[publishing] A few links and notes on Amazon vs Macmillan

on what authors control, as well as boycotts, one-star reviews, and other matters or less tangentially related to Amazonfail.

Amazon shares fall 7 pct on publishing fracas — Amazonfail has sucked three billion dollars in market capitalization out of the stock price.

The Kindle Missile Crisis — Nathan Bransford with some analysis of his own.

Levi Montgomery raises a point about author power which I hadn’t consideredThirty years ago, if I read and loved your books, and they disappeared from the shelves of my local store, I would probably have never known why, nor what to do or whom to call. Things are different now. I need to mull this one over.

My take on why authors can’t just switch publishing houses — In answer to a question which has been raised repeatedly. Yes, the question itself is a red herring. No, I have no desire to do so, have yet to see how Macmillan isn’t working for the business interests I share with them. It’s just an intellectual exercise, but may be useful to some folks.

Finally, some things I’ve learned about authors from reading what ebook-buying consumers from the pro-Amazon side of this dispute are saying.

  1. Authors are greedy
  2. Authors are rich
  3. Authors hate ebook readers
  4. Authors control pricing
  5. Authors control what their publishers do
  6. Authors should be punished for what their publisher does
  7. Authors are taking orders from their publishers’ PR departments
  8. Authors should self-publish, because they’ll make lots more money that way
  9. Authors don’t know what they’re talking about
  10. Authors aren’t necessary
  11. Authors are bullying Amazon

This depresses me immensely, and reinforces what I said before about us authors looking greedy and short-sighted to consumers for whom we are the main public face of publishing.

10 thoughts on “[publishing] A few links and notes on Amazon vs Macmillan

  1. I wouldn’t take those pro-Amazon items to heart if I were you.

    1. Jay says:

      I don’t take it to heart, but I confess that in almost 10 years as a pro author, I’ve literally never before run across readers with a strong, generic anti-author bias. (As opposed to anti-fans of specific authors or genres, which is par for the course.) It never occurred to me that was possible. Which I suppose only shows the limits of my imagination.

  2. Dave Robinson says:

    The more I see it, the more I find myself not only turning away from Amazon, but also from the ebook reading community (yes it really exists).

    As a reader and a writer, I find too many of the must have cheap books now people are coming across as more childish than my seven year old daughter.

    It bothers me, because I’m an ebook reader and ebook buyer and I don’t like being lumped in with that mentality.

  3. Cora says:

    The entitlement mentality of some (not all) ebook readers and particularly the loudest shills of the ebook community is unbelievable.

    For example, a lot of books from authors whose work I enjoy come out in hardcover first. I almost never buy hardcovers, because they are too expensive, heavy and unwieldy for my taste. Would I prefer mass market paperback editions to come out simultaneously with the hardcover edition? You bet. But do I complain about hardcovers, harass authors, threaten boycotts, etc… No, I simply wait for the paperback edition, which inevitably comes out at some point (except for some academic books). And if I can’t wait for some reason, I bite the bullet and buy the hardcover.

    So why exactly do so many e-book readers think that they are entitled to an e-book edition in their preferred format at the same time as the hardcover for less than half the price?

  4. JulieB says:

    You forgot that authors are full of cr@p. 😉

    Yes, I’m just as depressed as you are over this. It’s clear that many readers don’t understand (or don’t care to understand) the economics of publishing. This isn’t something you could outsource to China.

    Well, you *could*. I freelance, and I’ve lost business that route. “Please spend an hour researching this topic and then write something coherent. We’ll pay you $5.”)

  5. Meran says:

    Yeah, in reading across the net, it becomes quickly obvious that ebook readers (as a whole, individuals don’t always conform to the “whole”), are mad at AUTHORS. Made me so sad; these are many of our younger, newly productive work force, those we’ll be reliant on as Elders. How they can blame authors is puzzling to me.
    It was prob also the same generation/group who wrote the Amazon post. I wonder if any heads will roll for that post?
    Anyway, when I saw where the whining was proceeding, I quit reading, and ~certainly lost all sympathy. I grow rapidly deaf to people who want ME or other artists and authors to give our work away for free (or a pittance). I doubt they work their day jobs for 1/2 of minimum wage!

    1. Cora says:

      Ah, but you forget that artists enjoy their work and people can’t possibly be paid for something they enjoy. Besides, actually wanting to be paid for your work makes you such a sell-out.

      Hmm, I wonder how the fellow painting my basement will react to the suggestion that I only pay him a fraction of the agreed price. I’m sure he doesn’t want to be a sell-out either.

  6. Meran says:

    Yeah, it’s funny that construction types get all the cash they ask for and yet artist types are asked “but what will you ~take for it?”
    and I’m not sure “enjoy” our work is the correct term; “driven to do it” is more the reality. 🙂

    1. Cora says:

      Well, if artists and writers are driven to write/create art (and I agree with your word choice here), then that justifies paying them a pithy or nothing even more in the minds of some people. Because if artists would write/make music/create art anyway, why should they be paid for it?

      Yes, I’ve actually seen that argument made online, painful as it is.

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