One of my Facebook author friends L.J. Sellers just went exclusively Amazon. I understand why she did this and I commend her for thinking through this and making a decision that she felt was in her best interests. I won’t be making the same decision and I am going to share with you why. I know that normally I share with you, on my page, information about my work and news related to my work or topics I have written about. However, this is an important topic for writers and readers, and so I stray from my normal post topics.
As most of you know there is a publishing war going on within the independent publisher/writer industry, now that there is big money to be made. Recently Borders filed for bankruptcy leaving Amazon and Barnes & Noble battling it out, with Apple recently joining the fray. Make no mistake about it, an attempt is being made to “corner the market” in the independent industry. Several months ago Amazon made changes in an attempt to get authors to go exclusively with them, which L.J. has decided to do (here is L.J.’s press release about that http://ljsellers.com/all-amazon/). Now Apple is also trying to get authors to go exclusively with them (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/21/ibooks-author-contract-ibookstore_n_1220123.html?ir=Books).
Amazon does make it easier for customers to purchase print books from independent authors that use Create Space (which Amazon owns) over other publish on demand companies (like LuLu.com). In the field of e-books they have used rewards to independent authors instead of the strong-arm tactics such as with Create Space.
That will not last. As soon as one company begins to dominate the market, they will start dictating terms to the authors to increase company profit margins. The new terms will be unfavorable to the authors and very favorable to the dominant company. When the profit margins have been increased as much as possible, at the expense of the author, then prices will increase to the reader. Today some authors sell their e-books at the same or near the same as their print books. One day in the future almost all e-books will sell at near print prices with the dominant company getting all those profits.
I publish my print books with LuLu.com and I distribute my e-books through Smashwords.com, those two companies give terms which I find favorable to me. Amazon carries my print books and used to carry my e-books (which it no longer does). Barnes & Noble carries my e-books and has never carried my print books. Apple, Diesel, and a host of other e-book companies (too many to name here) also carry my e-books.
I will not help one of these companies monopolize the market. One company having a monopoly, in the long run, will hurt me more than help me. If Amazon decides to stop carrying my print books unless I go exclusively Amazon, then my print books will no longer be available at Amazon. If Apple decides to stop carrying my e-books unless I go exclusively Apple, then my e-books will no longer be available at Apple. I feel that over the long run, this is better for authors and readers. Will it cost me money now? Yes, most definitely. However, I feel it is better for you and me.
This is my decision, and I am standing by it.