Monday, February 6, 2012

But it's Tradition . . . NOT!


Bloomberg Businessweek sent me my weekly subscription. It had me reeling: "Amazon's hitman, a tale of books, betrayal, and the (alleged) secret plot to destroy literature" which refers to Amazon's Larry Kirshbaum.

Is he really seeking to destroy literature? I think it's a matter of perspective.


Check out amazing graph here.



Here's an excerpt from the article:

" 'Publishers are selling drinks on the Titanic,' says Joe Konrath. 'They are doing so much to protect their paper industry that they are disregarding the needs of customers and are treating authors poorly.' Konrath was once a struggling mystery writer living outside Chicago with hundreds of rejections to his name, nine unpublished novels, and a tempestous relationship with the publisher of two of his books, Hyperion. Then two years ago he started experimenting with uploading those books directly to the Kindle marketplace. Now, under the name of J.A. Konrath, he says he's making about $4,000 a day and collecting a &) percent rolaytly on every book he sells."




Publishers resent the fact that Amazon is *stealing authors from them. 


Publishers v. Amazon, Amazon v. Publishers


On January 11th, I shared some heartache I face as a published author. Something one of my readers posted in the comments struck a chord in me. This is what she said:


"I sometimes think publishers are the pimps and writers are the prostitutes. Publishers have fancy names and fancy promises but it's the writers who bring in the loot, with the publisher getting a lion's share for looking good. My hub's in the corporate world, a minnow in a sea of big fish, so to speak. He says that in the corporate world publishers are the vendors and writers are the clients, with the latter having the power. But this has been turned around, with the latter having to say 'how high' when the publisher says jump. "




Hmmm . . . One might question if this is a passing fad or the sign of the times. It's no wonder more and more authors are turning to self-publishing. Does this mean that those of us who are opting self-publishing are destroyers of literature as the Bloomberg's title states? I think not!  Authors are creators of literature, whether they choose Amazon or the traditional publisher.


Were you aware of all this muck going on in the book world? Where do you stand on this?


*My personal thoughts regarding this article.







16 comments:

  1. Hi,

    I do think publishers are running scared! Amazon is the lion's share of the book marketing industry. It's a publisher, it's a middleman (book distributor), it's a book shop: it's got it made... So much so, that conventional publishers are scurrying to get e-lines up and running to flood the virtual e-book market with give-a-way prices on back-list titles. It's a publisher kick-back at self-pubbing Indies. But, such tactics reveal their inner fear that Amazon has ripped the cushy rug from beneath their feet. ;)

    best
    F

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    1. Oh so true! I have a sinking feeling that Amazon is going to be so gigantic that they are going to set restrictive rules on the authors--maybe eventually driving authors back to publishers. Maybe the publishers will be willing for us that time? *shrugs*

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  2. I think agents and big publishers are probably nervous. Amazon is making waves elsewhere though since Barnes & Noble won't stock Amazon created books anymore and today I found out Goodreads won't use them as a source anymore. Who knows what will happen when the dust settles.

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    1. That is disappointing, isn't it? It reminds me of Walmart moving in, or Netflix or other places that are forcing mom and pop stores to shut down.

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  3. You make a good point, Elizabeth. I don't think there is necessarily a "bad guy" in all of this. Amazon and most traditional publishers are for-profit businesses. Of course they're going to act in ways that will gain them the most market and money. They wouldn't be in business very long if they didn't.

    On the other hand, there are tons of folks involved in those businesses who aren't out to manipulate or otherwise destroy literature and/or authors. They love books. They love authors. They love readers. They also happen to like money and all the things you can do with it (like eat and have warm showers).

    The same applies to self-published authors. The constant being they're all running a business. I think it's just difficult for some people to distinguish between art and business, which is understandable when so many times you can't have one without the other.

    Nowadays, having the very solid option of going it alone, if an author is taken advantage of by a publisher it's probably on their own head. You don't have to sign up with anyone but yourself to get your work in front of thousands of customers everyday.

    Guess we just have to worry about writing something people will want to read. : )

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    1. So true! Publishing our writing is a business indeed--authors work hard on their books. I wish that people and places worked on a level that was personable to everyone. Business is tough and the authors get the brunt of it. *sigh*

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  4. I have no idea where this all ties in, but I've been reading how amazon posted a loss in profits overall - so I guess even they are not immune to the current economic climate. I'm sure the ones to profit less will be the authors using their e-publishing services so maybe the authors' percentage of sales may not be so big in the future. I may be completely wrong of course! I frequently am!

    Take care
    x

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    1. You know, who knows what the future holds for us. I have a feeling that both are going to be battling out so hard and sorely that it will affect authors directly. I just don't know in which manner. Let's just wait and see, I guess.

      I don't think you're wrong, you've made a great point.

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  5. Yes, I knew this a couple of years ago when I decided to go indie. The graphic isn't accurate, though. Retailers pretty much require 55% of list price, which is why it's so hard for indies to get into brick-and-mortar stores. Unless you go with Lightning Source for POD, we don't have the option to set the discount at 55%. Then distributors take a percentage, too. Still, I agree with your reader. The industry is definitely backwards. The pimp/prostitute analogy is much more accurate than the vendor/client one, which is just wrong. Fortunately, the industry is changing. Unfortunately, Amazon is already putting itself into the pimp position with its KDP Select program. Authors need to band together and push the movement in the right way before we end up right where we were - or worse.

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    1. It's getting bloody, Kristie. And I feel it will just get worse!

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  6. I was well aware of this, and I am SO glad I turned to self-publishing!
    I was so, so, SO sick of being told that my writing was superb but that this or that agent "just couldn't sell it right now." (Translation: I'm not writing pseudo-twilight crap.)
    I may never make any real money self-publishing, but I have my self-respect back. I do not feel like I'm groveling at the feet of Oz ("pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!") and hoping for the mighty ones to smile upon me. Nope. I'm publishing my way, on my own schedule, and how I like. If I succeed or fail, it will be because of me and not because I didn't kiss up enough to the "right" folks.

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    1. Lisa, great point! If everyone else can live the American Dream and start their own business, why not authors? Why not? Good for you! I admire you! *hugs*

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  7. I'm not swimming in the pub waters yet, so I'm anxiously watching from ashore to see who floats. I just hope it's in the favor of authors.

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    1. Oh, you are wise to do that. I learn by watching, too. I hope that soon, there will a great opportunity for every author to jump and dive deep and thrive!

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