There is no war between Amazon and Traditional Publishing

There will never be peace in the war between Amazon and traditional publishing because there is no war.

One of the defining qualities of the current dispute between Amazon and Hachette is just how softly softly it is. These kind of disputes between a mega-retailer and a major supplier happen every day in other industries and are notably brutal. The retailers promote the supplier’s competitors heavily and with eye-bleeding discounts; they remove the supplier’s goods from sale completely; they pressure other companies to stop dealing with the misbehaving supplier. Most large retailers have clout and wield it. Amazon just lost ten times more on the Fire phone alone than they were ever likely to lose from properly blacklisting Hachette. In turn, Hachette isn’t playing hardball either. They aren’t making sweetheart deals with Amazon’s competitors. They aren’t organising eye-watering sales or promotions with B&N. They don’t have a competent direct sales platform they can use to leverage the publicity the dispute has generated. Both parties are just continuing with business as usual, just with a little bit less effort. The predominant characteristic of the argument is its sheer lack of inspiration. It’s pedestrian and mundane.

Wobbly Amazon

Breaking my blog silence for a thought

I remember two or three years ago at Frankfurt (I think it was three years ago, but not quite sure) trying to convince people that Amazon’s position wasn’t as strong as the industry thinks.

The self-publisher's perspective of the ebook market

The writer Rosen Trevithick said this here thing: For goodness sake Kobo, I took a risk publishing some of my titles with a relatively small eBook vendor. It took days to jump through your formatting hoops and I lost my bonuses for being exclusive to Amazon. I did this because I wanted to support an alternative to the market leader. You reward me by stabbing small publishing companies in the back.

Amazon's biggest ally is Apple

I’ve never understood why people position Apple and Amazon as rivals in the ebook game. While it’s true that the two have clashed that conflict is a result of incompatible platform goals, not rivalry. Conflict is not rivalry and two organisations that conflict occasionally may well be allies in the bigger picture where rivals may not. Let me elucidate… The Apple/Amazon conflict has presented itself in a variety of ways:

If the Kindle fails so will ebooks

I don’t get why anti-Amazon people get up in arms whenever they find an author who links to the Amazon pages for their books. Or whenever a publisher out there seems to favour the Seattle Behemoth over the ‘honourable’ opposition. I get why people don’t like Amazon. They are a big, competitive, ruthless, anti-union tax avoider that treats low level staff (like, say, warehouse employees) like slave labour. There’s a lot not to like.

This ebook is a lemon

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of both Akerlof and Romer, not just the paper they co-wrote on looting in the financial system but also their work individually. Turns out one of Akerlof’s most famous papers is directly relevant to the ebook market. For starters, a few basic premises. If you disagree with any one of these you can feel free to ignore the entire argument. I can easily pick apart any one of these statements myself, so I’d understand it very well if you disagreed with them.

Caught between madmen and mercenaries

This is not a comment on the recent court ruling on Apple, agency contracts, and price fixing. But a cursory glance at the history of ebook retail makes one conclusion crystal clear: Ebook retail is a horrible horrible business to be in. On one side you have self-destructive madmen like the big publishers who have done the following lovely things to their ebook retail partners: Abruptly changing all ebook distribution contracts to agency.

A question only you can answer

Knights and Necromancers three and four are finally out on Amazon, Kobo, and iTunes, Below is a full list of links to where you can find them. But first…

I have a question only you can answer. Which isn’t saying much, since every question I can’t answer is one only you can answer, ‘you’ being the quintessential ‘not me’.

The question is this:

What reviewers do you think might be interested in reviewing the Knights and Necromancers series?

Knights and Necromancers: new books and megapacks!

Knights and Necromancers three and four are ready to be released but you can get them a bit earlier than the rest.

The third and fourth book in the series have both been submitted to Kobo, Apple, and Amazon for their pre-publication vetting process (which, frankly, can take days).

But you can get them sooner, if you really really want. :-)