From The Digital Reader:
Cory Doctorow just announced his support for an ebookstore platform that has me scratching my head.
. . . .
It’s not just that he has apparently abandoned his support for free Creative Commons-licensed ebooks in favor of selling ebooks (welcomes to 2007, Cory!) but also that he believes that authors should be sales staff for publishers.
Walkaway has traditional publishers, and it will have a traditional e-book edition. But I’m going to sell that e-book in a nontraditional way. I’m launching an e-book store with the book, a store that I’ve privately developed for the past three years, code named “Shut Up and Take My Money” (SUATMM). SUATMM is what I like to call a fair trade e-book store, in which the writer also serves as a retailer.
There are many small, niche-oriented e-book stores serving highly specific markets, but SUATMM is different. It’s a retail platform that lets authors with traditional publishers serve as retailers for their those publishers, on the same terms as Amazon, Kobo, Google, BN.com, Apple, and other giants. Those stores have resources no individual author (save, perhaps, the delightfully DRM-free J.K. Rowling) can muster. In particular, they can manage a seamless experience that no indie bookstore can hope to match.
. . . .
While it is easy to buy ebooks in the Kindle Store, it’s difficult to find much less buy ebooks in niche 3rd-party ebookstores (hence why Harry Potter ebooks are available everywhere, why Baen Books moved into the Kindle Store – not away, and why Hachette never launched its Kindle Store competitor).
. . . .
Instead, I want to point out Doctorow’s blind spot: the unwarranted assumption that authors need or even should be doing business with publishers.
. . . .
It’s 2017, and publishers now expect authors to do their own marketing, blog regularly, be active on social media, and ideally already have their audience built before the contract is signed.
And now Doctorow wants authors to also
Sell ebooks for publishers,
And handle payments,
And remit the money to publishers in several countries?
Okay, but if authors are going to do all this work then why sign with a publisher in the first place?
Link to the rest at The Digital Reader and thanks to Meryl and othes for the tip.
PG delayed posting about Doctorow’s plan because he was waiting for someone to propose a theory about why an intelligent trad-pubbed author would try to sell books directly from some strange organization for side-loading onto a Kindle. What kind of service is that for an author’s readers? Who do those readers call for tech support when the ebook file won’t load?
Certainly, having an affiliate account with Amazon and embedding links to an author’s books on the author’s website might bring in a bit of money, but that’s a set-and-forget job that takes a few minutes. Some cobbled-together spit and baling wire book-purchasing system does the readers no favors.
The shortest and easiest route from an author’s website to a rewarding book purchasing experience runs through Seattle.
Amazon Derangement Syndrome takes on many different forms, but this may be the most extreme.
Let PG be perfectly clear – if Jeff Bezos woke up one morning, decided that Amazon was indeed evil for shaking up the sclerotic book business and ordered his Amazon minions to immediately stop selling books, the traditional publishing industry would collapse.
PG suspects that if Big Publishing really examined its accounts, it would discover that ebooks offered through Amazon generate virtually all of the meager profits that inure to the publishing business these days.