Saturday, 10 December 2011


Here’s the basic story:
Amazon has created a $500,000 monthly pool of cash to be distributed to participating authors based on the number of times your book is borrowed from their new lending library.
Catch? During the time your book’s enrolled in the program, authors can’t distribute or sell those books anywhere else. Anywhere includes: Apple, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, and Sony. Amazon wants total exclusivity. This is for a three-month period, but if you don’t opt out on your own, it will carry on to the next three months.

Smashwords is upset of course but what about the others such as Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony, Diesel, Chapters and more. Amazon is just marketing. Whether it’s fair or not who can blame them? Amazon is being a bully of course, but can the others stand up to it? I personally sent a marketing tip or feature that I thought might help sales to Mark at Smashwords, but I did not even receive a response.

For me I’m weighing the pros and cons. I’m not a big business mogul, so I have to listen to what others say in that respect. But I take care of business and go from there, deciding by weighing my own pros and cons on my own business, which is selling books. My books have been distributed through Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony and the others that Smashwords distributes to, and I distribute also through Amazon. And although Amazon is a later distributor of mine I can truly say that my sales on the other formats are higher than at Amazon right now. In all honesty why then would I want to jump the gun and cut off those other distributors to be exclusive to Amazon? A big DUH is needed here.

Here’s how I see it. Amazon is Amazon and that means they are taking the bull by the horns and going after the indie author big time. They offer marketing tools that are available only with KDP Select. Some indie authors are going to drool over that. After all, we indies are frothing at the mouth for better marketing ideas.

The old tried and true, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, following forums, putting in your two-cents worth and hoping someone will start to recognize you, is growing tiresome. I get it that these avenues are helpful and probably a necessary part of marketing. They can’t hurt that’s for sure. But, and this is the big BUT, we want something new. Innovative ideas from our distributors. If you want our business, keep up. Keep us happy, keep us making sales, make suggestions as to what we might try, and by this I mean through the distributors we have given our souls to. Because when a writer writes the soul is exposed.

So everyone out there except Amazon, put on your thinking caps. How can you one-up Amazon? Can you do this as a group or even alone? Start strategizing and brainstorming. Sit down and draw the circle then throw on words and ideas that will get and keep indie authors happy and producing more and more for you to distribute. This is business folks and Amazon has started the ball rolling so let’s keep it going.

For everyone who wants to try KDP Select but hasn’t yet and might be hesitating because you hate to pull your books, then don’t. Every writer has their own slushpile. Dig in there and find something that you’ve neglected to work on and set aside, or start something new. Apparently Amazon’s new program will be around for awhile, so what’s the rush? Most indie authors do not depend solely on their royalities. Heaven forbid if I had to. So if you don’t have to then take your next book and enter it into the KDP Select program. Give it exclusivity...for three months anyway. If you don’t think it’s doing so hot or could do better at other distributors, pull it and spread it around. This is the best of both worlds.

After all, writers are like anyone else. We are out there to help ourselves first and foremost. If we get treated right, we’ll hang with you. If you neglect us we’ll go to the other table. It’s business!

Points I hope I’ve made here:
  1. Because of Amazon’s move towards KDP Select and their exclusivity clause, many other distributors are upset.
  2. Present marketing ideas from many distributors are lacking in dazzle.
  3. Other book distributors, including Smashwords, need to get on the ball with some fresh marketing ideas if they want to keep their authors.
  4. Think about this before you jump, before you lose contact with your readers in all other aspects except the Kindle.
  5. Amazon dangles a carrot and everyone jumps.

In defense of other distributors, it looks like Amazon is thumbing their nose at not only the competitors, but also the reading public. How insulting is it to be told that your favourite book is only available on Kindle? What about all the other e-reader devices? This seems not only to be a marketing ploy against Amazon’s competitors, but also a punch in the nose to readers that didn’t buy their Kindle.

Isn’t this a bit like what the conglomerate book publishers did to Amazon? Because of Amazon’s $9.99-and-under pricing strategy, the big guys took the little bull Amazon by the horn. They insisted on an “agency” arrangement that would let them set the retail price, and Amazon had to give in, since the five largest conglomerates pushing for agency pricing represented a large portion of Amazon's book sales in all formats. Once this was done, the large publishers raised the initial price of best selling ebooks to equal or sometimes exceed the price of the hard cover print version, again pushing the consumer towards print.

It’s a push and shove world apparently. So now it’s Amazon’s turn to twist the arm of the other and smaller distributors for e books.

It has been a long road for many authors. And suddenly this is the age of independence. Authors can pick and choose where they distribute their book and mostly for FREE. It’s a great day for authors. However, do we want to see the independent author start to kowtow to one big powerful distributor? Isn’t this like sending independence down the stinkhole?

What do you think? You readers and other writers. I know you have an opinion, so let the words out. COMMENT! (please)

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