Friday, May 23, 2014

Not The Only Game In Town

It's a habit, nothing more, or a lazy shortcut. You want to know something about a book, or you want to find a book, or you want to pre-order a book, and you navigate over to the Amazon web page.

There are other places to buy books. It is time to start using those other places.

Amazon is trying to squeeze Hachette Book Group, to extract further discounts so that Amazon can make more money selling books to you.

You might save a little on the price, but you aren't reaping the full rewards of Amazon's pressure tactic. Amazon is. You go along with it because you think you're getting a great bargain.

As for Hachette, is they cave in to Amazon's demands, the decline in revenue has to be made up somewhere, and the most likely place to make up that loss is by reducing the royalty paid to the writer. You know, the person who did all the work to create the book you are enjoying.

Then there are the reductions in staff that are made to streamline operations, to get by with fewer people. So two can do the work of three, if they put the old nose to the grindstone. Work they will, because there are no other jobs out there so those left after the rounds of synergies are realized will toil without complaint because they don't want to lose their job.

Hachette has not moved swiftly enough to meet Amazon's schedule, and so people are discovering that they can no longer pre-order Hachette books. Pre-orders are very important to driving sales, because pre-orders move books up the best-seller list where more attention is drawn and more readers make a decision to buy the book that's coming out soon.

That hurts Hachette, but it really hurts the authors. They can then move their future works elsewhere, of course, to be published by a house that isn't at war with Amazon, which would further harm Hachette. So Hachette must either admit defeat and obey, or hope that their authors will stand with them in the face of some fierce bullying tactics.

Book buyers can stand with Hachette as well, with a minimum of sacrifice.

There are other places to buy books. You can just as easily navigate to, or, to name just two. You can find a local independent bookseller at Indiebound and buy the book from someone who is contributing to your town. In the short term, you may cost you a little more, but consider it an investment in maintaining an open market.

If it's ebooks you're after, you can find what you want in other places with as much ease as you find things on Amazon. And if you are an author, you can publish your books through Barnes and Noble's Nookpress, or you can publish on Smashwords and reach as wide an audience as you could with the Kindle Direct option.

Amazon is not the only game in town.

But if you let it push publishers around in a bid to gain control of the market, there will come a time when Amazon has control of that market and they will, indeed, be the only game in town.

Then there won't be a need to pass the big discounts on to the buyer and that's the whole point of developing a monopoly. Just as John D. Rockefeller. He didn't get poor creating Standard Oil.

No comments: