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Author Topic: Amazon disrupts traditional publishing - sounds like microstock to me  (Read 5638 times)

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« on: November 12, 2011, 11:39 »
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Why the Leaders of Established Companies Dismiss the Threat That Destroys Them

This article talks about how the traditional Big 6 book publishers are getting their clocks cleaned by Amazon and self-publishing authors.  It connects that phenomenon (which I've been reading about for a while through my connection to a few writers who are doing very well with Amazon and self-pub) to Clayton Christensen's classic book, The Innovator's Dilemma, about how technological changes will disrupt and ultimately destroy the previous leaders in particular industries.

But I mention the article because of its comments about how legacy publishers treat their suppliers, and how their response to competitive threats is to treat those suppliers worse rather than better.  A few microstock agencies' recent behavior comes to mind.


« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2011, 12:30 »
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Very interesting, thank you for posting. On the microstock expo it was Fuad from photodune who pointed out that microstock for him is not just pictures and video but also 99 cent ebooks, iPad apps, software codes, wordpress templates etc...he had a much wider view of the market.

I believe that market places that communicate well and take good care of their participants, whether they are buyers or contributors will be the most successful.

All these companies dont own a gold mine, they are not sitting on an oil well, they do not hold patents for a pill that will cure cancer - they are marketplaces for the trading of intellectual copyrighted digital products.

Their most important business skill is - people management.

That is what allows them to connect with their customers and gives them the best insight how to support their contributors. I think any agency that understands the mind of the digital entrepreneur will do well. Stock is interesting because so many buyers are contributors as well.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2011, 16:21 by cobalt »

« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2011, 12:54 »
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Interesting article. Definitely some parallels with the micros.

« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2011, 13:03 »
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Amazon's Kindle prices for many titles has increased about 50% during the last year. Amazon says, "The publisher sets the prices." Hmmm. Maybe the microstocks could raise prices and claim, "The photographers set the prices."

I know. I'm dreaming.

« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2011, 15:12 »
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Amazon's Kindle prices for many titles has increased about 50% during the last year. Amazon says, "The publisher sets the prices." Hmmm. Maybe the microstocks could raise prices and claim, "The photographers set the prices."
I know. I'm dreaming.

There was an agency that allowed some contributors to set their prices. And the contributors did raise their prices.

Then, a new agency came to the market and said: "We're going to charge our customers a fraction of what the other agencies do. We're also going to pay some of the lowest commissions in the industry".
The contributors were very happy with that: "Way to go guys! You guys rock! I'd better start uploading right away!"

So, your dream does not make any sense. Microstock photographers are too stupid to set their own prices. Some even claim that 2 dollars is more than 6 dollars (really).

« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2011, 16:23 »
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Well 50% of $2 IS more than 15% of $6......

« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2011, 16:46 »
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Well 50% of $2 IS more than 15% of $6......

No, $6 photographer's commission is more than a $2 commission, but some people see it otherwise.

RacePhoto

« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2011, 13:06 »
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Amazon's Kindle prices for many titles has increased about 50% during the last year. Amazon says, "The publisher sets the prices." Hmmm. Maybe the microstocks could raise prices and claim, "The photographers set the prices."
I know. I'm dreaming.

There was an agency that allowed some contributors to set their prices. And the contributors did raise their prices.

Then, a new agency came to the market and said: "We're going to charge our customers a fraction of what the other agencies do. We're also going to pay some of the lowest commissions in the industry".
The contributors were very happy with that: "Way to go guys! You guys rock! I'd better start uploading right away!"

So, your dream does not make any sense. Microstock photographers are too stupid to set their own prices. Some even claim that 2 dollars is more than 6 dollars (really).

I don't know about who claims 2 is bigger than 6 but I did go to grade school and I'd agree with you. Basically I'm a bottom line, not a percentage kind of person. "Show me the money!" Percentages don't pay the bills.

I don't know who agency two is above, (please be specific?) but if it's what I suspect, they are relatively new and I won't even start an account because I don't want to be part of whatever they are up to. Is this, a pay for uploads place that's suspicions from the owners to the hidden location, to how much they really sell according to the poll on the right?  ???

Amazon's Kindle prices for many titles has increased about 50% during the last year. Amazon says, "The publisher sets the prices." Hmmm. Maybe the microstocks could raise prices and claim, "The photographers set the prices."

I know. I'm dreaming.

Wow one thread and it's a TwoFur.

No I don't want to sell licenses for megabucks, but the race to the bottom has to end somewhere. It always comes down to the easiest place to cut costs is the artists and suppliers. Time to make a little more from the buyers and share it with the workers.

At the rate things are going, when the race ends and things hit bottom, there's going to be a MicroStock market crash. It's been falling and there's a that sudden stop after the fall where agencies will drop and many outlets for selling will disappear.

Anyone notice how agencies lately are pulling back any small margin that they used to give us? Not to pick, but DT was subsidizing partner sales and making up the difference. A nice gift... Not anymore. IS has moved everyone non-exclusive over to the sub-sewer ThinkStock, forced subscription, plus the commission cuts and weird percentage based on the previous years sales? Regular downloads have tanked for many people. FT is no Prince, they are cutting commissions, re-rating threats, and if your image doesn't have a sale for six months, it's dropped to level one. (price is cut, commission is cut) What's that all about?

That's the top four. Oops, minus one, SS who added single sales at a higher price, and took away nothing!

Just imagine if that's the top four, how much the smaller agencies are hurting because of the price war?

When it hits bottom, and there's a crash, this whole thread will come around and make sense. Ignoring the competition and the flawed pricing structure, will not make it go away. Oh that sub site SS, small time, not a problem. Hey anyone else getting IS downloads for 17c and 22c credits? Which is higher? Entry level sub at SS 25c or 17c at IS for an XS? There's that problem with math again. At $500 SS goes to 33c and IS subs stay at 28c forever, unless they arbitrarily drop them back to 25c again?

The race to the bottom has three previous champions running neck and neck. At the finish, No One wins!

« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2011, 18:16 »
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Amazon's Kindle prices for many titles has increased about 50% during the last year. Amazon says, "The publisher sets the prices."
Actually, Amazon originally set the price for big-publisher Kindle e-books to a maximum of $9.99, while paying the publisher as much as $15 royalty. Amazon took a huge loss on millions of ebooks in order to establish the Kindle as an ebook platform. Imagine iStock paying you a $3 royalty on a sale which paid iStock $2  :D

Unlike what most people believe, Amazon does not have a history of making big profits. Bezos has always been willing to take losses to establish Amazon in new markets (and investors have often  raised h*ll over this).

If you self-publish an ebook on Amazon now and the price is $2.99 I believe that Amazon pays a 60% royalty. Again, quite a bit different from most microstock agencies.

« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2011, 18:33 »
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Interesting article. I thought this passage was particularly revealing in the current climate;

"Well-managed companies treat their suppliers very nicely. Well-managed companies understand their suppliers need to earn a reasonable profit in order to be successful. They understand that the success of the supplier and the success of the company that uses what the supplier produces are intertwined. Well-managed companies know that if they developed a reputation for mistreating suppliers, they will have a difficult time maintaining an adequate supply chain."

So, if "well-managed companies treat their suppliers very nicely" ... what does that say about Istock and Fotolia?

« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2011, 18:45 »
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So, if "well-managed companies treat their suppliers very nicely" ... what does that say about Istock and Fotolia?

I'd call this a textbook example of a rhetorical question.

« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2011, 18:56 »
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Well 50% of $2 IS more than 15% of $6......

No, $6 photographer's commission is more than a $2 commission, but some people see it otherwise.

I assume this is all hypothetical as I don't recall any conversation like this on MSG. However, the missing piece in your hypothetical is what the license terms are for $6 vs. $2. If they're the same, there's no discussion, but if you sell very limited rights for $2 versus anything-and-everything rights for $6, the lower amount may actually be more.

Print run, template uses, items for resale, etc. all can make a very big difference in what the price should be.

As far as amazon and books, I think that they're in a different phase (courtship) with suppliers - where the micros were a few years ago. As soon as the business model is established and amazon's very successful at it, I wonder if the "success of the supplier" chit-chat will survive. It's the rare business that continues to behave decently once they have all the power in a relationship.

« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2011, 20:25 »
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...As far as amazon and books, I think that they're in a different phase (courtship) with suppliers - where the micros were a few years ago. As soon as the business model is established and amazon's very successful at it, I wonder if the "success of the supplier" chit-chat will survive. It's the rare business that continues to behave decently once they have all the power in a relationship.
Good point. For the time being Barnes & Noble and Apple (with the iPod as a platform for e-books) provide serious competition for Amazon in self-published e-books. Will they be to Amazon what SS and DT were to IS, and keep the market open for independent self-publishers? 

antistock

« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2011, 08:51 »
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don't you guys  see in front of your eyes that digital and the internet actually DESTROYED the whole creative market ?

unless you're a famous artist backed by a giant multinational we're simply cannon fodder and the buyers' perception of the value of our work reached the bottom of the barrel.

never before in history creative artists were treated and paid crap like today.

microstock for images,books,music,software, and wait ... the next step could be even open-source or people paying to get published !

sooner or later being a creative will either become just an expensive hobby or being enslaved and underpaid in a local "creative" agency.

michealo

« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2011, 09:38 »
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creative artists

there is a lot less creativity and artistry than one is lead to believe by creative artists ....

« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2011, 09:47 »
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don't you guys  see in front of your eyes that digital and the internet actually DESTROYED the whole creative market ?

Erm ... let me think about that for a while. Ok done. No.

'Digital and the internet' have of course been fantastic for 'the whole creative market'. Many of us here would still have to work for a living without it.

RT


« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2011, 09:58 »
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never before in history creative artists were treated and paid crap like today.

Rubbish, Vincent Van Gogh died penniless like most of the artists who's work suddenly became valuable after their demise.


« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2011, 10:07 »
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never before in history creative artists were treated and paid crap like today.

Rubbish, Vincent Van Gogh died penniless like most of the artists who's work suddenly became valuable after their demise.

Exactly. Even comparatively successful 'creatives' like Mozart and Beethoven would undoubtedly have been far more famous and wealthy if their work could have reached a wider audience cost effectively.

« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2011, 10:10 »
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What we've seen is a democratization of both creative processes and creative markets.  Never before have so many people been able to produce creative work, and never before has it been so easy to offer it for sale. 

Most of what we/they produce is crud; then again, as Theodore Sturgeon so trenchantly observed, 90% of everything is crud.  That doesn't change the reality that we have more and greater opportunities to have our work seen and appreciated.  Democracy is messy and disruptive, but I can't help seeing this particular demonstration of democracy as largely positive.

« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2011, 11:12 »
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don't you guys  see in front of your eyes that digital and the internet actually DESTROYED the whole creative market ?

I'd have to disagree too. The internet has opened up so much more. I've had opportunities to work with people all over the world without ever leaving my house. I suppose it makes the barrier to entry easier, but I'd take the added competition for the convenience of the internet any day.

« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2011, 13:54 »
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...Most of what we/they produce is crud; then again, as Theodore Sturgeon so trenchantly observed, 90% of everything is crud....
How true. Amazon doesn't seem to review e-books the way microstock is reviewed, so there is already a lot of spamming and copyright infringement. And among the 'real' self-published e-books, even the popular ones, a lot of crud is evident. But then most of what the Big Publishers publish is crud too, if crud of a different sort.

I love the democratization and opening of the IP markets. If Getty was in charge, I wouldn't even be doing microstock. Down with the gatekeepers! If the Big Publishers begin to fall, I will watch with glee ;D

RacePhoto

« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2011, 16:44 »
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What we've seen is a democratization of both creative processes and creative markets.  Never before have so many people been able to produce creative work, and never before has it been so easy to offer it for sale. 

Most of what we/they produce is crud; then again, as Theodore Sturgeon so trenchantly observed, 90% of everything is crud.  That doesn't change the reality that we have more and greater opportunities to have our work seen and appreciated.  Democracy is messy and disruptive, but I can't help seeing this particular demonstration of democracy as largely positive.

I may be overachieving and exceeding the 90% crud mark myself?  ;)

Yes it's easier to produce and distribute. I don't find that killing anything. The good old boys system where most of us wouldn't be able to get one photo to market, has also been broken down. Free competition based on some distribution savvy but much of it based on producing the goods that people want to buy. That's talent and skill! As much as I don't like taking a dollar for a download, it beats having no market at all, and believe me, film was expensive to shoot and produce.

Back to the original post. I heard the traditional companies not seeing what's coming at them, or ignoring competition called, a "Blockbuster Epiphany". As in the day that they realized, Netflix had just kicked their butt and Blockbuster was going down in a heap. Thanks Netflix I couldn't find someone more arrogant and customer unfriendly in so many ways, as Blockbuster was.

While I like holding a book and still buy paper books and CDs, the book stores are just about gone because people can order online and get the same product. Sure no more browsing, no more going for one book and buying three.  :D But the brick and mortar marketplace is changing for just about everything and the internet is the way people shop and buy. Welcome to the future... It's not Amazon's fault for recognizing what people would want and demand, and making a business out of it.

I worry about public libraries being closed. There's something about browsing and reading and doing research in stacks and stacks of books, that I always enjoyed. Now I do a web search, get paid placement, spam, and most popular results, but not necessarily the best or relevant results. Anyone notice how many cobweb sites are on the web now? Places that don't exist but are appearing in searches or links? Or site that haven't been updated since 2009 but come up on the front page. Books may be clunky and out of style, but there';s something about reading and researching that internet searches is still lacking.

antistock

« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2011, 07:02 »
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Rubbish, Vincent Van Gogh died penniless like most of the artists who's work suddenly became valuable after their demise.

Van Gogh rightfully died pennyless as his paintings are still crap.
if today they're worth billions it's only because of the art market going crazy, like with the junk made by Damien Hirst, Cattelan, etc etc

and that's nothing, there are "conceptual photography" images sold for millions that any 8-yrs old kid could snap with a Polaroid or a 20$ mobile phone.

antistock

« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2011, 07:11 »
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Down with the gatekeepers! If the Big Publishers begin to fall, I will watch with glee ;D

digital content sales are still taken by the balls by the big distributors.

itunes, apple store, amazon, microstock... yes it's easier to get a foot in the door
but you'll be working for a pittance unlike in the past.

now only the corporations can make millions selling music,photos,books, that's a nice progress eh ?

« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2011, 09:34 »
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Anyone who hasn't read it already should go pick up Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat. 

You have NO competitive advantage. Anything you can do today, we can all replicate tomorrow.  This is the problem with vivostock that they never saw coming.  The world is flat - I can compete with istock - successfully or not - out of my basement.

Good book - suggested reading for this topic.

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