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E-arcs, and publishing new books, how does it work?

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E-arcs, and publishing new books, how does it work?
Post by Mycall4me   » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:36 pm

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What I enjoy most in being a registered user, is the ability to pose a question on a subject that I have interest in, or am needing education on.
I'm sure it will mostly end up as a "that's just the way it works" or "it's what they want to do" answer, but I would like a few questions answered. Baen believes and allow E-ARCs, yes, it does benefit us, but they are also benefiting from it (financially) or that policy would not exist. I'd kind of like an explanation of the whole e-arc thing, and the reasoning behind it. Or how (or why) it works.
After that comes a question that will surely be an "it's the way they want it" answer, but I would think that other publisher's (insert Tor here) should be able to see the advantages of instituting e-arcs, especially when they can look at one of their better author's, who also writes
for baen and, is apparently NOT disadvantaged by the sale of his books as e-arcs.
I read somewhere in these forums that a LOT of people jump on an e-arc, yet will also buy the papered version, effectively buying the same book twice. Sounds like a good thing for baen (or Tor) to me. And there are probably other reasons that baen has an e-arc policy. I would think that they (Tor) would at least dip their toes in the water and at least TRY it with just ONE book for goodness sakes. And, they could try it with an author of theirs (RFC) that looks at e-arcs (and snippets) as a good thing.
BTW apparently Tor doesn't seem to have an issue with the MWW releasing snippets for their book, so you would think that an e-arc, which is sort of like an expanded version of a snippet, might also be a good idea, and, hey look! We can charge for providing it too!
So, that's enough for now. Can anyone enlighten me, and expand my knowledge base?
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Re: E-arcs, and publishing new books, how does it work?
Post by Fireflair   » Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:47 am

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I will share my admittedly limit knowledge on the subject.

Baen absolutely makes a profit on the e-arcs (Note that they're as expensive as some hardbacks you can get from Amazon), as you noted not only do many people who buy the e-arc get the hard copy but it also benefits them in other ways. People who read the e-arcs often send back feed back on confusion in the text, misspellings, grammar, and a variety of other mistakes.

Often the final paper copy of a book has changes made to it. Mostly small or minor things, along with the usual grammar editing. Sometimes, however, there are entirely different sections in the hard copy, which is another reason people pick them up.

Other publishers, such as Tor, are fully aware of the benefits of e-arcs but have decided for one reason or another that they don't want to go that route. Some concerns I've heard include piracy of the e-arcs, possible loss of sales when the final copy releases, and the added time and effort of providing e-arcs not paying dividends enough to justify them.

You'll also note that Baen doesn't provide e-arcs of all of their materials. I believe this is a mix of Baen's view on each title's selling value and the author's being willing to allow e-arcs. The Baen free library is another input to the problem. Baen long ago established that they feel the free library provides not only a good introduction to many different authors but is a valuable back list tool to encourage people to buy an author's books. If you read the first Honor Harrington book for free from the free library that could start you off buying the next 20-some books from Baen, as an example.
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Re: E-arcs, and publishing new books, how does it work?
Post by fallsfromtrees   » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:06 pm

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Most publishers do an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) that is sent to various reviewers, book buyers (for chains like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc), blurb writers, etc.

Many of these ARCs ended up on ebay, where they commanded ludicrous prices by fans who were desperate for a fix before general availability.

Jim Baen decided he would rather have the money in his pocket instead of the other people's.

Also Note that on either the Baen site or Eric Flint's there was some commentary on the economics of providing free copies of the first book of a series.

Gist of the argument was that it

a) Gave people a chance to see if they liked the author. If not, they didn't feel like they had be ripped off by buying a piece of crap.

b) If they did like it, they would buy probably buy the rest of the series.

c) In Eric's personal experience, not only did he sell more copies of the book that was given away, but sales of a number of his back listed books also increased. - Win-Win

I can speak from personal experience about the value of giving away books - At a Worldcon a number of years ago, Baen had just published the paperback version of Honor Among Enemies, and were giving them away to any one who would take one. I grabbed a copy and as all good pushers know, the first taste it free - I got hooked on David Weber, proceeded to buy all of his previously published books, and purchased the hardbacks of all new books that he published, until I had to move and reduce my library, so now I just buy the ebooks for my tablet. Pretty good return on their original investment of a single paperback.
========================

The only problem with quotes on the internet is that you can't authenticate them -- Abraham Lincoln
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Re: E-arcs, and publishing new books, how does it work?
Post by fallsfromtrees   » Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:14 pm

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Found the reference to Eric's writing on this.
Prime Palaver
========================

The only problem with quotes on the internet is that you can't authenticate them -- Abraham Lincoln
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Re: E-arcs, and publishing new books, how does it work?
Post by WeberFan   » Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:00 pm

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IMHO, it could be done (or not) for many different reasons.

But from a voracious reader's perspective, here's the IMPACT (which might be of more interest to Baen, or Tor, or <insert publisher's name here>):

I read my first HH book years ago and somehow got turned on to the Baen site. At the Baen site, I got turned on to the Free Library. I learned about (and read works from) other Baen authors. I learned about (and downloaded) books from the Baen CDs. I continued to BUY additional books from Baen... I got involved in commenting (periodically) at this site... I continued to BUY additional books from Baen from OTHER authors (call it "sampling").

I RARELY buy from other publishers anymore - think of it as "brand loyalty" now. Yes, I'll buy the Mad Wizard's works from Tor, but ONLY because they're the Mad Wizard's works. Aside from that, I have no loyalty for Tor (or other publishing houses).

The philosophy that Jim Baen (God rest his soul) inculcated into this new, upstart company he founded was a breath of fresh air. The altogether new idea of the Free Library... DRM-free downloads... the CDs included with books... Baen's Bar... Huh... Somebody actually thinks about ME as a READER and not just as a revenue source.

Of course, I also understand WHY David chose to sign with Tor for Safehold and OOTD. Made sense for him at the time and I accept that.

Thank you, Baen.
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Re: E-arcs, and publishing new books, how does it work?
Post by fallsfromtrees   » Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:16 pm

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As Eric pointed out in one of the essays in Prime Palaver, the bean counters at the other publishers don't want to give ANYTHING away for free.

The haven't come to the same conclusion as drug dealers and Costco - sampling works.

How often have you sampled something at Costco (or Sam's Club), decided that it was good, and bought one or more? Or conversely decided that you hated it, and didn't buy? In the first case, Costco has clearly made money, as they have made a sale they wouldn't have otherwise mode. Int he second case, they may have saved money has well, as I might have bought the item, taken it home, decided I hated it and returned the remainder to the store - and been left with the feeling that I have been grossly inconvenienced by the store - which means I am less likely to try new things in the future (unless they are sampling).


Duh
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Re: E-arcs, and publishing new books, how does it work?
Post by Mycall4me   » Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:57 pm

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Many thanks to all of you who answered me about the e-arc subject, and as a consequence expanded my knowledge base in a subject that was of interest to me.

BTW, when I first found baen (Insurrection was my 1st title)(so it was a LONG time ago) I found out very quickly that any time I saw the baen logo on the spine of a book as I was perusing the shelves in the b&n sci fi section I would like whatever book it was, AND most assuredly would gain a new author to add to my must buy list. My book shelves at home had a more baen books than any other publisher out there.
When the internet became useful (many years later) I was surfing around, and did a search for baen to see what (if anything) was there that I might find interesting, this was after I got my 1st nook, and when I found out that baen provided e-reader stuff, I quite happily bought some stuff. My first e-arc was a Weber book, and boy did I feel smug about being able to get my (eagerly awaited) Weber book fix WAY before the hc or pb was released, and I've been buying (and enjoying) e-arcs ever since. THANK YOU Jim Baen (RIP) for thinking outside of the box, and for being willing to try out new things.
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Re: E-arcs, and publishing new books, how does it work?
Post by dvdscar   » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:36 pm

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Mycall4me wrote:What I enjoy most in being a registered user, is the ability to pose a question on a subject that I have interest in, or am needing education on.
I'm sure it will mostly end up as a "that's just the way it works" or "it's what they want to do" answer, but I would like a few questions answered. Baen believes and allow E-ARCs, yes, it does benefit us, but they are also benefiting from it (financially) or that policy would not exist. I'd kind of like an explanation of the whole e-arc thing, and the reasoning behind it. Or how (or why) it works.
After that comes a question that will surely be an "it's the way they want it" answer, but I would think that other publisher's (insert Tor here) should be able to see the advantages of instituting e-arcs, especially when they can look at one of their better author's, who also writes
for baen and, is apparently NOT disadvantaged by the sale of his books as e-arcs.
I read somewhere in these forums that a LOT of people jump on an e-arc, yet will also buy the papered version, effectively buying the same book twice. Sounds like a good thing for baen (or Tor) to me. And there are probably other reasons that baen has an e-arc policy. I would think that they (Tor) would at least dip their toes in the water and at least TRY it with just ONE book for goodness sakes. And, they could try it with an author of theirs (RFC) that looks at e-arcs (and snippets) as a good thing.
BTW apparently Tor doesn't seem to have an issue with the MWW releasing snippets for their book, so you would think that an e-arc, which is sort of like an expanded version of a snippet, might also be a good idea, and, hey look! We can charge for providing it too!
So, that's enough for now. Can anyone enlighten me, and expand my knowledge base?


As noted elsewhere, most of the Big 5 publishing conglomerates don't consider e-books to be part of their business because they think they drain sales from their hardbacks. Consequently, they have dragged their feet in joining the rest of us in the 21st century. Jim Baen not only embraced the idea of e-books, he led the charge for a while.

Tor in particular is part of the Holtzbrinck conglomerate member of the Big 5. Most of the US assets of Holtzbrinck were part of the Macmillan operations prior to Holtzbrinck acquiring them. That whole organization is pretty rabidly anti-ebook, and there's no way they would allow or promote e-ARCs because of that.

David
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Re: E-arcs, and publishing new books, how does it work?
Post by Mycall4me   » Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:45 pm

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What the heck do they think is going to happen WHEN (almost assuredly NOT if) all the dead tree stores go out of business? I've read that b&n is in a bad way, and it wouldn't surprise me if they just closed all their brick and mortar stores, and just support the e book business for their nooks.
I've had an e reader since the very first commercial e reader sold, the kindle. Since my primary source for new books was b&n I bought their nook when they first came out, and I've owned and updated my nook 4 or 5 times.
I am, in fact, totally spoiled by the convenience of my nook, and I have replaced ALL of my many,favorite hc's, and the thought of picking up and reading the bulky and cumbersome dead tree version of a book is almost repellant.

Obviously when that happens they will be forced to provide their product as an e book, but you would think that they'd want to get started now, and pick up all the business they're losing to e readers.I havn't bought any dead tree books AT ALL for too many years for me to count. If I couldn't get it in the e pub format for my nook, I just wouldn't buy it. Fortunately ALL of my must buy authors are available as e books, and I just don't consider a new author/story if it isn't an e book. Which is something of a shame because any of my must buy authors started out as someone new, and I would try them and their book because of the summary inside the cover, or from the back of the book. :ugeek:
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Re: E-arcs, and publishing new books, how does it work?
Post by George J. Smith   » Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:06 pm

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Mycall4me wrote:Snip...
I've had an e reader since the very first commercial e reader sold, the kindle.


I think Sony would disagree with that.
.
T&R
GJS

A man should live forever, or die in the attempt
Spider Robinson Callahan's Crosstime Saloon (1977) A voice is heard in Ramah
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