Life Without Amazon

My New Years’ resolution is to shop, as often as possible, away from Amazon. Why? As an author, I’ve noticed some less than savory practices from this corporate giant lately. It seems that the fellas over at the longest river bookstore are leveraging their power to crush and manipulate consumers and authors.

Amazon launched its KDP Select program for authors selling ebooks through its site. They threw out offers like a $500,000 pool of cash. Also a monthly income of $7,500. It all sounds great until you read the fine print. By signing up, the author cannot sell his/her book anywhere else (including a personal website). Also this pool of cash is based on the percentage of sales of all ebooks that month. So, unless you’re a top ten author, your take could easily be pennies. Plus, you’ve cut off any sales from other websites. Add to that the fact that Amazon has moved the link to opt out and you’ve got a massive ebook collection for them and a lot of starving writers.

Now, let’s look at Amazon’s price check app. This little goodie was a one day rollout where customers were encouraged to enter a brick and mortar store, take a picture of a product, and then buy it through Amazon. The incentive…?  Amazon gave customers a $5 price break.

As both a customer and a writer I was maddened. Yet, why did I continue to shop Amazon? Mostly, it boiled down to laziness. Amazon’s site was just so easy to use. I made it a priority to branch out. Inconvenience myself a little bit.

Fist off, books. I admit, I had already downloaded some ebooks through the kindle app. Loved it. But it turns out there are plenty of other sites out there willing to sell an ebook. I just bought a Nook and I have to say, the reading experience is superior. For dead-tree-books, I have to rely on the Barnes and Noble chain (as it’s the only bookstore in my city).

Then came the wish list. Now I tried other sites like wishlistr. Frankly they sucked. Amazon simply has the best wish list. Even Barnes and Noble was cumbersome to use. So I decided to work in reverse. I’ll keep my lists up in Amazon, but buy from other stores. I use the wish list mostly as a bookmark anyway.

So if you’re trying to quit Amazon, it is possible. Yeah, you might pay a bit more. Plus you’ll have to say toodle loo to the $25 free shipping. No one said supporting authors would be easy.

Tim Kane

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9 comments on “Life Without Amazon

  1. Brad Geagley says:

    I get it, I totally do, but I also know that in terms of self-publishing I make far more with Amazon than with the monster publishing house I was with, who charges far more for my first and second book, than I have for my newest novel. And you can opt out of the KDP, in fact, if you sell cross platform– to B&N and on iTunes, you can’t be a part of KDP. It’s one monster controlling the puppet strings or another… (just a thought)
    Happy New Year and best of luck!

  2. Couldn’t agree with you more or be more delighted to slay giants. EXCEPT…1. I live off the map. My little island has K-Mar east and K-Mart west. There are two Indi bookstores and I try to patronize them for my tree killing habit but…it’s often a two week wait to order what I want. Like you, I have tried to order from other sources when I can, but sometimes Amazon is the only one who will ship to me. 2. I’m an insomniac, so when I need something to read at 2am on my kindle…there you go.

    Just so you know, Amazon will never ship to me for free,no matter what I buy, or how much I spend. I’m not fond of their shackle and chain approach to publishing, but then it’s not a whole lot different than what Legacy Publishing has been doing forever.

    Slayin’ giants ain’t as easy as it used to be, especially if you need the masses behind you to do it.

  3. good idea im gonna try it

  4. Woah, the more I read about publishing, the less I like epublishing. Just saying, buddy…

  5. Good points well made, Tim. I personally will not be listing my books with the KDP lending library. I like having my books available across as many markets as possible. I think it’s disrespectful for an author to marginalise his audience for a few extra pennies. I’m interested in readers first and foremost. So if that means earning a little less but allowing people with devices other than a kindle access my books, then I will do that.

    As for not shopping with Amazon and supporting others, that has crossed my mind, but my efforts to source some books at my local bookshop ended in failure as their stock just wasn’t very good and I didn’t want to commit to ordering them in if I changed my mind.

    What should happen is that Amazon’s competitors need to step up and start offering a compelling service. There’s a reason why Amazon is so dominant right now. And as much as supporting others is a good idea, that won’t happen unless they themselves (the competition) up their game significantly.

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