Tag Archives: digital media

Norton’s Ghost Novel Now Available In Kindle Store For 99 Cents

I’m happy to announce that my novel, “Norton’s Ghost”, is now available in the Kindle store for 99 cents.

Norton’s Ghost on Amazon’s Kindle Store

Why I Am Sitting Here and Not Playing a Game

I’m sitting at the computer, very much Not Playing a Game, when I would rather be Very Much Playing A Game.  Why?

Speed.

I wrestled with the decision of whether to brave the overcast and apathetic Sunday in favor of going to a game store to buy Fallout 3.  In the end, I found that it was available via Games On Demand on the XBox360.  Salvation was at hand.

Or that’s how it seemed four hours ago.

The game’s still downloading, you see.

We see most of our entertainment moving towards a “downloadable content” (DLC), on-demand, streaming, yadda yadda.  But this sort of thing lives and dies by speed.

I used to cringe when Netflix streaming announced that a movie was available in HD–the damn service couldn’t keep up the bandwidth and would pause mid-movie/show and renegotiate a standard resolution connection.  It was annoying because it kicked me out of the action, and it was annoying because they told me “my connection speed has changed” or some other excuse.

I have a 12Mb cable connection.  The limiting factor here isn’t me, it’s the service that wants to sell me content.  And for content that cannot be streamed and consumed while the rest finishes (games, programs, and so forth), speed is paramount to the success of the product on both sides.

I can’t tell if I’ll volunteer for this again.  Not when a slight push to break house gravity would have resulted in me roaming through a post-war future three and a half hours ago.

CDs and Burgers

I’ve been buying a lot of CDs lately.  (For some more thoughts on physical versus digital media, see The Great Physical/Electronic Media Disparity.)

Having the physical products reminds me how much I enjoy having the album artwork and liner notes available.  At times, they don’t seem like they matter, but other times it makes it feel like a more complete product.  Plus, it’s a chance to show off cool artwork, and I’m a fan of that.

It also reminds me of my high school years.  I got a job at McDonald’s when I turned 16.  Steady pay and zero bills meant I had a lot of expendable cash that I spent on food, music, and video games.  My friend Rob and I would usually hit the mall:  Burger King (I wasn’t a vegetarian yet), then the arcades and CD stores.  This was mid-late 90s, so digital players (indeed, even the formats, really) hadn’t caught on yet or become widely available.

It always felt good to come home with new music.  A new disc was a prize.

I hated (and still hate) those stickers on the edges of the jewel cases, though. Frustrating.

Looking back, though, my knowledge of music and bands was so much more narrow than it was now.  The only way I found out about bands was MTV (remember when they played music?) and friends.  Or if an album cover / back looked particularly interesting and I took it home with me. A thought just now: how crazy is it that CDs don’t even have any text on the back?  Even paperback books have a little blurb about the story.  Why is there no text on the back of a CD?  Something to say what it’s about?  I’m still in the process of writing and recording a few different albums.  I’ll make a point to put something on the back in the event that the physical product is the first thing a person comes in contact with.

Nowdays, I can’t imagine trying to find new music without all the reviews, lists, recommendations, and song previews on Amazon and other sites like it.  Only now is the back text perhaps unnecessary.

I suppose the internet is every CD’s back text.

The Great Physical/Electronic Media Disparity

By now, many people–people both smarter than I am and in better positions to speak on it–have made clear their thoughts and feelings regarding the Amazon-Macmillan tug-of-war.  As I checked in with the world before I sat down to write, I see that Macmillan titles are returning to Amazon now (at least the dead-tree versions).

What concerns me most at this point is the stance of the publishers: “printing and shipping costs are only a fraction of a book’s production costs,” they say.

I can agree with that.  What I don’t agree with is them using this stance to justify higher ebook pricing.  “We have to pay the author and editors and typesetters and artists and…” goes the list.

To which I say:  so?

They’re already doing that–for the print copy.

You might have to adjust artwork a bit for an electronic copy, but that’s not the same as having artwork commissioned from scratch.  That work has already been done.

Same with the editing.  Considerations might have to be made, but the vast majority of that work has also already be done for the print copy.

About the only major cost in producing ebook copies of a print book would be the conversion into a digital reader format and fixing any mistakes that arise from that process.  No small task, sure, but justified because it opens up an entire new market for the book.

The only time the publisher’s cry of “printing and shipping costs are only a fraction of a book’s production costs!” rings true is if they produce an ebook–and only an ebook–and all that above-mentioned work is done specifically and only for an ebook.  Then I’ll believe it.

I believe that ebooks should cost less to the consumer than the physical product.  I feel the same way about CDs and MP3s.  I recently bought physical CDs because the price of the physical product was only $3 more than the price of the MP3 album on Amazon.

Why would I spent that much money on a digital product when I can get the meatspace version for not much more?

The same goes for books.  To me as a consumer, $10 is way too high for an ebook.  I can perhaps see $10 as the hardcover new-release equivalent of a book, but that’s as far as it goes and even that’s as stretch. Above $10 is absurd.  The deep discounts often given to new-release bestsellers narrows the margin between print and electronic copies.  Why would I pay $15 for an ebook when I can get the new-release copy for $25 or less?  By pure math, yes, I’m paying much more as a percentage, but you have to look at the actual value provided, as well.  My print copy will always be around.  I can read it, lend it, take it with me, and never worry about someone coming to take it away and tell me I can’t read it anymore.  Nor do I need eyes surgically implanted because someone decided to change formats or “replace” the current batch of readers out there.

The advantages of ebook copies are:

  • lower price
  • searchability
  • you don’t have to carry boxes full of them when you move

But beyond that, for me as a consumer, there just isn’t anything else there. Remove the advantage of a price lower than the meatspace copy and I’m left with no reason to buy it at all.