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Old 02-17-2012, 02:38 PM   #16
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Thank you, ATDrake for the very thoughtful analysis of issues with KDP. I do think broader availability of title is a boon for everyone but I hadn't considered all of the problems that you pointed out, such as hurdles for folks in other countries with price and formatting. Very thought-provoking.
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Old 02-17-2012, 02:40 PM   #17
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Back when all Kindle models were 3G only (pre-K3) and the apps were in very primitive stages and the WiFi didn't exist, so it was reasonable to assume that anyone getting a Kindle book outside the US had a very high likelihood of owning an actual hardware Kindle and using the 3G to download their books, according to what I've read on the Amazon discussion boards back when I was still reading them, their CS used to quasi-officially admit that the $2 extra was a surcharge to pay for the cost of the 3G.

This was before Amazon had gotten into place a number of the carrier agreements it currently has and thus had to pay the delivery costs piecemeal at a much higher price. US-registered Kindlers who for whatever reason used the 3G book download function outside the States (travelling overseas, lying about actual address, etc.) had a corresponding $1.99 per book downloaded via 3G fee which would be automatically charged to their account, which was noted in the official help literature. I think they've since ended the overseas "roaming" fee.
The surcharge in some regions also covers added costs of business (think currency conversion, payment to publishers, taxes direct to amazon by their govt, extra programmers and staffing required to service those countries, fill out their forms, pay customs fees, etc) and always has. I'm sure the extra cost of 3G is also a factor (and is shared even by those who don't have 3G, but are in the same country, unfortunately for them).

Prices to individual countries in a region will also reflect VAT (or equivalent) and the current currency exchange rate (which is not quite the same as currency conversion fees, included in the above). I've noticed a fluctuation of about 4-5 cents over the last few months in UK £0.99 titles, for example, in the US store (where $ are used instead). In addition, the big publishers can set a different price per region and per country (and it appears the indies may be able to, as well, from a few comments I've seen).

The roaming fees seem to be dead.
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Old 02-17-2012, 04:03 PM   #18
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What's Swagbucks, IIMA?
Swagbucks is one of those sites where you "earn" points for using their search engine and doing daily tasks and for shopping via their affiliate links or filling out marketing surveys for their advertising sponsors which you can then trade in for merchandise or gift certificates or whatnot once you've accumulated enough.

Among others, you can trade for Amazon US, UK (only for UK residents) and Canada (only for Canadians) gift certificates, as well as B&N and Paypal, which may be useful for getting "free" e-books (or discounted paper books/other merchandise).

Mind you, it does take a while for enough points to accumulate if you're not a dedicated shopper/task-taker and generally it's 2-4 months before I acquire enough for a $5 Amazon GC.

I've checked their FAQ and the MR guidelines and this doesn't seem to be against the rules since it's not going towards getting a cut out of a shopping purchase and I'm disclosing my interest outright, so if you happen to be interested in joining, this happens to be my referral link which will give me some sort of points bonus if new people signup while using it: Referral linkage so I get some sort of points bonus if anyone wants to join Swagbucks using it

(mods, feel free to delete if it actually does turn out to be against our affiliate-linking rules)
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:28 PM   #19
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{interesting explanation of Swagbucks deleted}
Thanks for that. I'm not sure I'm excited by waiting months to get a $5 gift card, but I signed up anyway because I really appreciate your trolling of the KDP slushpile and I wanted to follow your affiliate link for you.
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Old 02-17-2012, 06:24 PM   #20
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Old 02-19-2012, 06:55 PM   #21
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The surcharge in some regions also covers added costs of business (think currency conversion, payment to publishers, taxes direct to amazon by their govt, extra programmers and staffing required to service those countries, fill out their forms, pay customs fees, etc) and always has. I'm sure the extra cost of 3G is also a factor (and is shared even by those who don't have 3G, but are in the same country, unfortunately for them).
I don't have all of the details completely clear, but I always thought that the 2$ surcharge was dropped in those countries were Amazon was directly doing business (UK, France, Spain, Italy...) and that's where they probably have most of the expenses that you're mentioning (now, the VAT thing is another thing, not really related to the $2 surcharge).
However, they are still charging the 2$ in Africa, Latin America and some other countries, where they don't charge taxes, don't do currency conversion and don't deal with customs fees themselves).
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:15 AM   #22
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I don't have all of the details completely clear, but I always thought that the 2$ surcharge was dropped in those countries were Amazon was directly doing business (UK, France, Spain, Italy...) and that's where they probably have most of the expenses that you're mentioning (now, the VAT thing is another thing, not really related to the $2 surcharge).
However, they are still charging the 2$ in Africa, Latin America and some other countries, where they don't charge taxes, don't do currency conversion and don't deal with customs fees themselves).
Since they actually do have to send the money to publishers in those countries (each region and sometimes country can have a different publisher that gets a cut for each book - the accounting for it would be a nightmare if they did it individually, but I assume they do some sort of grouping by country), then they are dealing with each of those countries individually (and sending them money, filling out forms, reports, etc). They still have higher cellular charges, even if there are alternatives for individual customers.

I have no doubt that if Amazon's costs in a country dropped enough, they would cut the surcharges. They've done so in most places (and it doesn't seem to be directly related to their sister companies opening there; as separate corporations, I doubt that was the reason, although the increased sales in those areas may have led to opening new "local" sites sooner). I suspect it has more to do with getting better rates from local cellular networks over time (instead of paying out of country roaming charges, as they were, no doubt, doing at first via AT&T).
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Old 02-20-2012, 12:46 PM   #23
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Why CHANGING FATE was pulled from Fictionwise

Hi! I'm really glad to hear that you like CHANGING FATE, especially because I'm currently working on a sequel.

The reason it's been temporarily pulled from Fictionwise is that I got a new cover for it by Vera Nazarian (graphic design is not one of my talents), and while I was making that change, I proofread it. (Again, I hope, because I don't think I put it up without proofreading it at all.) I was appalled to see how many errors I'd missed. So, as long I had to pull it for corrections anyway, I decided to give the Kindle version 90 days. Amazon makes life simple for authors: it's easy to publish things on Kindle, and it's also fairly easy to change them. It's also free. Fictionwise is going to charge me to redo the book, and they need a different format than the one I upload for the Kindle version, so it's going to take time to have it ready for them.

The 90 days is up on May 11, and I've made a note on my calendar to put the new Fictionwise version up then (or as soon after that as Fictionwise pulls what's been put up to be published). First they went from every week to every two weeks, and then "up by 10 am Monday morning" became "up sometime on Monday." I used to check Fictionwise first thing every Monday morning, but I found waiting for the new week's books to finally show up very frustrating--particularly when I was waiting for a book number so that I could update the mzbworks.com website.

Neither I nor the MZB Literary Works Trust intends to go with Kindle exclusively, but if we publish things there first, we can download the eBook version and reread it on a very small screen (I use my iPod), which helps us catch errors we missed the first time. We really want to produce quality products, so it makes sense to start with the platform where we can fix things without having to pay to have the corrected version republished.

Best wishes,
Elisabeth Waters
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Old 02-20-2012, 01:59 PM   #24
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Neither I nor the MZB Literary Works Trust intends to go with Kindle exclusively, but if we publish things there first, we can download the eBook version and reread it on a very small screen (I use my iPod), which helps us catch errors we missed the first time. We really want to produce quality products, so it makes sense to start with the platform where we can fix things without having to pay to have the corrected version republished.

Best wishes,
Elisabeth Waters
Well, I for one, appreciate it. I've added several to my TBR list lately (and a 90 day window isn't that long, when you are trying to get proofing done, anyway). Hopefully you'll put the re-proofed edition up for Kindle (all you have to do is check the box to have Amazon notify us that a new edition with corrections is available and we can download those over the old versions).

Thanks for stopping by,

Karen
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:20 PM   #25
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Neither I nor the MZB Literary Works Trust intends to go with Kindle exclusively, but if we publish things there first, we can download the eBook version and reread it on a very small screen (I use my iPod), which helps us catch errors we missed the first time.
Thank you very much for the reassurance and welcome to MobileRead!

While I'm not overly concerned if authors put out brand-new releases as exclusives, it's welcome news indeed to know that pre-existing books haven't disappeared permanently and will be returning one day.

Speaking of new releases, may I ask if there's any interest in doing e-book versions of Paul Edwin Zimmer's work?

When Hunters of the Red Moon was offered as a freebie gift over the holidays, one of our members said that there were at least PEZ two titles that he would like to get. I don't suppose there are any plans at the moment, but if they do end up in e-versions, I'm sure you're guaranteed at least one sale.

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We really want to produce quality products, so it makes sense to start with the platform where we can fix things without having to pay to have the corrected version republished.
It's too bad Fictionwise charges for corrected versions, which they really shouldn't. That would explain why a number of publishers seem to have put up a rather sloppy job and left it at that (mind you, that doesn't explain why those same publishers also seem to have the same uncorrected errors in their samples from other stores, so I suppose the habit of releasing and not-fixing stuff is kind of ingrained).

I do appreciate your taking the time to fix errors and do a proper release. I often enjoy the new introductions and story notes on some of the MZBLWT re-releases which make it worth it to buy the new version of a book I sometimes already own, for the added context.

One thing you might want to be aware of is that when an edition gets fixed and updated, Amazon Customer Service doesn't always let customers who've already bought the title know that there's an update (their emails regarding those tend to be kind of sporadic, except for truly major errors, according to some of our member authors who've updated, though perhaps they didn't check the right box to send out the notice), and Amazon doesn't send out the new version automatically to people who've already downloaded the book.

This, apparently, has to do with the 1984 deletion fiasco, where someone lost all the notes they'd created.

So if there do turn out to be things that need to be corrected, you might want to perhaps consider including somewhere in the blurb some sort of note about what the new corrected version is and when it was updated, for the benefit of any early adopters who can then contact Amazon CS to request the new version.

Also, I don't know what your usual e-book creation workflow is like, but several tools which have their own support forums right here on MobileRead (people are very helpful with answering questions and working out problems, and the software developers often respond to requests) are Sigil and Calibre, which can readily produce ePub and produce and convert from just about any e-book file format, respectively, and may be useful in creating a preliminary version to portably proofread from.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond to my concerns. I look forward to spending some money on the new edition of Changing Fate and its sequel when they show up at Fictionwise.
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Old 02-21-2012, 12:33 PM   #26
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One thing you might want to be aware of is that when an edition gets fixed and updated, Amazon Customer Service doesn't always let customers who've already bought the title know that there's an update (their emails regarding those tend to be kind of sporadic, except for truly major errors, according to some of our member authors who've updated, though perhaps they didn't check the right box to send out the notice), and Amazon doesn't send out the new version automatically to people who've already downloaded the book.
FYI - when the publisher (or indie author in the KDP) uploads a new version of the book, they have the option to check a box that tells Amazon that a correction was uploaded. They check one of three priorities - don't bother telling anyone or giving them the update, give them the option to update on the MYK page only or email everyone and let them know an update is available.

It's up to the publisher to decide to (a) allow existing customers to update and (b) to notify you. Not Amazon.

Some publishers, of course, just delete the old listing and create a new one, forcing you to repurchase to get the corrections (that you funded by buying early). Others don't give them to you, but they do exist (I had this happen on a book with major problems in Topaz, in the early days); for these, Amazon Kindle support can force an update (you can't get it just by re-purchasing, though, so you do need their help to make it work).

My last update notice, btw, said that my highlights and notes would be preserved, not deleted (as old ones did), so I wonder just how they manage that (may be tied to having true page number correlation, I suppose).
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:05 PM   #27
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FYI - when the publisher (or indie author in the KDP) uploads a new version of the book, they have the option to check a box that tells Amazon that a correction was uploaded. They check one of three priorities - don't bother telling anyone or giving them the update, give them the option to update on the MYK page only or email everyone and let them know an update is available.
That's interesting to know, thanks for the info.

We've had a couple of threads from indie authors in the past about people not receiving auto-update notices when they'd changed their books and seemingly no easy official way to spread the word, so that sounds like it's something that's been changed for the better, like no longer losing one's notes on the new version.

Although I can't even guess why that first option exists at all. Why even bother changing the file if you won't allow your previous paying purchasers to get the "official" version? Do they magically expect people to delete and re-buy their old purchases should they find out they've been treated like second-class customers?

I should go check my MYK page to see if I can update some of the older books I have really old notices for. I never liked to go bother CS with a direct write-in response back when that was the way you still had to do it for an update to a freebie I was probably never going to do more than curiosity-skim at best, but it would be nice to have a "good" copy in case I ever do actually try them.

Thanks again for the tip!
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:49 PM   #28
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Although I can't even guess why that first option exists at all. Why even bother changing the file if you won't allow your previous paying purchasers to get the "official" version? Do they magically expect people to delete and re-buy their old purchases should they find out they've been treated like second-class customers?
That doesn't even work, for those. You can delete, buy again and you'll still get the original edition you purchased, not the current one (had a tech do that a half-dozen times on my account, as she didn't believe it worked that way).

They have an "ASIN UPDATER TOOL" (it's called that on their desktop) that they use to give you the latest edition of a book...

Btw, since they added these notices, the update process is automated. You put the word "Yes" (quotes seem not to matter, use or not) on the first line of a reply and it automatically updates that book on all Kindles on your account that have it loaded (the next time they sync) and in your library (for download). Much easier than the old method of getting them to do the update by hand (using the above tool).
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Old 02-21-2012, 11:49 PM   #29
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Speaking of the MYK page, I have quite a few purchased books (many purchased for $0; thanks again ATDrake). Any ideas on how to redownload an old book?

I would think there would be a download link from the book's web page. It does give you an order update letting you know you've bought it, but no way to download. So I then go to the MYK page where I have many pages of books.

Recently, I had to track down a many months preordered book that was 'delivered' to a dead Kindle. I couldn't find the book when I did either a search using title or author on the MYK page. I had to page back many pages to find the book. This isn't the first time the search didn't work. Any thoughts on what I am doing wrong?
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:00 AM   #30
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Recently, I had to track down a many months preordered book that was 'delivered' to a dead Kindle. I couldn't find the book when I did either a search using title or author on the MYK page. I had to page back many pages to find the book. This isn't the first time the search didn't work. Any thoughts on what I am doing wrong?
The only thing I can think of is the MYK page hadn't loaded all the way? Mine will have a small orange spinning circle with "Loading, please wait" at the bottom next to where you advance through the pages of books you have. Sometimes mine stops loading if I try to search before it's done. I have to wait until it's completely done & then search (it takes a long time [my library is abt 2,900 books]).
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Free (Kindle DRM-free) Wyvern by A.A. Attanasio [Historical Fantasy] + KDP ATDrake Deals, Freebies, and Resources (No Self-Promotion) 11 10-20-2012 08:48 AM
Free (Kindle DRM-free ) Northanger Abbey and Angels by Vera Nazarian [Fantasy] + KDP ATDrake Deals, Freebies, and Resources (No Self-Promotion) 9 01-24-2012 06:45 PM
Free (Kindle DRM-free) Demons Hide Their Faces by A.A. Attanasio [SF/Fantasy] +KDP ATDrake Deals, Freebies, and Resources (No Self-Promotion) 9 01-13-2012 06:51 PM
Free (Kindle DRM-free) The Wolf and the Crown by A.A. Attanasio [Epic Fantasy] + KDP ATDrake Deals, Freebies, and Resources (No Self-Promotion) 12 01-10-2012 03:11 AM
Free (Kindle DRM-free) Eagle and the Sword by A.A. Attanasio [Epic Fantasy] + KDP ATDrake Deals, Freebies, and Resources (No Self-Promotion) 8 01-06-2012 04:29 PM


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