Mrs Giggles (mrsgiggles00) wrote,
Mrs Giggles

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Dear authors, sometimes it's not solely about you

Amazon is doing something funny, apparently pulling off Macmillan titles from their Kindle store, because - if I recall correctly - Macmillan wants to jack up the price of the titles to about $15 and Amazon, still smarting from the $9.99 boycott, refuses. There is obviously a price war going on, something that Steve Jobs is intending to take advantage of with the introduction of his new portable tampon device thing. There is nothing in this case for us mere mortals to do other than to watch.

But I just realized that some authors blame Amazon for depriving them (Macmillan authors) from their livelihood. I can only go, "Huh?" at that. 

Don't these authors understand that getting people to pay $15 for an ebook is not a good idea? Especially when we are repeatedly told that we only rent these ebook titles and that it's the publisher/supplier's right to delete the ebooks we have bought anytime for any reason they deem appropriate? Why then would people buy ebooks if the mass paperbacks and even hardcovers are sometimes available for less than $15 - and you get to own these books in perpetuity once you paid for them?

From a reader's point of view, Amazon trying to prevent Kindle titles from soaring in price is a good thing because ebooks should never cost that much, not when people who buy those ebooks are also supposed to believe that they are merely renting those titles. Right now, people who buy ebooks from New York publishers have no rights - they don't even own the books they buy in electronic format, they are constantly suspected to be pirates and the bulk of anti-piracy efforts are directed at them, and they are already spending more money than the average dead tree reader to get reading devices and all. And they don't even get a fancy shiny stroboscope for their efforts, just an electronic version of the actual book, sometimes even without cover art. So why on earth do we expect ebooks to cost so much? It's not like it's so tough and costly to create an electronic file!

So, when these authors blame Amazon, readers, and anyone else but their own publishers, they run the risk of being perceived as either of two possibilities. One, they are ignorant types who believe that everything their publisher does is right and everything else is wrong. Or two, they don't care about the readers at all, because all they care about is getting money. Nothing wrong with this way of thinking, but there is of course always the chance of people thinking that these authors are soulless money-grubbing twits who can't be bothered with the plight of their readers, and when it comes to the battle between the reader who holds the purse strings and the author who wants what is in that purse, you know the reader always comes out on top.

Don't blame Amazon in this, folks. And don't blame pirates either. Blame the publishers for being idiots in this matter.
Tags: epublishing

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