I’ve been receiving updates about this through various social media, and I wanted to put my thoughts into a single place instead of bits of opinions here there and everywhere.
In all honesty, do I care that Amazon has entered into a pissing contest with Overstock? Not really. I find it funny. It’s like one of those forum games where you all count to 1,000 with everyone posting the next number, it’s all about who reaches the number 1,000. Here it is counting backwards and who is first to offer the books for free.
There are dismayed cries of authors, publishers, and book lovers saying that Amazon shouldn’t be playing with the prices, that they’re damaging authors… to that, I say… HOW? How are they damaging authors? They still pay the same amount to the distributor and the publisher whether they charge £5 or £50.
Unlike with self-publishing eBooks, where Amazon (and most other distributors) a percentage of the price as royalties to the author, to distributors, they have to pay a flat fee for the product. I can’t walk in to a supermarket and tell them I want to give the food to the homeless, therefore I’m only paying 50% of it. No, I pay 100% no matter what I do with it after that… same with Amazon.
Does everyone cry ‘destruction of publishing’ when Waterstones offer a 3 for 2 deal? Do we cry when movies are discounted to the 3 for £20 deal? No, because the company still pays the same amount for the product, they simply want to sell it instead of it sitting in a warehouse, waiting…
This is very different for independent authors, but then, we set our price and Amazon doesn’t change that. If we offer a deal on another platform, Amazon will price match, which, I completely understand. In fact, sometimes, the only way to get Amazon to change their price is to change it somewhere else and then report it like you’re getting a bum deal.
So why the anger at Amazon? They’re a business, they want to make money. They are still paying the publishers the same amount per copy, who pay the author the same amount per copy. The only people handing over less money here is us as readers and customers!
Personally, I say, we should cheer on this pissing contest, because what happens in a sale? – Things sell more.