The Passive Voice has been having some really good posts lately on the businessy end of publishing.
Today he let the comments run the show by asking people there's any predictable correlation between a book's ranking on Amazon and the number of books actually sold/money the author earns, and he asks about sales patterns. The answer about rankings seems to be a general "not really" (your ranking depends on your genre, and at the lower rankings you can jump way up by selling one book); as for sales pattern, not shockingly, the more books you have out.... Also people link to other sites where people have tried tracking data. I try not to worry about this stuff, because 1. I don't have to, and 2. nonetheless I can easily get really focused on that rather than, you know, focusing on writing books, an activity I actually enjoy. But if you're interested, there it is.
Another thing that has led to several posts is a lot of news about companies expanding in e-book retailing and self-publishing. Kobo is going to allow self-publishing and is trying to be author-friendly. A new social e-book app has been announced. Wattpad (where you give away stories for free) got a bunch of money. And Forbes did a profile on Mark Coker of Smashwords, which includes exciting (at least to me) tidbits like Smashwords recently expanded from three employees to fourteen, and that it expects $12 million in revenue in 2012. (And $1 million in something called "pretax profit." OK, guys, that's bullshit--I know private companies can say whatever, but why even report that number? Unless Coker plans on counting his money while sitting in jail for tax evasion, it's not a profit until after he pays his taxes.)
And Coker financed the company by borrowing $200,000 from his mother. Gotta love those entrepreneurs!