Book News: eBook Sales, Amazon Typo Warning, Librarian of Congress

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Good News For Self-published eBook Sales

In terms of dollars, US eBook sales have gone up in the past year. What’s more, indie-published titles are on the rise in terms of market share, placement as top sellers, and sheer volume of published work. From “February 2016 Author Earnings Report: Amazon’s Ebook, Print, and Audio Sales” on the Author Earnings website:

“The most important graph for authors shows the rapidly diverging rate of ebook author income by publishing path. The Big 5 publishers are now providing less than a quarter of the dollars earned by creatives for their ebook sales. Indies are taking close to half. As detailed in previous reports, higher prices and other missteps are a likely contributor to this accelerating trend, but the reality may be that major publishers simply are finding it difficult to compete with indie authors on diversity, price, quality, and frequency of publication, as this divergence has been increasing for the last two years — well before the Big Five’s return to no-discount agency pricing.”
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The entire article is worth the read, and provides hard evidence that independent publications have staked their place in the market, and how.

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Amazon’s Customer Facing Quality Indicators

Amazon has implemented a new policy that will flag Kindle eBooks with a warning, what they are calling CFQIs (Customer Facing Quality Indicators), to indicate an eBook contains errors. The reason, it seems clear, is to protect the buying public from spending money on a title only to find it’s riddled with typos and other issues that render it unreadable or unsatisfactory. The concern among authors, particularly self-published authors, is that they’ll get pegged with a warning sticker for a handful of errors, or worse, for the use of made up words, names, and objects created for worlds they’ve invented.

No, Amazon Will Not Penalize Your Book for a Typo” posted on the Words On Words blog, provides this handy list regarding what offenses Amazon will be flagging for, which include:

  • missing content
  • duplicated content
  • numbers inadvertently substituted for letters, or vice versa (“typ0gr4phic”, “the year 2o12”)
  • punctuation used in place of letters (e.g., “I read bo%ks”)
  • visible or malformed HTML code
  • discretional hyphens (“bad hy-phenation”)
  • missing letters (“m ghty pecul ar”)
  • unsupported characters (e.g., emoticons)
  • incorrect content (as when the publisher uploads the interior file for a different book)
  • blurry or excessively compressed images
  • body text rendered entirely as underlined, bold, or hyperlinked
  • page numbers embedded in the text
  • nonfunctional table of contents or internal links

as well as the things Amazon will ignore:

  • minor typographical errors (“What have you got to loose?”)
  • regional spelling differences (e.g., “favourite” vs. “favorite”)
  • dialogue, accents, or dialects (“I doan’ budge a step out’n dis place ‘dout a doctor”)
  • foreign languages, archaic speech (“leet his sheep encombred in the myre”)
  • proper names (“The Dothraki called that land Rhaesh Andahli”)

Amazon has also indicated that for a typical novel, 15-20 typos will trigger the warning. From the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) page comes this: “The combined impact on the reading experience of a book with excessive Distracting or Destructive Issues can lead to the book being removed from sale until the corrections are made. A moderate amount of Distracting or Destructive Issues can result in the book remaining available for sale, but with a temporary quality warning displayed on the detail page of the book on until corrections are made.”

Note that is says “temporary” in regard to the warning. Authors with content earning a flag will be notified and have the opportunity to correct the problems and remove the warning.

Dr Carla Hayden

Nominee For Librarian of Congress: Carla Hayden

Last November, President Obama signed a bill into law which put a 10-year term limit on the position of Librarian of Congress, a position which had basically become a lifetime appointment.

Obama Nominates Carla Hayden for Librarian of Congress,” on the Publisher’s Weekly website, states: “President Obama today announced Carla Hayden, CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, as his nominee to become the 14th Librarian of Congress. The selection comes after months of speculation, following the January retirement of James Billington, a Reagan appointee who took the post in 1987. If approved by the Senate, Hayden will replace associate director David Mao, who is currently serving as the the library’s interim director.”

If approved, Hayden will inherit a department harshly criticized for its failure to keep up with advances in technology, as well as a movement to remove the US Copyright Office from under the authority of the Library of Congress, which has had oversight of copyright functions since 1870.


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  1. I was wondering that if someone publishes a book with a self-publishing company and the author uses his/her own company as the name of the publisher, will that book not be taken seriously by libraries and pre-publication reviews because the author used a self-publishing company? What if the author also purchased his/her own ISBN numbers and copyright?

    Thank you.

    • It probably won’t get picked up by the vendors, because they’ve got so much stock form the big publishers to cart around (I happened to see our local librarian “shopping” one day: a guy with cases of–in this case, kids’–sample books that would have been a good four feet high was getting divided into piles of “will buy,” “won’t buy,” and “might already have it.”) That said, they can order it just as easily as any other book they get requests for, and many libraries in smaller communities have inter-library loan programs, so “gifting” a copy to one of them could result in sales to others if enough patrons start requesting it.

      A bigger consideration, though libraries area getting used to having paperbacks in their regular stacks, is libraries’ preference for heavier-use hardcovers vs. the paperbacks that dominate PoD publishing.

  2. Hi~ We self published our book using the criteria you mentioned above. The most important aspect is to be sure the book does not look self published-particularly the cover. Libraries usually order from Ingram and Baker and Taylor. To get into Ingram, you need to be sure you publish with Lightning Source~otherwise self-published books cannot into their catalog.

  3. Idell has brought up a valid query.

    I have a company in Australia and a block of ISBNs and would only use my own company identity and ISBNs when I am ready to publish eBooks. I am keen to know the Bookbaby protocol about this issue.

    Also, if I go ahead and use Bookbaby for any services, am I still able to market my books on my own website as well as those that Bookbaby recommends and uses? Can I retain first Australian and International digital and print rights?

    Of course I would carefully assess these issues before committing to any book distributor.or marketing organisation.

  4. I wouldn’t describe ‘loose’ as a minor error, certainly not if used repeatedly in lieu of lose. And favourite vs favorite is not a regional spelling difference; it’s British English vs the U.S. variant, and there are several of those. Amazon being a U.S. company, I do wonder just how many spelling variations they would recognise as just that, not any kind of error.

    • I see “favourite” in otherwise American-English books, particularly older books. And Britain is a “region” of the English-speaking world.


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