My Droplet Of Rain

If you’ve published a book on Kindle Direct Publishing, then you probably got a nice lengthy treatise from Amazon over the weekend. In short eBooks should be cheaper, Amazon good, Hachette bad. Amazon wants KDP Authors (and probably readers and authors in general) to e-mail Hachette and tell them to end this nasty little dispute between the two companies that’s been going on for months. And, oh by the way, CC Amazon when you do. One drop of rain cannot do anything against a stone wall, but hundreds of thousands of droplets, united together in the roaring river, can (my metaphor, not Amazon’s, but not far off the mark).

Amazon says the eBook should cost $9.99 and not $14.99. I disagree. I think it should cost $4.99.

See as a Kindle Direct Publishing author, I set my own price, so I don’t have a publisher like Hachette dictating what my price should be. Technically Amazon is in charge of the final price, but not to raise it, but rather to ensure it matches any low prices I might have set elsewhere in the marketplace.

And I’m not the only one. When I wrote my little “five dollar fractals” book, it was basically alone in the market for digital fractal books at that price. A year later there are several others, some that started at $9.99 and came down to my $4.99 and some even cheaper. (And they’re not bad books either, I own them both).

But this doesn’t mean I love Amazon and want to defend it. Hardly. Amazon would have published my book no matter how I feel because KDP is a platform. Sure they might promote it better, but only if it seemed to stand a chance at making them a lot of money. I do okay because I still am one of a few on a very small hill of digital fractal books, but let’s not pretend Amazon is really doing me any favors. In fact, half the profits I made in the last year were made from only a quarter of my sales through one of my other markets.

As an indie author I want every channel available to publish my books. That’s why it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for me to rail against a publisher when conceivably they might publish something of mine in the future. From what little I’ve seen, you don’t succeed in the indie writer business if you narrow your markets. Amazon’s not a bad place to be for exposure, but they’re not my friend either.

Recently (although I’m honestly not sure when) Amazon made a change to the 70% royalty. For many countries (including the US) you don’t have to enroll your book in KDP select to get the higher royalty (meaning your book doesn’t have to be an Amazon exclusive). In my case this would be an additional $0.75 a sale, since the transmission size does figure into the 70% royalty, making my effective royalty more like 50%, but still way better than 35%. Did Amazon tell me about this? Ask me if I wanted to change when I logged in (which I do every day)? Or even better, just automatically set my book to earn more money because who wouldn’t want that? Of course not.

So maybe here’s the bottom line. It’s not a good idea to piss off people who might buy your book, so be nice. But on the other hand, remember that no one is looking out for your best interests but you.

So, Amazon, write your own damn letter.

1 Comment

Filed under Books + Publishing, Internal Debate 42, Writing

One response to “My Droplet Of Rain

  1. A friend of mine also publishes ebooks and polled her readers on their opinions of the best price to pay. Interestingly, she also came to the conclusion that $4.99 was the right price.

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