I’m sure I am not the only one that woke up to a letter from Amazon in their inbox that was a little more than strange. I was half awake reading the letter and everything sounded logical, they were fighting the good fight to get eBooks cheaper for the consumer, but I couldn’t understand what they were getting at. Then I got to the end of the letter. They wanted me, as an independent author, to email Hachette and say things like “We have noted your illegal collusion. Please stop working so hard to overcharge for ebooks. They can and should be less expensive.” Uhm. Whaaa? Why in the hell would I, as an independent author, want to email Hachette and tell them what to do as far as their business practices? I wouldn’t want Hachette emailing me asking me why I charged what I did for a book.
From a consumer standpoint, I totally get the whole I don’t want to pay $14.99 for an eBook. You know what else? As a consumer I browse right past those books. I will not buy an eBook that is priced over $5.00. There are these places called libraries and if I want a book THAT bad I will go check it out from aforementioned building. I hear they are actually pretty neat! (In fact, I will be appearing at my local library on 8/23/14).
As a consumer, I want lower prices, but if a company does not want to lower its price I just don’t buy the stupid thing. Whether it is a book or a newfangled drink. I still believe in capitalism, and in that system I do not have to purchase said good if I find it too expensive. Books are not food, gas, water, or electricity. Hell, a book isn’t even a mode of transportation. I won’t die without new books. Raising the price of them or refusing to lower the price of them doesn’t really make my world come to a grinding halt. And again, there are these things called libraries that let you read books for free in both paper AND electronic formats; if I really need to read an overpriced book, I can put a hold on the book and wait my turn in line. (Not to mention that I have PRIME and could probably borrow it for free.)
Now, before you go on a rampage and start screaming or telling me I’m evil or something weird LISTEN. Yes, I am an author and I would like to sell books. Yes, if I charge more I get more money. I understand this. No, I am not devaluing books or authors or capitalism or even telling you that you shouldn’t buy that overpriced eBook….the point I am trying to get at is simple. Arguing over a company’s desire to sell a book for $14.99 is not something I am going to pick up my pitch fork and rally for change. I reserve that for more important matters. Like trying to end hunger in America or arguing points of why something is wrong at my day job. I’m not even really sure why Amazon thinks this tactic will work other than to fill up that poor Hachette person’s email box.
Amazon has asked authors with no real stake in the matter to pick up their banners and fight their war. Hey, Amazon, I’m not your serf. Yes, I enjoy the doors that Amazon and Createspace have opened for me. I like telling people you can find me on Amazon, but it won’t be the end of the world if they stopped listing my book or plotted against me because I didn’t email Hachette. What this looks like to me is a ploy to get people do the dirty work for Amazon. I don’t understand why Amazon didn’t email the people that have bought Hachette books in the past and ask them to do this? What does me being an author have to do with anything about your fight with Hachette? Hachette isn’t hurting me. Hell, I didn’t even know Hachette was a company until you started arguing with them. How do you even know the authors with Hachette are being unfairly treated as you so insinuated in your letter to me dear Amazon? Furthermore, if some author signs a contract without reading it and publishes with an “evil” company that abuses them shouldn’t you be reaching out to those authors? Or maybe those authors shouldn’t be signing those kinds of contracts? We aren’t talking about indentured servitude here folks, it’s a contract between an author and a company….that nobody was forced to sign! Yes, there are some bad ones out there, but I have no clue what Hachette does for or against its authors. So, why does Amazon think it does? Why should I care? Other than giving me something to blog about what has the issue done for me as an author?
So, thanks but no thanks Amazon. I will just keep on doing what I’m doing. You and Hachette keep fighting for all I care. Again…libraries…not the end of the world….there are bookstores where I live that deliver…Amazon is not the only source for me to get my books…..
Imagine if Amazon or Hachette put all this time and effort into fighting hunger or homelessness? Maybe then I would fire off a “pre-written” email to someone…..