christinex1001: (Default)
Well, this is all over the internet today, but it seems our dear, misguided friends at Amazon have decided to remove sales rankings from a variety of books with GLBT content, or books with "adult" content (although that doesn't seem to include any Playboy centerfold compilations...or books on dog fighting. But boys kissing? Fuggedaboutit!).

Amazon is getting deluged with hate mail, as it should. And the Smart Bitches have encouraged everyone to join in settling off a Google bomb. (Go to www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com to get the skinny on how that works.)

Anyway, here's my contribution to da Bomb:

Amazon Rank

ETA: Here's an online petition to sign if you're so inclined: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/in-protest-at-amazons-new-adult-policy
christinex1001: (Default)
...but then I decided it would be better to put this in a new one.

If this whole Amazon situation pisses you off (and it should, even if you don't use a POD printer and never plan to, because this is just more of the corporate strong-arm tactics our current administration seems to encourage and which have helped this country along its seemingly unending downward spiral), there's a petition you can sign to express your disapproval. They ask for a donation, but it's not mandatory. (I didn't donate, simply because I hate PayPal almost as much as I hate Amazon right now, and that's the only option you have for making a donation.)

The good thing is that this story is tearing across the internet like a Santa Ana-driven California brushfire, and Amazon is looking worse by the minute. Here's hoping the public outcry helps them to backpedal on this particular "business" decision.

Amazon actually put out a press release in an attempt to clarify matters. They say it's purely to help out the customers -- that by producing all their POD titles in-house they would be able to ship things more quickly (and supposedly satisfy their Amazon Prime two-day shipping requirement). As Angela Hoy at writersweekly.com writes, this is actually a load of bull:

"They rationalize they can ship books faster. Our printer, Lightning Source, ships books to Amazon's customers directly, even using an Amazon.com return address sticker. They rationalize they can ship items together to save money, and that doing this saves transportation costs and fuel. What they don't tell you is that forcing a publisher to pay Amazon to print their book, plus setup fees for new books, plus 48% of each sale could and probably will mean higher list prices on books and, thus, less money in the customers' pockets, less money in the publishers' and authors' pockets...but more money in Amazon's pocket.

Furthermore, Amazon has, according to Wikipedia, 10 distribution centers in North America alone; and 14 more abroad. Are they currently printing print-on-demand books in each of those centers? I don't think so. So their "save money/time by packaging POD books with other products" rationale appears to have a few glaring holes in it.

If Amazon can't currently print POD books at all its distribution warehouses, why are they telling POD publishers to sign that contract NOW?

Notice they left out the setup fees ($50 for new titles), the printing costs, and the 48% they want from each sale. In fact, there's no mention of fees at all in the statement. They also don't mention that the average publishing package for authors at Booksurge is over $1,000.

Also, regarding the Advantage Program, they left out the fact that publishers/authors have to pay $29.95 per year, PLUS shipping costs to get the books to Amazon, PLUS 55% of each sale to Amazon. They don't seem too concerned with shipping and fuel expenses for this part of the statement, probably because the publisher has to pay for those.

Finally, they, of course, don't mention the past quality control problems experienced by Booksurge. If a customer gets a book with missing or upside down pages, who's going to get the blame? Not Amazon, that's for sure. The publisher will get the backlash for that."

So, yeah, nice try Amazon, but the spin cycle isn't working. Better get your people on that, stat.

christinex1001: (Default)
See my icon? According to the buzz in the POD (print on demand) industry, that's a pretty good illustration of what Amazon is trying to do to independent POD publishers and self-published authors (like me!) who have used a service such as Lulu.com to get their books into print.

It's all long, complicated, and sordid (what isn't these days?), but the basics for the tl;dr crowd are this: A few years ago, Amazon purchased its own POD company called BookSurge, which it's been heavily promoting. I looked at BookSurge's offerings and wasn't impressed -- the packages are very expensive, even for someone like me who can deliver a complete press-ready pdf and who doesn't require the services of a copy editor or graphic designer. IIRC, it would have been more than double what my Lulu global distribution package cost (the package included the ISBN and inclusion in Books in Print and Ingram's catalog). Anyhow, now apparently Amazon is trying to pull a Microsoft-style muscle game and is saying that it will only offer POD books that are printed through BookSurge. Otherwise, you'll only be able to get them through third-party (Marketplace) sellers. It looks as if they've already done this to PublishAmerica books (PublishAmerica is a racket, and normally I wouldn't give the company any sympathy, but it sure sucks for its authors) and books from at least one smaller independent POD publisher. If you want the whole story, go here.

I freaked and went and checked out No Return's listing on Amazon, and it's still intact (and they've cut the price by a few bucks, which is nice)...but for how long? There's been no official word from management at Lulu, mainly because I guess the fewmets hit the fan late on a Friday afternoon after the brass had all gone out for their weekly golf game/martini run.

This is scary, not just in its implications for small presses who use POD technology and self-published authors like me, but for anyone who cares about the trend in this country for the big corporations to go trampling all over anti-trust laws and the concept of a free market economy. I've always been a loyal Amazon customer, but if they truly intend to go through with this, I will of course take my business elsewhere. After all, B&N offers free shipping on orders over $25 (and they finally got the pricing on NR straightened out so it matches the Amazon price), so what incentive do I have to stick with Amazon? I don't enjoy getting screwed in the butt in my private life -- what makes them think I'd enjoy it in a business relationship?

More to come as things develop....
christinex1001: (Default)
Just checked my Lulu revenues. After that wench left that completely bitchy review about No Return on Amazon, guess what happened to my sales? Plummeted! In September I sold 22 copies. In October...3. Yeah. I can understand not liking a book, but ripping it a new asshole while revealing so much about the plot that it's rendered basically useless to anyone else who might be on the fence about it? Not so great. I'd really like to track down that wench and send her a big box of flaming turds.

This has really made me feel like writing today...NOT!!!!!!!

Finally...

Feb. 27th, 2007 10:44 am
christinex1001: (Default)
...amazon.com dropped its price on No Return to reflect the adjusted MSRP. So now it's selling for $19.99 instead of the ridiculous $28.30 they had on there before. I know that sounds like a lot for a paperback, but that's just the way POD works -- printing costs are higher than they would be for books that have been ordered in runs of hundreds or thousands of copies. Sad to say, after everyone gets their cut and I pay taxes on the little bit I earn, I'm bringing home about a dollar a book. So it's not as if I'm trying to gouge anyone on this with maxed-out royalties.

The good news is that the book is eligible for Super Saver shipping, so you only need to add $5 more in products to get free shipping. Here's hoping that the reduced price and shipping advantages will result in some actual sales. (Not that I'm hoping to be the next JKR or something, but it would be nice to sell a couple.)

Here's the link, in case you were thinking about it. I do have one very nice review on there at least. :-)

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