Why I won’t be adding my print anthology to Kindle Matchbook

A few months ago, Amazon launched a new scheme whereby you could get the kindle version of a book that you’d previously bought a print copy of for free or at a reduced rate. Terrific idea. I would LOVE to get cheaper kindle versions of, e.g. my Heyers. Sadly I can’t, for various reasons to do with the restrictions of the scheme. As an author who self-publishes through Kindle, I was invited to sign my books up to the scheme. At the time, the only self-published print edition I had was for Reckless Runaway at the Racecourse and I really only did it for a couple of non-ereading friends who were keen to buy copies. So I didn’t bother.

I’ve just finished formatting and uploading the print anthology of Reckless Runaway at the Racecourse, The Tycoon’s Convenient Wife and Flirting with the Camera. This is a book I’d actually like to sell some copies of and make some money on. Obviously all those books are available in kindle format and it would be trivial to make a kindle anthology of them to enter into the matchbook programme alongside the print anthology. But I’m afraid I won’t be doing that and here’s why.

I can’t afford to.

Let me explain. At the moment, those books are all on sale for £1.93.* I make 70% on each sale (Mostly. Some regions only pay a 30% royalty.). So that’s £1.35. If a reader buys all three, that’s £4.05. Even if I did a digital bundle for, say, £4.50, I’d still make £3.15 for each sale.**

The print anthology is probably going to retail for £10.99. I’d hoped to bring it in under £10 but I don’t think I can do it. It will be 371 pages long, trade paperback sized. I feel like £10.99 isn’t excessive for a book of that length, but unfortunately print on demand books will always be more expensive than trade. If you buy that through Amazon (which you need to for the matchbook scheme), my share will be £0.45.

That means that in the matchbook scheme, I would make 45p for the print book and be throwing in as a freebie a book that would normally make me at least £3.15. Or I could set the digital matchbook at £1.93, so the total take home for me: £1.80. Whichever way you look at it, that just doesn’t add up.

I do understand why, as a reader, the scheme is very appealing. Ebooks feel like they ought to cost less, and indeed, often they do. It makes sense to allow print and digital bundling at a lower price. But I can’t make it work for me the way that it has been set up.

*It’s $2.99. But I’m going to do this in sterling because I’ve been using Lulu.co.uk for the print version.

** This is coming, but I’m not sure exactly when.

I hate change: technology update

Follow up to my previous post:

Have bought a second hand Kindle keyboard from a twitter/ravelry contact. Works perfectly and I am very happy with this. Hope it lasts!

Have found what I thought did not exist: a netbook with better memory and more up to date OS than my constantly-crashing one. It’s very pretty, in peacock blue, has 4GB RAM and full Windows 7. It came from Amazon warehouse, meaning it has been returned/refurbished, though there is no sign of any damage or previous use. Also meaning, it was a bargainous price. It’s basically this but Windows 7 and just over half the price. I am extremely pleased with it and I plan to take very good care of it to make it last FOREVER.

I hate change: technology edition

Earlier this week, my Kindle died. The screen is broken and unreadable. I can’t live without my Kindle. I love it because it has all the books I am reading and want to read and don’t have room for on my shelves. And it lets me buy books in bed.

So, I started looking at options to replace the dead one. It’s a Kindle Keyboard that I’ve had for about 15 months after my previous one died at about 9 months and was replaced because it was within warranty. Kindles do not have a good reputation for longevity. On the other hand, when it’s working, it does exactly what I want it to do and I love it. The problem is that Amazon no longer sell the Kindle Keyboard. My options are: Kindle 6″ (no keyboard, much reduced storage, £69); Kindle Paperwhite (ditto, but with a different kind of screen which I’m not sure I like the look of, £109); Kindle Fire (not e-ink, a tablet rather than an e-reader, which is not what I want); get the screen replaced (£59); get a second hand Kindle Keyboard on ebay (about £40). I went for the latter and actually I’m going to buy a second hand one from a twitter/knitting friend. I hope it lasts for a while.

My netbook is also on the way out. It’s got a missing ‘o’ (I can type it, but there’s no key), and more importantly, limited memory, which is not really working any more. Firefox crashes regularly, it’s slow and unreliable. I’d hoped I might be able to add extra memory, but it’s not obvious how to do it (I have done this on other laptops but when I found the tutorial for how to do it on this one, it looked way scarier.) I might be able to pay someone to do that. I’ve looked around and yet again, what I want is basically discontinued. Manufacturers are not putting out new, up to date, netbooks. So my options are: a cheap netbook with the same spec as my current one for around £180; a tablet (DO NOT WANT, choose your own price); or an ultrabook (CAN’T AFFORD). The problem with the netbooks that are out there is that they are essentially 2-year-old models. They will have the same problems as my current netbook, i.e. lack of memory. I can’t see that it’s worth spending any money on one, unless I can find one with more memory, a more up to date operating system, and so on. Ultrabooks are lovely, I’m sure, but I don’t want to be spending £500 or more for something that isn’t my main computer. I use my netbook when I’m travelling and when I’m in bed/watching TV etc. I mostly use it for writing and internet. I would like to be able to watch TV without it crashing. I would like to be able to use some other software occasionally when I’m not at home with access to my main laptop. I don’t need it to be glossy or sleek; I do need it to be solid and sturdy. I don’t want a tablet. I need to be able to write. A lot.

So I don’t know what to do. I suppose I could consolidate my main laptop (which I basically use as a slightly more portable desktop) with my netbook and get something inbetween. With a big screen for a second monitor at my desk. I hate second monitors. I could get a tablet and a USB keyboard. Ugh, ugh, ugh. I could save up and get an ultrabook.

I just don’t understand why technology keeps getting less functional and more expensive. I thought it was supposed to be the other way around?

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How do you read?

Ten years ago, maybe even five, this wasn’t even a question. Books were books and you read them. Now people read via ereaders, tablets, phones and all sorts of other techy ways. And paper, of course.

My medium of choice is my kindle. I really, really love it. It’s light, small, easy on the eyes, and doesn’t have the inbuilt distraction of the internet. If you desperately need the internet, it does include an experimental browser, but it’s hard work. It’s like reading a paper book but much more convenient.

My second choice option is my phone. Mostly I only use this if I’m waiting somewhere and didn’t bring my kindle. I can access all my kindle books and read them on it. The screen is small and bright. It’s easy to use for short periods of time but not as a primary reading device.

Third choice is paper books. I am shocked by this. I thought I would be a die-hard paper book fan, and indeed there are a fair number of paper books in my house. Almost all my new purchases are digital, though, and I actually find reading on the kindle easier. I only need one hand and turning pages is less intrusive if I’m knitting or something.

What I don’t have and don’t want is a tablet. I have a laptop for work and a netbook that I like to use for travel or in bed, and so on. It’s small enough to fit in my handbag, but has a proper keyboard and all the normal software that I use. I often use it, rather than the big laptop, for writing on, because it doesn’t require me to be sitting at a desk.

Sadly, it seems likely that both the ereader and the netbook are going to become victims of the tablet’s success. And in theory, I can see why. It would fulfil many of the functions that my kindle and netbook have. But I can’t see myself enjoying using one as much as I enjoy them. The kindle is designed for only one thing – reading books – and it is brilliantly designed for that. The netbook is multi-functional and more useful to me than a tablet. I don’t want the compromise option that does everything a little bit worse.

What about you? How do you prefer to read?