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[eBook-List] King report in NY Times

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  • Karl von Staden
    Greetings all, This report appeared today in the online email news service of the NY Times.
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 1, 2000
      Greetings all,

      This report appeared today in the online email news service of the NY Times.

      http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/00/08/biztech/articles/01book.html

      FYI

      Karl von Staden
      Cape Town

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      ---------------------------------

      Stephen King E-Tale Near Break-Even After Week

      By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

      A week into the horror writer Stephen King's closely watched experiment with
      self-publishing over the Internet, Mr. King said yesterday that he is about
      to break even.

      Publishers are eager to see how many people download the first chapter of
      Mr. King's new electronic novel, "The Plant," about a vampirous vine's
      assault on a publishing house, in part because the venture tests the
      proposition that marketing and distribution via the web can reduce authors'
      dependence on conventional publishers, at least for famous writers with
      plenty of money and fans.

      In a statement on his web site, Mr. King estimated that readers downloaded
      152,132 copies in the first seven days, and promised that he would continue
      writing new installments, at least for now.

      He asked readers voluntarily to pay him a dollar for each chapter
      downloaded, and he said he will stop writing if he did not receive payments
      for 75 percent of them. Mr. King reported that 116,200 had paid or promised
      to pay, meeting his threshold to continue. He said 93,200 had already paid
      by credit card through Amazon.com, which is collecting for him.

      Estimating the proportion of downloaders paying required some finesse, said
      William Thornton, who operates the site, said that readers had downloaded a
      total of 227,000 copies, but some were lost to user errors and had to be
      repeated. To account for repeats, Mr. King adjusted his assessment down to a
      number he considered "fair," Mr. Thornton said.

      After just seven days, "The Plant" will soon be in the black. Mr. King said
      he spent about $124,150 on his self publishing effort, including two
      advertisements, in Publishers Weekly and USA Today. A spokesman for Conxion
      Corporation, a computer server company that is handling the downloads, said
      the downloads cost less than 2 cents a piece. With $116,000 in payments
      promised, after seven days Mr. King is out roughly $10,000. He has few
      additional costs, and will soon be earning a profit.

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    • Michael S. Hart
      ... 152,132 ... 227,000 These figures seem a bit too massaged for my tastes. . . . Being somewhat of an expert in the downloading of Etext files I just do
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 1, 2000
        On Tue, 1 Aug 2000, Karl von Staden wrote:

        >
        > Stephen King E-Tale Near Break-Even After Week
        >
        > By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
        >
        > A week into the horror writer Stephen King's closely watched experiment with
        > self-publishing over the Internet, Mr. King said yesterday that he is about
        > to break even.
        >
        > Publishers are eager to see how many people download the first chapter of
        > Mr. King's new electronic novel, "The Plant," about a vampirous vine's
        > assault on a publishing house, in part because the venture tests the
        > proposition that marketing and distribution via the web can reduce authors'
        > dependence on conventional publishers, at least for famous writers with
        > plenty of money and fans.
        >
        > In a statement on his web site, Mr. King estimated that readers downloaded
        > 152,132 copies in the first seven days, and promised that he would continue
        > writing new installments, at least for now.
        >
        > He asked readers voluntarily to pay him a dollar for each chapter
        > downloaded, and he said he will stop writing if he did not receive payments
        > for 75 percent of them. Mr. King reported that 116,200 had paid or promised
        > to pay, meeting his threshold to continue. He said 93,200 had already paid
        > by credit card through Amazon.com, which is collecting for him.
        >
        > Estimating the proportion of downloaders paying required some finesse, said
        > William Thornton, who operates the site, said that readers had downloaded a
        > total of 227,000 copies, but some were lost to user errors and had to be
        > repeated. To account for repeats, Mr. King adjusted his assessment down to a
        > number he considered "fair," Mr. Thornton said.
        >
        > After just seven days, "The Plant" will soon be in the black. Mr. King said
        > he spent about $124,150 on his self publishing effort, including two
        > advertisements, in Publishers Weekly and USA Today. A spokesman for Conxion
        > Corporation, a computer server company that is handling the downloads, said
        > the downloads cost less than 2 cents a piece. With $116,000 in payments
        > promised, after seven days Mr. King is out roughly $10,000. He has few
        > additional costs, and will soon be earning a profit.


        152,132
        ------- = 66% . . .meaning 1/3 of the downloads were "lost."
        227,000

        These figures seem a bit too "massaged" for my tastes. . . .

        Being somewhat of an "expert" in the downloading of Etext files
        I just do not find a realistic figure. . . . Anyone who hired
        a Web Site for downloading, and who found only twice as of the
        downloads were successful as failed. . .would get a new site,
        as it means either the instructions were not clear, or the site
        failed to deliver when properly asked for such a short file.

        93,200 93,200 116,200 116,200
        ------- = 60% ------- = 40% ------- = 50% ------- = 75%
        152,132 227,000 227,000 152,132

        Paid Paid Promised Promised
        Massaged UnMassaged UnMassaged Massaged

        My figures are accurate to within -1%. . .add 1% for accuracy.


        Michael

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