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Old 02-04-2010, 05:42 PM View Post #1 (Link) Amazon Affiliations: May Be Changing
Shaun (Offline)
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Many of you are probably unaware of the recent Amazon fiasco. The short of it is the following (the news is at the bottom):

Macmillan, one of the largest publishers in the U.S. (and probably the world) wants to raise ebook prices and follow a new agency model that they negotiated with Apple for the iPad. This model will allow Macmillan to charge higher prices for ebooks at release, and then slowly taper off the cost as time goes by. This will mean that Macmillan will stop holding back ebook releases for their titles by six months or more. It also means a little more profit for Macmillan in the long run.

Whether or not their model is a good idea is irrelevant (personally, I think it's nice in principle, but won't work in the real world; customers aren't willing to pay more than $10 for an ebook, and most aren't willing to cross the $7 divide). However, in response to this new strategy on the part of Macmillan (which publishes countless authors under dozens of imprints, such as Tor, one of the best science fiction and fantasy publishers out there), Amazon pulled all of Macmillan's titles from their website (with exception to third party sellers) as a way to punish Macmillan for trying to negotiate on their own terms. This means that any title on any Macmillan imprint cannot be purchased directly from Amazon, which also means that any royalties that might go to Macmillan OR, more importantly, the authors no longer go there (since there are no royalties for selling used copies of books).

Amazon apparently backed down a few days ago, but the titles have still not reappeared with a "buy now" button (i.e. the button that sends royalties to the authors for the sale). Tomorrow will be the one-week mark of the initial fiasco, and many authors (such as John Scalzi, who sells quite well) are already seeing significant drops in sales (not surprising, since Amazon is the largest online retailer).

In principle, nobody has any problem with trying to negotiate the terms of sale, or trying to do things for a company's best interests. The problem with this whole ordeal is this:

The people getting punished the most, who have careers that may be (and probably are being) ruined by Amazon's snit fit over ebook prices and publishers negotiating new deals with Apple and other ebook companies, are the AUTHORS. If this continues, it is possible that many authors will not get their contracts renewed due to drops in sales or their advances reduced for the same reason. This means there may very well be dozens, if not hundreds, of authors pushed out of the publishing world over an issue which they have ZERO control over. Amazon, in punishing the publisher, is, in fact, creating all sorts of collateral damage for people who have no influence whatsoever.

(Okay, so that story wasn't that short...)

With the above in mind, Young Writers Online may be changing a few things.

If Amazon does not return the "buy now" links to books by Macmillan authors by the end of tomorrow (February 5th, 2010), YWO will officially cease all professional associations with the online retailer. All of our Amazon accounts will be removed and we will instead open affiliate accounts with other online retailers who offer similar deals for books and who do not play games with an author's wallet.

We're not interesting in whatever is going on between the two corporations named above. This is a site for writers; as such, we refuse to associate ourselves with an organization that willingly damages the careers of published writers in the real world. We are for author's interests and believe they should be paid and not punished for things that are not their fault or choice.

We have had a good relationship with Amazon over the years and have driven a lot of sales in their direction (I know, I've checked our accounts, and you guys are great for that). But, if Amazon wants to continue in this vein, we can no longer, in good conscience, continue to work with them, whether it be to drive sales to their site or give them word of mouth.

If you have any questions regarding this, please let me know here.
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Old 02-05-2010, 03:56 PM View Post #2 (Link)
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For those interested, the CEO of Macmillan recently wrote the following about the changes in the ebook market and the disagreement with Amazon.

Amazon has not replaced the "buy now" buttons for all Macmillan titles. We may have an announcement tomorrow morning if there is not a change.
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Old 02-05-2010, 10:45 PM View Post #3 (Link)
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Honestly, I think Amazon is justified in what they are doing.

That publisher is forcing their prices to go up and Amazon does not want to work with them, thus, Amazon has every right to pull their books from their site.

Honestly, I'm going to keep buying stuff there. I don't see the problem here. Macmillan are the ones being butt heads about the whole thing.

But that's just my two cents.
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Old 02-05-2010, 11:03 PM View Post #4 (Link)
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It's also an ignorant two cents. The agency model means that older books sell for under $9.99. New books start high, then decline over time, but are released at the same time as the paper edition (which isn't true now in many cases).

The agency model is also one that is open to change. The current model is not. Amazon generally refuses to drop the limit from $9.99. It does in some cases, but usually for bigger titles.

But, probably the most important problem with your comment: by supporting Amazon, you're also supporting the continued denigration of authors. The agency model means Amazon makes more money, Macmillan makes more money, and Authors get better royalty rates for ebooks. No, this isn't because ebooks will cost more, but because the new model (created by Apple) is designed to distribute royalties and profits more fairly among the various channels.
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Old 02-05-2010, 11:09 PM View Post #5 (Link)
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And to update: Amazon has begun putting Macmillan titles back up. So, no further action necessary.
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Read my published fiction and non-fiction!

And check out The World in the Satin Bag novel podcast. Help me become rich and donate!

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--Duke and Zink Do America (Political Podcast)

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Old 02-06-2010, 03:58 AM View Post #6 (Link)
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Well, in my defense, I think ebooks are garbage and if my spending means less ebooks, then sign me up for a new car and a talking dog.

I'll spend the dinero.
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Old 02-06-2010, 04:22 AM View Post #7 (Link)
Shaun (Offline)
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Well, I don't buy ebooks either, but I do buy regular books .
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The Viking Amoeba Army is here! Run for your lives!

Tumblr!

Read my published fiction and non-fiction!

And check out The World in the Satin Bag novel podcast. Help me become rich and donate!

My Random Stuff:
--The World in the Satin Bag: My science fiction, fantasy, and writing blog!
--Check out Cheese & Crackers Original and Cheese & Crackers Superheroes
--The Skiffy and Fanty Show
--Duke and Zink Do America (Political Podcast)

YWO Stuff:
--Buy Survival By Storytelling Magazine (Issue One is available!) Support fellow YWO writers!
--And don't forget to buy something from YWO's Zazzle Store!
--Follow YWO on Twitter.

Spoiler:
This is a call to arms, gather soldiers,
Time to go to war.
This is a battle song, brothers and sisters,
Time to go to war.
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