So, this weekend I woke up to an email from Kindle Direct Publishing, detailing their side of the war on e-book pricing, and to email the CEO of Hachette on my stance. The letter I received seemed very thought out and well written, but had the tinge of one-sidedness that you often find in these things. They have become very public on their stance, and you can find the letter here if you want to read it.
So the first time I heard of this issue was when I got a kickback from Barnes & Noble for the few e-books I purchased from them. Now, I loved my new bright and shiny e-books and was all about putting a request for a Nook in my letter to Santa, but the affair I had with B&N burned brightly and died quickly. It's a sad story, really. After a heated brush with customer service when all my books went poof (error on their side), I immediately turned to Amazon without a look back.
Don't dick around with me when I'm on the penultimate chapter of a Stackhouse novel, people.
But fair is fair, so here's another side of the story, published by the NY Times. It details the hardships that Amazon has brought some of Hachette's authors by refusing to sell Hachette's e-books until they cut their costs.
Now, I had a really hard time seeing past the media spin they put on his tale of woe and actually digging out some compassion for these 900 authors, but despite the odds, I did it. I don't think it had the desired effect, because I'm definitely not on Hachette's side, as a consumer or an author, but at least it did give me another perspective to eye Amazon with.
Annnndddd.... I think both companies are wrong.
I'm not on the fence though. I know what I agree with, and I do agree with Amazon's basis for this war, just not their methods. I think banning Hachette's sales might have been a wee bit too much. That's not to say that I agree with Hachette's stance. In fact, there isn't anything I've seen come out from Hachette that I agree with at all. Their tag line of 'lower e-book pricing devaluing the authors work' is bogus. That's not going to happen. Are we, as consumers, THAT stupid? I don't think we are, but I guess that question's still up for debate. I admit I might have a little more faith in humanity that's justly deserved, but I still say no.
So I do not agree with Hachette, and I'm having loads of trouble trying to find their justification. Also, this article doesn't help. Really, Hachette? You think lowering e-book prices is going to devalue the authors work, but their work is only valued at 25% of an e-book sales to you? Is there something I'm missing here?
And I guess there might be, because I've only ever dealt with Smashwords and Amazon, who both give their authors a much bigger slice of the pie, so I will just put a pin in that question for now, and for the love of a run on sentence, I'll just sit over here quietly with my mind boggling on that point. The one above, I mean. With the 25%. Yeah. Got it? 'Kay, moving on, then.
So where do I stand as a consumer?
That one's easy. Amazon and Smashwords, all the way. Why? Because duh... Lower e-book prices. With as much as I read, I can't afford to drop $10+ a few times a month just to snag another book. There are only a few, and I mean A FEW books that I would spend over $10 on... does that make me cheap? Don't care.
Let's go way back for a sec, before all these fancy-smancy e-books, back when all the other kids at school thought I was the 'weird' girl cuz I was always carrying around a 600 page tomb by King or Jordan... Do you know how I got those books? I got them resale. And I'm not talking about the hardbacks that resale for $14.99 still, I'm talking about the beat-up paperbacks that were coming off the spine, because that's what I could afford. And you know what else? I LIKED IT. Because I didn't have to save up my precious pennies just to wait for weeks to buy ONE story. I was able to buy multiple and be taken away to a different world each and every week.
Did that devalue any of those stories I read? No, it didn't. And that's why I keep my e-book price low. I write for my stories to be read, not to be looked at and passed over because the price was too high. But that's how I want to approach it as an author. As much as I don't agree with Hachette, I still think the authors have the right to set their own e-book price. If they want to sell their book at $19.99, by all means, set the price at $19.99!
I could be wrong on that, but with every author able to set their own price, I doubt there will be many books being sold for $19.99, because Amazon and Smashwords will still exist, giving readers the lower cost for their fix. And even (godforbid) that was taken away, I'd be back at Half Price Books, buying up all the paperbacks again.
War sucks. Whether it be fought with a pen or a sword, apparently there are casualties either way. I can't see the justice or the reasoning behind everything that's happened/happening with the e-book struggle, but I do believe the consumer will be the deciding force in the end. That's the way of the beast. It's how it's always been, and how it always will be. At least until the zombies come eat all our faces.
And I'm out. 14,000 words left to go! Have a glorious week, everyone!