Well, what a time to be involved in self-publishing! It would seem that Amazon are making new enemies in all directions. From what I’m reading on Facebook, I’m rather glad that none of my ebooks have been listed on Amazon. Two cases stand out and are very worrying. In the first, a reader purchased an ebook by an Indie author from Amazon. Recently, she was notified of the fact that a publisher had taken over the author’s work. They then proceeded to effectively steal the purchased ebook from the reader and tell her that she had to now purchase a much more expensive copy of it. Obviously not acceptable in any way whatsoever! In the second case, Amazon have apparently sent out a mass email to owners of ebooks by a certain author. This email urges them to remove the ebooks from their libraries. When contacted by readers, the usual statement is that they should remove the ebooks because of the content. The author asserts that there is nothing untoward or offensive in the ebooks. Worse, Amazon kindly offer a refund of sorts. They make no mention of the fact that the refund is deducted from the author’s account! This is despite the fact that the terms are that purchasers have only 7 days for such a refund to be available, but these ebooks have been purchased up to 6 months ago! Together with Amazon’s drive for exclusivity over ebooks and cutting how much is paid to affiliates, it would appear that Amazon want to lose all Indie authors, and their readers. It is an insane situation.
Something may be of interest to UK authors, or authors with books/ebooks being distributed in the UK. First, it is a legal requirement for copies of all printed matter to be sent to the British Library. One copy is usually prepared for permanent long term storage. The other is made available to anybody who cares to read it, in one of the many reading rooms of the Library. Moves have also been made to include electronic publications. A voluntary system is, apparently, already in place. PDF publications are most frequently referred to (in fact, I found no mention of any other format). The current system is stated to involve sending a copy of each publication to the British Library on either CD or DVD. I have emailed to get more current information on this, pointing out that the insistence on sending CDs or DVDs is extremely wasteful, given the usually small size of ebooks. I certainly have no objection to sending a copy of each of my ebooks, but I would only do so either by email or through an appropriately designed submissions page on the web site. Apart from this issue, however, there is also a UK Web Archive run by the British Library. This archives UK web sites, or (I believe) web sites run by British citizens. This is only done for sites which are “nominated”. I have nominated this blog. I am waiting to hear on both these matters.
I find the behaviour of Amazon, in particular, very disturbing. They are the “big boys” of online book/ebook sales. There’s no denying that fact. For them to behave as they are shows a lack of respect for both authors and readers. Considering that some groups on the internet insist on authors having their books/ebooks on Amazon, for them to be listed on the group’s own web site, a very dangerous situation is rising. Personally, I am sorely tempted to stop dealing with Amazon entirely! That would mean that I would no longer download ebooks from authors who only offer them through Amazon, and there are still many at the moment. I implore my fellow authors to think long and hard about having any association with Amazon. I believe that they are trying to make their position so unassailable that, if they succeed, authors and readers alike will lose out big time.
- Used eBooks 101: How Amazon Can Legally Resell eBooks (the-digital-reader.com)
- Amazon has hit a new low in punishing successful authors (marciebrockbookmarketingmaven.wordpress.com)