Wednesday, July 14, 2010

E-book Reporting

Like most writers, I put a Google alert on the titles of my books and on my authorial name, which looks like my driver’s license: Deborah Turrell Atkinson. Not long ago, I got an email alert to a site called, which I opened. The message made me sit up with delight.

It precipitated this email to my publisher: “It looks as if Pleasing the Dead has been downloaded 6326 times. Are we making money on this:-)? Hope so!”

And my publisher responded: “Debby, I don't know where it ultimately leads but almost certainly to a link with a buy button. Regardless it's garbage until proven otherwise.”

I don’t doubt that he’s right. But shouldn’t we be chasing down that ‘otherwise’? I mean, if they’re downloaded at $8-10 apiece (Kindle? Audiobooks?) and my contract pays 25% per download, this would amount to between $12,000 and $15,000 just for me, a lot more for the publisher. And I’ll take it! It’s a fraction of a year’s college tuition, but it’s 75 weeks—a year and a half—of groceries. It’s half of a teacher’s salary. It’s a big down payment on new a car. Hey, it’s payment for my labor. I worked hard for that, just like all of you.

Plus, if it’s happening to me, it’s happening to you.

I followed the link back to Audiobooks, got to their website, and followed the “Contact Us” button. By the way, they carry all four of my books. There, I found a customer service phone number and without too much trouble (much less trouble than satellite TV support, believe me), reached a real person.

I phrased my question like this, “I’m an author and I’m delighted to see that you carry my books. Thank you. I’m also curious as to how many books I’ve sold and how sales are reported to my publisher.”

The customer service rep said, “Good question. May I put you on hold?”

“Of course. I appreciate your help.”

Several minutes passed and the rep came back with the phone number to the main office in New Jersey and an email address. I sent an email, but found that the office was closed because it was afternoon my time, past dinnertime in New Jersey. I’ll call again tomorrow.

But this is merely the tip of the iceberg. I called one place, and they seem like a well-organized, helpful company. Stay tuned. And if anyone out there has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.


Charlotte Hinger said...

Debbie, this was a great contribution. We need to keep on top of this. I was startled to see my book on Ipad. I know keeping track of all this is creating a lot of work for our publisher right now.

Charlotte Hinger

Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

Yes, I have a feeling there are a lot of sales/downloads that PPP is losing track of. Sounds like the reporting is sketchy, but I also think PPP should be tracking down those "buy buttons."

Unknown said...

This needs some SERIOUS checking - thinke of earlier this year when Amazon was told that one of its "vendors" had been selling e-versions of 1984 without having the Rights to it...

peter_may said...

Debbie, there is nothing out there called Could you give us the full link to this website. As John says, I think it is important that we check these things out. Publishers and agents are simply not keeping on top of electronic sales, and I believe we need to get a handle on it before it runs out of control.

Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

Okay, the link is Let me know if you can get it to work, it's not happening now. It worked a few days ago, and Vicki and Donis did it, too. Let me know what you find out--Audiobooks referred me to Blackstone Audio. But now there are iPad downloads, as Charlotte pointed out.