The World Turns

It’s always difficult for me to picture things as different than as they are right at this moment.

I mean, while I know in my head that the seasons change, whatever is in front of me seems to be all that’s real. I look out my office window at the frozen rain chain and remember when it was rain, not icicles. But the rain is no longer real to me.

We’ve been talking about that, with our luck in choosing this particular house. With the recent heavy snow, David’s been pointing out how some houses sit low on the hill, with long driveways sloping down towards their garages. Those people have been shoveling snow like mad. At first David didn’t get it, since the snow melts so quickly here. Then he got it. Our driveway snow melts through the gravel into the ground; theirs runs down the hill, into the garage and the house.

We are grateful we didn’t pick one of those, though it was not due to any foresight of ours. Though we moved from a cold and snowy climate, in the dazzle of Santa Fe’s desert summer, it’s difficult to imagine deep snow.

We were lucky.

People laugh at me, when I mention I have this limitation. I try to stretch my imagination all the time this way. To picture what I see in a different light, a different season. The thing is, I’m not convinced that other people are much better at it.

The big news yesterday was Amazon’s announcement that select ebooks for Kindle will pay authors up to 70% in royalties. Everybody picked up the story, so there’s lots of versions of that news. I just picked that one for its detail. I find the blogger in it who rambles on about Amazon’s deep fear of Apple kind of irritating. It makes me wonder who’s paying for his supper, but that’s neither here nor there.

What is interesting to me, and is to most authors, I imagine, is that percentage. If an author is lucky enough to receive a royalty of 15%, which is the high end, that means that for a book that sells in the store for $23.95, the author gets $2.16. (Bookstores buy books typically for 40% off the jacket price.) If that same author sells that book for only $5 as an ebook on Kindle, at 70% royalty, she gets $3.50 per book. Most books available as hardbacks list at $9.99 on Kindle, which would give the author nearly $7 per book. For 100 books, this becomes a $500 difference.

There has been, of course, much wailing and gnashing of teeth over how the publishing industry is changing. Authors are worried about ebook piracy. A reader on Twitter yesterday was blasted for talking about buying new releases as ebooks. Authors “taught” her how only the paper sales matter in the first week and how, if she wanted to support them, she’d buy those.

That’s the thing about change. It takes a while to adjust your thinking. To accept that a change might be a positive thing.

All it takes is being willing to see that things aren’t always as they are at this moment.

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