Amazon Speaks Out on Agency Model, E-Book Prices and Market Share

CNET recently interviewed Ian Freed, Amazon vice president in charge of the Kindle. Among the interesting things he said was that Amazon sells 70-80 percent of all e-books sold. When asked about claims by Apple and Barnes & Noble that they have something like 20 percent of the market each, Freed said Amazon’s pretty sure about their own numbers and “something doesn’t add up” with the claims from others. I think he’s right. Let’s say Amazon has 75 percent of the market, Apple, maybe 8-10 percent, and everyone else the rest. I think that’s a pretty fair assessment of where things stand right now.

There was also this interesting question and answer on the topic of agency pricing and the price points for e-books in general:
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Interview: Joan Esherick (Author, Freelance Writer, Professional Speaker)

I had the good fortune to meet and get to know Joan Esherick at the Montrose Christian Writers Conference (MCWC). Joan is a full-time freelance writer, a professional speaker and published author whose freelance work has appeared in a number of Christian periodicals including: Discipleship Journal, Pray!, Living with Teenagers, Today’s Christian Woman (now Kyria) and MOODY magazines. She’s written or contributed to twenty-five non-fiction books, including OUR MIGHTY FORTRESS: Finding Refuge in God (she gave me a copy!), and has developed curriculum, women’s Bible study material, and small group leader training material. Joan is a member of AWSA (Advanced Writers & Speakers Association), The Author’s Guild, and the Evangelical Press Association.

Joan also loves Labrador Retrievers (she writes an award-winning blog about them), and she’s just fun to be around. Thanks Joan, for taking a few minutes to speak with me about your writing career and about MCWC.

Interview: Elaine W. Miller (author)

I caught up with Elaine Miller at the recent Montrose Christian Writers Conference (MCWC) and asked her about the courses she was teaching, her book and about the MCWC. She’s a great interviewee! In fairness to Elaine, this was an “on the spot” interview and she, like many of us, were getting little sleep. Even so, she gives a great spontaneous interview.

In the interview Elaine credits the MCWC with her start in writing and getting her first book published. Elaine said it was at MCWC she learned about the craft of writing and sold her first article to Salvation Army’s War Cry magazine (that article later became the first chapter in her book Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Moms).

E-Books Now Outselling Hardcover Books at

It seems a trend at some coffee and sandwich shops in New York City is to ban computer use, at least for a few hours each day. In a New York Times article on August 2, author Nick Bilton relates his experience with “please put down the Kindle sir.”

The interesting bit of news from the article (for me) comes near the end of the story:
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Jason Epstein Writes on the Future of E-Books

Jason Epstein The following quote from Jason Epstein is from an article he published in the The New York Review of Books, March 11, 2010:

“The transition within the book publishing industry from physical inventory stored in a warehouse and trucked to retailers to digital files stored in cyberspace and delivered almost anywhere on earth as quickly and cheaply as e-mail is now underway and irreversible. This historic shift will radically transform worldwide book publishing, the cultures it affects and on which it depends. Meanwhile, for quite different reasons, the genteel book business that I joined more than a half-century ago is already on edge, suffering from a gambler’s unbreakable addiction to risky, seasonal best sellers, many of which don’t recoup their costs, and the simultaneous deterioration of backlist, the vital annuity on which book publishers had in better days relied for year-to-year stability through bad times and good. The crisis of confidence reflects these intersecting shocks, an overspecialized marketplace dominated by high-risk ephemera and a technological shift orders of magnitude greater than the momentous evolution from monkish scriptoria to movable type launched in Gutenberg’s German city of Mainz six centuries ago.” (emphasis mine)

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Interview: Fran Fernandez (author)

I first heard Fran Fernandez speak at last year’s MCWC. Fran was attending this year’s conference and I had the chance to record this interview. She credits the Montrose Christian Writers Conference for the knowledge and inspiration to write and get her first book published: The Best Is Yet to Come: 60 Devotions. She gave me the ultimate gift, a signed copy of her book for my wife Judy. Thanks Fran! (Fran gets bonus points…her publisher, Zondervan, has made her book available in a Kindle version too.)