“Confessions of a Publisher: ‘We’re in Amazon’s Sights and They’re Going to Kill Us'” by Sarah Lacy

Posted: January 18, 2012 in Writing
Tags: , , , , ,

Really, REALLY interesting article here by Sarah Lacy of the Pandodaily.  In short, pretty much what we as indie authors have sensed, and why we look skeptically at people that want to submit to traditional publishers anymore.  I think a follow up question is this.  Do you think indie authors will get crushed under Amazon’s thumb someday?  (Think getting 30% of your sales price rather than 70% because there is no other game in town).


  1. Elise Stokes says:

    If the thought that Amazon is “stupid” had ever crossed a retailer/publisher’s mind, the thought would have been ironic since they were already dead men walking. Amazon rules. Now only to crack their recommendation algorithm…

  2. I don’t think it’ll get to the point where Amazon will be the only game in town. Been hearing some rumors about a better self publishing option from Apple. Kobo is already doing the same thing as well. As long as someone else is successful though that should keep Amazon in line.

  3. I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger award. Go check out the details http://charity-thesinners.blogspot.com

  4. Interesting and scary stuff. Less competition is always bad for the little guy/gal.

  5. Robin says:

    A better question would be; who needs Amazon? A writer now has many platforms to publish on, indeed, who needs a platform? All we need now is a good story, some free, off the shelf software and a PayPal account. Writers could go truly independent. I admit that they would not get the exposure that they do now on Amazon/Kindle, but they could still sell books.
    Amazon needs authors more than we need Amazon.

  6. C. says:

    I think there are so many other options than amazon, with so much more flexibility, that monopolization is probably not going to happen. I didn’t realize this until I started seeing the myriad of places you can actually publish an e-book (especially to make it available in e-pub formatting, too) and now it seems unnecessary to panic over Amazon’s future taking of of the world.

    As to traditional publishing… lots of people prefer the feel of a physical book. But then with POD, that’s not necessary any more either. Let’s see how long some of those big NY houses last.

  7. Amazon will continue to be an innovator as others try to catch up. Will royalties change? Maybe. Will promotional programs change? Definitely. It’s a fun time to be an indie writer.

  8. Darrell Pitt says:

    The line that really got my attention was, “When ebooks started, we were pricing ebooks at the same price as the print book”. Now, by what reckoning is this fair? Does anyone outside of Wonderland think that pricing an ebook at the same price as a print book is reasonable??? The print publishing industry has behaved like a dinosaur – slow to react and slowly becoming extinct.

  9. I don’t think that indie authors will get crushed under Amazon. To be honest, Smashwords offers the same options, with more distribution opportunities. I can sell to both Kindle and Nook users, as well as Itunes and many more on one site. The thing about Amazon is all the authors think that Amazon is the way to go. What would Amazon do if all the Indie authors migrated to Smashwords enmasse? They would be crushed.

  10. LisaJeyDavis says:

    I don’t believe indies are in danger… Amazon makes a good chunk of revenue from them. It may happen for a while, but the ebb and flow that’s pure physics in the law of supply and demand will require a new level of competition for Amazon at some point. It’s the duty of the author to stay abreast of the situation and know his/her options.

    • LisaJey,

      If you “don’t think Indies are in danger”, you might want to go back and read your kdp Terms and Conditions agreement. Let me draw your attention to Section 10 – Dispute Resolution. You just signed that you agree NOT to sue Amazon for any wrongdoing, and in the state Amazon operates from a corporation can (since a 2011 WA State Supreme Court decision) declare itself immune from class action suits. Hopefully you were NOT one of the thousands of indieAuthors affected by the Big Six Technical Glitches that closed IndieAuthor storefronts in September and October 2012: (1) kdp Select Free! Days not kicking in on cue after authors had set up Tweets and ads; (2) vanishing UK sales boards (3) frozen sales report screens (4) disappearing buy-now buttons; (5) four-day waits for maintenance ticket acknowledgement (6) late September sales reporting. And, Sweetheart, unless you want binding arbitration (an arbitrator costs $10K a day!) then you’re whistling in the wind if you have maintenance problems that cause a disruption in your sales and marketing efforts. (start the laughter!! “I don’t think indies are in danger!” http://www.kindleGate.webstarts.com

  11. sandyn1949 says:

    The only reason I put any of my books on Amazon is because Smashwords.com does not. It is just another avenue for me, not the be-all, end-all.

  12. Very interesting article. I wasn’t aware of a lot of the pricing information, (I work for a specialist, non-fiction publisher – different ballgame) though I’d noticed the change in ebook pricing. In terms of the old school publishers, they’ve been running an unsustainable model for a long time. They recognise this all too well, which is why they play it so safe. That worked well enough for them right up until the epublishers arrived. Personally I think Amazon is doing a grand job of reducing the print market and I’m fascinated by Amazon’s move to publish/pilfer the top ranking authors, but I doubt they will manage a monopoly for reasons previous commenters have mentioned. Unless they have yet another trick up their sleeve…

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