Amazon: And So it Begins

Cross-posted at zoewinters.wordpress.com.

I’ve said for awhile now, that though I appreciate the opportunities Amazon gives to indie authors, that we shouldn’t be “too” grateful because they are ripping us off on Kindle sales. On Kindle we only get 35% cut, that’s less than industry standard for a publisher, and not only that, but it’s an ebook, exactly what is Amazon doing with Kindle books that rates that big of a cut?

With physical books you can understand since they have to ship them out, but when we’re talking about a non-physical product, the most they can say they need is storage space and bandwidth, which in the grand scheme isnt’ THAT expensive.

But as indies we didn’t and don’t have any power to do anything about it. We just had/have to accept our 35% and that’s that. Since it’s “better than royalty rates on e from most mainstream publishers” we’re supposed to be happy about it. But the thing is… when I publish on Kindle, *I* am my publisher, not Amazon, because I prepare the file.

Now, further steps have been taken to screw over indie authors by Amazon. Originally Amazon discounted books put on Kindle by indie authors, but now they don’t. So my $1.00 book used to be discounted to 80 cents. No longer. Now everybody that wants to buy has to pay sticker price. Twenty cents isn’t a lot of money, but psychologically discounts still hold power and sway over consumers, so consumers lose the feeling of “getting a deal.”

And not only that, but more and more mainstream published books are being offered on Amazon Kindle for free, which creates a lack of incentive to actually PAY for anything. When people search by price, the free books glut the results and people who sell their book at the lowest price they can ($1.00) are screwed over once again.

Indies cannot provide their work for free, only larger publishers who are involved with a “different” deal with Amazon Kindle than the little guys. The only thing that prevents people from suing Amazon for breaking fair trade laws, is the fact that because mainstream publishers deal in larger bulk, it can be a different type of deal.

So yes, folks, Amazon is not your friend.

Before the discounts got taken off, and the new flood of free books being released on Amazon Kindle by larger publishers, my Amazon Kindle sales ranking was usually between 1500 and 2000. Right now my sales rank is over 8,500.

So thanks, Amazon, from me to you. Indie authors already had a rough road, and now my exposure is even lower. The percentage of conversion… customers who go to the page and actually buy the book vs. customers who go to the page and exit or buy something else instead, is still the same. The only difference is my exposure, which is less than it was.

I don’t believe it’s a coincidence.

  • I didn’t even add my titles to the Kindle store. I had to reject the 35 % deal for ebooks on principle. I get 45% on the paperbacks, so a lower cut on a digital product was beyond insulting.

    I think not adding my titles for Kindle has hurt me. I have no way to prove it, but my exposure must have gone down. My paperback sales have nose dived since Kindle came out. Sales at my website however have been improving, so I know that readers still find my work worthy. At some point I’m planning on phasing Amazon out of my marketing scheme. Over the years, I’d say that Amazon has been a good company to work with, and I still shop there sometimes, but since Kindle came out it’s been increasingly clear that they don’t want a small potato like me. That’s OK. My Amazon sales were always more a break even marketing tactic than an actual profit area. I’m working to phase out such things and focus my marketing efforts on places that turn a profit, like my website.