Monday, January 23, 2012

Amazon Borg - Resistance is Futile, or Is It?

Another author and I were talking about the possible advantages of the new KDP Select program. The buzz on Twitter was crazy at the beginning of this month. Seemed like a lot of indie authors were split on whether or not to join. I myself was hesitant. Mostly because of the exclusivity and the ambiguous payment plan for “borrowed” books. Amazon seemed kind of fuzzy on exactly how much money would be available.

A lot of authors were saying “What have I got to lose? What I’m doing now isn’t working.” I’m starting to feel that way myself. Like most authors, the largest majority of my sales are from Amazon. The few ebook sales I have received from Barnes and Noble and Lulu would not stop me from considering dropping them. At least temporarily while trying Amazon’s program. It’s only a three month commitment…

My bigger concern is the queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach from the obvious move Amazon is making to try to corner the market and squeeze out competitors. Do I want to be a part of that? Obviously my decision to join Amazon or not isn’t going to matter in the big picture, but I think it has the potential to get really ugly. As promised, Amazon has already excluded other print on demand companies from listing their paperbacks on the website. I decided to go with Lulu, so my paperback is no longer available on Amazon. Of course, that limits authors to Amazon’s print on demand baby, Createspace. I don’t like having my options limited.

How are other companies going to take Amazon’s muscle flexing? Hard to say, but I already got a message from Goodreads that to save my ebook, I had to use another source of information because as of January 30, 2012, they were no longer going to be accepting any book information from Amazon. Any books that had been added to Goodreads from an Amazon link would be removed after that date if the book hadn’t been “saved” by the author through other means. Why the resistance from Goodreads? They don’t sell or publish books, so I don’t know. I looked them up and they are privately owned and do not appear to be linked to any other publisher or book seller. They reportedly have over 5 million members. Maybe they don’t like having their options limited either.

I don’t know what the end result of all this will be. It’s still too early to tell. I do know that as an author, I want to do whatever is best to help my book sales. I’m not sure I want to alienate everyone except Amazon to do it though. As a consumer, it makes me uncomfortable to have one company with so much power limiting my options as an author and as a consumer. I feel like it’s the beginning of some kind of war, and I am being forced to choose a side. It’s a gamble either way. I believe in the old saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” I may be paranoid, but as far as I'm concerned, I don’t want Amazon to be the only basket.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think it's paranoia when the danger is real! This Amazon power play does look like a declaration of war -- a kind of war that leaves no option for authors to be on the winning side. I've decided to keep my eggs in more than one basket.