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Old 11-22-2006, 01:33 PM   #1
Liviu_5
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independent author on what Sony demands to list her books

An independent ebook author/publisher wrote the following in the Yahoo ebook-community group


"...For those curious about how Sony will provide content for their
reader, I contacted them last month about doing so. After signing a
lengthy non-disclosure agreement I was provided with a short manual
about preparing content for use. This involves paying an affiliate
company:

$200 to convert a font-embedded PDF to BBeB format
$0.65 per page for all pages over 350

For the $200, you get up to the 350 pages, 10 images (line or
halftone) and 150 external links, plus "free distribution" to the
Sony Connect bookstore.

So, if I want to have any of my titles so offered, I pay a $200
minimum to have them offered via a distribution model that already
failed miserably to be read on a reader I've heard only lukewarm
reviews of.
..."

The whole message is at:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ebook-.../message/27166


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Old 11-22-2006, 01:44 PM   #2
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Appalling! Writers should be rewarded for embracing this new technology, and paid for it. I thought they had only customers to worry about. One foot in the mouth and one in the...no I don't think is feasible...at least not simultaneously!
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Old 11-22-2006, 01:58 PM   #3
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Seems like a good starting cost to me... Basically anyone can get published on the sony connect store for only $200 - what's wrong with that?

Try that w/ print media..
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Old 11-22-2006, 02:38 PM   #4
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Not too bad

I agree. $200 to self publish on a platform that displays the book and collects the money is not bad at all. Paper self publishing is far more expensive. Also, the cost of providing your own book, with licensed DRM on your own web site, which you have to pay someone to design should be quite a bit more.

Nevertheless, I agree that if you can convert to BBEB yourself then they should accept the work withour requiring the outside service.
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Old 11-22-2006, 02:59 PM   #5
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So...Sony is acting like a vanity press then?
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Old 11-22-2006, 03:31 PM   #6
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My first thought was that it was like a vanity press too, but after thinking about it, the resemblance is only superficial -- vanity presses don't sell the printed book for the author, they sell it to the author, they do charge for the entire print run, they do require a minimum print run, and so on. None of that describes what's going on here.

This sounds more like a contract Editing Company: the $200 goes to the conversion folks for the service of doing the conversion. They probably also do some editing functions such as spell-checking etc. I expect that the 65¢/page over 350 is an indication that they're actually proofreading each page, as well as converting the file.

Sure, it would be nice if Sony could take just any BBeB file, but as folks have said around here over and over again: you expect a certain level of quality from a big name like Sony. We've also discovered how tough it can be to create a good, clean file.

If they took just any BBeB file, then how would they assure that the text is readable? Should Sony would get into the Copy Editing business? That can't be a good idea.

They're already catching flack from us for the errors that are in texts from other suppliers whose QA Sony has no control over. They're gonna get raked-over either way, but it sounds like they're just taking reasonable steps to assure the product's quality. Aren't these requirements fairly reasonable from that standpoint?

Yes, I might be sure that I'm turning out a quality BBeB file, and if Sony knows me well enough to know that they can trust me to do so, then great. But the fact is that they don't know just anybody that approaches them, they can't just take whatever file and assume that it's in good shape. They have to have some sort of assurance that the file is going to be reasonably good quality. $200 + 65¢/page after the first 350, sounds pretty reasonable for that.

I just don't see that this is so egregious, in fact, I'm a bit surpised that the editing/conversion service can afford to pay people to do the work for so little.
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Old 11-22-2006, 03:45 PM   #7
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From what I remember, Amazon has or intended to have a similar deal to e-publish in prc when they had that hype about going big into ebooks several months ago, but I have no idea if is still current....

Also there is Lulu which I read that gives you as good a deal as you can get from POD, so I guess it comes down to how popular you think BBeB and Sony Connect will be.



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Old 11-22-2006, 04:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diomark
Seems like a good starting cost to me... Basically anyone can get published on the sony connect store for only $200 - what's wrong with that?

Try that w/ print media..
-mark
What Mark said, except I think she's mistaken in that she seems to question the reader quality. I think Reader owners are clamoring for more content. If she put out a good product, I think she might do well.
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Old 11-22-2006, 05:15 PM   #9
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My suggestion:

Forget the DRM and sell the book on your own website in PDF format.
Spend that 200$ on advertising yourself.
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Old 11-22-2006, 05:49 PM   #10
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The important part of the deal is not disclosed in the thread. One cannot deduce the right/wrong of these "setup" costs without knowing what goes on down the line.

Who sets the price of the book, and how much of that does Sony demand for their marketing/processing/payment?

If the author could price her book at say $10.00, and Sony takes 10%. That doesn't sound half bad to me -- ~$200 to have your book converted and marketed by Sony, minus 10%. You couldn't buy that kind of marketing for $200 + 10% if you wanted to put the book on your own site.

But if say Sony demanded a minimum of $5 per book from "independents" -- then it's not such a good thing.

Or maybe in a manner similar to what credit card processing companies do to merchants -- the deal is a certain percentage of sales, subject to a minimum dollar amount a month (i.e. a guarantee of sales in the eyes of Sony).

All in all, we don't know the whole story -- so it's foolish to draw conclusions.

Last edited by bostonte; 11-22-2006 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 11-22-2006, 09:58 PM   #11
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Considering the cost of SysAdmins these days, $200 is not a lot to just add a book to the current offerings. From Sony's point-of-view the fees may just cover the additional expense of the cataloging and conversion (if even that.) As bostonte noted, the critical elements of the agreement are not there. What is the split? Are there minimums? Is there a fee per month for keeping the book in the catalog? Who sets the price?

Liviu 5 goes on about a "distribution model that already failed miserably to be read on a reader I've heard only lukewarm reviews of." If that is the case and their belief, why even bother to consider them as a means of distribution? This is only good or bad in consideration of what other sites are asking for their services.

Given the cost of book promotion, $200 is nothing.
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Old 11-22-2006, 09:58 PM   #12
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Well, they've said repeatedly that the Publishers set the prices, so I'd assume that in this case the author would set the pricing. I haven't been able to discover anything on what Sony's 'cut' would be, but the percentage thing makes sense.

I still don't find $200 to be exorbatant for what amounts to contract copy editing and typesetting service.
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Old 11-22-2006, 10:55 PM   #13
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I agree that there is a very large part is missing. Otherwise, I am on the fence about this. I mean, if the author realizes a ten-fold return on their work, then who the heck cares about a $200 setup fee?

Either way, I can understand the poster's reluctance. Sony's Reader is too new, too unadopted. Of course, should it really take off, then I imagine that fee will go up. Certainly a better track record will help sway authors like her.
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Old 11-23-2006, 10:26 AM   #14
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A debutant writer might not have the resources to invest in fees, considering the time required to produce credible work. If one wants to capture a readership, the first texts have to be more than enticing. It takes time, many writers take a big gamble investing in it.

Anyone with money can publish there? What about the quality of the works sold? Who's judge? Anybody seen such works on the connect site yet?

I have an issue related to ebooks. Anybody here ever tried a new author without prereading snippets? I won't! If I spend money sight unseen it has to be with guarantees, in this case a name I know. An ebook or book distributing site for that matter, is not a good spring board for a newbie unless he has a cult following. Then again he's not a newbie anymore.
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Old 11-23-2006, 10:28 AM   #15
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Steve Jordan! I'd love to have your opinions on all of this!
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