Marsha Canham's Blog

June 15, 2012

Banging your head against the wall

Filed under: Caesars Through the Fence — marshacanham @ 5:45 pm

Have publishers not heard the old adage that if you stop banging your head on the wall, the pain will stop too?

They’ve got the Department of Justice after them for colluding on price fixing, they’ve got feedback from authors and readers alike who leave comments and write blogs and are now even leaving one star reviews on Amazon and other places simply because the ebook is priced to high and they refuse to buy it. Nothing to do with the quality of the writing or the author. No, the one star is to let the publisher know the price is too high. That’s a head-banger on two levels, though, because a one star review affects the author’s rankings and publishers don’t even bat an eye. I doubt they even read the reviews and care even less for the author’s reaction to seeing her book plunge to the bottom of the ratings heap.

I suspect they don’t care, period.  They don’t listen to the bloggers and posters. They certainly don’t listen to the authors. They just bang their heads on the wall and wail and moan over their falling sales and the evils of Amazon taking over the world.

Wah wah.

Have they done anything about it? Have they thought about competing instead of just whining?

Have they thought of negotiating better royalties to keep their bestselling authors from jumping ship and testing the waters of self publishing? Nooooo.

Have they *lowered* (gasp) the price of ebooks so they at least match the price of the same book in paperback? Noooooooo.

Has it occurred to them yet that without any authors they will have no company? No product? What if, Big Six, every author currently under contract did not sign another one. What if they honored the current contract then turned to self publishing? I have this vision of a multi-storey glass office tower in Manhattan, filled with editors, art directors, marketing folk all sitting at their desks looking around at the guy next to them who has nothing to do either but shoot paperclips down the empty halls.

It ain’t Amazon’s fault, people. It’s your own damn short-sighted pig-headedness. With us, you carry on. Without us, you fail. You want to stop the pain? Stop banging your head on the wall wailing about something that has nothing to do with why you’re growing increasingly unpopular. You’ve had a great run of about three, four centuries of calling all the shots and paying your most valuable commodity the lowest percentage on the totem pole.  But guess what. The authors are getting smarter and more secure in their independence every day.  They see the math. They get the checks in the mail every month. They connect with the reading public in more ways than were dreamed of ten years ago, even five years ago.  The readers are getting savvy too. They aren’t going to pay $14.99 for an ebook  that costs the publisher next to nothing to produce and gives them a 70% profit. (with only 12.5% of that going to the author) Pffffffffft.

Give the authors the respect they are owed.

Give the readers the respect they deserve.

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1 Comment »

  1. Well said, Marsha. I bought my first Kindle two weeks before the publishers pulled their books from Amazon and forced them to raise their ebook prices. Since then, I’ve been buying more independent authors’ books because I refuse to pay high prices for ebooks when the publisher was able to save all the money they usually spend on printing, binding, and shipping. There are also several books I’d like to read that haven’t been released in ebook format, many of them bestsellers. Since I hate reading paperbacks now, I simply won’t read those books until they’re released as ebooks and then only if they’re reasonably priced. I don’t get why the big publishing houses are so anti-ebook and keep dragging their feet. You would think they would have learned from the music industry, who went through these growing pains back in the ’90’s. If they want to be fossils, then extinction is what they deserve.

    Comment by Miranda — June 15, 2012 @ 6:09 pm | Reply


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