lunes, 22 de septiembre de 2014

Bookstores and publishers and electrons, oh my!

I was writing a response to Dean's post on publishing, which I didn't post (I almost published it when Dean's original post was featured on PV, then decided he didn't need my half-assed defense anyhow), when an idea came to me. I shelved it fr later use.

Then, someone commented on another PV post about bookshops and the new reading and buying paradigm. And I recalled a chat some months ago, with a bookseller saying that amazon and him were not in the same business.

Hm... Please be aware of population densities and groupings of likely readers. Spanish is a big language, but it's widely dispersed, on one hand, and also tighly packed, in another. My county's density is four times that of the city of Chicago, "the Grey City"; the whole Spanish density is about 3x that of the US, its size that of a couple of biggish US states together.

One of the consequences of this is that I have three bookshops within 100 m of home, and I think I'm missing some. Indie, as the US would consider them. Small, cluttered. Three points of sale, nonetheless. Since book price, here, has mandatory agency pricing, they don't compete in price. They compete... in choice.

One of them does some digital printing. Now, imagine I could click a button on their website that ordered a book, printed it and either delivered it to my door (100m, remember), or had it waiting for me when I passed by them as I got home in the evening.

Or that they served as an Amazon point of delivery. Face it, most city dwellers have weird hours for delivery, unless your workplace allows for those.

Or that the US-mandatory coffe space (unusual here, mostly) had Kindles, or equivalent, with loaded books that allowed you to buy and send the whole book to your own account.

At a lesser tech stage, available now, window stickers with the Amazon-Affiliates QR code of the product and another one for the shop (or one for the shop with a non-hidden link to the amazon store). The amazon-ES link would make for 10% of the sale, right now, guys! Without logistics, without hassles.

Or... Imagine small publishers doing the same, sending their books from México DF to Bogotá or Madrid, to be printed and sold. Yes, each copy would be individually more expensive. Sometimes, though, product distribution takes too big a toll, and that's when you get distributed production (computing and electricity can serve as examples, if you need some).

Yes, the whole thing is deeply disruptive. But electrons don't have to kill the bookshop or publishers. It will require, I believe,for Spaniards to open up some to American Spanish, maybe turning the net into the equivalent to TV and radio for language homogeneization, as they were in Europe a couple of generations ago.

And it will require the book industry to think. To adapt.

Take care.

domingo, 21 de septiembre de 2014

Who represents an author?

The Authors Guild? Authors United?

Welcome to Web 2.0. Writers represent themselves.

Take care.

PS: His link to Roxana "Snowflake" Robinson's interview seems to be broken, at least from desktop computers. Try this.

UPDATE: I finally got through the whole video. Son of a bitch! She's outrageously annoying. And she repreents AG? Off with their heads!

jueves, 18 de septiembre de 2014

Against the Kindle experience?

With all its success as an e-store (for me, overwhelmingly a hardcopy e-store, but I'm likely a minority, these days), I still profoundly dislike the... er... Kindle experience.[*]

How much? Something like this:

  • Smashwords: 300 books. About one block purchase/15 days this last year. Knew the place thanks to a friend who published there, and that was my very first purchase with them. Bad design, annoying copyright disclaimer, annoying interface on many levels... And yet...
  • OmniLit/AllRomance: 40 books, in two years almost to the day. Annoying file options, limited choice, adequate design.
  • Baen: 250. Through several years and, at least, two server software migrations. Can't tell for how long I've been there (at the very least since '08, when I changed my email account). My business with them has been a tad crippled since their price and opportunities decissions a couple of years ago (and their communication, which was well below their par). They design their web the way they design their books. Time-travelling, functional 80s. Well, 90s: it's html, after all.
  • Subscriptions: 100 aprox, to this and that, here and there.
  • Fictionwise: 2. A Bujold-Vorkosigan novella and a Vachss novel. I had to download the second one from a pirate site after several hours against DRM.
  • Amazon: 2. One of them, I got the epub file from the writer after checking my transaction. The other one is pretty much lost, a technical book (Hennesy/Patterson's "Quantitative") that's suffered about the same fate as Vachss, downloaded from a university's FTP site. Oh, piracy! Oh, woe! Oh, toe!
  • Writer's sites and small enterprise/coop publishers: unknown. Things by Barnes, Konrath, Stackpole, Howey, Rusch, and many others.

Why don't I use amazon?

Have you tried to use it on Linux? With emulation? Or with your library manager of choice? Or to back your files up? Is it doable? Sure. As it looks now, the best way to buy from amazon, for me, is to follow the Vachss' system above. And that doesn't include the unpredictability of their final price. I've had anything from 0% to over-20% (well over, not Spain's current 21% VAT for ebooks) surcharge. And anything means things below 1%, odd non-VAT percentages, etc. From the US shop, in dollars, the same afternoon. Amazon's customer support keeps hiding its head in the ground when I try to contact them and posting a formula answer.

Then comes Hugh Howey and posts this. Well, according to his own parameters, I'd think, Amazon ebook sales are unsatisfactory. Also, his post annoys me on three other levels: one is that my value as a customer is nil (it happens when you don't buy half a store by yourself; doesn't mean I have to enjoy being reminded), the other is that Amazon just managed to know about the performance of other selling sites (on one hand, they can do what Howey and Data Guy do themselves and compare their data with, say, Kobo; on the other, the answer of writers to their trial offer is an important dataset with several linked data they already knew). And the last is that it's not binary, people!

You don't have to go all-in or all-out. You can, for example, publish your first in a series universally, then the rest only at amazon. Or do 90-15-90 day Select-Wide-Select cycles. Or think in other terms besides amazon vs. Kobo/B&N/Apple. Use Amazon as an advertisement platform, people! "We're already doing that"? Hm... is there a link to your site in your amazon profile? Do you even actually sell through your site or a closer affiliate than Amazon? Because KDP only takes 30%... but that's still something that can be beaten.

I don't pretend to wave a hand and make everything right. I've seen Disney's Fantasia. But I'm starting to get the feeling that with all the ruckus of legacy vs. amazon and self-pub, writers are starting to forget... readers. And grays.

Take care.

[*] Three faults of Amazon-US, from my POV as a non-US resident. Customer support is rote, when it is. Packaging has gone down the drain these last 3 years or so (to the point I no longer ship Am-US books here --I must have several pictures of a 10-item order package litterally hanging together by a single thread; they didn't answer-- and I try to manage through Amazon-Overseas, usually UK... with its substitute quirks). And Ebooks. Yes, I know that's supposed to be their forte. I also have the feeling they used to be much better in responsiveness and packaging, but I didn't keep hard data back then; I know when I complained about books and packaging, they reshipped them for free. From the US.

martes, 16 de septiembre de 2014

A single paragraph

Amazon has every right to refuse to sell consumer goods in response to a pricing disagreement with a wholesaler.

Authors United Open Letter to Amazon's board

But, of course, for books. Because, again, the wannabe pseudopoet waking me up early in the weekend is more worthy of respect than a retired iron foundry hand. Or a musician. Or a painter.

Author's United last salvo is a Child's firework gone dud. At best. Even considering that US law is, as seen from here, pretty lenient about public disclosure of private data.

And AU keeps insisting that they're THE main product Hachette sells. Meanwhile, they keep insisting that Traditional Publishing (imagine, since I couldn't find it, the bagpipe entrance in 'Dead Poet's Society': Tradition! Excellence!) can do all those other things. You know, all those things that make up for that 85% of income: covers and packaging, editing, manufacturing (aka. printing and binding), distribution...

Things that, by and large, legacy publishing fails to do properly and that, by and large, are exactly the same than for razor blades or shoes.

AU doesn't agree, of course:

We all appreciate discounted razor blades and cheaper shoes. But books are not consumer goods. Books cannot be written more cheaply, nor can authors be outsourced to China. Books are not toasters or televisions. Each book is the unique, quirky creation of a lonely, intense, and often expensive struggle on the part of a single individual, a person whose living depends on his or her book finding readers. This is the process Amazon is obstructing.

That paragraph has so many lies that it can grant you a couple of eternities in Purgatory. Sentence by sentence:

  • We all appreciate discounted razor blades and cheaper shoes. You do. Not everyone does. Like, say, shoemakers and ironsmiths, and their families and providers, and those providers' families. And that's your equivalent in those industries. Or industrial iron bluecollar workers, if you want a modern equivalent. And, Mr. Preston, any of those work harder than you do for every single dollar they bring home.

  • But books are not consumer goods. No? Then how did this come to be? It's been a month and a half since its release! And, sir, those are books. Not your kind of books, but books nonetheless. The IRS and SCOTUS (and publishers) also disagree, since this has been amply applied to books (and, in the meantime, cut the incentive for new writers' career development; not that this worries you the slightest, does it, Mr. Preston?).

  • Books cannot be written more cheaply, nor can authors be outsourced to China. Yes, they can, and several in your "supporting writers list" are known to use it.

    Also, again, there's more to publishing that writing. Right to my side, there's a book I printed myself (yes, with author's permission), an exhibition booklet without printing data (that I can see), and seven books that, on page 2, after authors' acknowledgements, copyrights and LoC data, have a last sentence before turning page: "Printed in China".

  • Books are not toasters or televisions. This is either obvious or dumb. Coming from Mr. Preston, probably both.

  • Each book is the unique, quirky creation of a lonely, intense, and often expensive struggle on the part of a single individual, a person whose living depends on his or her book finding readers. So, there are no collaborations. At all. Each book, single individual. From the man with a score of books with Lincoln Child. Sir, you lie. Feel free to demmand satisfaction, but I'll choose the weapon.

  • This is the process Amazon is obstructing. Which one? The real one or your Frankenstein of an idea? Also, there's an easy way to solve this: have Hachette provide a clear answer. Either 'yes' or 'no'. Agree or pull the books, it doesn't matter to me. The "obstruction" would cease.
A single paragraph. If I had to do the same with the whole piece... I'd have to charge you for it. Maybe that's it, and they want to win by exhaustion. But... we are legion. Readers have that, you know...

Take care.

martes, 9 de septiembre de 2014


While other countries in the 30s went into National-Socialism and other fascisms, Spain got, after a bloody struggle, something called "National Catholicism", some of which remmants can still be seen today.

Not a history lesson. I would have to go 3 centuries back, and this is not the place. My point is that, eventually, the old regime sort of fell, democracy came in, if diluted, and... well, time went on.

Then we got freedom of religion. But nothing much changed, did it? Army priests are still Catholic, public ceremonies, when they are religious, are Catholic. And so on...

Except people stopped being made to go to church. Being forced to baptize their kids. Being forced to marry through Church ceremony.

And those who remained were used to be under the umbrella of the State. There was a law that was supposed to be temporary by which the Spanish Catholic church was paid a stipend while it developed its own income channels. It's been in place for 35 years.

Meanwhile, smaller churches linked to immigration open in garages, small buildings and such, and mostly prosper. The Spanish Catholic church still keeps some ancient buildings, which are expensive to maintain, and still tries to gobble land around mountain hermitages without even telling the neighbours (and sometimes legit owners of the land). Yes, many parish priests try to work their best in these conditions...

Same as some editors try to do their best in Big 5 imprimpts.

Take care.

So... How's the rest doing?

Recall this?

It gets better.

Take care.

domingo, 7 de septiembre de 2014

When your worst enemy is looking from the mirror

Yes, indeed, of course. Amazon is e-ville. Amazon is bad. Amazon wants to destroy books.

French bookshops:

  • We have 11,000 books. We are not here to be the dustbin for Trierweiler and Hollande

  • This bookshop isn't planning on becoming an outlet for Ms Trierweiler’s dirty laundry

Although some did, kind of, cater to their customers... a bit. With Balzac included, just in case they could get expelled from the guild.

Apologies - we don’t have Valerie Trierweiler’s book but we do still have some Balzac, Dumas, Maupassant, etc...

Meanwhile, at 20 EUR te hardcopy, 14.99 the ebook.

Oh, the evil empire, how cunning it is...

And I don't give a damn who she is. I barely remember Hollande, much less his ex. But she's a writer. With readers. One would think bookshops could use the publicity of having new people in, buying her book, maybe some others.

But, of course, that would be marketing, business sense... We don't do that, do we?

Take care.

EDIT: Evil empire link added. Because when bookshops insist on purity... and fail, it's an amazon's war casualty. Nevermind that Virgin is the one that butchered Oldfield. Or that it's English (and if you don't think that's important, you don't know about the French and English... tradition). Borders, remember?

When a mindset pickles

Orbit is the new Science Fiction and Fantasy imprint at Hachette Book Group.

Hachette Book Group (HBG) was created when Hachette Livre, a global publishing company based in France, acquired Time Warner Book Group from Time Warner in 2006.

From Hachette's group porfolio.

Orbit's been with them since Time Warner sold its publishing arm. That 2006 over there.

But it's new. 8+ years later.

No wonder they're still catching up to ebooks.

Take care.

sábado, 6 de septiembre de 2014

Not available. Misfiring promos

Sorry, but this page isn’t available.

To see the great Kobo offerings that are available where you are, go here:

Yes, sure. And then, I'll have to go to the homepage (which geolocates and doesn't allow for english titles), search Melissa Yi (from scratch, it doesn't keep what you were looking for originally) and hope. Oh, yes! Now... "add to library", register, download... Look, it even allowed me to!

No, it wouldn't be the first time it kicks me out when it discovers that, gosh, I'm not buying from CONUS.

It's unacceptable. And one of the reasons I don't use B&N. Everybody out there with B&N books? I'm not using it because I've tried a couple score times and I've always been greeted wtith the same "not available in your zone" message. Even with books I know are not maimed by distribution agreements, licenses and such.

And part of the problem is the language. It's dry, bureaucratic. It leans to a "and don't waste our time, you nobody" vibe that is... counterproductive when someone is trying to buy something from you. Why are those messages, often introduced by something that is the seller's fault (*), drier than a 70's syntax error? Compare with this. Sure, some of them are basic. Standard server ones. But people try to give you a certain good feeling when they know they're closing a door on your face.

Kobo, B&N... No, they're too classy. That would imply customer relations with... gosh... readers! Plebeians!

Take care.

(*) Because, if it weren't, then I wouldn't be able to get those books anywhere else.

Stop whining; write

I'm reaching the conclusion that Big 5 authors receive a complimentary lobotomy prior to them signing their first contract. For sure before their advance.

Behold Alison Levine. Author. She's been as high as you can get with your feet on the floor. Which means she's been through pain, difficulties, harsh conditions... Without having met her, without any extras but her article, her site [*] and her amazon page, I submit that she's not someone to wilt at first difficulty. Sure, mountain climbing is not as difficult these days, but it's not easy by any stretch.

Five links on its first paragraph. The very first, a hymn to Hachette. I think the very last paragraph sums it up, after quoting Hugh Howey in one of his unfrequent critiques to Amazon. The second is an article that basically quotes Amazon, trying to distance itself, as if afraid that not bashing Amazon full on would get the writer into trouble. Its two last paragraphs are, basically, everything you need to know for a start. The LA Times is basically a forward of Mr. Pietsch's babble. That's Hachette's CEO. The Guardian allows amazon two paragraphs after a tirade of Preston worship, maybe hoping to get one of his adds. [+] The last piece is, again, a dry rehash of a statement by amazon. It's interesting to see how the media reacts to statements by Preston or Pietsch on one hand, and amazon on the other. The fawning introduction, almost afraid to alter the voice of God vs. the cursory quote.

Yes, by the selection above you can see how the wind will blow in Mrs. Levine's piece.

that argument is bogus and here's why: saying that an e-book price should be based only on material, labor, and overhead is as ridiculous as saying that the price of a artwork should be based only on the cost of the paint and the canvas. What about the artist's blood, sweat and tears?

Why do "artists" think that their blood, sweat and tears are special? Why is the wannabe poet that woke me up this morning's sweat any more precious than that of the guy who reaches retirement with back aches all through the day, week after week, because he's been abusing his vertebra carrying iron since he was 14?

Also, she's introducing something in the argument. Amazon doesn't say that ebooks should be free, which is what would happen if you only accounted for costs (ask project Gutenberg). It does say that the extra costs once the book is typed are much lower for ebooks. And that should reflect on price. Also, about the "curator's argument" (that part about "their graphics department"), check my link on Mr. Pietsch above, search for "curator" (or, second list, first item) and follow the link. You know what? Easier for you. See this.

Then comes a line I'd never really expected to read from a wri... author. Not a current one, at least.

because my publisher basically takes care of everything so that I can focus on writing and not worry about anything else.

Do that. Write. Don't worry.

This comes from someone who's been at the peak of the world, felt its freedom. Either she did that having someone else "take care of everything" and simply focused on climbing, to the absolute exclusion of everything else, or she does it when in the lowlands. And she willingly surrenders her voice.

When one surrenders his voice, he can't get surprised if it's taken over.

If Hachette "takes care of everything", then Hachette takes care of complaining.

Basically, shut up and soldier. You enlisted.

This is where my patience starts growing thin. And it continues...

Well, if Amazon wants to provide a more affordable way for people to get their hands (and eyes) on books, guess what they need to do? Nothing. Because people can already buy used books on Amazon for a few bucks – sometimes less than that.

Certainly. By the same token, they can get Project Gutenber's files (link above). You do know, however, that they keep extending copyrights and pushing against libraries and second hand shops, do you not?

the e-book market might be growing


Indeed. That's the kind of red flag that tells you a lot about someone. It's almost silly, a small nugget of information. But. That "30%" quote is probably off (it happens, when Big 5 only look at their book sales), and you could probably use the same argument apropos hardbacks. But it would feel ridiculous. "Hardbacks make roughly 30% of the market, but paperback has not gone the way of the dinosaur". When did extinction become part of the issue?

For my book [in 3 formats] e-books only make up about 7% of my sales

If you bothered to check the reason behind Amazon's insistence on 9.99 USD prices, you might understand why a book at 12.99 USD is not selling well.

Supposing Hachette is not cooking the books. Again.

Lady, if you like old school so much, do your 8k peaks without O2 and technical clothes. Tradition!

Will the print book go away at some point? I don't know. I hope not.

So do I. That's not the issue, though. Again: hardcopy extinction is not the issue. And do please understand that there are layers of value for books. Personal ones. The book I treasure in trade is someone's already deleted ebook. Or I might have both: a collector's, signed, and the ebook. And so on. Again, not the issue.

As a first time author, this feud has opened my eyes to just how cutthroat the book distribution business has become. My book came out earlier this year and made the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. Amazon even labeled it a "best book of the month" and called it out as a "remarkable read" and listed it at the top of the page along with books by other "influential people" [...] But alas, the love is gone. Because while my book might be a remarkable read... I am a Hachette author.

To the bone, yes, I see.

Makes me think of those people who don't believe in awareness and get into "reality based self defense" after their first scare, never trying to understand what really happened.

United States of America v. Apple Inc., et al., 12 Civ. 2862 (DLC) was filed in April 2012. It had been grumbling for a while. And yet, you signed. Soon after that, I'd say. The US doesn't go into antitrust cases all that often. Are you one of those who think it was bogus? A simple spat?

NYT and WSJ Lists? Do read some of the critiques on those. I think Kris' site has several.

Also, the book distribution business is not cutthroat, by your post's standards. Hachette doesn't distribute. And what you claim amazon's doing to you is... not giving you preferential treatment as a "NYT bestselling author" any longer. Deal with it, most writers do. Stop whining. Write your next book. And don't choose convicted criminals for business partners at first acquaintance [#].

As Sylvester Stallone said in First Blood Part II, "To survive a war, you gotta become war." Well, this is war.

Yes. Against readers. Because you want your NYT treatment. I want to read. No DRM, no hassles, no over-the-top prices.

But, of course, you're a sworn trooper.

I'm a partisan.

Take care.

[*] Photo nbr. 2? "Building leaders"? That body language is insecure. Bad idea. Data point, though.

[+] And he even has the gall to utter

Honestly we are hoping Jeff Bezos will come to his senses and settle this problem with Hachette without hurting authors. Let these two corporations juke it out … just don't hurt us. If he does we can all go to writing books but if Jeff wants to take the long hard road with us, we will walk that road with him.

Bezos did offer to "not hurt you". Hachette refused. And you concured. I'm getting tired of Mr. Preston, so I'm linking to (one of) his opponent. Also, was that a threat or an offer for company in the "long hard road"?

[#] I'm not against having former bad guys as associates, even friends. But do take some steps to check they are, indeed, FORMER. (Love you, guys).

The scam thickens

Just in case you're just getting your feet dipped in "alternate" publishing and you happen upon his name.

There's a guy named Mike Shatzkin, out there, freelancing to ease publishers into the new world of publishing. If you come from the Big 5 publishing companies, his ideas are outrageously brilliant, risky, daring.

If you've been following this for a while, he's a scammer.

He's quoted here, and you can get the link to the original article and some counterpoints there. I simply refuse to send him traffic and promote his search engine results.

Two fragments:

Perhaps there will never be an “industry answer” to maximizing the marketing clout of our core “unit of appreciation”: the author. But we know that every author who has more than one published piece (book or article) on the Web under their name and who has the intention of publishing more should have the following built into a web presence they control and manage:

* a list of all their books making clear the chronological order of publication (organized by series, if applicable)

* a landing page for each book with cover, description, publisher information (including link to publisher book page), reviews, excerpts, and easy to find retail links for different formats, channels, and territories

* a clear and easy way for readers and fans to send an email and get a response

* a clear and easy way for readers and fans to sign up for email notifications

* a clear and easy way for readers and fans to connect and share via social media

* a calendar that shows any public appearances

* links to articles about or references to the author

Now, how someone who hasn't discovered the "unordered list" html tag can think himself able to counsel others on e-commerce is something that only looks sane from the intelligentsia redoubts.

That said, yes, a writer's site should have all that. There are systems out there that allow you to do it pretty easily (wordpress, the newer templates from blogspot...). That's about a given. It's also curious that he both recognizes and dismisses the brand recognition of a writer's name. On one hand, that's what marketing departments want to work with. On the other... the writer should submit to the publisher. He doesn't advocate for a channel between marketing and the writer. He insists that the writer should do A··Z to suit the publisher's need for brand recognition.

Meanwhile, publishers keep ignoring brand development. No? Tell me, when was the last time you saw a proper "author's page" in a publisher's site. One that included that writer's work outside the publisher?

No, sorry. If you want the benefits of the writer's brand, you have to nurture the whole of that, even that which benefits others. You may put your product first, but you have to acknowledge the rest. Otherwise, your site is misleading, and becomes irrelevant (and black-marked) when a reader notices it... which he will.

But, of course, it's much better to offload the work unto the writer:

They must have an active and up-to-date Amazon author page and Google Plus page; that’s critical for SEO. Twitter and Facebook promotional activity might be optional, none of the rest of this is if an author is serious about pursuing a commercially successful career.

My thoughts on that can be understood from here. Also, that's not SEO. Apparently, he knows "that internet thingie" about as well as publishing. I mean, I haven't posted the part where he admits to a 60,000 USD writer's website. Even if they didn't take that budget, the fact that it was even on the table is revealing.

And every publisher and agent should be urging authors to see these minimum requirements as absolutely necessary, offering advice, help, and financial support whenever possible. Authors should be wary of publishers who want to “own” the author’s web presence but they should expect publishers to be wary of any author who doesn’t nurture their own.

"No taxation without representation". Does that ring a bell? When publishers start giving writers enough say on their projects, then we can talk. Right now, they're getting about 80% of distribution net. No, you can't really consider their expenses, not when they insist on top Manhattan space and 5-figure websites. What's the current advance for a midlist writer, again?

My marketing whiz partner Pete McCarthy’s recommendation is that the authors own their websites but that the publisher run a parent Google Analytics account across author sites. That would enable them to monitor across authors, use tools like Moz to improve search (that would be beyond most authors’ abilities to manage and understand), and provide real support to authors optimizing their own web presence. This kind of collaboration is particularly appealing because it is reversible; the author can at any point install their own Google Analytics and remove the site from the publisher’s visibility. What this takes is for a publisher to set up the “parent” Google Analytics account and make a clear offer to authors of the support they can provide. As far as we know, only Penguin Random House — using an analytics tool called Omniture subsequently acquired by Adobe — offers this capability. Pete set it up a few years ago when he was there. As far we know, nobody else has done so.

This solution allows authors to own their own sites and email lists — ownership of email lists is a massively underdiscussed point between authors and publishers — but for publishers to have a sense of what’s going on. That means they can make recommendations about marketing, employing what is usually (and should just about always be) their superior marketing knowledge on behalf of the shared objective of selling more books.

Your whiz of a partner and yourself, sir, are scamming writers.

One, suppose that you have several publishers. Do you really have to give code access to your site to all of them? And, frankly, getting their widget and installing it yourself could be worse, if they approach coding standards the way they approach everything else.

But the thing is that he's advocating that writers give for free something that has a price (try buying data; better yet, try buying that kind of data to, say, amazon), a certain maintenance cost (small, but there), that gives data on their competition (heh... or do you suppose they should filter that before giving the data to the publisher?) and that they never shared themselves when that data was on paper and mainframes. That, by issuing cryptic semestral royalty reports, are still refusing to share.

Also, that article of his was over 1500 words. Good enough for a short story. Several printed pages long.

You should ask, where's his return of investment? That's a professional page.

Take care.