Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Amazon and The Macmillan Fail

You'd have thought that after last year's Kindle eclat, Amazon would have learned their lesson, right? That it is just not smart to mess with books listed on the website by just taking them off (and taking them off reader's Kindles too, while you are at it)?

Well... it seems they haven't learned.
With the rise of e-books, a discussion has come up between publishers, agents, authors and (e-)booksellers about fair pricing of e-books and fair shares of profits. Then last week Macmillan (a not-so-small publishing group) wished to discuss a move to an agency model/commission sharing with their e-books on Amazon. The latter wasn't delighted (though actually they would not lose money with that model - on the contrary). And just because Amazon thought it would be good to throw a tantrum... they pulled Macmillan books off their website. All books, mind you, not just the e-books. Why on earth they thought that to be a good idea? I don't know. But it makes me a bit wary of them.

I do rely on Amazon for a stack of things - English books, mostly, and the (very) occasional non-book item. Their wishlist or direct links are a very convenient way to give other folks an idea of the things you like or to make sure that the presents you receive are really what you wished for. Their "express shipping" option has made me happy once and saved my butt one other time (though I do prefer buying in local brick-and-mortar stores for those goods normally). But actions like these make me think of looking for an alternative.

My book is being listed on Amazon by now, and I had originally planned to post about that today. I was pondering to post a link to the A.-site for it, but I was of two minds about that, because I still believe in supporting the local bookstore. I won't post a link to their site now.

There are more options than just the Big River Store: You can pre-order the book via every brick-and-mortar and every online bookshop. You can order directly from the publishing house. Or, if you don't want the book straight away and really soon, you can also buy a copy from me - I will be dragging copies of the book along to every market and event I will be going to in 2010, and I will be happy to sell them (so I don't have to drag them all back home).


Phiala said...

Oh, congrats on your book coming closer and closer to existence! I posted on the Amazon thing on my other blog, with some more good information links. The most important thing right now, I think, is that the authors are getting screwed over a corporate dispute. People with Macmillan books coming out this week may never recover, particularly new authors. So go buy books: pick up a Macmillan book or two from some other source, ideally a local independent bookstore if you have such a thing (I don't).

Macmillan includes the science fiction imprint Tor, St. Martin's, Holt, and many others - all of them are affected.

A Life Long Scholar said...

Is there any difference to the amount you, as author, receive on sales from on-line sources vs the ones you sell to people in person?

Granted, I'm not so fond of on-line shopping, so perhaps I'll just wait till the next chance to buy in person, either way. Is there a textile forum this year? Other event I ought to add to my calendar that I don't yet know about?

a stitch in time said...

Phiala, thanks for the congrats - and I agree, it is the authors (and the readers) who suffer because of Amazon's temper tantrum.
Life Long Scholar, yes, there is a significant difference in the net amount that lands in my bag (or on my bank account) if the book is sold via the publishing house or bookshop vs those I sell in person. So if you are willing to wait, I certainly won't object at all! And yes, there will be a textile forum - info should go up soon. Sorry we are so behind on things there..