I’m sick and tired. SICK…and…TIRED. People bitching about Amazon (aka the ‘Zon) and their market share. Trad-pubs fighting tooth and nail to keep an archaic and unsustainable business model artifically afloat despite it not being profitable.
There’s a REALLY easy fix here, folks: BUILD A BETTER GODDAMNED BUGGY WHIP. MAKE THE NEW WIDGET.
This is NOT brain surgery. It’s NOT rocket science. Smashwords has attempted (clumsily) to do it. (I have my own beefs with them and their system, but that’s outside the exact scope of this ranty-pants blant.) AllRomanceEbooks/Omnibooks has done it, with fairly decent success.
Traditional publishers, if you don’t want to be beholden to the ‘Zon, then FINE, open your own e-book stores. But make them GOOD e-book stores. Sell your print books there, too. Make it EASY for people to download directly to their Kindles like some online stores can, or even figure out how to download directly to other devices. Or build a free app that allows them to take their purchases and then open them in their reader app of choice (for tablets). Allow self-pubs and indie presses to sell on your site for the same (or hell, even better) profit margins than they get through KDP. Entice them. Don’t see them as competition, see their participation as padding your own bottom line. Institute adult filters so a user can easily and CLEARLY choose whether or not to see “adult” content. Then open the gates and yell, “Come one, come all!”
(Yes, that was deliberate.)
Nook is slow and clunky to get stuff processed and uploaded. Kobo isn’t a lot better. Google Play is a fucking pain in the fucking ass to try to use. iTunes is difficult unless you use another service, or you have a Mac and the software.
So build that fucker. Give people a REASON to buy directly FROM you. Take off the crippling DRM that studies have PROVEN only encourages pirating, and pisses off legal purchasers.
Do THAT. Quit whining to everyone and having your top A-list authors take out prohibitively expensive ads whining about how bad they have life. COURT the masses to use your service. In the case of self-publishing titles? Hell, UNDERCUT Amazon. Play their own game against them. Offer BETTER royalty terms without the exclusivity bullshit. Offer world-wide distribution, offer montly royalty calculation and pay-outs, and GIVE indie authors a farking REASON to want to do business with YOU.
Guess what? You’ll make a farking FORTUNE! They upload a file, you have to do NOTHING to it, you grab a percent off the top. BOOM. PROFIT.
That’s right. MONEY. CASH. Because once you build the system out and get it RIGHT, your main outlay is done and your ROI becomes obscenely fantastic over the years (yes, you’ll have to make improvements and tweak things and run security).
But what you’re doing right now, honestly? Is like the slow guy who’s pissed off because he’s not fast enough to make the Olympic team, so he sues to try to get the team to accept him on the team. It’s bogus, it’s bullshit, and you’ve garnered NO support from people who are sick and tired of listening to you whine.
Build that widget. Court our asses. Believe me, if you do build a better widget, we WILL come to you to sell our books. In DROVES. Indie publishers will come to you with entire CATALOGS of hundreds (or more) of books to sell. THAT’S FREE MONEY FOR YOU!
Then, you can use THOSE profits to shore up your traditional print business model. Hell, partner with brick-and-mortar stores to push your app, let them shill the app for you, and when they sign up people for you, they use a code and gives them a small kick-back. Bigger kick-backs for books that are published directly BY your main company.
Stop whining. Start thinking. Stop stalling. Start DOING. Stop wringing your hands and start putting ads out there to hire the brightest and best of the programming industry to get to work building your new widget. Hell, try to strike some killer, sweet deals with Smashwords and ARe, among others.
Your failure isn’t Amazon’s fault. It’s YOUR fault for partnering with them in the first place to the exclusion of your own business model. You should have been working on this all along instead of burying your heads in the sand and trying to illegally collude on price fixing. All you did was piss us readers and writers off.
You have a chance to look like a hero, here, guys. Don’t fuck it up. Get off your asses, NOW, and get it through your thick corporate skulls that you are nearly out of time to do anything to kick the ‘Zon in the nuts and gain some traction.
The answer is obvious to the rest of us. Why you all refuse to see the nose that’s plainly sitting on the middle of your face baffles us. Oh, that’s right. Up until now, you’ve been content to cut off your nose to spite your face to the detriment of your authors. Who, FYI, are who make you money.