Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Dark Side of Publishing

Recently, when a friend asked me if my first book was available as an e-book on Amazon I said yes. In the past, whenever the print version was available I immediately worked on the electronic version (it's harder to format than you might think) and got it ready to go. Electronic versions, once formatted, can be distributed quickly. Usually within a week my e-version would be ready and would go live shortly thereafter. I have been working with a site called Smashwords and they have been very good about getting books out to a lot of electronic distributors. One of those distributors had been Amazon–the name most people think of when they want to buy a book online. Lately, however, Amazon has started dragging their enormous feet on the ground and causing small tremors as they do so. They don't seem to want to distribute from places like Smashwords anymore. Why?

Because they have started their own ebook publishing and distribution serve, of course. OK, so what? Well, they require exclusivity of their others. Something no one else would dare do. Any author that wants to be part of their service must commit to a minimum of 90 days whe and are they will not allow anyone else to publish the work. This means that people with readers other than a Kindle or Kindle app will not be able to read it. So, the question for authors as it stands now is to go with a wide range of distributors like the Kobo reader, Apple iBooks, and so on, or to go with just Amazon and be chained to them like a prisoner on a chain gang.

I chose the chains for at least 90 days. Let's see if it makes any difference.