Misprints News #53 – Charging by the Pixel
Chapter 1 has been finally wrapped up this week. I shared a chunk of it with one of my writing groups and they seem to think it’s going well for the first draft. This book only has about eight chapters total so I should be finished with the initial draft in about that many weeks, less if I can get the time to do more than one chapter.
Our local library has been in the middle of moving to a new building the last few months so I haven’t yet contacted them about getting Redbriar on the shelves over there. They just opened the new fancy building this week so I took sister down to check it out. Previously our library was a small metal garage type building with extremely limited space that the town had clearly outgrown. It’s good to see that the city invested in a new space along with a new town hall.
I posted a link to this article the other day on twitter but here it is again, Books in the Microsoft Store are going away. Now, that’s not the end of the world for most folks as Amazon and B&N have cornered that market pretty well and it should be stable for a good long while. I never bought ebooks from the Microsoft store, not sure I know anyone who did. The problem here isn’t that the store is shutting down and refunding those purchases, it’s that you purchased and downloaded a digital item that you can no longer access. My old Kindle broke last year so I haven’t been able to simply upload an epub file for a book manually to the device. That’s an even bigger issue later.
So what happens if something hardcore goes down and Amazon loses it’s spot as the High Warlord of ebooks? I just went to my list of kidnle purchases and the options for the most part are to have the file sent to an amazon device or app (The kindle is broken but the app on my phone works just fine). There is also an option to download the file and manually transfer it, however the file is an amazon .AZW not a universally readable epub file or similar. It makes sense, as you’re renting the file from them if enrolled in Kindle Unlimited and they can’t have you outright sharing ebook files with just anybody. The authors also don’t want you to send your buddies an email blast containing the single ebook file you bought for 99 cents. But if the hardware goes offline, and the books can’t be read, what then?
I can go on Spotify right now and make a playlist of music I don’t own, but rather rent, from the streaming service via a monthly payment. It works on my phone in the car, on my computer, laptop, whatever has a connection to the internet or data plan. But what happens when there is an outage? (And I haven’t set the playlist do be downloaded to my phone?) What about when somebody runs their truck into the power pole outside the neighborhood after their breakfast beer and knock out the internet for six or seven hours until they can rewire the thing? You quickly realize you don’t own the music, or books, or movies you have been paying to access. You’re renting them. Luckily I have vinyl LP’s of F&TM and cassette tapes from MBR so the music partition is covered. But what about books? If you don’t have them in a universal format or physical copy you don’t really own them. This type of situation is played out in Blackp00l where all software is “always online” and subscription based, because it’s the future and you can’t stop it. 🙂
Now, after saying all of that I do plan to have the next book placed on Kindle Unlimited. That means it won’t be available anywhere but Amazon and for the Kindle. This is more of a test to see if more people will read it if it’s cheap vs reading it for $4. In a perfect world there would be a Bandcamp option for books. Pay a set price and get the files for the device you use. But I’m afraid books and music are two different beasts. I haven’t seen too many authors with “merch” to supplement sales the way bands can. Who would buy a Blackp00l t-shirt? Or a deck of playing cards with Redbriar’s book cover on the back? Not enough to cover the costs of producing them, that’s for sure. (And if you do make bank on book merch please let me know what to invest in before attempting shows this summer.)
I guess the point to this is that while it’s great to pay for access to online media, it’s also important to get the physical copy of something as well.