Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cat let go of my tongue

Okay, I try not to get too opinionated on my blog. Not that I think opinions are bad, but everyone has one and why would I want to infringe upon you, my awesome cool kids, opinions that may get your panties in a bunch? I'm just not a controversial person-which is sometimes my undoing. However, on this issue I can no longer hold my tongue.

Amazon and Kindles and E-books in general. Here's my problem. Since when did writing a novel and selling it become worth 10 dollars or LESS? The argument is that it costs less to publish e-books. Hallelujia, maybe the author/agent/editor/publisher that put so much time, thought and love into the making of that book could be better reimbursed. Oh, that's too much to ask for.

How much do you pay to rent a movie only to give it back? How much do you pay to go and be entertained at an amusement park or movie theater? How much money do we as a collective nation spend on video games? A whole lot more than the price of a book which can be kept on a shelf to be remembered and escaped into for a lifetime. To be passed on to generations of children, teenagers and friends that need an inspiring word. For this treasure, for literacy, we suddenly have decided we shouldn't pay the people that collaborate to bring it from a tiny seed into a full blown tree of multiple branches.

I'm just as broke as the next person. Trust me on this. My family of five is currently living on the income of one disabled man. However, I managed to spend money on books for my children and nephews. I didn't buy the $20 DVD, I bought two brand new $14 books. I bought myself Heidi's book-err CJ bought it, he just didn't know until after the fact. I paid $16 for a book that I have read twice and now is in the hands of my sister in law. My mother wants it next, but is sure she'll want a copy for herself.

CJ hates to read. I mean, really hates it with a burning passion. Like I hate math. Which is really really hard for me to grasp, but I still love him. He discussed the whole publishing issue with Amazon with me and was very adamant that it was ridiculous to think we should have to pay less for e-books.
"It's only to cover the cost of their damn Kindles. If they want to do their consumers a favor, they would make the e-reader affordable, not the books that take human brain and effort to write."
I love the man. But he truly means it. He told me he spends $30 and $40 bucks on video games that he enjoys. Why would he be upset to pay $15 for a book that I would enjoy? Why would it be asking too much to provide someone with years of happiness?

I propose that we boycott Amazon. (Not e-books or digital presses, just Amazon dot com the company) I would rather buy directly from the publisher, smaller booksellers online, or directly from the author when it's available. Perhaps if we all banded together, all people would realize that we are valuable as writers.


  1. I have an e-reader and I do love it. But that's not to say I don't still love a real book. And i would also happily pay $15 for an e-book. Amazon is really making themselves look bad with this whole situation. But wait a day, and it will all change again.

  2. Yup, I agree. It was a bad PR move for Amazon. I think they're seeing that finally.

  3. I agree with Karen. Wait 24 hours and they'll throw something else at us.

  4. I am being published digitally in a few months...my debut novel. My publisher is quite small and the cost of my book will only be $5.50, but I am very happy with the royalties I will make. I get a much higher percentage than a print book.

    I also have a Sony Reader. But the fact remains, I don't have a ton of money to spend on books. I do think ebooks should be cheaper...there's no printing or paper costs. And I can't help it....I shelled out $200 for my reader...I feel like I need to recoup that money. I have not bought one single ebook from Amazon....I do prefer my publisher or sites like fictionwise.com.

  5. I am not an e-reader, but it is because the kindle is a little out of my price range at the moment, however I would never mind paying more for the book that I know I'll enjoy. Amazon really did hurt themselves!

  6. I originally requested a Kindle because I have fallen back into reading novels rather than self-help, parenting, and improvement type books. I love the escape.

    Though, a series of books that I love will eventually become part of my paper back/hard cover collection, I still like the idea of having books available (especially the on demand part). Should it not be such a great read, then I haven't over-invested.

    Also, I'm becoming a fan of the e-book publication. I think it allows many more writers the chance to self-publish without the investment for printing -- and it they are more readily available.

    Previously, if I downloaded an ebook I had to read it on my Laptop. My Kindle makes them much more portable.

    I will also share that a downloaded book is not easily shared like passing around a printed book. If I want a book to share with friends and family (as we all swap) then that is a hard copy I'll purchase.

    I love both and I see the best of both worlds.

    As far as Amazon and what they charge; as a consumer I have been pleased with the afordability of the books I've downloaded (especially, since I purchased nine in the last month). Though, I do agree authors deserve to be compensated fairly.

    :-) Thanks for the discussion. [I do heart my Kindle] :-D

  7. At the moment, I don't have a reader, but I do want to make clear that i have nothing against the e-readers or authors who publish exclusively with digital press only that Amazon wasn't willing to pay an extra couple of dollars for newer titles. Anyway-great conversation! So glad to have everyone join in, and ya'll are right-it will all change tomorrow. :0)

  8. Woo hoo! Way to rock that soapbox, Kristi! :)

    I don't know that I completely agree about pricing, but I agree that Amazon has done no favors for themselves recently.

    I still go back to the diabetic metaphor. Companies GIVE AWAY blood testing machines (glucose monitors) because once you have it, you have to use their test strips to test your blood. And those test strip costs are out the wazoo. The meter? Free. The test strips? $500 every three months.

    Give us the e-reader free. We'll pay the higher price for the book.

    That's my soapbox. :)

  9. Heidi, I'm right there with you, girl! Or at least less than $500, right?!

  10. Someday soon, e-readers will be the norm and the price will come wayyyyyyyyyy down. It's still too trendy right now.

  11. See, I'm on the other side of the fence. I think a store should be able to price at whatever they choose and if they want something to be a loss leader (meaning they loose money, not the publishers, authors, etc.) on that particular item that is within their right. I did an online specialty book store and special events book store and I can't imagine if someone had come in and told me what I was allowed to charge for things. I would have been very pissed. As a reader I want the best deal I can get as the less I pay per item the more stuff I can buy. As a writer, I know one particular writer who says he makes more on his $1.99 Kindle releases than he does on his $6.99 paperback releases through his publisher.

    But that is just my opinion.

  12. Angelia: That is a different way of looking at things. I'm not as hip on the business side aspect of this, obviously. :0) I also may have been reading the wrong articles-biased ones. LOL I do know that I want to make the purchase that benefits the author-especially a new release that I've been anticipating, or one of the authors I interview on my blog-rather than put all the money in a company that is quite wealthy and successful. Thanks for stirring things up, Angelia! :0)

  13. If someone buys a copy of Precipice through Amazon, I get just a little over $1. That stinks. Frankly, I was shocked to see that the publisher had priced my book at $4.99. But that's okay. I had never meant to publish it anyway, so anything I make from that is icing on the cake.

    If I check out a book at the library or borrow one from a friend and end up liking it, I will go out and buy it and add it to my collection. If I don't, the author gets nothing. I read books multiple times, so paying good money for a hardback (not that I have much money to buy all the books I currently want) makes sense to me.

  14. I don't pretend to know all that is going on, but the basics I am understanding is that the publishing industry is STILL not getting the e-book side of things. They do not want ebooks to be sold cheaper because they want to keep the profits even though it will cost less in the long run (initial costs are the same upfront for editorial, cover, etc.), but then they don't have to actually print up books, transport, deal with returns, etc. The publishers and authors are not getting any less with the $9.99 pay structure (Amazon is taking the hit) what is happening (or the big fear is) people are buying the ebook instead of the hardback where they make more money (I believe the publisher makes a higher profit on the hardback, but am unsure on the author, all depends on the royalty scale). They don't want readers to buy ebooks instead of the hardback that's why so many publishers are also trying to force Amazon to delay the ebook release until several months after the hardback release (similar to movie theater releases vs. DVD releases). Besides that, from the things I've read, the big fear is that if it becomes standard that ebooks are $9.99 when the hardcover is $24.99 that Amazon will then have the clout to ask for the price point to be lowered on what they pay to the publishers (less than $9.99). Then the publishers fear losing money (and I don't know how this would affect author royalties since those are tied into contracts and if the publisher would then lower the royalty amount for the author to make up for the loss for authors signing contracts after that would occur). One of the best way to make sure the author gets highest royalties is to buy directly from their website if they have one where they sell. Second would be markets that only take 40-50% discount. Sellers that take a higher discount from the publisher the author gets a lower amount of royalty.

    Well, I could go on and on. LOL. There's a lot out in cyber space on this subject, but I've yet to find an article that isn't biased toward the publishers or Amazon so am still uncertain on how I feel about the whole thing.

  15. Yeah, I found one, I think he does a pretty good of explaining what is going on Paper-Earthworks and Digital Tides

  16. I am not at the publishing stage yet, and I love reading the variety of experiences and opinions that you all have.

    Personally, I am not an e-book reader or a Kindle reader, because I just treasure the feeling of a book in my hands. :) But that's just me, I know people who LOVE their Kindles.

    I sort of think of it this way: Musicians were losing money on downloaded music forever (now, I'm not comparing an accomplished novelist with an accomplished musician salary-wise, but just the principal), and no one cried for them. People said the music industry needed to find a way to get with the times and embrace downloads. iTunes is vastly successful.

    I think that writers ultimately have to accept the reality of digital books. Yes, I'm digital publishing has kinks to work out, but authors already accept that people can read their books for free in a library; those same people might be willing to pay for the convenience of an e-book.

    Best of luck to all of you!

  17. Good point, Dangerous. I just saw that the average reader doesn't give a flip about the whole Mac/Amazon war (just as with the musicians). They just want their books as cheap and easy to get whether it's paper or ebook.


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