Monday, April 02, 2012

This makes me mad.

Here’s a link to an article about Amazon.com that I got from Mary Keeley of Books and Such Literary Agency. Why is Amazon doing this to publishers? This is so unfair. Amazon is trying to make these publishers agree to terms that would make the publishers lose money, in order for Amazon to make money off of other products in their arsenal. If the publishers don’t agree, Amazon can just stop ordering from them and the publishers lose money anyway. What kind of a business practice is that? Amazon doesn’t NEED to sell all their titles so cheaply. They’re already making money off of bestsellers. Amazon is acting like a bully. Maybe this is petty of me, but I'm going to stop buying books from Amazon for a little while. >:(

6 comments :

  1. I already don't like the practice of the author's signing with Amazon for the first 3 months. I know many of my Indie author's are not doing that so I can get their books on NOOK.

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  2. I didn't know that. That's not very nice of Amazon. Authors already have such a hard time making any money off of their books, and Amazon is limiting them.

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  3. My understanding is that is only if people sign with the Kindle Direct Programme, which obviously gives them some other advantages, otherwise they wouldn't be doing it! However, the Writer Beware blog did do a post on the KDP, warning authors about this practice.

    I was under the impression that self-published KDP authors earn a 70% royalty of Amazon e-books, which probably explains why they are prepared to sign up to a monopoly situation. I was under the impression that most traditionally-published authors got royalties in the 15% - 20% region, even for e-books, so the KDP obviously has advantages.

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  4. Anytime you self-publish, you'll get a higher royalty rate than traditional publishing. But traditional publishing also has distribution connections that you otherwise have to pay for with self-publishing, whereas traditional publishing, you don't pay them, they pay you, and they do most of the production work (editing, cover, etc.). I've done both. In general I prefer traditional publishing because I'm really quite lazy and don't want to do any of that work myself!

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  5. It seems to me there are a couple of entirely different things going on here that therefore must be considered separately.

    On the one hand Amazon clearly has the corporate manners of a troll, for which there simply is no excuse. It seemed to me that something like half the complaints were not so much for what Amazon did but for how they did it: threateningly, impersonally, suddenly, and uncompromisingly. Business is business, but it is simply BAD business to anger people unnecessarily like this; doing so generates hard feelings and, eventually, competitors. How smart is it in the long term to make these sudden, selfish, bullying moves in the public eye when, according to the article, Amazon has been forced to back down in about half the cases. It's a spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine go down, Mr. Bezos, not a knee to the groin.

    On the other hand there is clearly a lot of self-serving sob story going on here as well. It is worth remembering that Amazon's EVIL plan, stripped of its bad behavior, is simply to win you and me as customers by selling us the products we want at a lower price than anyone else can while still making money hand over fist.

    The horror, the horror....

    Same thing with authors. Amazon isn't really trying to cheat them (What good would that do Amazon?), rather it is trying to entice them with ideas on how they can make MORE money per book sale, together, by eliminating the middleman. Of course this path isn't for everyone, but truth is, a good deal less than a majority of would-be authors ever get the choice of traditional publishing or self-publishing. For most would-be authors it is going to end up being self-publish (with all the limitations and difficulties therein)...

    or don't publish... at all.

    Finally, it is worth remembering that traditional publishers and independent booksellers got into this mess in the first place because of bad corporate behavior of their own. A commentator whose name is lost to history said it better than I can,

    "Amazon has a lot of faults, but at least they don't sneer at my choice of reading material."

    Too many independent booksellers did and still do so, which is why so many of their customers abandoned them, first for the big box stores, and later for Amazon.

    As for traditional publishers, every single successful niche or genre publisher and every single successful self-published author is a testament to something they didn't see coming, lost a lot of money because of, and ended up stuck being Johnny come lately's watching somebody else make the money they passed on.

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  6. I agree with you about booksellers, I've experienced that myself. I'm not knocking self publishing or booksellers, but it annoys me that Amazon is bullying publishers this way. They wouldn't go to Lays and say, Hey, sell us your potato chips for 45% off or else.

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