Narratives in a Digital Age
From the NYT: “Navigating a Tightrope With Amazon”
Interesting, and relevant to class discussions: This is why we had trouble accessing Monday’s reading, “After Friday Night Lights,” on Amazon over the weekend.
According the the NYT’s David Carr:
Last Tuesday, Buzz Bissinger hopped the Amtrak train to Philadelphia from New York, where he had done a bit of publicity for “After Friday Night Lights,” a 12,000-word e-book that had been performing nicely since its release. But when he opened his laptop to check his ranking on Amazon, he found the book was no longer for sale there.
“I was stunned,” he said in a phone interview on Friday. “I thought it was some kind of technical difficulty.” (I had noticed a lot of people on Twitter shared his confusion.)
Depending on how you define it, he was right. Mr. Bissinger, the best-selling author of multiple books, including “Friday Night Lights,” had written the e-book as a postscript for the popular book about high school football in Texas. “After Friday Night Lights” traces his relationship with Boobie Miles, a running back whose football career was derailed by an injury and who has been on a hard road ever since.
Mr. Bissinger wrote the e-book for Byliner.com, one of a number of fledgling companies trying to make a go of it by publishing long-form works — not as long as a traditional book, but longer than most magazine articles — for digital readers. Mr. Bissinger thought the e-book, priced at $2.99, would be a great way to pay tribute to the relationship while also helping Mr. Miles, by giving him a third of the proceeds.
But the plan hit a pothole after Apple, which had been looking to get into shorter works in a digital format, decided to include e-books in a promotion that it does with Starbucks. It selected Mr. Bissinger’s digital sequel as a Pick of the Week, giving customers a code they could redeem online for the book. (Mr. Bissinger said he still received a royalty of $1.50 for each copy sold.)
Amazon interpreted the promotion as a price drop and lowered its price for “After Friday Night Lights” to exactly zero. Byliner withdrew the book from Amazon’s shelves, saying it did so to “protect our authors’ interest.”
Read the rest of the NYT story here.