March 15, 2010

"The Path of Dreams" paperback

I've published the updated and revised paperback version of The Path of Dreams via CreateSpace (on sale at Amazon). The ebook versions are always up to date, as uploading a revised Kindle file is a piece of cake.

(And the Kindle process is fast and free. CreateSpace makes you order a proof copy and then it takes another week for the new version to show up on Amazon.)

I'm impressed with the quality. I still don't think the color separations are as good as Lightning Source, but they're plenty good enough. The binding and printing quality equals or exceeds that of most trade paperbacks.

With a "professional" account (I got a free upgrade at some point), I can list the book on Amazon for $7.99, which includes a $.42 royalty. That's with Amazon giving itself a 40 percent discount as the distributor. By comparison, the typical commercial book contract stipulates 7.5 percent of the list price for trade paperbacks, which in this case would be $.60.

If you buy directly from CreateSpace, they only take a 20 percent discount, which boosts the royalty to $2.00.

The supposed "economies of scale" claimed by the big New York publishers are way out of whack with book pricing, especially ebook pricing. Self-publishing has become, like the DIY desktop PC, a technological effort where, with a relatively small investment of time and talent, an amateur can match the same price point as a corporate assembly line.

Motoko Rich attempts to objectively break down the cost structure of a $26 hardcover here. But Michael Kinsley's analysis is probably the more accurate assessment:

  • $2.00 for lunches.
  • $0.05 to $7.00 for the book party.
  • $1.05 for the author tour.
  • $0.65 for seven editors to attend the Frankfurt Book Fair.
  • $0.60 for lunches at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
  • $1.50 for drinks at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
  • $2.00 to cover wild overpayments to 15-minute celebrities or Washington big shots for books that will never earn back their huge advances but the cost has to be amortized somehow.
  • $0.50 for lawyers.
  • $0.40 for editors.
  • $6.00 for free review copies.
  • $17.50 for employee health care.
  • $1.60 Whoops! Forgot these lunch receipts from last month. Sorry.

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