It’s easy in this day and age to fall into the trap of hating a big business just because they are big. We do it all the time with companies that we don’t rely on for our favorite things (it’s easier for a Pepsi drinker to hate Coke and for a PC user to hate Apple), but what about Amazon hatred?
You might be asking, “Who would hate Amazon?”
Well, for me, I’m one of those hapless independent publishers who are trying to figure out what is going to happen with the impending DoJ’s investigation into possible price collusion between Apple and some of the bigger publishers out there.
I get it. It’s kind of a good thing that the government would try to protect the citizens out there, but it does seem a little misguided. I don’t have enough of a background in business to really comment on the macro-level implications with this, but I do know one thing: it’s complicated. As I see it, a bunch of the arguments come down to where priorities lie.
- Publishers like the Agency Model, because it helps keep ebook prices up, which in turn help to keep physical books and physical bookstores around. The reasons for this are varied, but many of them have to do with keeping the status quo in place (and consequently employing a lot of people in the publishing-distributing-selling model).
- Readers want cheap ebooks. Whether or not they deserve them is beyond the scope of this article as well. The main part of this is that for some reason or another, readers don’t think that they should have to pay as much for an ebook as they do for a physical book. I think that it’s a perfectly valid point, and I don’t know if it’s Amazon’s fault for creating that mindset, or if it’s just common sense. I do know that it’s ridiculous to expect someone to pay $20 for an ebook that didn’t cost as much money to make as a $20 book.
- Authors just want to get paid. Go figure. All of these companies are fighting over every little percent, and in the end, it’s the author that gets it up the butt. That’s not fair, especially considering that if the author wasn’t there to begin with, there would be no book.
- Apple and Amazon. They want cheap stuff that they can sell for a lot more than they bought it for. Now, it makes sense to me that they should get a cut if they sell something digitally. If I go to Amazon and buy a $10 ebook, then they should get a cut of that. It was their market share, their servers, and their technology that enabled the sale. What should that cut be? I have no idea. 30% seems a bit high, but wholesale discounts could be around 50% sometimes, so who knows?
At the end of the day, there is really nothing left to do except sit around and bitch about prices anyway.
Rent is too damn high, too, by the way.
What’s going to happen is that the reader is going to get screwed somehow or another. It seems like they always do. BP can spill oil all in the Gulf, and then jack up the prices of their gas and people pay it, so there you go.
Ideally, authors would get paid a decent price for their craft, publishers would get a cut for all their work, and the reader would get a quality book for a fair price.
And then somebody would pinch me and I’d wake up.