Right now Amazon and Hachette are in a tug of war over e-book prices for Hachette titles. Amazon wants to set an e-book price much lower than Hachette wants to.
This is a simplification, but in my opinion, Amazon can set whatever prices it wants and if Hachette doesn’t like it, then Hachette doesn’t have to do business with Amazon and vice versa. It just proves that there has to be some other outlets for competition.
Meanwhile, some authors (a lot of them Hachette authors) took out an ad in the NY Times, asking for the dispute to be settled, feeling like they’re caught in the middle (which they are). According to the Guardian, one author says his book sales are down 60% percent because of the Amazon dispute.
I know Amazon’s important, but come on. This doesn’t seem like Amazon’s fault, or Hachette’s fault for that matter. It seems like the author’s fault.
Because the one thing that should be apparent to authors in all of this, no matter how it shakes out, is that they have to do something different.
If Amazon (they’re huge, I’m not denying that) is shutting out their books, they need to be talking to readers about where their books ARE at.
At B&N, or Alibris, or Books-A-Million, or one of the hundreds of independent bookstores. Or selling directly from their publisher.
But to be able to communicate to your readers, the line of communication has to be developed. Authors have to already be talking, emailing and tweeting. It always blows my mind when writers, people who love to write and want people to read them and to get paid for their writing, complain about blogging and creating essays, reviews or whatever.
Literally hundreds of non-writers see this as a vital piece to their communications and marketing strategies for the product they’re selling and writers completely ignore it or make fun of it. Like writing is a bad thing.
Hopefully this mess with Amazon will help authors realize that they’re too beholden to a few and need to take matters more into their own hands.
It’s up to the author to connect with readers. Not Amazon, Hachette or anybody else. Only the author.