So much has been written of late about Amazon’s marketing tactics vis a vis Hachette, and I don’t have much to add to that discussion. As a progressive liberal, I would point to the example of Microsoft, which recently laid off 40,000 workers, which was the last monopoly that was going to destroy us all; the marketplace seemed to take care of that problem, though, doubtlessly, the threat of antitrust was one of the reasons that we lived through that era, to the new one, in which we now fear Google and Apple will destroy us all.
So here is the free market position, from Forbes. And here is the we need more regulation position from the Atlantic; since I made my little free-market pitch up above, I’ll excerpt the progressive view below:
Long-time industry consultant (and partner in Digital Book World, my employer) Mike Shatzkin explained to me what would happen next:
Let’s say Amazon goes to 70 percent and they’re basically the pipes for everything and they’re indispensable and you can’t publish a book without them. So, what do they do then?
If they’re still trying to maximize profits, we’ll still have lots of romance books and James Patterson will still write his books. But serious nonfiction books won’t get published. Those are the books that will go first.
So, we’re told, don’t worry about the escapist crap, (like, well, SF) Serious Books will suffer, the ones that the Big Five publish as a kind of public service. Huh. As a progressive I’ve lamented the shifting fortunes of the mid list writer, (the writer I could imagine myself as being) as publishing culture changed as a result of massive media conglomeration, mostly repeating the second hand stories of writers I saw being pushed out of the business and back into day jobs.
But now I’m in the strange position of personally knowing several new mid list writers, making healthy incomes, independently publishing through, well, mostly Amazon.
So. Complicated. Reminds me of ISIS, Iraq, Syria and Iran. Not something I can sort through in this blog post.
One thing remains true. We have the freedom, especially online, to shop anywhere we want.
Fantastic Books is offering me a great royalty on my books sold through their site. Buy wherever is most convenient to you, certainly, but if you are the kind of person who is interested in such things, I’ll make more money if you buy my book from Fantastic, and you’ll be supporting a more diverse publishing ecology.
The downside? If you are a kindle reader, you will have to learn how to email your downloaded book to your kindle emails address. Learning how to do this actually makes your kindle a wonderful proofreading / business reading device, as the emailing auto-converts .doc files, RTF files, and of course, .mobi files, the Kindle native file format. If you have an e-ink device, you know it’s much much easier to proofread on it. Mistakes invisible on screen leap off the page and hit you in the face like a furious fish jerked from a deep cold lake.
Seriously. E-ink. The devices stay charged for a week or two, and if you have a backlit model, it doesn’t shoot blue wavelengths of light into your retina, breaking your circadian rhythms, disrupting your sleep.With e-ink, you read, you don’t watch video, you don’t do social media, you don’t browse. You read until you’re tired and then you go to sleep.
Anyway, buy my anthology, people who do write nice reviews, frequently, it seems to work for them; it’s about a decade of struggle in eight stories. My last 4 stories will be released in a new antho any day now. Just got it proofread. If you had a hard time finding Asimovs and haven’t yet subscribed, like you really should, you can buy the stories from me here.