October 28th, 2009

Thomas Nelson’s CEO speaks out about the book price wars

A lot of publishers are wringing their hands about the book price wars that are going on. Target, Wal-Mart, and Amazon are basically in a race to the bottom, pricing some high-profile new hard covers at prices where they will lose $3.50 to $8.50 for each one they sell. Presumably they are using them as loss leaders, hoping that the difference will be made up in blenders or shoes. Independent bookstores, of course, that don’t have that option.

The price war comes after Amazon has been pricing many of their ebooks for the Kindle at $9.99, again a loss leader, this one designed to get folks to buy Kindles.

Thomas Nelson is actually thinking of taking some steps to combat this worrisome trend. I hope other publishers join them, because if not, consumers are going to expect to buy hardcover books for less than $10, authors are going to make only pennies per book, and I’m going to have to go back to a day job. [Full disclosure: Nelson is one of my publishers.]

Some of his suggestions including delaying the release of e-books, and establishing a minimum price for new books. You can read his blog post here.

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If I have any more dreams like this, I might give up sleeping

Last night I woke up at 3:07, and couldn't get back to sleep. Even my usual trick - eating junky cereal (Coco Puffs) and reading old New York Times - did not help. I went back to bed and finally fell back asleep around 5.

And dreamed that someone gave me a goldfish and asked me to watch after it for them. The goldfish was in a small rectangular glass tank and it was huge - as big as a man's shoe. There wasn't even room for it to turn in the tank. I put the tank in a corner on a table and promptly forgot about it.

Several weeks later, I remembered. I was horrified. I rushed to look at the tank. The water had gotten so low that half the fish's back was exposed. The orange flesh looked rotten, and was spotted with yellow growths.

Then I realized the fish was still alive. I rushed around, trying to fill the tank with more water, trying to remember where the box of food was, wondering how I could get the growths off it, but deep down I knew that it was hopeless. I would have to try to save the fish, but in the end I would be the one to have to kill it, in some messy and disgusting manner, while it looked up at me with its clouded eyes.

What do you think it means?

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Do you write? Do you have a Mac?

Then you need Scrivener, which is a wonderful writing program. Scrivener won’t write your book for you, but it will make writing it a lot easier. I’ve left Word behind and never looked back. My last two books have been written on Scrivener. And Scrivener's success has basically happened through word of mouth. I know so many authors who are using Scrivener - they are the ones who first turned me on to it.

You can try it out for free for 30 days. And if you participate in NaNoWriMo and write 50,000 words, you can get it for 50% off the already totally worth-it price of $39.95.

Try it out. You’ll be glad you did. I have zero connection to the company except that I am a really happy customer.

Here’s more info, with links.

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