Sunday, March 16, 2014

Romance E-Book Bundles~A Blight or a Bonus?

~My opinion~

Anthologies? Yesterday's news. Here is the new reality in e-book publishing. The Bundle. 

Pick a theme (Alpha heroes, rock stars, bikers, etc) gather together a bunch of authors and if you can snag a bestseller in the bunch, yay for extra exposure and no doubt extra sales! Gather these short stories together and charge—wait for it—99 cents for the whole, honking set!

Sit back and wait. *ping* it makes the USA Today and/or New York Times bestseller list! Hurrah for you!
Now you can add "USA TODAY or NY TIMES" Bestselling author to your name! Congrats! *Note (not all bundles make these lists, obviously)

I'm not being snarky, though I have seen a lot of snark on both Facebook and Twitter over these new developments in romance publishing. Authors you've never heard of are suddenly calling themselves NY Times bestselling authors. These lists now factor in e-books in their numbers, so the game has changed whether you want it to or not. These bundles and the authors in them have every right to be happy and brag they made either or both lists. Some bloggers and authors are grumbling from the sidelines that this is a cheat and these authors have not snagged these venerated monikers 'the right way'.

I've got news! 'The right way' no longer exists. Those who are still clinging to the old ways, trying to get an agent, enter contests, etc, are having a hard time adjusting to the constant state of flux in the romance pub biz. The 99 cent price point is here to stay.There is no denying it seems to be the magic number for sales.

E-book publishers should be shaking in their boots. How can you justify selling a short novella for 3.99 when readers can buy a bundle for 99 cents? I will bet you (though I have no proof) more than one epub is feeling the pinch. So are some self-pubbed authors, I'll bet. They release a book at 2.99. Nothing happens. So they put it on sale—constantly—for 99 cents. This is the new reality. Whether it's a good or bad thing is left up to interpretation for every individual.

Personally, I have no problem with everyone claiming they are a bestselling author. Because with the advent of third-party sites and their own bestselling and genre and sub-genre bestselling lists, there is a chance your recent release will hit some list, if only briefly. Its a cool feeling. Be proud. I am. And if someone contacts me to be part of a bundle, am I going to say no? Why would I?

Polls/surveys have shown most readers couldn't care less if an author is a NY Times bestseller, it doesn't factor into their book buying. It never factors into mine. Writers and those in the pub world place more importance on making these lists than anyone. Now its easier to get on the lists. I say—good. It's been too exclusive a club for far too long.

And if authors are pleased with the extra exposure and kudos being part of a bundle can bring, and readers are happy with the stories and price, then bundles are here to stay.

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