Haulin’ them megabytes

Remember how I said designing an eBook was like designing a web page from the late 90s? Well, there’s one more way eBooks are like old technology, they charge by the megabyte.

I’ve been taking a closer look at Amazon’s 70% Royalty sharing option and found something interesting. The royalty is 70% of digital list price, minus $0.15 for every megabyte in size of your eBook. Now for most people this wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Their books probably don’t clock in over the half a megabyte mark.

But I’m writing a book on fractals. There are, you know, pictures and stuff.

I’m estimating the final product will be about 8MB in size (which is actually pretty compressed from the original word file). At $0.15 a megabyte, that’s another $1.20 out of the royalty (per book), knocking the approximately $3.50 I was expecting (out of my $4.99 digital list) down to $2.30. It’s still better than the 35% option, which does not have the delivery fee, by 11%. Somehow I doubt Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing could get people as excited about 46% royalties.

I wasn’t sure why Amazon did this until I thought about cell phones.

Amazon does make a few 3G eReaders, and because the transmission size of eBooks is usually pretty small, it doesn’t charge its users a data plan like most cell phone carriers. Well, here’s where there making up for some of that money they left on the table.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do about the Fractal book at the moment. Kindle Direct Publishing is still an option (and for novels it’d be fine), but something about this strikes me as … cheap.

Here’s what I’d like. A couple of months ago the Humble eBook Bundle put together 13 books from a variety of authors (DRM free) and sold them at a pay what you want level, with a minimum of a couple bucks or so. If you paid a little more, you got a little extra. It’s a nice model and one I’d like to do some investigation of. I could see selling the Fractal book for say, a base price of $2.99 (better than I’d be doing on Amazon), and have some bonus content if you beat the average price (not sure what that’d be, maybe a book of the blog for the last year…). I’m not sure how the hosting would work, or any of the other details, so it might take some more time to set something like this up. It might even be nice to get a couple of my fellow blog authors in on it (hint hint nudge nudge wink wink).

I’m also looking into Smashwords, which while it doesn’t seem to have the distribution power of Amazon, seems a little more generous though there are fine print things with it as well.

All this is to say that it’s worthwhile to read everything before you commit to a certain program, and that I may need to spend some time finding a better distribution channel for the Fractal Book before it can be released (sorry 😦 I’m working as quickly as possible). Truth be told, I like the pay what you want model and DRM free content, and I was never exactly thrilled about restricting the Fractal Book to a DRM release only.

I’ll let you know as I have more information. Anyone discovered a better channel for sharing books (one that doesn’t charge by the megabyte (actually kilobyte if you read the even finer print))? Anyone interested in taking a weird experimental plunge with me? I promise there’ll be cookies…


Filed under Books + Publishing, Internal Debate 42, Writing

4 responses to “Haulin’ them megabytes

  1. If|when these guys go live, this might be an interesting place to do this. Anyone want to join in?


  2. Pingback: Hello Greetings! | [BTW] : Ben Trube, Writer

  3. Pingback: Even More eBook Formatting Tips | [BTW] : Ben Trube, Writer

  4. Pingback: FreeBooks 2 – Five … Five Dollar … Five Dollar Fractals | [BTW] : Ben Trube, Writer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s