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Is Amazon Is The Reader's Friend?


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Is Amazon the Reader's Friend Video



In late 2014, Amazon and the publishing house Hachette settled a months-long dispute over who should set the price for e-books. In Amazon's view, lower prices mean more sales and more readers, and that benefits everyone. But for publishers, the price of an e-book must reflect the investment made, from the author's advance to a book's production.


The conflict, resolved for now, has only raised more questions about the value of books, Amazon's business practices, and the role of publishers. Is book publishing an oligopoly, a dinosaur in need of disruption? Is Amazon, which accounts for 41% of all new book and 67% of all e-book sales, a monopoly? Who is doing right by readers and the future of books?

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I think Amazon is only controlling what they have a right to control. I have a personal reason to say the hell with the traditional publishing method. I'm not saying I'm some great writer, but I did everything you are supposed to do in the industry. I wrote. Then I learned to write. Then I went to an MFA program to continue learning all of the tools and gain a stronger foundation for writing. I then began submitting. My rejection letter stack covered a wall and began to look like wall paper. I wrote query after query and I finally landed an agent. I was told that my books weren't "street" enough, so I wrote a street fiction. I worked my butt off for years trying to publish traditionally and I was accepted. I finally said, the hell with the traditional publishing houses and I simply gave up on being published and I gave up on writing to be read. I just wrote, and wrote some more, and self published. I didn't really advertise much, I kind of let the time slip away and just last year I decided to really give writing another shot, actually publishing and selling since I have 5 books ready to roll.


I used Amazon's KDP. I charge 4.99 for a Kindle book and I net 1.75 per book sold. I'm not selling many books, but I'm perfectly happy with this amount as it is more than I would ever get from a traditional publishing house. 


As far as ebooks and traditonal publishers crying, to hell with them. When they decided to give up on diversifying their editors and adding more titles to their rosters, when agents decided that all we wanted was non-fiction and that fiction will only sell to the YA market they did themselves in. The readers don't have a responsibility to anyone. They are entitled to the cheapest book they can get. Buyers create the market. If more people are reading the price goes up. It's all supply and demand.

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Hi Chris I see from your perspective, as a writer, that  you are not concerned about Amazon's impact on the big five publishers.  The question that was asked, and debated, was is Amazon the reader's friend.  What is your position on that idea?

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I think when the reader can get cheap books they win. The problem is perception. Amazon does not bear the burden of proof that they are the cheapest; that is the consumers responsibility. Unfortunately, this is also the responsibility of the independent writers, publishers, and websites that want to sell books.

Amazon only has a responsibility to help its shareholders. While it's not right to absolve amazon from educating shippers, it's the reality.

Businesses are not friends, so no Amazon is not the reader's friend. Amazon is not a monopoly. Amazon is a choice. Like Nike is a choice that controls 90% of the basketball shoe market. Buyers have the ability to shift everything by becoming educated consumers.

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I agree.  As a corporation, Amazon is first and foremost, if they are doing their job, a friend to their shareholders, not to readers.


Chris if Nike controls 90% of the market, as you wrote, they are, for all practical purposes, a monopoly.


Amazon, who sells about 3/4 of all eBook and 2/3 of all physical is effectively a monopoly as well.  As such they control the industry much more than any of the individual top publishers ever have.


Amazon is not, nor do I think they even claim, they are the lowest priced seller.  I make available for sale, every day, books that can be purchased for less that what Amazon sells the same book for, overwhelmingly however, people choose to buy from Amazon.  But I guess the reason for this goes back to perception.  People perceive Amazon is better than an indie book seller, even if the indie book seller can provide the same product for less.  


Drug users consider the pusherman their friend too. 


The YouTube video was yanked.  I only got to listen to about 1/2 of it.  I found the opposing arguments very interesting The final result of the debate was than more people were convinced that Amazon is NOT the readers friend.  The debate did take place in New York City, the publishing capital of the world, so that result is not particularly surprising.

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I bring up Nike as a reference because until 1984 Nike was a non factor. Adidas controlled sports with Converse as a close second. Nike got wise in the marketing department, luckily signed Michael Jordan because of Sonny Vaccaro and the rest is history. But, people still will pay more for Nike shoes that are not proven to be any better than other brands simply because they are being persuaded by the creation stories of the athletes. 


Amazon's creation story and ease of ordering is perceived to be better. I have even succumbed to this fact and no longer sell shoes through my website. I am more than willing to give away 15% to Amazon because it's where I am able to sell more shoes. I stopped attempting to sell through my site and eventually turned it into an affiliate marketing site that looks like a store.


I've made my books available on my site since I've been marketing more, but they are not selling yet. People have however clicked the affiliate links and bought the book through Amazon. So the question becomes as with all of our work, how do we get to the customer? I think the only thing that will work is face to face interaction. Something has to give. I'm using AALBC to ween me away from Facebook, but as soon as I write here, I turn around and go check my Facebook page. It's a cold game.

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