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Old 07-22-2014, 04:34 PM   #31
eschwartz
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Originally Posted by 6charlong View Post
There are some good arguments here but I still think this little proposal has legs. The idea in it is that ePub books without DRM would be offered for loan to subscribers to Kindle Unlimited. It does not propose going beyond KU.

Some have pointed out that there are several versions of DRM used to lock down ePub, but I propose only offering ePub books without DRM. These can be read on Kobo, Nook and Sony eReaders as well as many brands that are not readily available in the US, so without DRM ePub is readable on most existing ePub eReaders no matter the manufacturer.
So Amazon shouldn't try to get DRMed publishers in the program?

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DRM is not necessary to enforce the loan format used for KU. We are allowed ten books at a time. To borrow another one you must return one of the last ten. And as we all know, DRM does not correlate with piracy so suggestions that KU will lead to piracy is a red herring.
You're right, and not all of them do have DRM. What is important is having the ability to delete the books remotely, using the Kindle loans platform. If KU worked on the honor system, that wouldn't work out so well.

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Amazon is starting to go into new markets where ePub is strongest. They will not win many friends in those countries if they appear to potential customers to be just another big, rich American with a “my way or the highway” attitude.
They are competing with services that don't offer EPUB or any other format. Scribd and Oyster are app-only. So is Amazon, except they also allow on e-ink devices. Sounds like Amazon is far less “my way or the highway” than any of the other ebook companies.

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Most of those new markets are not English speaking so expect Amazon will have to develop a library of books in many languages. Additionally, many countries do not allow American style DRM anyway.
therefore???.....

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If Amazon has to use ePub overseas, why not do so in the US as well, at least as an experiment with KU, which is, itself, an experiment.
They don't.

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Without the genius of Steve Jobs there is no one to persuade people a walled garden is the best place for ebooks, not when people around them are obviously reading ebooks on thousands of different devices.
It isn't a walled garden any more than any other similar service, and regardless, Steve Jobs is nowhere near the only person who convinces people walled gardens are good. It is a concept, not a person. Apple as an ecosystem offered the walled garden, not Jobs in person.

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I appreciate all the objections to this little idea but as far as I can tell, the only rational argument for Amazon not to offer Kindle Unlimited book loans in DRM free ePub would be if Jeff Bezos says “no”.
So far the only reason to offer them seems to be "because 6charlong said so"...
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Old 07-22-2014, 06:59 PM   #32
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Most of those new markets are not English speaking so expect Amazon will have to develop a library of books in many languages. Additionally, many countries do not allow American style DRM anyway.
Can you name one of these "many countries", please? I've certainly never heard of a country "not allowing American style DRM".
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Old 07-22-2014, 08:21 PM   #33
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How well has unlimited streaming like Spotify, Pandora Rdio etc, served musicians? Will unlimited streaming of books serve authors the same way?
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Old 07-22-2014, 11:19 PM   #34
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It's the walled garden: Amazon wants to give you the convenience of the hardware, software, and content all working seemlessly together. Well, Amazon would call that convenience, others would call it "locking you in." (Apple has the same strategy and wants you inside THEIR walled garden.) According to Amazon's party line, they can offer more features by controlling their own ebook format. And I do think they have actually done this. Kindle format has page numbers that correspond to the print edition of the book. Kindle format can sync audiobook progress to ebook progress. Kindle format has X-Ray.
It's not a walled garden; you can put any mobi books on your Kindle; not just those you bought from Amazon. It's like having a windows computer; you can't run mac programs on it, but you can run any Windows program on it.

(Apple's walled garden, by contrast, only allows you to use apps bought from Apple on your iphone or iPad).
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Old 07-22-2014, 11:22 PM   #35
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What's not being gotten here is that when you add up all of the people using ePub capable Readers/programs/apps, there are more people reading ePub then Kindle formats. Remember, this is world wide, not just in the US.
But 80% of the e-book market is in the US; the UK is the largest European market, where Amazon has an even bigger marketshare. The remaining EU countries still have very small e-book penetration. It's starting to change in Germany, but they are still only 5% e-books.
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Old 07-23-2014, 07:44 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Kumabjorn View Post
How well has unlimited streaming like Spotify, Pandora Rdio etc, served musicians? Will unlimited streaming of books serve authors the same way?
We'll find out pretty quickly.

But unlike musicians who are have no control over "airplay", the indie publishers can pull the titles that make up the bulk of the KU catalog at a moment's notice. That ensures that if the payout is not satisfactory they can limit the damage.

On the other hand, the indie publishers can choose what they put up and how it is packaged. Many offer up brand-building permafree and $0.99 titles anyway so those will likely stay and they may choose to unbundle anthologies or convert episodic novels into serials...

KU is an entirely different distribution channel than anything we've seen before because of the combination of pool payout and flat-fee consumer pricing. It will likely evolve its own dynamics and best practices for authors. Like, "don't put up your top seller", "don't put up omnibus editions or anthologies", "do put up prequel shorts".

Amazon controls the channel but the publishers control the books so their exposure to harm is limited.

Last edited by fjtorres; 07-23-2014 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 07-23-2014, 08:11 AM   #37
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Everybody focuses on the Kindle ebook format(s) and DRM when looking at the Kindle ecosystem and neglect to factor in the rest of the system. Whispernet and KDP are as important to the success of Kindle as their ebookstore interfaces, review system, and customer policies. And more so than their (optional) DRM and supported formats.

KU is a new piece of the system but its long term viability hinges on how it fits into the entire package, not what it does by itself. You can't just pick and choose what parts you want because the viability of the entire system hinges on the total package.

KU is almost certainly going to be a money loser for Amazon for at least the first three months because of the trial subscribers and Audible credits. What makes it a worthehile investment for Amazon is that since KU is kindle exclusive, it will strengthen the total Kindle ecosystem and draw in new customers both from ebook fence-sitters, who haven't bought ereaders yet, and from phone/tablet readers who might otherwise be tempted to go with iBooks or play. Supporting people unwilling to commit to the Kindle ecosystem would be a waste of money and, instead of strengthening the system would weaken it. Amazon isn't in business to provide free reads, they're in business to make money for themselves and their suppliers.

Everything in life is tradeoffs of one kind or another--so here's one: you want access to unlimited Kindle books? Get a Kindle device or app. It's not an unreasonable deal.

Last edited by fjtorres; 07-23-2014 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 07-23-2014, 08:31 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
But unlike musicians who are have no control over "airplay", the indie publishers can pull the titles that make up the bulk of the KU catalog at a moment's notice. That ensures that if the payout is not satisfactory they can limit the damage.
At the risk of being pedantic, to enroll in KU a book has to be in KDP Select, and books are put into KDP Select for 90 days at a time. So, if the indie decides that it was a very bad idea, they'll have to wait up to 3 months. That's not a huge amount of time, but it's not "at a moment's notice" either

Otherwise I agree that there are enough differences between KU and Pandora/Spotify/etc that it won't necessarily be as bad a deal for authors as they are for musicians. I think we'll have to wait for a definite answer to that question.
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Old 07-23-2014, 08:37 AM   #39
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Once again we are faced with another thread where EPUB fans evangelize their format of choice while ignoring that EPUB and MOBI are basically the same thing in nearly every way.

They're interchangeable. They're both bundles of HTML, sometimes with DRM. Amazon has a walled garden ecosystem. Barnes and Noble has a walled garden ecosystem. Kobo has a walled garden ecosystem. All of these can be circumvented with Calibre in various ways.

There's no reason for Amazon to sell EPUB - it wouldn't make the market more consistent because EPUB is already fragmented. They're functionally identical to the users and offer no tangible benefit.
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:14 AM   #40
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At the risk of being pedantic, to enroll in KU a book has to be in KDP Select, and books are put into KDP Select for 90 days at a time. So, if the indie decides that it was a very bad idea, they'll have to wait up to 3 months. That's not a huge amount of time, but it's not "at a moment's notice" either

Otherwise I agree that there are enough differences between KU and Pandora/Spotify/etc that it won't necessarily be as bad a deal for authors as they are for musicians. I think we'll have to wait for a definite answer to that question.
Oh, you can *tell* them to pull it at anytime... it may not get pulled for a while but it will come out.

And as for "90 days at a time" my understanding is "90 days *minimum*". If an author chooses they can stay 120 days or 95... Or a year. I thought being in Select is an ongoing thing...

But either way, as I said, they can minimize the harm if they don't feel the pay out is sufficient, unlike with music where the author has no power at all.

One of the many reasons Anazon is doing KU is they really don't like distributing free books and are looking to wean the market off permafree. So I doubt the KU payout will go much lower than fifty cents, which is the payout on $0.99 titles. It will likely go higher but unless they tier the payouts by title length (x cents per thousand words would be an interesting model) full indie novels might grow a tad scarce in KU.

Lots of ways the thing can go, both right and wrong...
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:17 AM   #41
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There's no reason for Amazon to sell EPUB - it wouldn't make the market more consistent because EPUB is already fragmented. They're functionally identical to the users and offer no tangible benefit.
As a wise person round these parts once said; "People don't buy epub, they buy ebooks."
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:22 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
And as for "90 days at a time" my understanding is "90 days *minimum*". If an author chooses they can stay 120 days or 95... Or a year. I thought being in Select is an ongoing thing...
I may not have worded it very well. As I recall, you sign up for 90 days, and if you don't take your book out of Select during the 90 days, it gets auto-enrolled for another 90 days. I don't think you could leave after 95 or 120 days, I think you'd have to wait until you'd been in for 180 days. I've only tried it once, though, so my memory of the details is a bit sketchy.

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But either way, as I said, they can minimize the harm if they don't feel the pay out is sufficient, unlike with music where the author has no power at all.
I agree. I've seen some authors worrying that the sky is going to fall, but there are always some authors worrying. As you say, authors have a lot more control over this than musicians do with Spotify et al.

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One of the many reasons Anazon is doing KU is they really don't like distributing free books and are looking to wean the market off permafree. So I doubt the KU payout will go much lower than fifty cents, which is the payout on $0.99 titles. It will likely go higher but unless they tier the payouts by title length (x cents per thousand words would be an interesting model) full indie novels might grow a tad scarce in KU.
I've seen others suggest tiered payments by length, but they've not done that with KOLL, so I wouldn't expect it to happen with KU. Of course, I've been wrong before ...
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Old 07-23-2014, 10:05 AM   #43
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But 80% of the e-book market is in the US; the UK is the largest European market, where Amazon has an even bigger marketshare. The remaining EU countries still have very small e-book penetration. It's starting to change in Germany, but they are still only 5% e-books.
Russia and Japan are two countries where ePub is king.
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Old 07-23-2014, 10:07 AM   #44
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I may not have worded it very well. As I recall, you sign up for 90 days, and if you don't take your book out of Select during the 90 days, it gets auto-enrolled for another 90 days. I don't think you could leave after 95 or 120 days, I think you'd have to wait until you'd been in for 180 days. I've only tried it once, though, so my memory of the details is a bit sketchy.
I came across a lengthy thread on the KDP forums on Amazon the other day where several authors mentioned that there apparently is a new form available somewhere in the author area, which allows the author to contact Amazon service and pull out of KDP Select immediately if they don't wish to be enrolled to Kindle Unlimited.

I gather several authors already did that and their KDP Select status was ended right away (or as soon as the support service got around to it, I suppose).

Of course I don't know if that option is only in place now, when KU is a brand new thing, to allow authors to "opt out" (since KDP Select authors didn't get a say about it when the program was announced but were opted in automatically).
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Old 07-23-2014, 10:29 AM   #45
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Russia and Japan are two countries where ePub is king.
And they account for what percent of worldwide ebook sales?
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