If you are an author who publishes with Kindle Direct Publishing, you might have gotten a lengthy email last week from Amazon.
The email recapped how the advent of paperback novels revolutionized the book world. Books suddenly became more affordable and available to a much wider audience. Critics feared the lower prices would ruin the publishing industry, but we now know that just wasn't true.
A parallel was drawn with today and e-books. Often, these books are cheaper than paperbacks and much cheaper than hardcover editions. Sometimes they are even free. Once again critics (AKA: the Big New York Publishers) believe this will harm the industry. Some are actively fighting e-books by making a digital copy just as, or almost as expensive as the printed copy.
This is ridiculous since an e-copy of a book is significantly cheaper to produce than the printed copy. The email went on to identify one publishing group in particular: Hachette.
Amazon’s response was a call to action. They want authors to email the CEO of Hachette, Michael Pietsch at Michael.Pietsch@hbgusa.com and copy them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
They ask us to consider including these points:
- We have noted your illegal collusion. Please stop working so hard to overcharge for e-books. They can and should be less expensive.
- Lowering e-book prices will help – not hurt – the reading culture, just like paperbacks did.
- Stop using your authors as leverage and accept one of Amazon’s offers to take them out of the middle.
- Especially if you’re an author yourself: Remind them that authors are not united on this issue.
I don’t think Amazon’s motives are entirely altruistic. If you have been paying attention at all to pricing and Indie sales, you know lower prices can translate into more sales which will put more money into Amazon’s coffers.
Whether or not you decide to email Hachette, it’s up to you.
What does this mean for Indie Authors?
We already have an edge over the big publishers by having the power to set our own prices! Use that power responsibly by setting competitive prices. You know the drill. Look at what a similar title in a similar genre is selling for and price accordingly.
This little lesson in the history of the publishing industry has confirmed my belief that the future in publishing is the e-book.
Today is a good day to be an Indie!