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And the Winner Is… January 24, 2012

Posted by bobv451 in awards, business, e-books, movies, science fiction, VIPub, writing.

The Oscar noms went out this morning. I try to keep up with movies, though I am in a declining segment of the population to do so. Even then, I hadn’t even heard of some of the nominees. The few I had seen were good but, all in all, 2011 was a crummy year.

The award isn’t to the most popular, of course, but to the best. However that is defined in an industry whose representative openly admits to bribing politicians.

I saw Hugo and enjoyed it a lot, but it is strangely paced and the plot changes halfway through the movie. It’s seamless as you watch but don’t think about it or you’ll realize how this goes from a plucky homeless kid with a clockwork automaton story to the destroyed dreams of an old film maker.

A broader question isn’t what is nominated or even if the winner is any good but what additional revenue will this generate? Movie ticket sales were up 10% over Christmas but this is a comparison with 2010. What isn’t mentioned is that twice as many “tent pole” movies were in release, with budgets at least 2x as much. So for twice the expense, Hollywood brought in 10% more revenue. Poor incremental return on your money, if you are a film maker. Will an Oscar significantly boost the winner? I doubt it. In DVD sales? I doubt that, too, since the markets are changing.

Carrying the question to publishing, do awards give a significant boost to book sales? For the Big 6, they’d have to reissue since the shelf life of a book is about 16 days. Hugo (the sf award, not the Scorcesse movie), Nebula and all the other awards simply don’t generate the buzz an Oscar does–and wouldn’t trigger reprints. Do you buy new books with “Hugo Award Winning Author” on the cover simply from that datum? NYT bestseller works better, but there is a proliferation of bestseller lists. One might even say a compost heap of them.

I can’t see any boost in sales on Career Guide to Your Job in Hell, in spite of that hitting #2 on the Kindle anthology bestseller list. Moonlight in the Meg hit #3 in high tech and technothriller.

No significant boost afterward. Would it be different if they weren’t ebooks?

One advantage of VIPub ebooks over Big 6 print is that they can stay in print forever. We might see if a Hugo or Nebula win boosts ebook sales eventually. Time will tell, but I suspect awards will decline as a sales factor in favor of simply good storytelling.



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