Rambo is going the ebook Indie route. This post from the Guardian is news now, but it will not be news six months from now. There are only so many times that you can announce, “Big Name Author decides to make more money and have more control over their own work”.
I especially liked this quote from David Morrell
“Some authors bemoan the changes in major publishing because they want the comfort of a nest and a support group. But … there’s something liberating about feeling independent and realising that your self-worth doesn’t depend on approval from a business conglomerate,”
I think most people who write novels do it because they love to write. They don’t do it because they want to get rich. Having got that out of the way we can turn to the subject of money. If you’re a “branded author” the attraction of self-publishing via ebook is huge. Firstly there is the money. More of it. Secondly there is freedom of decision. More of that too. The other item of interest is that although the purchase of the books will be through Amazon, Morrell and other authors have the opportunity to develop their franchise (brand) in a much closer relationship with the reader. This factor, as anyone who runs a brand knows, is the real clincher.
Reading devices such as the Kindle will inevitably develop into “more”. What that more is will be determined by the market, but I suspect at a minimum that new devices will also enable connection to the Internet for browsing (of course the iPad already does this); consider then the power of a link. When someone buys a printed book in a Barnes and Noble store, it’s B&N that have the name of that person.
For the author to get to know the name of that person, the reader would have to do something that rarely happens. They would have to find the website of the author and, having done that, would have to enter their name and address or an email. Very few people, in percentage terms not enough to worry about, actually do that. If however, a link is present and, as a reward for action they are given something, many readers will click on a link.
If you’re an established author, and you not only have the rights to your intellectual property, but you also have the information about who your readers are; then you have become a market.