Amazon and Publishing are killing eBooks with 1000 cuts.

My Kindle, which I love and carry with me everywhere I’m likely to be reading, is dying. It’s dying a slow death from a thousand cuts. I used to buy a new eBook from Amazon almost weekly. Sometimes I’d buy 3-4 at a time to have at the ready. Now I look thru the $0.00 section, and the $.99 self publish section (Shout out to Christian Cantrell. Go read his stuff. Yes, that Christian Cantrell from Adobe, LOL. He writes awesome Sci Fi Short stories)

Looking at these screen shots, what incentive is there for me to buy the eBook version. Bear in mind, I have free shipping with Amazon prime. Though even with shipping, if I wasn’t in a hurry, regular shipping doesn’t cost much, and is often free if I’m in no hurry.

So really where’s the benefit of buying an eBook? Less than $3 dollars savings? Really? Over a paperback in two cases?! The middle book isn’t released yet, should we guess how it’s paperback price will look compared to the Kindle price?

This is such a huge fail, and it’s Amazon, and the Publishing Industries’ to share. They’ve both taken what was IMO a promising start to revolutionizing publishing, and forced it back into 1980.

I know Amazon lost (way to stick to your guns and fight for your customers) and caved to the publishers, but now rather than use their new found power (i’m talking about the publishing companies) to find a reasonable balance in price and deliverable, they’ve run the price right back up to where it makes no sense at all for the consumer.

It feels like they’re trying to kill ebooks, by making them not worth the price. Way to be green publishers.

Green? Yeah green. By making eBooks so unattractively priced, the Publishing industry in encouraging our continued attack on the environment. Maybe they hope earth will choke on green house gasses before they have to come to terms with technology and the changing landscape of publishing? If we’re all too busy gasping for air, we won’t notice that books are to blame. (Yes that’s over the top, but illustrated my point)

On top of this completely retarded pricing, that more or less incentivizes me to purchase a dead tree copy of all three books, each eBook is DRM’ed. Each of these are listed with Text-Speach disabled. So not only am I paying an outrageous price for my eBook, but the publishers are telling me to fuck off, I get no actual features that make an eBook great. And of course, I can’t use the eVersion outside the kindle.

So I pay pretty much the same price for paper or eBook. Yet with paper I can sell the book to a used book store, loan it to n number of friends, give it away, keep it for the next 30 years, etc. Where as with the Kindle version (this is aimed at you completely Amazon) I can’t loan it out, I can’t sell it, I can’t gift it, I can’t have my Kindle read it to me while I fold clothes, and should the Kindle platform die, I can’t even re-read it. Where’s the incentive in buying the eBook version?

Amazon, you came so close to crushing it. Really, you were right there. the Nook, sucks, IMO. Most of the other craptastic devices being crapped out every other day, by mostly no name vendors stand no chance at ever being anything more than Marginal. You were the market leader. Now… my Kindle is full of things I’ve downloaded off the web. Not pirated content, tho that’s an option, but content i can get from free from sites like instapaper, the Calibre desktop app, etc.

Sorry Amazon, I’m not giving you or these lame ass publishers money. It only encourages this terrible anti-consumer behavior. One of both of you will learn, and it appears it’s gonna have to be the hard way, for you and consumers. Way to go.

Authors; Tery Brooks, John Scalzi, George RR Martin, Jessica Livingston, John Birmingham, et. al. Stand up, you’re impacted just as much as consumers. It’s not 1980 any more, times change, help your publishers figure that out. If I could pay you all directly, for an open, DRM-free eBook file, I’d do it in a heartbeat!

4 Responses to “Amazon and Publishing are killing eBooks with 1000 cuts.”

  1. Adrian says:

    I have started to notice the same thing with certain publishers in the tech industry. eBooks/PDF version prices are starting to creep up, leaving similar margins. It sucks!

    • John Wilker says:

      Yeah it's such a counter productive idea.

      eBooks have such limited utility/re-usability, it's sad they try to charge the same price as paper. Paper comes with so many things e doesn't, they shouldn't cost the same.

  2. You raise some very good points. The publishing (and hence digital publishing) world is a complete mess. Although Amazon was being very heavy handed with their pricing requirements, they understand a lot of what you outline here. Digital books need to be cheaper to succeed. End of story. Amazon identified the price as being $9.99 or less, and I think they were right. The publishing companies should have realized that Amazon knows retail far better than they ever will. (It's worth noting that Amazon was actually paying the publishers full price for their books and selling at $9.99 at a loss, but the publishers felt the $9.99 price devalued their paper books.)

    Quite frankly, I think publishers are going to have to go out of business, and new publishers are going to have to take their places. They simply have too much existing revenue to worry about to be innovative. Margines are so tight that they simply have no room to make any adjustments to their business models.

    Ultimately, I believe that for media (and therefore culture) to take the necessary evolutionary steps, it's the content creators that need to lead the revolution. If you write a book, consider self-publishing (digitally, or hard-copy); if you have an idea for a TV show, produce and release it yourself; want to make a film, buy a DSLR, a few thousand dollars worth of software, and have complete creative control, and control over distribution; if you're a musician, stop sitting around and waiting to be "discovered" and engage with your fans directly.

    If the media outlets (record labels, publishers, etc.) won't give people what they want, then it's up to the people who create the content to lead the revolution.

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