Home » Amazon, Big Publishing » Still Conflicted about Amazon

Still Conflicted about Amazon

20 November 2013

From agent Rachelle Gardner:

I’ve just finished reading Brad Stone’s The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. I’m still processing what I learned, and checking other sources for differing perspectives, but my initial reaction is that this is an eye-opening, clarifying, sobering yet illuminating resource for anyone interested in publishing or business in general.

I approached this book the same way I’ve always approached Amazon: (1) as an Amazon customer, and (2) as a person employed by traditional publishing. The two perspectives leave me feeling a little whiplashed at times, since they induce two opposing views of Amazon.

. . . .

As a publishing professional, it hasn’t been quite so easy. In the beginning Amazon was a terrific customer for publishers and authors. Over the years the company has evolved into a ruthless competitor—while still being our primary customer.

. . . .

The “customer” side of me loves being wooed and treated well. The “publishing” side of me has to deal with the fact that our biggest customer is also our fiercest rival.This rival has unparalleled leverage over other businesses including publishers, and is not shy about using it to compel cooperation.

. . . .

When it comes to publishers, Amazon has used the formidable power of its technology to remove all of a certain publishers’ books from Kindle sales; and at another time, to remove publishers’ books from their powerful book-recommendation engine, causing those publishers’ sales to drop significantly. Amazon is willing to use hardball tactics rather than negotiation when it suits their purpose.

Everyone knows the publishing business is struggling. But it’s not just because of technology and the changing environment. There was a tipping point that changed everything for publishers: the $9.99 e-book introduced by Amazon.

While publishers had been in talks with Amazon for months, providing Amazon with files and metadata to start translating books into Kindle e-books, Amazon never spoke a word about a plan to sell the e-books for such a low cost. It was sprung on publishers at a moment when it was far too late to back away. As one publishing executive put it, “It was one more nail in the coffin that no one realized was being closed over us, even while we were engaged every single day in a conversation about it.”

At $9.99 for an e-book, publishers could no longer make their margins. All of the economics of publishing began to change. Readers became accustomed to e-books at low prices (which, of course, has been greatly intensified by the massive influx of self-published books at rock-bottom prices). Lawsuits were filed, the “agency model” was born, and Amazon has continued to use their leverage to convince publishers to toe the line.

Link to the rest at Rachelle Gardner and thanks to William for the tip.

Amazon, Big Publishing

93 Comments to “Still Conflicted about Amazon”

  1. “At $9.99 for an e-book, publishers could no longer make their margins.”

    And we’re done here.

    • Kudos Marc. I remember a publishing exec told me that ebooks were pure profit in the long run –no traditional costs as we all know ( warehouse space rent, shipping cost, insurance (against theft, fire etc) and several other traditional shipping and printing related costs). Rachelle has her agenda and a little thing like logic will not stand in her way.

    • Yeah, I snorted Pepsi out my nose on that one. Rachel also conveniently leaves out that the Macmillan CEO tried to bully Bezos by threatening to remove the Macmillan line-up, so Jeff called his bluff by doing it for him.

      • I seem to remember that the trial revealed Bezos knew the strong-arming was coming because Random House dropped the dime on the conspiracy. So Amazon had plenty of time to crunch the numbers and plan their strategy.

        If Amazon is a competitor to the corporate publishers it is mostly because they refused to be partners. So far it is working out well for Amazon, readers, and the (indie) publishers that have partnered with Amazon. And for all the whining out of Manhattan, the BPHs aren’t doing too bad for busted conspirators.

    • Diddums. I’m making that fake sympathy noise you make to a whining child (or spouse) who’s just hurt themselves doing something you expressly told them not to do.

    • That quote jumped out at me, too. Amazon paid the wholesale price for those books — a price that was set by the publishers. Publishers didn’t suffer from Amazon’s pricing. They created their own money problems when they switched to the agency model because they received less per book under that agreement (meanwhile, Amazon’s bottom line improved).

      • I was going to mention that. [nod] The publishers were making exactly what they expected to make on those books while Amazon ate the difference. It says something about Ms. Gardner’s audience (or what she thinks of her audience, anyway) that she’s willing to post this crap with a straight typeface.

        Angie

    • “At $9.99 for an e-book, publishers could no longer make their margins.”

      B*******.

      Marc said it more politely, and he said it first, but I prefer the more direct analysis. Please pardon my French.

      • Let me correct that bit you quoted:

        ‘At $9.99 for an ebook, publishers could no longer make their expected margins on $25 hardcovers, because they couldn’t sucker enough people into paying the higher price. They tried to rig the game in their own favour by pricing the ebooks the same as the hardcovers on new releases, but big bad meanie Amazon spoilt everything by selling the ebooks at $9.99 regardless.’

        There. Not BS as such, just wildly incomplete information, which is easier to fix. 😉

    • Aww, the poor, poor dears. $10 for an ebook is sooooo cheap. Boo-hoo. 🙁 *sarcasm*

    • You’re not destroying publishing with low low prices, you’re destroying publishing with hawk crap like Dreams of Control.

      • I, me personally, am destroying publishing?

        My cup, it runneth over!

        At best, I had hoped to be a tiny little pebble in the massive landslide which is indiepub, but this, this exceeds my very darkest dreams. Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

        Also: In your face, dinosaur porn lady! Alauda says it’s all… on… me!

  2. What’s the ‘average’ price of a paperback at Walmart?
    $6.99?

    Darn that nasty Walmart for destroying print publishing with low prices.

    Dan

  3. quote: The “publishing” side of me has to deal with the fact that our biggest customer is also our fiercest rival.

    maybe if the publishing overlords treated writers as an asset rather than a liability you wouldnt have this problem
    Rachelle. Amazon treats writers as customers, trad publishers do not.

  4. I love Amazon. I’m still conflicted about agents.

    If I were writing a longer comment, I’d randomly bold certain words.

  5. I bet that Jeff Bezos doesn’t discuss traditional publishing in the language of existential crisis like traditional publishing tends to use in reference to Amazon.

  6. Ah, ‘the massive influx of self-published books at rock-bottom prices’. Had agents and publishers done their job better, there would have been no good books rejected by the industry ready to grasp the opportunity Jeff Bezos offered us.

    Agents and publishers created their own competitors. Foolish.

    • ^Nice!

    • So very true.

    • I think that’s a fallacy as well, actually. There are too many potentially good books for… I’m gonna say, for any set of gatekeepers to actually accept, polish (one word: Dalglish), and produce profitably. They have to triage, and they have to bet on “sure things” enough to pay everyone.

      This would be true even if the publishing houses weren’t skewed in salaries. (It would be true even if they did away with advances!) There are too many people with a book in them — sometimes quite a decent book, albeit frequently hampered by grammar and punctuation. (*cough*DalglishHalfOrcs*cough*) There’s just a personnel bottleneck.

      Add in the one-sapient’s-trash=another-sapient’s-treasure factor, and the process of picking becomes even more tricky. Add in “your book is HOW long?” factors, and yeah, the paper cost alone will get a little… interesting.

      Yeah, there might’ve been fewer good books rejected, but I don’t think we could get to “no” books rejected, even in a plausible Alternate Universe built on this one.

  7. I don’t get the logic when folks call Amazon a “ruthless competitor”. What do they expect a competitor to be? Meek? Generous? Half-hearted? And how long would such a competitor please its stockholders?

    • Lol.

      They probably expect Amazon to play by their old boy rules.

      “Say, ole chap, mind if we raise the prices a little?”

      “Not all, my dear fellow.”

      “Tally ho, ole chap.”

    • Maybe they expect competitors to merge into conglomerates, all offer the same boilerplate contracts, and all ensure their release dates don’t interfere with one another’s chances at getting the Book of the Year onto the NYT Bestseller list. That’s how competitors behave, right?

      Oh, wait. That’s only in the publishing industry? Gotcha. Moving on, then.

      • Yup, probably this. Gentleman’s Agreements all the way across.

        • Publishers have always liked to say that publishing was ‘a gentleman’s business’. They wanted people to think this meant that it was a business run by gentlemen – Marquess of Queensberry rules and all that. What they really meant (but profoundly hoped nobody would figure out) is that it was a business run by ‘gentlemen’s agreements’. Oops.

  8. “Amazon is willing to use hardball tactics rather than negotiation when it suits their purpose.”

    A crucial indictment! Because publishers have never acted this way towards authors.

    “Amazon never spoke a word about a plan to sell the e-books for such a low cost. It was sprung on publishers at a moment when it was far too late to back away.”

    Publishers have never acted this way towards authors either.

    “Amazon has continued to use their leverage to convince publishers to toe the line.”

    …or done this.

    Could go on and on but you get the point. It’s good though that she admits to being “conflicted” about Amazon. The first step in recovering from ADS is admitting you have ADS.

    • Everything from her keyboard is pro-publisher. I don’t see any author advocacy here. Every time a blog post of hers is shared, it just makes me more certain she’s not a true agent for authors but an agent for publishers, a wolf in sheep’s clothing trying to lure in unsuspecting authors to obey the publishers as their masters.

      • The one time I visited her blog, the fawning in the comments moved me to nausea. I haven’t been back!

        • Ditto

          • Bob Mayer’s comments are worth the trip over there though.

            • You have to give her credit for allowing dissent in her comment section. Bob isn’t the only one voicing the indie point of view over there. The last time I followed a link to her blog, the comments all seemed to be gushing authors, desperately hoping for representation. This, however, proves she doesn’t censor.

      • Every time a blog post of hers is shared, it just makes me more certain she’s not a true agent for authors but an agent for publishers,

        My dear lady, of course she’s an agent for the publishers. What do you think a literary agent is?

        • There is more than a little resemblance to the relationship between a home buyer and a real estate agent.

          Real estate agents (in the US, traditionally) are agents of the seller. Yes, you bright-eyed homebuyer with your heart full of dreams, you went to ReMax and said, “Please help me find and buy a house,” and the nice agent lady said, “Fear not, I shall be your true guide and boon companion through this epic quest.”

          But she does not work for you. She works for the person who is selling the house. She has a certain common interest – it’s better for her if the deal happens than if the deal does not happen. But to her the optimal outcome is that the sale happens in such a way as to maximize her commission. In other words, she wants you to pay exactly as much as you will pay before the price becomes so high that you will not complete the transaction.

          Imagine the publishers as builders/owners/rentiers of large condominium estates, and authors as potential buyers/renters. It’s in the agent’s interest to try to make the authors happy enough with the terms to buy or rent – but no happier, because that means the publishers will also be happier and continue using the agent’s services. And any individual author’s potential purchase price is as naught compared to the amount of business the publishers can push through – or take away from – the agent’s agency. So yes, it all but literal terms, agents work for publishers.

  9. “At $9.99 for an e-book, publishers could no longer make their margins.”

    Those poor publishers are caught between a rock and a hard place. If they keep their ebook manufacturing and warehouse facilities in the major metropolitan areas, they have to pay inordinately high rents. If they move the facilities to, say, someplace like Nebraska or South Dakota, then they have to contend with the high fuel costs incurred when shipping their ebooks out for distribution. But fear not, they are employing some of the finest technical know-how of the 20th Century to solve this problem. And once they do, they’ll have Amazon on the ropes. 😉

    • Well said.

    • Lol, maybe they think eBooks are stored on punch cards? You’d probably need an entire pallet for George Martin’s latest tome. I’d be willing to bet there’s a few gray haired execs who think theres a massive warehouse filled with punch cards…

      Good God man, the cost of shipping the darn things must be astronomical! Eight grand for a fifty three foot trailer and you can only fit twenty two eBooks on it?
      How are those cursed indies making money at a lousy five bucks a copy?

      You know that conversation has happened somewhere in New York.

      • Oh, good one! Thanks for the chuckle. 🙂

      • The standard IBM 80-column punched card was 0.007 inches thick, so a typical 100,000-word novel, encoded as HTML, would need a stack of cards about 7 feet high to store it. Not quite a pallet, but still rather awkward to slip into your pocket as you’re rushing to catch the train or the bus to work…

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punched_card#IBM_80-column_punched_card_formats_and_character_codes

        • Hmmm, that lets us put at least fifty copies on an A sized pallet. Still high shipping cost per unit. Better get in touch with someone like GMAC and see if they might be willing to put financing staff into bookstores. Where are all those young whipersnappers getting the money to afford ebooks? It’s all ebook this and George W that… Dratted kids and their internets…

          I bet they send the new interns in to talk to the old guy just for giggles.

          • Trade secret – HTML compresses quite nicely, easily 2:1 or sometimes even 3:1.

            I hear someone’s experimenting with storing information on a long thin strip of paper with holes punched in it – they apparently call it a “tape” – that you can roll up and store in a drum, like a shallow cake tin. The only snag is that a typical novel needs about a mile and a half of this “tape”, so it has to come in several drums.

            • I like the cut of your jib, young man. We’ll see about getting you a corner office and moving you up to an actual paid position. We don’t have a training budget, but I can hit you over the head with a brick and get you a job with the marketing department.

              You gotta supply your own brick…

  10. I hate when someone changes the rules, especially when the rules were mine. This is what this is all about. This also shows us the dim understanding of what publishers do versus what Amazon does. So perhaps the publishers need to take commerce 001 (101 is to sophisticated for them) and learn that a publisher is a supplier, in this case they print books. Amazon is a retailer, sells books. A supplier sells the books to a retailer at wholesale prices and the retailer can knock themselves out by overpricing or underpricing the products they sell, in this case books.
    Of course there are perils in this relationships, such as the retailer will not carry the books from every publisher. On the other hand the publisher may not sell through all the retailers. But the biggest headache for any supplier, publishers in this case, is that the retailer is too big. WalMart, Barnes and Nobles used to be, and now it is Amazon. But here is the paradox, try to sell something thorough WalMart; good luck! Try to sell something through Amazon and it is easy as pie. And Amazon sells more books than any other retailer. What is the problem here?
    There are two problems. First the Publishers used to dictate to the retailers their rules, and by having a cartel of the distribution channels they were able to do so. The Publishers cannot dictate terms to Amazon, and worst yet Amazon accepts all suppliers/publishers, the fair head children and the masses of the writing persuasion. The Publishers lost their cartel.
    Second, suppliers must constantly invent to keep ahead of the competition. But the Publisher were fat and happy and did not have much of a competition. No need to invent anything. Keep on using a 500 year old technology. There was a vacuum, a need and a retailer (a merchant) Amazon stepped in and invented something new, a practical e-Reader. That really upset the old and established book business model. This was not the publisher’s invention and they had no idea what to do with it. Amazon knew that if the Kindle was not used and bought by the readers Kindle will die. They also knew that if e-books are not cheaper than paper books Kindle will die. So here is when Amazon continued doing what they do best, sell for less. And that’s when the rug was pulled from under the Publishers’ feet. Cheap e-books demolish the paper book business. And who is at fault? The retailer, Amazon, that sells for less and brings to the market cutting edge technology. Imagine that.
    Publishers and any other blog like this condemning Amazon are saying: damn the consumer, we want our margins. Amazon says: long live the consumer, because they are responsible for our margins.

  11. Apparently by “toe the line,” Rachelle Gardner means “not enter into illegal collusions.” Let’s all shed a tear for the clipped wings of the publishers.

  12. Everyone has written so many good points. Sometimes, I’m just proud to be a PGer.

    I will just add two points that I think are pretty important.

    a. Completely contrary to what this post directly says, Publisher profits from e-books are through the roof.

    b. One reason for this is the costs of e-books (despite what Publishers say) are much less than for print. Printing. Shipping. Returns.

    c. The other reason has to do with volume. Publishers are selling MORE e-books because they are priced lower. Amazon is putting money into their pockets by pricing books lower and giving them a higher volume of business.

    It is not unusual for many agents, and perhaps Rachelle is one of them, to employ spin to try to control the perception of writers. Not just anti-Amazon, but pro-the poor put-upon Publishers. I can’t tell what someone else’s motives are, but the heart of this article is simply untrue.

    Publishers are selling more and making more money.

  13. “Amazon is willing to use hardball tactics rather than negotiation when it suits their purpose.”

    Hard-ball tactics are a time honored aspect of negotiations.

  14. I read the article to the sound of the world’s tiniest violin playing.

  15. “The “publishing” side of me has to deal with the fact that our biggest customer is also our fiercest rival.”

    WAKE UP! Amazon is not your competitor! They are only your customer. Do you think customers never make demands? Are you so used to an industry that has a lock on its market that you think all customers just take whatever they’re offered? They don’t. Amazon doesn’t have to take crap from you people, because they’re too big. This is not the same as being your competitor. What Amazon is doing is forcing you to make a customer happy.

    GET OVER IT. The rest of the world has to deal with this every day.

    I’m gonna go break something now.

    • Except that Amazon has their own publishing arm, AND has enabled thousands of indie authors to bypass the old system of NY tradpub.

      So I’d call that competition. 😉

      • I wouldn’t. I’d call that ‘offering services to authors that traditional publishing wouldn’t.’

        It isn’t like Amazon stopped selling Trad Pub books when they opened up their indie pub. Amazon still sells all the books they did before, and now they sell books that trad pub didn’t want.

  16. At $9.99 for an e-book, publishers could no longer make their margins. All of the economics of publishing began to change.

    GTFOOH

  17. “At $9.99 for an e-book, publishers could no longer make their margins.”

    So what? Who cares other than the publishers?

  18. Wait a moment. Maybe the poor woman was told to write this pro-Publishers/anti-Amazon blog as part of her end-of-the-year milestones to accomplish in 2013. She and many like her in the past and future must write such blogs as part of their job responsibilities. Of course it does not guarantee employment, if the Publishers must make their margins.

  19. Every day I get an email from Amazon hawking clothing. How come I never hear Lands’ End or L.L.Bean crying about Amazon’s unfair practices?

    • “How come I never hear Lands’ End or L.L. Bean crying about Amazon’s unfair practices?”

      Nice. that was a great point.

      Probably because as hardened, long running retailers they understand they’re playing on a cold, harsh & brutally competitive field.

      Publishers and their ilk, it would seem, want and expect that the world shift around their needs, allowing them to remain fixed and that anything less than that is wholly unfair.

      These articles never stop being funny.

  20. At $9.99 for an e-book, publishers could no longer make their margins. All of the economics of publishing began to change. Readers became accustomed to e-books at low prices…

    Uh…wait. Low prices? Ten bucks is a low price for an ebook? In what alternative universe?

  21. Amazon derangement syndrome! Amazon derangement syndrome! Amazon derangement syndrome! Amazon derangement syndrome! Amazon derangement syndrome! Amazon derangement syndrome! Amazon derangement syndrome! Amazon derangement syndrome! Amazon derangement syndrome! Amazon derangement syndrome! Amazon derangement syndrome! Amazon derangement syndrome! Amazon derangement syndrome! Amazon derangement syndrome!

  22. I never realized that ‘conflicted’ was a synonym for ‘deluded.’ The things one learns online!

    • Oh, it is. Here’s a fine textbook example of this kind of ‘conflict’:

      ‘My heart tells me there’s a magic door right in the middle of this brick wall, and all I have to do is say the magic words and walk right through, and there will be fairies and rainbows and unicorns on the other side, and they will all SING for me! But my face tells me, OW OW OW OW OW OW OW! How ever shall I get through the magic door? I’m so conflicted!’

  23. It wasn’t the $9.99 price point that has damaged publishers, it was publishers agreeing to release e-books at the same time as hardbacks that was the problem. If they had stuck to windowing e-books after hardbacks as they do with paperbacks, they’d still be selling plenty of their bread and butter products to people unwilling to wait for their favourite bestseller to arrive on the cheaper format. By agreeing to release e-books at the same time, and then expecting Amazon, the leading e-reader producer, to maintain a similar price point for both formats was naive. Now the genie is out of the bottle, I can’t see any way back. Who with an e-reader is now going to pay double the price for a hardback if they are released at the same time?

    • Hardbacks aren’t going away, and the people you see in brick-and-mortar bookstores buying dead tree books aren’t all luddites who haven’t seen the e-book light yet. As someone who’s e-book library is four figures strong, I still buy hardcovers by my favorite authors, and I’m certainly not the only one. Some of my favorite writers are with small presses or indie pub, and don’t have hardcovers, but from them I buy my favorite books in trade paperback. I still like paper books and I’m not going to give them up any time soon, despite having started buying e-books way before the Kindle made them popular.

      I’m not paying $14.99 for an e-book, though. Or even $9.99. I’ll go to $8.99, but it’d better be a LONG book.

      Angie

      • I agree, Angie, and I do the same. But e-books have impacted hardback sales much more than they have paperback, which is what is really stinging publishers.

        • And hardback sales are the ones counted for bragging rights, right?

          And it never occurred to anyone that if they sold every hardback bundled with a free ebook that people who like both wouldn’t have to chose between them and they might have been able to keep their hardcover numbers up.

      • Angie, I’m so glad to hear that.

        My longest novel is 167,000 words (438 pages in trade paper) and I price it the way DWS recommends, at $7.99 for the ebook.

        I’m sure the price does deter some readers. And my impression is that many of the folks here on TPV consider that price point too high.

        The book does sell. Usually 4 or 5 copies a month. But it’s still a relief to have one person saying that under some circumstances, a l-o-n-g book is reasonable at the higher price. 🙂

        • I think it’s a great price and it’s in line with DWS’s recommendations, considering the cost of print. :shrugs: I buy trad pub and indie ebooks all the time for $6.99 or more if I really want THAT book.

          A comment from Anthea on this as well: http://www.thepassivevoice.com/11/2013/what-does-an-ebook-best-seller-cost-about-6-00/#comment-147237

        • I thought about buying one of your books, after reading some of your comments here, but decided not to because of the price. I don’t want to go higher than $5 on a new writer and even then only if I really liked the sample.

          • Not sure if you were directing this to me or to Angie or to Robert or to Liana, but I hear what you’re saying.

            I’ve even observed how price affects my own buying behavior. I recently read the fantasy series of a new indie author all the way through and enjoyed it quite a bit. But I wouldn’t have read the first book, if it hadn’t been free. And I wouldn’t have purchased the subsequent books, if they’d been more than the $4.99 price point. Because I’m clearly at the edges of that author’s target audience. I enjoyed her stories, but their modest price was key in my buying decision.

            On the other hand, I buy both the hardback and the ebook when one of my favorite authors releases a new book. Those books are the ones I’d chose for that stranded-on-a-desert-island scenario.

            So readers only casually interested in my stories may well give me a miss. But I’m hopeful that readers who read the “look inside” and feel “yes, this!” will not find my prices a barrier. I agree with Anthea that it’s important to have stories at different prices on offer, and I do.

            Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the issue. 🙂

            • I know on new writers, I have to love something COMPLETE of theirs to trust more than a buck on them. I’ve burned by too many books in which I adored the first 2/3s and hated the ending.

              On writers I know though?

              Well, let’s just say I read the first 100 pages of Divergent and bought the entire ebook for $10.99. I bought Insurgent too for the same price. I haven’t bought Allegiant because I don’t trust what the author did with the ending. I’d read it for a couple bucks, but yeah.

              I’ll spend up to around 10 bucks on anything I truly trust I’ll love, but less than 3 if I’m wary.

  24. As usual, from the traditional publishing industry, not a single comment about readers and how all of this benefited them.

    • LJ nailed it.

      What benefits readers also benefits writers. As Hugh Howey stated so eloquently in a blog post on his site, the “traditional” publishing industry forgot who their customer really is.

      I think Hugh called his article: “It’s the reader, stupid.”

      It’s a very good time to be a reader, and a very good time to be a writer 🙂

  25. “The “publishing” side of me has to deal with the fact that our biggest customer is also our fiercest rival.”

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned how Ms. Gardner has shown who she truly works for by this comment. My first thought was, “Wait! She’s an agent.” Last I heard, agents were supposed to work for writers. Her fiercest rivals should be other agents, not retailers. But we all know that that “supposed to” hasn’t existed in decades.

    I used to follow Rachelle Gardner faithfully and I learned a lot about the publishing industry from her blog. I’m sad to see what she’s posting now.

  26. Seriously, Kate Paulk? Seriously? Seriously?

    • Why are you barking up this tree? Kate Paulk isn’t here.

      • But she did link to it. And she used “female” as an insult. “What the f***?” doesn’t do it justice.

        • So complain to her. Anybody can link to anything they like; that’s no reason to leave your graffiti here.

          Incidentally, I’ve now read Ms. Paulk’s post that you’re so lathered about, and I have the honour to inform you that she did not use ‘female’ as an insult. She used it as a noun. The insult was the adjective ‘delusional’ attached to it. If any noun can be made into an insult by attaching an unflattering adjective, then I’m afraid every noun in every language is an insult. That’s just the way words work.

          Or perhaps you mean that anyone who ever says anything unflattering about a particular woman is insulting all women thereby? I advise you not to go down that rabbit hole; that first step is a lulu.

  27. Just once I would like to read a blog post by an agent bitching about the “hardball tactics rather than negotiation when it suits their purpose” of Big Publishers rather than Amazon.

  28. I’m probably going to over-simplify this whole subject, but it seems to me that the biggest flaw in her thinking is that she sees Amazon as traditional publishing’s “biggest customer” and “biggest competitor”.

    They are neither of those things. Amazon is a distributor/retailer. Readers are their customers and competitors should be the other publishing houses.

    Alas, we know publishing houses don’t really compete with each other. If/when they do, authors–the suppliers of product–will be much, much better off.

  29. Amazon made it possible for me to publish my books. For that, I will cut them a lot of slack.

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