The real issue is control and the fall-out has been bad will toward the Big 6, Amazon and a bunch of writers who have been very vocal in their stand supporting their publisher -- understandable -- and badmouthing the reading public that they saw as feeling entitled and ungrateful - very bad. Even if you feel that way, you don't tell the folks who buy your books. It just makes them mad and buyers, when made mad, quit buying.
Let's look at the facts. To begin with, Amazon doesn't sell all e-books at $9.99. Never has and never will. Those books in question are the ones hitting the New York Times best seller's list. The same books that in their hardcover version are sold for $9.99, not only at Amazon but at Walmart, Target and a lot of other stores. Now, does anyone here not see a problem with the statement, paraphrased, that the $9.99 price for e-books devalues the hardcover book? Excuse me? How can it devalue the price when they are the same? Yet that's not something you see the supporters of the Big 6 and their new agency model addressing.
So the question becomes why. If Amazon is taking a hit on selling e-books for $9.99, you know it is on hardcovers sold for that very same price. And yet Macmillan says it pushed for this new agency model even though it would make less money so Amazon can make more. Excuse me??? Somehow that just doesn't ring true.
Okay, before you guys start jumping all over me and telling me I'm missing the point here, I know I'm simplifying things. But Macmillan isn't acting out of the goodness of its heart. Nor is it acting in the best interest of its authors. If it was, it wouldn't have lowered their royalty payments a few months ago. And again, I know they say they are going to change this...but you notice the open letter didn't say how or when -- or by how much. IF, and this is a very big IF, the price increase really did go to to the author -- without whom we wouldn't have the book in the first place -- I might pay more for an e-book than I tend to now. However, not more than the paperback price and especially not the same, or more, than the hardcover.
Things to ask yourself about this issue and then I'm leaving it until there is new information:
- how often do you buy a hardcover book these days;
- when you do buy a hardcover, do you pay full-price for it, or do you purchase it at a discount or as a used book;
- if you are looking to buy a hardcover book, do you comparison shop;
- would you pay the same for a softcover book as you would for a hardcover of the same book;
- would you pay the same for an electronic version of the book than you do for the softcover? More? How about hardcover prices?
- if hardcover prices return to suggested retail prices and not discounted prices for best sellers, will you buy as many books?
- now, for the big question, has your purchase history of e-books had an impact on the number of hardcover books you've bought and will an increase in the price of e-books make you buy more hardcover books?
On a non-Amazon v. The Big 6 topic, agent Janet Reid has a great breakdown on what you need before you query. She has it broken down between fiction, non-fic and memoir. Go take a look and tell me what you think. The only issues I take with her list -- which is geared toward her own agency -- are where she says you don't have to have a marketing strategy for a fiction query nor do you need to be able to compare/contrast your book to others. Unfortunately, too many agents -- and publishers -- are now asking for your marketing strategy right off the bat. It's the same with the question of what books is yours like and what makes it different. In fact, there are agency that require you to answer those two questions on their online submission forms right now. So, what's the answer? Research. Find out exactly what the agency you're querying wants and the best way to answer it.
Okay, guys, the floor is now yours. What do you think about all this?