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Old 10-23-2017, 09:54 AM   #16
pwalker8
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@Hitch. Good post. You do have a point and I should probably have left out the adjective greedy which added little if anything to the arguments I put forward. If I really had to use an adjective in that sentence (and I did not) there are more applicable ones I could and should have chosen. I do not intend to imply that publishing is not hard work nor that there are some very good publishers around. And there clearly are many self-published books which are simply not up to scratch. Whole threads have been devoted to the task of picking books in this brave new world. My comments are essentially about the Big 5 and their setting of ebook prices since they so painfully wrested control of that privilege from Amazon.
For the most part, Amazon gave in on the agency pricing when their competition dried up and they were no longer worried about grabbing market share. Amazon limited the $9.99 price to big name books.

Those who dismiss the value of publishers should take a look at how To Kill A Mockingbird was written. The original manuscript was handed in 1957. It took over two years of the editor working with Lee to turn in the unpolished manuscript into a final product. Many of the writers that I read have reported similar back and forth with their editor on the first several books before they learn the craft of writing publishable works. Publishers don't just snarf up manuscripts and publish them after a quick spell check and adding some cover art.
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Old 10-23-2017, 10:15 AM   #17
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I have to go with the fact that some publishers are greedy. They hire staff or some company to make their eBooks and they do a piss poor job doing so. I've see way too many cases of poorly made eBooks. I've had to go in an fix them to make them comfortably readable. Why can't they make eBooks that are good to go without the need to fix them?
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Old 10-23-2017, 10:28 AM   #18
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I have to go with the fact that some publishers are greedy. They hire staff or some company to make their eBooks and they do a piss poor job doing so. I've see way too many cases of poorly made eBooks. I've had to go in an fix them to make them comfortably readable. Why can't they make eBooks that are good to go without the need to fix them?
Is it the books are not readable or is they are not up to your standards?
I think since 2011, I have only found 1 BPH that I could not read. That was due to you couldn't change the font.

Now is it the publishers are greedy or are they just giving the majority what they want?
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Old 10-23-2017, 10:52 AM   #19
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I wanted to comment on the "...greedy publishers" text.

A decade ago, I would have thought that yes--publishers charge too much, they gouge us because they control the book, etc.

That was before I worked through 3500 books, with their author-publishers. My understanding of what an actual publisher goes through, just trying to put out ONE SINGLE BOOK, in a decent, readable fashion, is now far greater and deeper.

Yes, I know--there will be self-pubs here who will object. "Oh, no, I write my books, design my own covers (or pay for...) and upload my own book. I do everything!" And yes--hundreds of thousands of you, clearly, exist. But so do the other kind of authors--those who in their hearts, really wanted to be PUBLISHED by a BPH (Big Publishing House) and who are loath to do any of the publisher's tasks, themselves. I've learned the real costs, of JUST answering an author's emails, during the production of one lousy ebook. I can't even fathom what it's like for an actual publisher, taking an author from contract to published book status, over the course of 18-24 months.

Our typical first-time author will emails us FORTY TIMES (40), over a two-week production period--and 99% of those emails have absolutely nothing to do with us, or what we do. (For those who don't know, I own/run an ebook production business.) Those emails range from "do I need an ISBN" (no) to "do you know someone who's good at marketing?" (no). I've lost count of the books I've seen that need editing; I can probably count on two hands the number I've seen that don't. (Out of over 5,000 books that I've quoted).

I work with a large number of traditional print-layout houses, where the production of a print book, with an author-pub client, will take months--typically, 6 months to a year. That's JUST the print layout and an edit, possibly. That has nothing to do with everything else that goes on around a book being produced for publication.

I talk to those folks all the time, and hear what they go though. I've seen many finally pubbed books that take years--just to get through the print-layout process. JUST to do that. Granted, in trade publishing, the publisher owns the rights, and controls that process to a large extent--but still. I'm boggled, quite truthfully, at the difficulties inherent in this intersection of business and creatives.

Flatly? There is no amount of money, on earth, that could convince me to ever--ever--become a publisher. No, thanks. (Not to mention, of all the trade-pubbed authors I've known, not ONE was ever satisified with "what my publisher did for me." All of them think that their publisher ripped them off, or didn't do enough marketing, or, or or....

Moreover, all of you--all--have now seen what agents and publishers have been seeing for years. Now, it's published, but before, only they saw them. The manuscripts that nobody in their right mind would publish; the ones where you'd shut it, before you finished the first paragraph. Now they're books.

You think that Publishers have some unlimited budget, to sit there and plow through submissions, like what you now see as published dreck, on Amazon? That they have a "gem" rate of 10%? (One out of every ten has something?). Of course they don't. Their rate is probably closer to 1%, assuming their rate is anything like what we're all seeing.

Hell, it's probably LESS than that. The old ways--silly things like writer's groups and critique groups, etc., seem to have utterly fallen by the wayside. I can now tell, with a few thousand words, which writers that come through our shop have had CW courses, or been in a critique/writing group. There's just something that you can sense or feel or know. (Probably the simple quality of the writing--that experienced hand.) The "instant gratification" mode seems to have completely taken over publishing, as well. ("We don't need no stinking writer's groups!") I pity the slushpile readers at publisher's/agents, I truly do.

I've got more respect for what they do, and how they manage the losers and the winners, than I did 10 years ago. Honestly, I don't know how they keep their sanity, much less their profits. Greedy? Not hardly, from what I've seen.


Hitch
Hitch, I think he major problem is not with the new works, but with the ever lengthening copyright (due to the US). Example, how many Robb White books will even be e-books? Yet they were enjoyable Juveniles. How much work of middle tier writers of 60 years ago is slowly disappearing?
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Old 10-23-2017, 11:31 AM   #20
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Hitch, I think he major problem is not with the new works, but with the ever lengthening copyright (due to the US). Example, how many Robb White books will even be e-books? Yet they were enjoyable Juveniles. How much work of middle tier writers of 60 years ago is slowly disappearing?
This is actually the tragedy of the ever extending copyright term. Only a small number of books are actually commercially viable 20 or 30 years after they were originally published, much less 60 years later. I think back to some of the books that I was a big fan of when I was a kid and a lot of them are no longer available.
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Old 10-23-2017, 01:07 PM   #21
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I agree with you Hitch, but with the addition that there are horrible publishers out there. In my experience, these usually are small (less than 5 employees, often only a single person companies) but the only thing they do is contacting the Dale M. Courtney’s of the world or googling for public domain stuff. Then they slap a cover on it, lavishly promoting their own role in the “about” page and call it a day.
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Old 10-23-2017, 01:26 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
I have to go with the fact that some publishers are greedy. They hire staff or some company to make their eBooks and they do a piss poor job doing so. I've see way too many cases of poorly made eBooks. I've had to go in an fix them to make them comfortably readable. Why can't they make eBooks that are good to go without the need to fix them?
Well, Wolfie, as you know, I would certainly agree with you on that front. I do believe, in my heart of hearts, that most BPHs didn't understand what would happen when they shipped thousands of DT backlist books to India for scanning and production. NOW, that doesn't excuse their wilful blindness to the subsequent eBooks--that's simply wrong. Maybe their attitude is wait and see? If enough people complain and/or buy it, they'll have it done properly? (yeah, right....)

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Originally Posted by Ralph Sir Edward View Post
Hitch, I think he major problem is not with the new works, but with the ever lengthening copyright (due to the US). Example, how many Robb White books will even be e-books? Yet they were enjoyable Juveniles. How much work of middle tier writers of 60 years ago is slowly disappearing?
What's that got to do with publishers? They're not the ones holding copyright over decades, folks.

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This is actually the tragedy of the ever extending copyright term. Only a small number of books are actually commercially viable 20 or 30 years after they were originally published, much less 60 years later. I think back to some of the books that I was a big fan of when I was a kid and a lot of them are no longer available.
As I said above, that has nothing to do with publishers. Don't confuse Disney--a content creator--with Random House. The creators of the material are those who hold copyright (and their heirs and devisees), and while I hate to see some books disappearing, it is ever so. The heir or devisee has the right to do with the book(s) as s/he sees fit.

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I agree with you Hitch, but with the addition that there are horrible publishers out there. In my experience, these usually are small (less than 5 employees, often only a single person companies) but the only thing they do is contacting the Dale M. Courtney’s of the world or googling for public domain stuff. Then they slap a cover on it, lavishly promoting their own role in the “about” page and call it a day.
Of course there are, but when people talk about 'greedy publishers' you know damned well that they are discussing Random House et al, not "Big Dog Publishing" of Minnetonka, or whatever.

And let's not confuse pay-for-play businesses that CALL themselves "publishers" with publishers, right? Those houses out there with $X,000 publishing packages, for which an author gets a cover design, an interior layout (of some quality or the other), an alleged edit--don't get me started--and uploading/distro via IS. Given that they do only a skosh more than we do, for like, 5x the price, it's enough to make me scream.

(To be fair, we don't do covers or edits. But most of these people are effectively paying to have their books uploaded. It's absurd.)

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Old 10-23-2017, 02:07 PM   #23
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...
As I said above, that has nothing to do with publishers. Don't confuse Disney--a content creator--with Random House. The creators of the material are those who hold copyright (and their heirs and devisees), and while I hate to see some books disappearing, it is ever so. The heir or devisee has the right to do with the book(s) as s/he sees fit.

...

Hitch
It has nothing to do with publishers, but everything to do with piracy which is the title of the thread.
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Old 10-23-2017, 02:15 PM   #24
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Well, Wolfie, as you know, I would certainly agree with you on that front. I do believe, in my heart of hearts, that most BPHs didn't understand what would happen when they shipped thousands of DT backlist books to India for scanning and production. NOW, that doesn't excuse their wilful blindness to the subsequent eBooks--that's simply wrong. Maybe their attitude is wait and see? If enough people complain and/or buy it, they'll have it done properly? (yeah, right....)

...
Hitch
One sees that sort of attitude in Corporate America all the time, that's why things like Customer Service and IT gets outsourced. The money guys are sold on the idea that they will save a lot of money, but never really think about quality control. Once they make that decision, then it takes a lot for them to admit it was an error.

They could improve the issue, simply by hiring a bunch of English majors and have them run it through a spell checker, then do a quick proof read to make sure everything is there and there isn't anything jarring.

The flip side is that IMPO, it's better to have an ebook with some errors in it than no ebook at all. As long as there isn't anything missing, I can live with it.
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Old 10-23-2017, 10:57 PM   #25
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Of course publishers are greedy. So is Amazon. So are you and so am I. We live in a capitalist economy which is a way to try to make greed productive and it works pretty well, although it certainly has it's problems.

The fact is that greedy publishers have given us great books to read over the centuries. And now Amazon is giving us an alternative to their gatekeeping, one of the problems with big publishers. Thanks to capitalism life keeps getting better and better for us readers.

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Old 10-23-2017, 11:27 PM   #26
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Of course publishers are greedy. So is Amazon. So are you and so am I. We live in a capitalist economy which is a way to try to make greed productive and it works pretty well, although it certainly has it's problems.

The fact is that greedy publishers have given us great books to read over the centuries. And now Amazon is giving us an alternative to their gatekeeping, one of the problems with big publishers. Thanks to capitalism life keeps getting better and better for us readers.

Barry


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Old 10-23-2017, 11:40 PM   #27
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Of course publishers are greedy. So is Amazon. So are you and so am I. We live in a capitalist economy which is a way to try to make greed productive and it works pretty well, although it certainly has it's problems.

The fact is that greedy publishers have given us great books to read over the centuries. And now Amazon is giving us an alternative to their gatekeeping, one of the problems with big publishers. Thanks to capitalism life keeps getting better and better for us readers.

Barry
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Hitch
You have to make a profit to survive as a small business. Most people do not realize the bills that a company has to pay. Payroll, Payroll taxes (Match Social Security and Medicare that is deducted from employees paycheck, 100% of Federal Unemployment and State Unemployment) Sales Tax, Mortgage or rent on places of business, Utilities, Corporate Taxes, County Property Taxes, Business License, cost of merchandise, Repairs to buildings and equipment, Equipment, Operating Supplies, Insurance and any Business Loans. If at the end of the year you make a profit you get to pocket some of it. Although you need to leave some for expansion, emergencies or the need to replace expensive operating equipment.
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Old 10-23-2017, 11:44 PM   #28
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I own a small jewelry store. When I am sizing a ruing or repairing a piece of jewelry you are not just paying for the gold used. You are paying for labor and the 40 years of experience that allows me to restore your jewelry to new condition. Do not get many stated on how many bench jewelers are working on jewelry that should seek another line of employment since they obviously do not care if the repair is done correctly or not. I am lazy. I only want to do the job one time. So I make sure it is right the first time.
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Old 10-23-2017, 11:46 PM   #29
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It is still piracy, no matter how good the cause.
I'm sure that Solzhenitsyn didn't regard samizdat as piracy, and I can't believe Jung Chang regards surreptitious downloading of her books, in China today, as such.

Piracy comes in where someone refuses to go to the expense and inconvenience of buying the book.
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Old 10-24-2017, 12:02 AM   #30
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I own a small jewelry store. When I am sizing a ruing or repairing a piece of jewelry you are not just paying for the gold used. You are paying for labor and the 40 years of experience that allows me to restore your jewelry to new condition. Do not get many stated on how many bench jewelers are working on jewelry that should seek another line of employment since they obviously do not care if the repair is done correctly or not. I am lazy. I only want to do the job one time. So I make sure it is right the first time.
Apache
When I had my ring sized up to save some money I waited till the price of gold dropped and had stayed down for a bit. I went from a 5 to a 6.5.
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