From The Digital Reader:
Last night Amazon posted their third official statement in the ongoing contract dispute with Hachette, and like their first statement the open letter posted last night is proving to be an effective tactical PR maneuver.
The letter, which you can read over here, said that Amazon only wanted a 30% commission from sales of Hachette ebooks, and that Amazon was fighting with Hachette over whether the ebooks would be expensive or cheap. The statement goes on to lay out the math to justify lower ebook prices, and then it concludes with the idea that authors should get 35% of the sale price of an ebook.
. . . .
I want to point out that Howey’s beliefs could be a sign of a newly identified condition called “Amazon Infatuation Syndrome”. This term was coined earlier today by Nicole Cushing, and Hugh Howey is the first known case.
Like Amazon Derangement Syndrome, AIS sufferers have an irrational emotion towards Amazon which overrides conscious thought. In the case of AIS, that emotion is love for a soul-less corporation.
. . . .
Amazon is in this for their own interest, and not anyone else’s, and that is why it is important to remember that we cannot accept yesterday’s statement as fact. It is a PR statement, and as such it was not written to convey facts. Amazon’s goal was to convince you to believe an idea: that Amazon only wants a fair share (30%) and lower ebook prices.
The thing is, we do not know as outsiders that this is Amazon’s actual position. All we know is that this is what Amazon has said is their position, and that is not the same thing. For all we know Amazon made up this statement out of whole cloth solely with the goal of swaying opinion in their favor. (And just to be clear, my disbelief also extends to everything Hachette has said or leaked.)
Link to the rest at The Digital Reader
PG is inclined to look at what organizations do rather than what they say.
Amazon pays authors royalties of 70% of the sales price of ebooks. Big publishing pays authors royalties of 17.5% of the sales price of ebooks.
Under the KDP Terms of Service, an author can pull his/her books away from Amazon at any time and do whatever the author wants to do with them. PG receives a regular stream of emails from traditionally-published authors who are being forced to remain in publishing contracts with large and small publishers when the authors have made it clear they want out.
PG could continue, but you get the idea. The simple fact is that Amazon treats authors much, much better than any of the big New York publishers do.
PG thinks that much of what Hachette, et al are saying is pretty clueless, but this group could be speaking words that were music to PG’s ears without it making any difference. What they’re doing is underpaying and abusing authors chained to them with grossly unfair contracts.
Actions speak louder than words. If Amazon flips over to the dark side, PG won’t be praising the company any longer. Speculation can create anything of tomorrow. PG recommends making business decisions based on today.
Conspiracy theories about Evil Jeff must provide some who observe the world of books a frisson they just can’t live without.
“Amazon could decide to pay authors only one cent every month!”
“What if Amazon requires every author to cut off a finger and send it to Seattle for Bezos to put into a big jar he keeps in his mansion?”
If you’re looking at the possibilities of a dystopian future, PG sees a lot more of those for authors tied to publishers slipping down into bankruptcy than he does for authors working with Amazon. He is reminded of a quote from The Sun Also Rises:
“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked.
“Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually and then suddenly.”
There is no question about who treats authors better. In PG’s observation, Amazon is making it possible for lots of authors (not all) to quit their day jobs. If Big Publishing was ever much good at doing that, those days are long gone.