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Is that what I smell?

March 31, 2010

Is it the smell of Rome burning? Because it has that familiar overtone of corporate greed and suit-wearing corporate clueless [bleep]wad stupidity. I am so tired of watching these idiots destroy. I’m so tired of seeing people hired into positions of power because they’ve studied business and have experience in business and yet have NO CLUE about the products or customers they’re supposed to serving. Yeah, I said serving.

Dear publishing conglomerates: Without the authors you’re screwing over, you have no product. I hope they all jump ship at the ends of their contracts because those you’ve helped (when you were doing your JOB) build a name for themselves will probably continue to do just fine selling independently. Better in e, anyway, than they do with you because there are a bunch of ebook enthusiasts out here you’ve jerked around once too often. Customers aren’t there for you to treat like imbeciles and criminals, and like so much bother because they’re asking you for a product you’re not fully ready to embrace. They’re the ones pay for your lousy suits, fancy shoes, and allow you to, you know, eat. Likewise for the people who ACTUALLY serve the customers, your retailers, whom you also seem to take pleasure in dictating to, screwing over, and generally jerking around.

[Deep breath that doesn’t help much.]

This after Saucy links me to the DA article referenced in her post. Now I’ll admit that as much as I’ve read, I don’t really understand this beyond the idea that the big publishing conglomerates are forcing retailers to offer their books at prices the publisher sets, rather than allowing these businesses to set prices they feel are acceptable to their customers. They’re no longer allowing (ALLOWING!) retailers to take losses of profit that often benefit their business as a whole and, by extension, the authors and publishers whose work they sell.

A little reading and you get the notion that while most of us reading e believe that an eformat book should be less expensive than a print book (as the customers have fewer rights to what they’ve purchased, such as the right to sell the used book, and we cannot understand how publishers’ cost for the product are not much less for ebooks) some of them actually want us to pay more. And why? Because they’ve dismissed us for too long, they haven’t been paying attention, they’re not ready for this new world and they want us to keep buying dead tree books.

Know what? I’m one of those readers who absolutely prefers E. I’m so over the smell of the book. I’m over the feel of the pages. Now what I want is my shelf space back–and my under bed space, my coat closet, that storage room that’s full of books… You know what I like print books for? How-to and childrens books–any book where clear photos or illustrations are important, and books to read in the bathtub. And when do I ever have time for the latter anyway?

Part of why I shelled out for an e-reading device, which many regard as extravagant and possibly frivolous, was the lower price of ebooks I was able to buy from Fictionwise as a member of their Buywise Club, and taking advantage of their many sales and coupon promotions. I was buying nearly all my fiction at the used book store because that was the price I was willing to pay. And a BIG part of my decision to buy a reader and embrace ebooks was that I could get them at a comparable price and support the authors whose work I was enjoying at the same time. And I ended up buying more books at FW this last year than I have in the last few combined.

(And Fictionwise, much as I love you, letting me read that on someone else’s blog instead of in my own inbox is a customer service mistake I hope you will rectify shortly.)

Seriously, how does this serve anyone? Why do the publishing companies continue to slight the eformat audience this way? I wish this post could be less just me being pissed off and provide you with more information, but I just don’t have it and don’t understand what I do have enough to pass it along properly. What I do know is that I’m happier than ever that I decided to put my money and energies into finding and supporting independent epubbed authors. Be assured that if there’s a MUST READ out there by one of my favorites and I can’t obtain that book at a discounted price in eformat, I’ll be hitting the used bookstore, it will be relegated to the bathtub pile, and I will be unlikely to talk it up. I’m sorry that the authors are getting screwed over that way, but maybe this is part of what will help traditionally pubbed authors see the benefits of in independence.

Exercise: Go to Smashwords and look around. Filter by “Free Ebooks” if you like. Find something that piques your interest, download, enjoy.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2010 7:53 pm

    They are trying to destroy ebooks. Period. They don’t want them to cut into their print book business. What they don’t seem to “get” is, people who prefer ebooks aren’t going to be manipulated this way. And small press and independent authors will price lower. Readers will start moving outside their comfort zones and discovering new authors not under the thumbs of these types of publishers.

    • cookiemama28 permalink*
      April 1, 2010 6:06 am

      I hope so. I can’t get my brain around the logic of it, when even B&N has their own branded device and Borders stocks Sony Readers (and something else, I think) behind the counter. If the booksellers can look that far ahead and start the transition, why would the publishers try to scuttle something that seems to have the potential to expand their distribution and possibly expose them to new customers in the present and allow them to streamline production of their products with less overhead in future? (Assuming that the world will go on exactly as JD Robb predicts and eventually Roarke will be the only who keeps paper books around anymore.)


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