Escape from Stalag $7: Why Amazon’s Pricing Box Is Bad for Indies
But after all the fireworks and fun, the one thing I never ever received from AAAG were coherent answers to my questions, particularly the most important one of all. And that is: Why has Amazon placed indies in a $7 dollar pricing box? Why does it grab 65% of your revenue (not counting its transmission fees, which it charges on every transfer and which vary based on book size) if you price under $2.99 and the same if you charge over $9.99? This is an issue of critical importance to indies because it is not financially feasible to hand over that level of margin to a reseller for a download service. (And if you think Amazon is paying you a “royalty” when you fork over that 65% operating expense, please stop reading now. You are incurably ignorant and I cannot help you.)
Generally I tend to stay the fuck away from publishing these days. Why continue to bang my head against a wall?
But sometimes a post rises to the level of requiring reading by others.
The above is such a post.
Amazon isn’t concerned about how many books it sells as being good for writers. It wants to sell as many books as possible because it’s good for Amazon.
If Amazon could sell fifty-seven billion books yet have each writer make only a dollar in a year, that’d suit Amazon just fine.
And while I focus on Amazon here — because the originating post is about it — this holds true for all companies that have managed to create a stranglehold in any area.
China is Planning to Purge Foreign Technology and Replace With Homegrown Suppliers
China is aiming to purge most foreign technology from banks, the military, state-owned enterprises and key government agencies by 2020, stepping up efforts to shift to Chinese suppliers, according to people familiar with the effort.
The push comes after a test of domestic alternatives in the northeastern city of Siping that was deemed a success, said the people, who asked not to be named because the details aren’t public. Workers there replaced Microsoft Corp.’s Windows with a homegrown operating system called NeoKylin and swapped foreign servers for ones made by China’s Inspur Group Ltd., they said.
The plan for changes in four segments of the economy is driven by national security concerns and marks an increasingly determined move away from foreign suppliers under President Xi Jinping, the people said. The campaign could have lasting consequences for U.S. companies including Cisco Systems Inc., International Business Machines Corp., Intel Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co.
“The shift is real,” said Charlie Dai, a Beijing-based analyst for Forrester Research Inc. “We have seen emerging cases of replacing foreign products at all layers from application, middleware down to the infrastructure software and hardware.”
iLevon shares some information that seems to indicate three 4G phones are coming from Xiaomi.
Launcher Followup and Thoughts on the App Store Review System
If developers don’t have explicit guidelines to go on and we can’t even use apps available on the App Store as an indicator of what is acceptable, our only choice is to potentially waste huge amounts of time working on apps that ultimately get rejected in an attempt to find something that will get accepted. I pleaded with this person to make public whatever guidelines they make available for app reviewers to decide what is acceptable and what is not regarding widgets. The Apple representative responded by saying that they prefer that the rules remain vague because that allows developers to come up with innovative ideas and also allows Apple to be flexible in case they change their minds later. When pressed on the issue of their policies leading to wasted developer time, I was told, “If you are afraid something you are working on will be rejected, then don’t work on it.”
To Apple, developer time is expendable because they don’t bear the brunt of the wasted months of development. As far as they’re concerned developers are an infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of Macbooks and every once in a while, one of us stumbles upon an app that not only passes all of their written and unwritten guidelines, but is actually successful too. The opportunity cost of developers either not working on an app for fear of rejection, or wasted developer time when an app is ultimately rejected appears to be of no concern to them.
I’d really like to see an alternative to iOS and Android happen.
Devs shouldn’t be treated this way. Nor should writers.
And I call out Apple here, but the same nonchalance and attitude of disposability towards creators exists with Google, Amazon, and every other large goddammed company out there that’s managed to create a stranglehold for themselves.
Until we all stand up and bring the hammer of government down on their heads, everyone will continue to be treated just like the helpless suckers we are.
Not so grumpy now! Cat that became an internet star has made its owner £64million
She is the world’s crankiest cat with a permanent scowl that has inspired countless memes, a best-selling series of books and a movie.
But even the news that she has amassed a £64million fortune has not been enough to put a smile on the face of internet sensation Grumpy Cat – real name Tardar Sauce.
The feline, who shot to fame two years ago in a YouTube video that got 15.7 million views, has earned more than Hollywood stars Nicole Kidman, Cameron Diaz and Matthew McConaughey.
Wikipedia: Grumpy Cat — Management
Ben Lashes is Grumpy Cat’s manager who also represents Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat. [Cat owner Tabatha] Bundesen took a leave of absence from her day job at Red Lobster to manage Grumpy Cat’s schedule and Bryan manages her website, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Wikipedia: Ben Lashes
Ben Lashes (born Benjamin Clark) is an Internet meme talent manager whose clients include Keyboard Cat, Nyan Cat and Grumpy Cat. Lashes specializes in cats but also manages Scumbag Steve and Ridiculously Photogenic Guy. His philosophy is “What would Walt Disney do if he created Mickey Mouse and it went viral on YouTube?”
Related: The Damage Has Already Been Done In Book Publishing
Book publishers are incentivizing midlist authors to abandon them for Amazon
So when you’re a company that’s dealing with revenues in the billions (with a B), suddenly a product that can only sell a few thousand units and is ultimately “unscalable,” isn’t worthy of investment. So instead they invest in products that have the potential to not only sell millions of units, but also spawn spin-off merchandise and movie deals.
This has been happening for quite some time. It was evident way back in the early 1980s. Alarms were sounded back in the 1970s.
And here’s something the publishers haven’t taken into account. Even books that can grow into the kind of scale they seek don’t need them.
Exhibit A, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first appeared in an American comic book published by Mirage Studios in 1984 in Dover, New Hampshire. The concept arose from a humorous drawing sketched out by Eastman during a casual evening of brainstorming and bad television with Laird. Using money from a tax refund, together with a loan from Eastman’s uncle, the young artists self-published a single-issue comic intended to parody four of the most popular comics of the early 1980s: Marvel Comics’ Daredevil and New Mutants, Dave Sim’s Cerebus, and Frank Miller’s Ronin. The TMNT comic series has been published in various incarnations by various comic book companies since 1984.
The Turtles started their rise to mainstream success when a licensing agent, Mark Freedman, sought out Eastman and Laird to propose wider merchandising opportunities for the franchise. In 1986, Dark Horse Miniatures produced a set of 15 mm lead figurines. In January 1987, Eastman and Laird visited the offices of Playmates Toys Inc, a small California toy company that wanted to expand into the action figure market. Development was undertaken by a creative team of companies and individuals: Jerry Sachs, ad man of Sachs-Finley Agency, brought together the animators at Murakami-Wolf-Swenson headed by Fred Wolf. Wolf and his team combined concepts and ideas with the Playmates marketing crew, headed by Karl Aaronian, VP of sales Richard Sallis and VP of Playmates Bill Carlson.
The established publishers can never, ever be as hungry as an individual who can see an opportunity and pounce on it.
Just ask — and here’s Exhibit B for the win — the McDonald brothers who met Ray Kroc!
Xiaomi’s Lei Jun Is Forbes Asia’s 2014 Businessman Of The Year
Meanwhile, I still wait for someone in the Western world to wake the hell up and publish Liwan Jiang’s book about Xiaomi in English.