Amazon Only Does What’s Best For Amazon

Amazon in Talks to Launch Digital-Book Library

Amazon has told publishers it is considering creating a digital-book library featuring older titles, people familiar with the talks said. The content would be available to customers of Amazon Prime, who currently pay the retailer $79 a year for unlimited two-day shipping and for access to a digital library of movies and TV shows.

The timing of this is no accident.

September 15th is the date Judge Chin has decreed there must be a Google Book Search settlement.

So Amazon probably went to publishers and said, “You already agreed to letting Google steal your backlist, why not at least let us give you a few pennies for it?”

I wonder how many publisher Buy buttons will disappear until they cave in and agree?

It will soon get to the point where writers will have a better chance of making a living selling illegal drugs instead of writing.

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19 Comments

Filed under Amazon Kindle, Digital Overthrow, eBooks: General, Free Ain't, Google

19 responses to “Amazon Only Does What’s Best For Amazon

  1. Danielle

    Ahh Amazon — the Walmart of the Internet. Gotta wonder if their tablet is going to take off!

    One day we may be buying all of our items from Amazon.

  2. Engineer

    Amazon provides great customer service to consumers. For everyone else, they rip you off. They rip off their employees. They rip off their partners. They are not a reliable, nor trustworthy, nor honest organization.

    But they have great customer service.

  3. A reprint of the comment I left on WSJ.com:

    As an author, I cannot view this story with anything but alarm.
    What assurance do I have that I will receive royalties on work downloaded in such a manner? What checks and balances are in place to ensure that I am reimbursed for my work? What security measures are in place to prevent digital piracy?
    Until such concerns are addressed to my satisfaction, I am and will remain violently opposed to any such move, and I intend to advise my publisher of my concerns and urge them not to involve themselves in this venture. There are far too many ways that I, as an author, stand to lose money on this concept. Getting your name out there is an integral part of being an author; but SELLING our work is what puts food on the table. This idea jeopardizes the livelihood of smaller and independent authors who rely on royalties to support themselves, and until safeguards are put in place to assure authors a continuing financial income from this concept, I fear that this will make small-name authors an endangered, if not extinct, species.

    Best,

    J.S. Wayne

    • mikecane

      Exactly. Thanks for reprinting that here too.

    • Dave Zatz

      I urge you to watch Office Space again. Those fractional transactions will add up and I highly doubt this initiative would cannibalize many ‘real’ sales of back catalog content… yet it’s a great marketing opportunity for your newer stuff. Sounds like your trust issue is better directed at your publisher, not Amazon.

  4. Doesn’t every company pretty much just do what is good for them? Aren’t they required to do this for their shareholders anyways?

  5. Steve

    The writing is on the wall, so to speak. If the future compensation model is unacceptable, perhaps another profession is in order.

  6. loydb

    You’ve *always* had a better chance of making a living selling illegal drugs than as a writer. This is not new. Sad, but not new.

  7. clypog

    If you are worried about a working model of selling e-books, visit baen.com. there is an author there named Eric Flint whom partnered to start offering e-books with Baen, including free e-books.

    At http://www.baen.com/library/ , there is a well thought response written by Eric flint re: e-books and piracy. Please take some time to read it. And no, I am in no way affiliated with them, I just happen to be an avid reader who joined the e-book market thru them.

  8. Alex

    What’s a “publisher Buy button”?

    • mikecane

      When Macmillan argued with Amazon over prices of Kindle books — the week before Agency Pricing happened — in spite Amazon removed the Buy button from Macmillan’s books. Amazon has used this tactic at least twice that I know of when it has argued with publishers.

  9. You have ALWAYS had a better chance making money selling drugs than writing. If you’re writing to make money, you’re doing it wrong.

    Which isn’t to say that writers shouldn’t get paid for their work, but nobody has EVER been “entitled” to be a writer. The good writers will still get paid, though in some cases that money may end up coming from other streams than pure sales.

    When electronic publishing came along, everybody with aspirations of being a writer suddenly had the ability to do it. Now, legions of people are getting paid “barely anything” for their mediocre writing whereas those same multitudes formerly got paid ZERO. I’d say it’s a step forward for some people, even though it’s a step backwards for people who still enter and guage success of writing by old metrics.

  10. Richard Cartwright

    Messrs Wayne and Cane;

    How is this different from a public library loaning a book out? I absolutely agree that authors do not need to be cheated, but would not the existing method of compensation for authors in sales to libraries not work? From what I understood about the Amazon public library lending plan the e-books would have a certain number of check outs and then would have to be repurchased.

    What this may mean is that Amazon will limit access to new books to the public libraries and older books to the Prime book lending scheme. I just hope that this does not mean that Amazon is giving up on the public library plan in favor of a paid subscription plan.

  11. none

    “It will soon get to the point where writers will have a better chance of making a living selling illegal drugs instead of writing.”

    Wasn’t that point reached on the day drugs were made illegal?

  12. Pingback: Fierce Amazon frightens publishers « Digital Authors Australia

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