August 14, 2013

I Don't Like Amazon. Can I Cut Them Out of the Profit Loop When Selling My Book? | printable version

Hello again, Angela,

I wanted to get your take on something. I have yet to complete and publish a book but, when that day comes, I wonder if it's possible to cut Amazon entirely out of the profit loop. I know from following your newsletter for over a decade that any modern author must plan to do his or her own marketing anyway, so is it really necessary to have your book listed with Amazon? Wouldn't prospective buyers simply follow the link you provided to them to buy your book? I've closely followed your company's David and Goliath struggles with Amazon, and I've read many additional articles about their business practices, their treatment of authors, and their utter failings with their own employees.

In fact, I wrote an entry on my blog last September asking this very question, but I'm curious to get your opinion. I realize I'm getting ahead of myself here as I'm yet to publish anything, but on the day I do...is choosing not to list with Amazon a realistic option?

Even if I don't list with them, is there a way to keep them from selling "used" copies of my book?

AND

Would I be a fool to go that route?

Dose me with some reality, please.

And thanks, as always, for your time, brain power and dedication.

J.

If you cut out Amazon, you'll also have to cut out Ingram, the largest book distributor in the world. Ingram sends an automated feed to their thousands of online and brick and mortar customers - worldwide. That feed leads to books being listed on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, BooksAMillions.com, and countless other online bookstores. They can't and won't discriminate against one or more of their own customers. That would mean virtually no store would have your book in their electronic databases. Basically, either you must offer your book to everyone, or you can only sell it yourself.

Bookstores can sue distributors, publishers, and even authors for trying to cut them out of the loop. There are laws in place, here and overseas that attempt to prevent companies from being harmed in this way. These same laws also attempt to protect small businesses (like indie bookstores) from giants like Amazon. If Amazon could prove you were involved in a conspiracy to harm their business, they could sue you for violating anti-trust laws.

On the flip-side, Amazon (or any store) can refuse to sell a title if they want.

From a sales standpoint, I don't recommend cutting Amazon out of the loop because the vast majority of people with computers already have an Amazon account, and will only buy books from firms where they have an account established. People are wary about providing their credit card number to too many companies.

In reality, if you tried to harm Amazon by refusing to sell through their store, you would, in the end, only be harming yourself.


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