded font issue you mentioned.

    For many and perhaps even most authors Smashwords love affair with Word for Windows is probably a plus. But with my Scrivener-Draft and InDesign-for-publication workflow, it’s a negative.

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