Books Back Up at Amazon

posted in: Amazon, publishing 0

The Seven Day War between Amazon and my publisher’s parent company Macmillan seems to be over.  Amazon restored the Buy buttons to my books last night, and by all reports to the rest of the Macmillan catalogue as well. 

Am I going to restore the Amazon links that I took down from my website?  (I didn’t go through my site methodically removing all links, but I did take down the most prominent ones.)  Let me get back to you on that.  It potentially costs me money in the form of referral fees—not a lot of money, but every little bit helps—to keep them down.  But Amazon has been behaving badly of late, and I want to think before I jump right back into bed with them. 

The tide seems to be turning in the publishing industry.  Two other giants have announced their intention to seek similar changes in the way ebooks are priced and divvied up. 

Is this a good thing or a bad thing?  I wish I knew.  I really do.

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  1. Myric
    | Reply

    Although aggressive in their stance on ebooks, at least the publishing industry is doing something about electronic distribution earlier in the game than the recording industry. And the film industry, who insist that BluRay discs are the way to go and download is years away.

    I can't say I agree with just how aggressive some of the major publishers are becoming, either. That type of aggression is what fueled file sharing of MP3's and pirated movies. I'm sure there's pirated ebook sharing going on, too, but it can't be as widespread as music… can it?

    As a fledgling author, this is a nagging worry – will I eventually get paid, well, anything for my work? Must be a major worry for you.

    Good blog, thanks for sharing your insight on things.

  2. Jeffrey A. Carver
    | Reply

    Hi Myric — Thanks for the comment. As a fledgling author, I'd worry more about your craft and breaking in. To answer your question, yes, there's definitely pirated ebook-sharing going on. In fact, it was a reader of this blog who put me onto it. Turns out that Pirate Bay and other torrent sites have large collections of PDFs of scanned-in books, including most of mine. Said reader bagged a bunch of mine up for me and sent them to me.

    At first, I was irate. Then I thought about it, and decided that the pirates were actually doing me a favor, by exposing me to a wider audience. That train of thinking led me to eventually putting up free ebooks of some of my novels. As for the pirated copies, some are atrocious scans, unproofread, and others are carefully proofed and formatted. In fact, I used a pirated copy of my first novel, written on a manual typewriter, as the basis for the eventual ebook version.

    My feeling is, if I lose some sales to pirated editions, I'm gaining new readers. And some of those readers will start buying legit copies–or people they recommend my books to will.

  3. Dave Moss
    | Reply

    I have to say my feelings match yours on this issue Jeff. I suspect, especially as I'm a fledgling author, that the pirate movement may be of benefit to me by exposing my works to a wider audience.

    As I'm still awaiting word on my first submission at this point, the matter is moot for me at least.

    For more established writers I can see that there would be some trepidation on this point as the phenomenon is still a new one and the long term effects have yet to be determined.

    My own personal thoughts are that it may well mirror what's been happening in the world of music. A majority of the somewhat limited independent studies into music piracy seems to indicate it is more beneficial to starting out artists than those with already established audiences and reputations.

  4. Jeffrey A. Carver
    | Reply

    (I keep forgetting, under the moderated system, I have to click approval for new messages to go up. Sorry, Dave.)

    You are probably right that the best-known writers, musicians, etc., are the most likely to take a hit from piracy. Most of us are in greater danger from obscurity than from pirates.

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