IPG’s ebooks return to Kindle Store shelves

Standard

Publishers Lunch reports that the Independent Publishers Group and Amazon have reached an agreement that will end a three-month standoff over sales of the distributor’s ebooks in the Kindle store.

The dispute, which began in February, saw about 5,000 IPG titles removed from the store. Although details were not made public, IPG has said it objected to proposed terms that would have substantially reduced authors’ earnings.

The standoff affected only IPG’s ebook titles. Amazon continued to sell paper versions of IPG’s books throughout the dispute.

IPG was established in 1971 to represent titles from independent presses to the book trade. It has since grown into a major distributor, providing a range of services to a variety of small and large publishers. It represents several U.K. and Australian publishers, and sells directly into the Canadian market through the Toronto-based Manda Group

Advertisements

E-sun shines on short-form writers

Standard

The rise of ebooks is injecting new life into a couple of story-telling formats that have been languishing on the fringes of literature for decades.

Amazon reported last month that it has sold more than two million Kindle Singles since it launched the service in January 2011.

These mini-ebooks, which typically run between 5,000 and 30,000 words, have breathed life into the kind of works that are virtually unsaleable in contemporary print markets – those that are too short to be real books and too long for a standard magazine article.

The cover prices are low – from $1 to $5 – but several writers have already managed to parlay the platform into substantial returns, a task made much easier by Amazon’s generous royalty rate.

Even established writers are being encouraged to dip their toes in the short-form waters. Right now, for instance, Ontario author Margaret Atwood is sitting at number 2 position on the Kindle Singles list with her 42-page story, I’m Starved for You.

The good news for writers is that publishers are, for the first time in years, offering these shorter works to the general public. They are putting them in their digital shop windows. People are looking. People are buying. Readers are reading.

The even better news is that Amazon is not alone in embracing the shorter form. Other publishers are starting to break into the market with their own short-form offerings.

There is Byliner, for instance, which specializes in “single sitting” stories (and also features Atwood’s I’m Starved for You). It offers curated archives for its members, in addition to a slate of original commissioned work.

And for non-fiction fans, The Atavist publishes nonfiction stories for digital devices like the iPad, iPhone, Kindle, and Nook. The Atavist’s specialty is long-form journalism, a kind of reportage that had, only recently, seemed destined for extinction.

It’s still early days, of course, but there is definitely a sense of excitement around the shorter-form digital format. The potential is there for shorter-form works to break into mainstream reading.

The day may come when short-story writers can climb out of their basements, dusty manuscripts in hand, and emerge into a sunlit landscape where they can actually sell their “cracking good yarns” to members of the general public. For real money. At last.

Indie authors thrive in Kindle Store

Standard

Indie authors are burning up the bestseller e-charts in the United Kingdom, according to a press release this month from Amazon.co.uk.

The company says independent British writers are matching the success of Amazon’s Kindle ebook reader with its Kindle Direct Publishing platform to take top spots in the Kindle Store’s bestseller list.

In the last quarter of 2011, Lancashire novelist Kerry Wilkinson was the Kindle Store’s #1 bestseller with his independently published Locked In, the first book in his Jessica Daniel detective series.

Wilkinson has also released two other books in the series, Vigilante and The Woman in Black, using the Kindle publishing platform and together they have sold hundreds of thousands of copies in the Kindle Store at Amazon.co.uk. Books four and five in the series, Think of the Children and Playing with Fire, are due for release this year.

Also finishing high in the standings was Katie Stephens of Surrey, a self-confessed ‘chick lit’ writer, who saw her debut novel Candles on the Sand become the #5 bestselling book in the Kindle Store in the last quarter.

Kindle was the biggest selling product at Amazon.co.uk in 2011 and sales of Kindle books in the three months following the launch of the all-new Kindle were almost five times higher than the same period in 2010, the company said.

The Kindle Direct Publishing gives writers a free and relatively simple way to self-publish their books for distribution through the Amazon Kindle Store.