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View Full Version : Sony Opens its doors with help of Authorsolution and Smashwords



emilycross
09-29-2009, 02:06 PM
Apologies if this is in the wrong section.

According to this L.A times article (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2009/09/ebook-readers-kindle-sony.html), the big present this year for gadget lovers is the e-reader and i quote

"To give its online bookstore a competitive advantage, Sony today is announcing it is throwing the doors open to independent authors to publish electronic books on its site. Sony said it has partnered with two companies, Smashwords and Author Solutions, to help independent writers self-publish digital books on Sony's eBook Store, which currently sells more than 130,000 titles. It also distributes millions of free public domain books via a partnership with Google. Amazon, on the other hand, boasts 350,000 titles for its Kindle readers."

Also Digital Beat (http://digital.venturebeat.com/2009/09/28/sony-embraces-small-publishers-and-unknown-authors-on-sony-reader-ebook-store/) to a more focused article, stating that

"Self-published authors can now visit the Sony Publisher Portal and click on Smashwords to sign up for a free publishing account. Then they can format a book in Smashwords’ style andchoose their distribution preferences, and their book will be made available for immediate sale at Smashwords.com. The book can show up a few days later on Sony’s eBook Store."

I'm just wondering what people's thoughts are about this?

and Author Solutions? What sort of rep do they have? (because i thinking i remember a Victoria Strauss post about them taking over Trafford)

CaoPaux
09-29-2009, 06:48 PM
AuthorSolutions is the parent of AuthorHouse (originally named 1stBooks Library), and now owns Trafford, Xlibris, and iUniverse. http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=694

M.R.J. Le Blanc
09-29-2009, 07:11 PM
So basically, Sony is giving legitimaticy to vanity publishers?

CaoPaux
09-29-2009, 07:40 PM
Eh, I expect it'll be as successful as Amazon Shorts, which is "no longer accepting new submissions to the program while we investigate other ways to easily connect authors to Amazon.com customers." IOW, it'll soon be swamped with stuff no one will buy (nor wade through to find something worth buying). A display site by any other name....

KTC
09-29-2009, 07:44 PM
yep. they'll be opening their doors to piles of 'possible' garbage that will bog down their shopping lists...and have people returning to the brick and mortars to buy 'legitimate' books.

The Lonely One
09-29-2009, 07:52 PM
yep. they'll be opening their doors to piles of 'possible' garbage that will bog down their shopping lists...and have people returning to the brick and mortars to buy 'legitimate' books.

This is a possibility. But search functions and categorizing could certainly reduce the slag readers have to deal with. (An option to separate author-submitted and publisher-submitted in a search bar?)

I would like to see an e-reader with a stylus and notebook program. Since so many readers are writers why not appeal to them this way? Or does this exist already?

dgiharris
09-29-2009, 08:03 PM
Paging Mr. Travis Tea... Paging Mr. Travis Tea...

WE HAVE GOT TO GET ATLANTA NIGHTS ON THERE!!!


:ROFL::roll:

Or, if Atlanta Nights is too well known, then perhaps it's time for the long awaited sequel?

Where is our Uncle Jim? Perhaps he could weigh in :D

Mel...

veinglory
09-29-2009, 08:08 PM
I imagine self-published material will be sorted quietly to the sidelines by the sales rankings much they are on Amazon.com. It is fine to author to use this and no threat to consumers--but I doubt it is a significant sales avenue for most of them. Overall I think it is a good thing. People who buy online are used to this system. And commerical publishers should win (if they do win) based on quality, not distribution clout.

emilycross
09-29-2009, 08:20 PM
Well looking at the thread CaoPaux provided, this doesn't seem to bode well. I'm hoping that sony would perhaps provide some sort of entrybarrier or something, make sure the really bad doesn't get published but i'd say that would be alot of extra work with too much costs.

BenPanced
09-29-2009, 08:35 PM
Well looking at the thread CaoPaux provided, this doesn't seem to bode well. I'm hoping that sony would perhaps provide some sort of entrybarrier or something, make sure the really bad doesn't get published but i'd say that would be alot of extra work with too much costs.
That should be up to Author Solutions and Smashwords, really.

emilycross
09-29-2009, 08:43 PM
That should be up to Author Solutions and Smashwords, really.

True, but i'd say their current business models are working for them and Sony is, like M.R.R has said giving them legitimacy/lending them their reputation and name. Perhaps Sony might have a clause or something which has Author Solutions limit access but from the articles it doesn't sound like it. I suppose Sony are thinking quantity than quality like Veinglory said

Honestly though i don't have the first notion about e-publishing, so take what i say with a pinch of salt. I just would have thought that Sony would align themselves with e-publishers rather than vanity presses.

dgiharris
09-29-2009, 08:54 PM
Well looking at the thread CaoPaux provided, this doesn't seem to bode well. I'm hoping that sony would perhaps provide some sort of entrybarrier or something, make sure the really bad doesn't get published but i'd say that would be alot of extra work with too much costs.

My first thoughts are no. IMO, this entire decision smells to me like it was made by 'executives' who are unfamiliar with the publishing world.

I sense the point of this is to simply get the # count up, so they can say over 1 million books available.

Similarly, we (the public) often forget that there is usually a reason why the 'market' has evolved to utilize a certain process for a reason. I mean, every industry has filters and for good reason, to separate gold from brass.

So lets do some math. Lets say that Sony gets 100,000 books.

lets say there are three filtering processes.

First Level- 1 hr skim/reading: Make sure the author knows the english language and that it wasn't written by a monkey.

Second Level - Grammatically correct / super fast skim - 10 hrs: Overworked grammar Nazi tasked to do the impossible in 10 hrs.

Third Level - Readable okay story / super fast skim - 5 hrs: Overworked 'reader' tasked to do the impossible in5 hrs.

With just these incredibly idealistic numbers, you have about 16hrs worth of 'screening' per book.

16hrs x 100,000 books x $20/hr = $32,000,000.

And with this above, you are paying $32M for a high percentage of 'bad' books. And I seriously doubt if vanity presses have this in the budget to make sure they don't peddle out crap to Sony.

IMO, this would be akin to cable creating an extra thousand PBS channels with open amatuer slots. Have you ever seen an amatuer late night PBS show. Beyond horrendous. LIke watching a home movie but only worse.

anyways,

On paper, this may 'seem' like a good idea, but in actuality, I just don't see it working well.

Mel...

veinglory
09-29-2009, 08:57 PM
Amazon can cope with giving open access to self-published books, I don't see the problem.

dgiharris
09-29-2009, 09:04 PM
Amazon can cope with giving open access to self-published books, I don't see the problem.

When was the last time anyone read a self published book that WAS NOT from someone they knew personally?

What percentage of books from your reading stock are self published authors?

Overall, I don't see a 'problem'. I mean, I don't take this as a threat to me.

And I do see the marketing appeal from the Sony side, they get to say, "Over a Million titles avialable".

But in my opinion, the market will sort all this out. People will 'subscribe' only to discover that the vast majority of books are authors they never heard of and stories that just aren't as good as books from the mainstream publishers.

On the other hand, I think it's possible that some niches do very well, particularly some non-fiction niches that are just too specialized for mass printings.

Mel...

LovetoWrite
09-29-2009, 09:39 PM
When was the last time anyone read a self published book that WAS NOT from someone they knew personally?

What percentage of books from your reading stock are self published authors?

I have about ten self-published books on my self that I have read in the last six months and twice as many as that in commerical published.

I really care for seven of the self-published ones and about ten of the commerical pubished ones. The reasons are varied on why I liked them or didn't for that matter.

Since I make donations several times a year to the local thrift store, I'll take the three self-published and the ten commerical published there. Someone might enjoy them. Hey, six of them were bestsellers.

Its all subjective really. What I love, another person might think sucks and vice versa.

I really like the idea of a sample at 25% - 50%, because I'd know if I wanted to buy that book. Its much better for me, then standing in an aisle of a store, flipping through pages and trying to decide.

Of course that is just IMHO.

dgiharris
09-30-2009, 05:28 AM
You know,

I gave this some thought.

When I choose a book, I don't care about name brand. If the cover and title look interesting, that is enough for me to read the back cover, if that story looks interesting then that gets me to the first page.

If the first few paragraphs seems competent, then I buy the book.

And to be honest, i've never really shopped for books at a venue in which published and self published were side by side.

I guess the problem IMO, is that without some form of filter/screening, you are rolling dice.

True, even with a screening/filtering there are enough awful books out there.

I might be being a bit of a snob, I just can't help but think about this from a mathematical perspective. *sigh*

Anyways, the market will bear all this out.

Mel...

Matera the Mad
09-30-2009, 06:54 AM
Sounds like a pay-per-view version of YouTube.
*snerk*

Maybe we can get Russet Noon for Sony?
(dodges thrown vegetables)

emilycross
09-30-2009, 11:36 AM
Sounds like a pay-per-view version of YouTube.
*snerk*

Maybe we can get Russet Noon for Sony?
(dodges thrown vegetables)

:roll:

Ruv Draba
09-30-2009, 11:57 AM
I buy niche non-fiction on a self-published basis -- usually stuff I want to research for one-off purposes where I don't really want to pay top dollar and clutter my shelves. I value that stuff highly for its knowledge and care more how well it's researched and thought out than how well it's written and published. (Today for instance, I was reading excerpts from Cynical Acumen (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cynical-Acumen-Anarchic-Clinical-Medicine/dp/1857757874)-- a doctor's cynical account of medicine. It's written mainly for medical practitioners (which I'm not) and is not self-published but it was interesting and thoughtful (and well written) and if it were available in e-book form I'd have bought it.)

So from a purely selfish perspective I'd welcome more self-publishing channels -- especially if their customer services (searching, browsing, find similar items) were good.

As a writer I can't imagine submitting anything to one though -- unless I had some niche non-fiction I wanted to write (like a 'how to organise your sock-drawer' or something). When I write fiction for publication I put a helluva lot of work into it, and I want that to be mirrored in how it's developed and promoted.

veinglory
09-30-2009, 06:48 PM
When was the last time anyone read a self published book that WAS NOT from someone they knew personally?

What has that got to do with 'Amazon can do this, what is the problem'. Oh, and the answer is last night. I was reading Running Dry by M Christian whom I do not know at all. It's a good book BTW.


What percentage of books from your reading stock are self published authors?

About 5%. And no, I am not a self-published author.


Overall, I don't see a 'problem'. I mean, I don't take this as a threat to me.

Good. Then the only differencs is that I also see no basis for a moral panic that self-publishers will some how corrupt... something. Hence my example, Amazon. Self-publishers have open access there and it doesn't matter a fig to anyone.

Customers roll the dice every day they eat at a hot dog stand or or listen to music at a local bar. I think they can handle the same discretion when it comes to books. In fact I think they already have it and are coping just fine.

After all, bad books have bad sales ranks, bad covers, bad blurbs and bad excerpts--all available throught this service as they are through Weread, librarything, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Fictionwise. If anything the odd one out is bricks and mortar stores, not Sony.