Important Kindle Request – A Letter from Amazon

Round-Two

If you’re a KDP author, you might have checked your email this morning and found a rather interesting letter from Kindle Direct Publishing. In it, there’s a brief history lesson on how paperback books were initially perceived by the publishing industry, an explanation of how traditional ebook pricing is hurting everyone involved, and a request to email bomb Hachette CEO, Michael Pietsch. If you’re not a KDP author, you can read the letter here: http://www.readersunited.com/.

My first reaction was, wow… it’s come to this. While Hachette has rallied its authors against Amazon during this dispute, Amazon has kept things fairly low key. Yes, they’ve posted letters to public forums, but this is taking the battle to a whole new level. A call to arms, so to say, to its KDP authors. And, to be honest, I’m not sure I’m OK with it.

We’re talking about a corporate battle between two giants and each side has, in turn, asked its minions to throw their weight into the mix. While Hachette has a cadre of well-known authors, Amazon must have contacted hundreds of thousands of authors with this single email. Even if only a percentage respond, you’re probably still looking at 10x the number of Hachette’s authors. But, what’s the point? Does Amazon really believe that overwhelming this poor schmuck’s email inbox with 100,000 letters from unknown authors will sway the tide? Or, is this just a symbolic gesture to say, “You say you’ve got author power? I’ll show you author power.”

In all, the letter leaves me with a bad taste. I hope the two sides can come to an agreement soon, as I’m losing my patience in the whole matter. I agree that low ebook pricing makes sense on many levels, but I don’t appreciate being made a pawn in a battle I’m not involved in.

2 thoughts on “Important Kindle Request – A Letter from Amazon

  1. I had a similar reaction when I read that email this morning. When I read the request to email Hachette’s CEO and the recommended topics to cover, my actual words were, “Great, politics. Politics I should probably be interested in, but, really?”
    Personally, I agree with Amazon that ebooks shouldn’t be priced anywhere near as high as physical books, but is it really necessary to get all of us KDP authors involved?

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  2. I’m still trying to examine all of the angles, actually. I can say that, for reasons very personal to each author, I presume authors are willing to sign contracts with Hachette (or any traditional publishers) at lower margins of royalty simply because they prefer the prestige of being “traditionally published.” In which case, the author signed on the dotted line and accepted rather slim terms.
    That being said, I do believe that Amazon hardly has the welfare of authors in mind…they’re in business to make money at the best margins possible. For them, it appears to be a preferred philosophy to sell more units at lower price to gain higher overall revenue, versus the Hachette approach to sell less units at a higher margin of revenue per unit. Of course, Hachette is hoping that any or all of their novels will be huge hits, thereby getting the best of both worlds: higher unit sales at the higher prices for best overall revenue stream. Oh yes, and only having to pay their authors a minimal royalty. But then, as I said, the author chose to sign the contract. Nobody put a gun to their heads…
    All the best to you, Danny!

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