Saturday, August 9, 2014

The latest in the Amazon vs Hachette saga:

Last night(ish) Amazon sent mail to the indie-authors who publish via Kindle Direct Publishing and asked them to attack NYC Traditional Publisher Hachette Book Group. Amazon apparently believes indie-authors are too dense to grasp basic economics and that we've failed elementary school math.

Don't worry, Amazon thinks readers are stupid too. They're asking consumers to do the same thing. Their ReadersUnited webpage uses selective math and a love of Orwellian fear mongering as a call to action.

No, no, I'm not #TeamHachette or #TeamNYCBig5 either. The legacy of an author's contribution to a novel being valued at 8%-15% net revenue is appalling. The opacity of reporting, holds against returns, and high churn of talent lends no favors to the diminishing publisher-value.  It's made worse by traditional publishers fighting the wrong battles in an evolutionary age instead of innovating to give readers what they want and authors what they need. (Those innovations are a long post for another time).

I'm #TeamMarketplace. Consumers decide the prices. Authors and illustrators get paid what their art is worth. Publishers innovate to stay relevant to artists and consumers. Retailers resolve the demands of consumer convenience.

Here are two established authors with really good explanations as to why neither company is our friend or ally; they're businesses with eyes on the bottom line.

John Scalzi:

Chuck Wendig:

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