Thursday, February 23, 2012

Amazon flexes its muscle...authors caught in the squeeze.

Contact me at: 



I've been in publishing only a short while, but I've been around it enough to have seen some of the big brew-ha-has involving Amazon. The first was when Amazon yanked all print-on-demand titles not produced through their print-on-demand arm. The second was when all MacMillan ebook titles were pulled during the great agency debate. Well it's happening again.

Independent Publishers Group, a large distributor for independent presses and authors has had all 5,000 of their ebooks pulled from the Amazon kindle. The print versions of their books are still for sale.

The reason, is that their ebook contract was up for renewal and IPG wanted the same terms, and Amazon wanted a deeper discount. When they couldn't agree, Amazon pulled the titles.

What does this mean to me
For most authors to this board, not a whole lot...except to point out that you should put some things in place.

A publisher (or author) should have an alternate means by which readers can get books in ALL formats. For instance, my press sells ebooks directly through my website (www.ridanpublishing.com). So even if Amazon yanked my titles (which would be a disaster) I could still fulfill orders by people buying direct from me.

If you are an author who is pursuing publication through a publisher, try to get language inserted into the contract that allows you to directly sell your titles when they are unavailable for sale on other venues. This may be difficult to get - but you can use this example, and the MacMillan exmaple as cases as to why you need such a provision. Without it, you your fans will have NO MEANS to get your books. At a minimum, choose a publisher that sells all formats directly on their website so that you can keep the sales flowing.

If you are an indie author, going direct through DTP is your best chance of not having his happen to you. You can use a distributor for your print books, but keep the ebook rights in your control.

What about those using DTP?
Actually, it shouldn't effect you, other than a possible bellwether sign that Amazon may start squeezing you a bit more for a bigger piece of the pie. Don't get me wrong, I love Amazon, they have made me and my authors hundreds of thousands of dollars, but being the market leade means you have a big stick and from time to time they will swing it. Keep your eyes open and be prepared to make adjustments as necessary.

Also...it may be possible that you'll see a hit on our sales. Moves like this will generate huge anti-Amazon sentiment (which is already pretty high these days, because of recent exclusivity moves) there will be people who will boycott all Amazon sales as a sign of displeasure - so for those in the Select program (and exclusive) you might have a little rougher time for awhile. Those not in the program, may see higher sales from other venues.

In Summary
Once again, it is proof that this business changes at the speed of light - and you have to keep abreast of what is going on. Only those who are watching and are willing to adjust will survive.

Learn More
If you would like to learn more about the incident in question. You can go to any of the following sites but they all pretty much say the same thing:



Contact me at: 

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