What a rude shock to wake up this morning and find that Amazon has stopped selling all books published by Macmillan, including the new paperback release of Towers of Gold.
Macmillan has told Amazon it wants to set its ebook rates at $15 rather than Amazon's standard $9.99. In an attempt to pressure Macmillan, Amazon has removed the "buy button" from every Macmillan books. (This also has a lot to do with the new iPad and Steve Jobs comments' that lots of publishers are unhappy with Amazon.)
This is disturbing. What is equally disturbing are all the comments left on the New York Times website about the controversy. Most say ebooks aren't worth $15, go to your library, wait and buy the books used for .01. The emphasis is on finding a bargain.
What's left out of this equation is compensation for the author. It takes a long time to write a book and the average author probably loses money on his or her books. I spent eight years researching and writing my book and the last 18 months promoting it. Believe me, I am running a deficit.
If readers want new books, they have to spend money on the books so authors can afford to write them. That's why it is reasonable to ask $15 for a Kindle version (of which I would get a few pennies.) Yes, electronic books are less expensive since there are no direct publishing costs, but don't forget all the back end costs of editing, preparing boos, designing the book, promoting it, etc.)
I for one, am going to stop using Amazon and I urge everyone to do the same. If you want to buy a book on line go to Powell's Books or Indiebound instead.
UPDATE: Later in the day, Macmillan CEO John Sargent bought an ad on the website Publisher's Marketplace. It was a letter to all Macmillan authors and illustrators and their literary agents explaining the disagreement. I am glad Macmillan is trying to communicate with us.