Mercury in Retrograde

Mercury in Retrograde
Dance adagios.

Book pricing, Amazon and so forth?


Two articles, one explaining how predatory Amazon is with its rates on its price war with publishing house Hatchette, and another on how the academic presses were increasing their rates on electronic lending, thereby reducing the university library, making it impossible for any library to afford the service.

An eBook, as a publisher, I pay retail for storage and delivery of my eBooks. 99 cents represents 70 cents of profit, maybe one or two pennies less. Not bad. Cost of storage and delivery? Let’s estimate less than a dollar per year. Bandwidth, hosting, domain name, all of it.

As a writer, I want my books in as many hands as possible. As an author, I would like to be paid for my work. As a publisher, I understand costs. The system, which worked well in the past? It’s broken. With the inter-webs, moving at the speed of light? The very brokenness of the situation — untenable and un-winnable — becomes apparent.

I got in a urination contest over pricing eBooks, and the math, this is simple business, and simpler arithmetic, I can sell dozens of eTexts at 99 cents to one at $6.99, or $9.99 or whatever. Simple sales numbers won out.

Amazon is being painted as a bully, a possible monopolist, but the pricing of eBooks is different. Delivery. All of that is costed out, numbers crunched. My bet? Amazon makes money on every 99 cent Kindle title, of that I am sure. Maybe not a lot, but something.

Publishing houses that demand equal royalties? Which one is really the greedy one?

Numbers don’t lie; we use math every day.

Go to bookstore and ask for my books. “We’ll have to order it.” B&N shows some titles on their websites, but great Austin independent bookstore, Book People? Nope.

Amazon — and my website — have instant delivery.

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