Amazon’s Part


Recently, rumors have been circulating that Amazon isn’t paying their authors for sales.  Personally, I haven’t had this sort of problem.  As a matter of fact, Amazon has done more for indie authors than any other book retailer.

Now, I am aware that this behooves Amazon.  It is a massive boon to both their business expansion and their bottom line, but I’ll give them props for everything they’ve done.

For the record, I’m a Barnes & Noble girl when it comes to print books.  I shop the giant box store in my local mall, enjoying the smell of the store and the knowledge of the staff.  I also enjoy their selection… and honestly, their bargain book bin is like crack-cocaine to me.  I will buy books I would never buy otherwise because they are in the bargain section.  For example, my last trip to B&N resulted in 3 bargain book bin buys. The first was The Life of the Tsar – A comprehensive listing of factoids regarding the Russian Monarchy.  Remember, I have a Russian degree.  I don’t know why I needed the book, but for $7.99 in hardback, I couldn’t resist.  The second was The Complete Works of Chekhov – I would point out, I already own two books of Chekhov, but at $4.99 and trade paperback size, how could I pass that up?  The third was The Good, The Mad and The Weird in American History.  I used to own this book, but it was shuffled about and probably donated by accident.  I had to replace it at the rock bottom price of $3.99.

For ebooks, I use Amazon… I own a Kindle.  However, I like the selection on Amazon.  Books by authors like Misha Burnett and Roger Radford are only available on Amazon.  They are both users of KDP Select.  I must admit, I see the point of using KDP Select.  My own sales reflect that my following on Smashwords, iTunes and Nook are pretty small.  However, I do have monthly sales, so I continue to use their services.  However, the bulk of my sales come from Amazon.  As a select member, I’d make even more money off of Amazon and I have crunched the numbers… as a select member, I would make up any sales I make on Nook, Smashwords and their affiliates every month.  Sad, but true.  For any budding author, I’d seriously recommend researching it.

Amazon also offers CreateSpace.  Before I began publishing, I checked out several services.  I decided on CreateSpace for a reason.  My cost was much cheaper there than at any of the other services.  Can I get hardback editions?  No.  But I’m hoping Amazon will implement that change in the near future.  I’d love to hard backs of all my books.  I could publish hardbacks exclusively through another company, but I like the streamlined nature of CreateSpace… and the price.  We spend so much on editing, formatting, cover designs, etc, that CreateSpace’s set-up is free is a huge plus.

Furthermore, Amazon owns ACX.  I used it to produce Tortured Dreams.  Since it was my first one, I decided to do a profit share.  I don’t care if a narrator gets rich if it suddenly sells like mad.  As a matter of fact, getting to know the narrator that did Tortured Dreams, that would actually be pretty freakin’ awesome for us both to get rich off the audiobook.  And Amazon tossed the narrator a bone, by placing a stipend on the book.  She made roughly $1000 just for finishing it on time.  Again, having gotten to know my narrator, I adore her and I’m really glad they stipend the book and she got the bonus.  I’ve been told several times what a mistake this was, but… I actually don’t mind.  Anyway, without ACX, the chances of my finding a narrator and producing an audiobook were essentially nil.

Also, there are rumors starting to float around that Amazon is finishing their pilot program of allowing indies to place their books on pre-order.  I hear it went well.  If that’s the case, that’s another bonus for us.  Smashwords does it already.  For Amazon to allow indies to have pre-orders would be amazing.  And I look for it to happen in the near future.

So, is Amazon the devil everyone likes to make them out to be?  I doubt it.  Are they a business?  Yes.  But they are business investing in indies more so than any other.  For that, I have to give them props.

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  1. I have both a Kindle and a Nook and use both:) I also shop at both stores – online and in person – I think we need to support as many of the online vendors as we can but yet support the physical book stores too – I would support Books a Million more if there was one near me that wasn’t out of the way to get to….You have a great point though about Amazon supporting and being there for the Indie authors when there were many who were not willing to venture into the waters:)

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