From Anne R. Allen’s Blog:
Amazon’s Kindle turned five years old last week. What an exciting half-decade it’s been!
Jeff Bezos showed his genius when he gave his e-reader that name. The device sparked a conflagration that is still pretty much out of control. The old publishing world is in chaos, and nobody has a clue what direction the wildfire will take next.
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In five years, Amazon has gone from mail-order bookseller to major player in world publishing.
They did this partly by sparking the “indie revolution”.
The “revolution” was another product of Mr. Bezos’ marketing genius. He wanted cheap electronic books for his new Kindle, and the Big Six were not about to slash prices for some upstart online retailer with a gadget nobody thought they needed.
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So they opened up Amazon to self-publishers, offering an author-friendly e-book creation system and a 70% “royalty” to authors who priced their books in the range Amazon wanted to promote: between three and ten dollars.
I’m putting “royalty” in quotes, because, by strict definition, Amazon doesn’t pay a traditional royalty. Publishers pay royalties. Retailers take a percentage. For self-publishers, Amazon is a retailer, so technically, Amazon is not paying a 70% royalty; it’s taking a 30% sales commission.
But whatever you choose to call it, the payment system worked. Big time. While the Big Six were shrinking advances, lists and print runs—and making increasingly unreasonable demands on authors—the Zon offered writers a new way to distribute their work and actually make money at it.
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What we do know is that Amazon’s attempt to bring down prices through the legal system finally paid off. Big name ebooks by Big Six authors are now selling for reasonable, and even give-away prices.
So indies aren’t as necessary to the Amazon bottom line as they once were. I’m not sure things are as dire as Derek Haines says in his post in The Vandal, because established indies report they continue to have good Amazon sales. But he has some legitimate worries.
For the new author who is thinking of launching a career by self-publishing through Amazon, it’s important to be aware things have changed drastically in recent months. One thing to be aware of—especially if you’re a newbie—is that a lot of the most powerful marketing strategies of the “Kindle Millionaires” are no longer viable.
Link to the rest at Anne R. Allen’s Blog