Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bashing Amazon

I enjoy reading the Yahoo POD Publishers Message Board. I have learned a great deal of helpful information from the other authors, small publishers and self-publishing authors who visit and post on this message board. The board is well moderated with an even hand on allowing authors communicate to preventing flame wars from starting.

Periodically a string of posts will start with the purpose of bashing Amazon. The stream of thought ranges from Amazon is an evil corporate giant whose only goal is monopolistic control and domination of the publishing industry or to loot the reading public and authors of every dime possible. Other threads include how Amazon cheats small publishers and/or self-publishers and when Amazon is done destroying the legacy publishers their next target will be to crush the little guys.

When I read this sort of stuff I have to wonder what these authors/publishers are thinking. Yes, Amazon takes a chunk of the sale. Why shouldn't they? If it had not been for Amazon, the sale would not have taken place! How many self-published authors are able to sell their books in a traditional brick and mortar bookstore? 

How can a self-published author make the existence of his or her book known and available to literally millions of customers? How much money does Amazon save self-publishers with its shipping and distribution system? 

I use CreateSpace, owned by Amazon, as my POD service and most of my sales come from Amazon, which means Amazon makes money off me printing the book and gets a cut of the sale. Once a month Amazon electronically deposits my profits in my bank account. Once the book is in print, I don't do anything except promote the book, which I would have to do if the book were sold in traditional bookstores. Then there are the sales of my Amazon Kindle books as well and the income generated from this revenue stream is growing slowly but steadily each month.

Amazon also provides us with tools to market our books and through Associate sales to make a little bit extra as well. Why do some people have a hard time understanding Amazon is entitled to its share of the take? Amazon's investors have a lot of money tied up in the infrastructure that makes all of this possible. Amazon does its share of the work in the process of selling and delivering our books to readers. Amazon has earned the right to get paid.

If it were not for Amazon, I would not be able to make money writing and selling books. It is that simple. Why do some authors and publishers want to bite the hand that feeds when Amazon provides the little guy with something the old publishing system never allowed, access to customers on a level playing field? Human nature is a strange thing at times.