April32012

Kindle and changing ebook prices

A while back, there was some outrage going around about teh ebil Amazon empire and their treacherous ways with lowering Kindle prices on some ebooks, which may or may not affect royalty payments.

One author, we’ll call him John Doe, went on for weeks about it. He’d published an ebook through Kindle and one day, he found the price was lowered drastically. Upset, he contacted Amazon about this and they quickly turned the price back. Problem solved, right?

One would think so, but the issue turned up on several blog posts afterward, lighting the fires under several others who basically had no idea why they were angry but why the hell not! It even turned out that the author’s ebook had, indeed, lowered elsewhere beforehand, and Amazon had simply price-matched, per their TOS, but… THEY’RE STILL EBIL!

The unnamed author kept saying how the big publishers would never treat him that way. To that, I say bullshit. Not just bullshit, but big, wormy, steamy, bullshit. And I add, why isn’t he back with them if they’re so snazzy?

Let’s clarify a few things: when you put something up through Kindle, you may think you’re self-publishing but you’re not. Sure, it’s a lot closer to self than the traditional route. No rejections to deal with. But Amazon is still the publisher. You come to an agreement with them, make a contract to provide a good for their services, the same as you would with Bantam or Harlequinn or any other publisher. They allow you to set a price but there are stipulations: don’t undersell them, and royalties will be higher or lower depending on the price you choose. It’s your job to adhere to that agreement and not throw a big nasty tantrum all over the Internet if you fuck up.

And if this happens, and they choose to change the price of your book, it’s the same as if any other publisher decides to change the retail price in order to keep up with the competition. This is rarely the case with them because they let the bookstores handle all that, but in Amazon’s case, they ARE the bookstore. But if a publisher is at a convention and they need to push some books, they’ll damn sure knock the selling price down to sell, paying the author a royalty of THAT.

Personally, Google Books screwed with the prices of some of KHP’s titles and Amazon adjusted to match, and they still pay the normal royalties. Everything is cool with that. No need to FFfFFFFfffrreeeeeaaakkk!

Get what I’m saying? Chill people. I’m going to bed now.

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