From Dear Author:
Let’s try, just for a minute, to stop cheerleading. In the recent weeks, it’s seemed like publishing has become an all or nothing sporting event and that we all have to pick sides. You have to cheer for self publishing versus traditional publishing versus some other path. But that type of thinking is short sighted and obstructive. A self publishing “win” is a vibrant and robust publishing community that has both publishing houses and avenues for business minded authors to advance on their own.
The downfall of traditional publishing would only hurt self published authors along with readers because it would result in a huge contraction of the market for books. I’m a firm believer in the saying “a rising tide lifts all boats.” The more robust the publishing industry is, the more readers are brought to the table and that helps every author and every publisher.
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In the data that has been scraped, the most transparent information reveals that Amazon is doing a spectacular job of selling its own books. If you look on any Amazon tablet or Android Amazon App, you’ll see a parade of Amazon titles promoted in its Kindle Select 25. If you look on the Kindle bestseller list, on any given day there are at least 3 or 4 titles in the top 25 that are Amazon published titles. I believe that the scraped data revealed that at least a quarter of the top 100 are Amazon published titles from 47 North, Thomas & Mercer, Montlake, Amazon Encore, and the like.
Amazon pushes its own books on the Kindle devices through front page, full screen ads. It allows additional free downloads of books (referred to as borrows) of its books in exchange for reviews. Each “borrow” counts as a sale which is why you see so many pre order books at $4.99 at the top of the charts. Those are Amazon titles that Amazon promotes through special programs, coupons, discounts, and marketing campaigns.
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The effect of this is that new and emerging authors have decreased visibility as the dominant marketing spaces of these digital marketplaces will be devoted to proven sellers. It will be harder for new authors or lesser known authors to break out because there won’t be any individuals assigned at these digital marketplaces to help readers discover new books and new authors. The same sellers will appear on the front pages of these digital marketers over and over. It’s already happening. As you know, I visit about four to five retailer sites every morning to look for Deals to include and the same titles are discounted and the same titles are promoted on the front pages without much variation.
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In sum, an Amazon dominant marketplace results in two things:
- Reduced visibility for all books.
- Reduce profitability for all authors.
Link to the rest at Dear Author
PG says one of most prominent characteristics of Amazon Derangement Syndrome is personalizing and demonizing Amazon, thus missing the forest for the trees.
Lets wipe Amazon from our minds for a moment, travel back to 1995 and ask whether the following would be good or bad for the book business as a whole:
- Sharply reduced production costs for books
- Deep cuts in the costs of distributing books
- Increased per-unit profits for anyone who creates books arising from such cost reductions
- A retail system that allows readers to instantly purchase books wherever they are, 24 hours per day
- A system that allows readers to easily carry any number of books with them so they can read a book whenever they have a free moment
- Reduced retail prices for books
PG contends ecommerce and ebooks should be seen as an unmitigated benefit for both those who create books and those who read them.
Whether the leading retailer is Amazon or someone else.