Popular Authors Call For Government Investigation Into Amazon

Amazon logo displayed at a press conference in New York.
Amazon logo displayed at a press conference in New York.

And the attack on Amazon continues…

Popular authors like Malcolm Gladwell, Ursula Le Guin, Michael Chabon and Ann Patchett compiled a letter attacking Amazon’s “monopoly hold on the book world” and is asking the US Department of Justice to conduct and investigation in their business practices.

Authors United, a group that was created after the Amazon vs. Hachette debacle last year, wrote this letter that will hopefully be delivered at the end of this month. Here is more from The Guardian:

“We are authors with a deep collective experience in this field, and we agree with the authorities in economics and law who have asserted that Amazon’s dominant position makes it a monopoly as a seller of books and a monopsony as a buyer of books,” runs the letter, going on to claim that “in recent years, Amazon has used its dominance in ways that we believe harm the interests of America’s readers, impoverish the book industry as a whole, damage the careers of (and generate fear among) many authors, and impede the free flow of ideas in our society”.

The authors are calling for the justice department’s antitrust division to investigate Amazon, suggesting that the online retailer “has blocked and curtailed the sale of millions of books by thousands of authors” in order to pressure publishers, and has “extract[ed] an ever greater share of the total price of a book from publishers”, resulting in “publishers dropping some midlist authors and not publishing certain riskier books, effectively silencing many voices”.

The letter is backed by missives from the Authors Guild and the American Booksellers Association, the New York Times reported. “As with our author colleagues, we are concerned that the mega-book-retailer Amazon.com has achieved such considerable market power with such questionable business tactics that it is undermining the ecosystem of the entire book industry in a way that will be detrimental, especially to midlist authors, new authors, and minority voices,” wrote both the president and the chief executive of the ABA in a letter to the justice department printed by the paper.”

If you would like to read the full letter, you can find it here.

To read the full Guardian article, click here.

Weekly Tea Discussion: Online Book Subscriptions

Books_Cups_Grass_Tea_CupWith all the recent news surrounding this issue, I thought it would be a perfect discussion topic for this week.

It was bound to happen. When the popularity of the streaming service, Netflix started to increase, very likely someone would come out and say, “what about a subscription service for books?” This allure of having unlimited access to certain products or form of entertainment was bound to approach our beloved books. So let’s take the time to list the book subscription services that are catching up with the trend:

https://i0.wp.com/publishingperspectives.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Kindle-Unlimited.pngKindle Unlimited: For $9.99 a month, you have unlimited access to 800,000 books and over a thousand audiobooks that is accessible to any device.

https://i2.wp.com/juliebestry.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/oyster.png

Oyster Unlimited: Unlimited access for $9.95/month to over 1 million bestsellers and also has an Oyster store where you can purchase a book that is not under the Oyster Unlimited program.

https://i1.wp.com/the-digital-reader.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/scribd1.jpg

Scribd: Unlimited books, audiobooks, and comics on any device …all for $8.99/month.

Those are just to name a few.

Continue reading “Weekly Tea Discussion: Online Book Subscriptions”

Amazon Will Reportedly Pay Self-Published Authors $0.006 Per Page Read

Self-published authors are not getting a lot of love this week.

After announcing last week that self published writers will no longer be paid per copy downloaded but pages read through the Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners Lending Library program, under these new rules writers can be paid as little as $0.006 per page read, reported by The Guardian.

In an email sent to the authors, Amazon went into further details on how they would actually be paid:

The company said that customers of its two services read nearly 1.9bn pages in June, while it expected to pay at least $11m a month for June, July and August.

That means the payment per page read could be as low as $0.006, meaning that an author will have to write a 220-page book – and have every page read by every person downloading it – to make the same $1.30 they currently get from a book being downloaded.”

However, only a some authors will see benefits from this:

Not every author will lose out, however. Since the overall amount paid out to writers is intended to remain the same, there will be winners – mainly those who write longer books that are read in full.

That has led some to argue that Amazon intends to reduce the income of authors of shorter works in an effort to alter the composition of the library. If that is the company’s intention, Lucas argues that Amazon is missing the point.”

Who knows what Amazon’s true intentions or motives for this new payment plan. I just have a disturbed feeling that in the end the only people who will end up hurt are the writers.

Are Amazon *Really* Paying Authors Per Page Read? No. No, They’re Not. [Pause] Well…

If you want a deeper explanation of Amazon’s new plan of paying self-published authors based on how many pages are read, read this blog post:

Amazon to Pay Kindle Authors Only for Pages Read

Online retail giant Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos
Credit: Telegraph.co.uk

Amazon announced today that starting July 1, self-published authors will be paid in royalties based on the amount of pages a Kindle reads, instead of the amount of times the books has been downloaded. This means if a reader abandons the book halfway through, the writer will only receive a quarter amount of royalties compared to the full amount they would receive if the reader decide to finish reading the book. As reported by the Telegraph: Continue reading “Amazon to Pay Kindle Authors Only for Pages Read”

Weekly Tea Discussion: Amazon vs. Bookstores

Books_Cups_Grass_Tea_Cup

 

Welcome to the first week of Weekly Tea Discussion!

In honor of Independent Bookstore Day this Saturday, I thought we talk about Amazon and independent bookstores.

When the whole Amazon and Hachette dispute over e-book pricing that occurred last year, I watched everyone, from writers and readers alike, attacking Amazon, especially criticizing their actions for withholding Hachette print books from their website.

Now, I don’t agree with what Amazon does sometimes, especially in this case. What I don’t agree with is everyone making Amazon public enemy number #1. Mishka Shubaly, the author of Sympathy for the Devil: In Defense of Amazon, I feel said it perfectly:

Jeff Bezos didn’t build Amazon: We did. Amazon didn’t buy out and board up independent bookstores. We abandoned them. We chose convenience over community, commerce over art. The Big Five sell glossy-covered, sensational page-turners and celebrity tell-alls and escapist vampire soft-porn because this is what we’ve told them we want to read. The solution isn’t to order the latest Hachette bestseller online from Wal-Mart.”

Continue reading “Weekly Tea Discussion: Amazon vs. Bookstores”