Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Cut Off Your Nose To Spite Your Face

I've heard my mother and my aunt say this many times. And I guess, if I followed my initial inclination, that's probably what I'd end up doing. Unhappy with the current behavior of the technocrats--Amazon, Google, and their ilk--I wondered what effect my holding up the publishing of my indie-produced books and novellas would have on Amazon. The answer will probably surprise you. Or maybe it won't.

One agent postulated via a tweet that books made up only a small percentage of Amazon sales. I set out to find out if that was true, and immediately hit a stone wall. Amazon is pretty stingy with their information, and this is one of the things I couldn't find out, using the typical search engines to look into the situation. I did find lots of other information about Amazon, and if you're interested, you probably will, as well. 

It appears that Amazon has available about a million books for purchase. Mine represent an infinitesimal number of all those, and it probably wouldn't bankrupt the company if I withdrew from sales all the novels and novellas that I control. Besides, as has been pointed out, it's sort of nice to get that royalty check from them--even if it's smaller than I'd like.

What do you think? Whether published by a house of whatever size or self-published and sold on Amazon, even if you're a pre-published author or simply a reader, do you believe there's anything we can do to react to the actions of the tech giants? I'd be happy to hear.


Nancy Jones said...

i used to hear that phrase from my mother. it didn't make sense at the time, but maturity helped with the understanding.

I've quit Amazon for anything except books. It's not as easy as just popping into Amazon when I need something, but much more satisfying. I'm not interested in dealing with anybody, corporation, etc. that has anything to do with censorship.

Priscilla Bettis said...

This is a tough one, eh? So many people buy books, fabulous books, on Amazon. I always leave reviews there after I've finished a book. Maybe the key is to hope they'll continue to carry the fabulous books (I'm talking fiction and nonfiction) while not purchasing the book that are yukky. In other words, letting people's pocket books do the talking.

Richard Mabry said...

Nancy, you've done the American thing--voting with your wallet. Amazon is indeed an 800 lb gorilla, and maybe losing our few pennies won't make a difference, but perhaps it will make us feel better, anyway.

Priscilla, the book issue is a tough one--from what I've seen, there are some pretty bad ones there, as well as some good ones. We'll just have to see how this shakes out.

Patricia Bradley said...

I don't shop at Amazon for savings--I shop there for convenience and not having to go into a store right now. Since I've turned the news off and rarely look at FB, I'm not sure why people are saying to boycott Amazon.

It looks to me if everyone boycotts buying books from Amazon, it will hurt authors. I wish the independent bookstores were still here, but Amazon had nothing to do with the one we had in my town--it went out fifteen years ago, long before Amazon became a household name.
And now there isn't a bookstore within 50 miles of my house.

I have a feeling things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.

Richard Mabry said...

Patricia, there's no good answer, is there?