A Note on Amazon, Evil Empires and Real Books

Let me tell you a story (it’s kinda what I do). Once upon a time, there was a Big Bad Empire that would buy wares from someone, reproduce it and sell it throughout the land, giving the originator a share of the profits. For a long time, this was the way it was- the Originators couldn’t sell to many people, and the Big Bad Empire couldn’t create things on their own, so they needed each other and that was the way it was. So the Big Bad Empire bought from a select group of Originators because that was the way it was, and people in turn bought those because that was the way it was.

3024AD is out now in paperback!

3024AD is out now in paperback!

But then, another, Bigger, Badder Empire came along and told the Originators that, no, they didn’t really actually need the Big Bad Empire in order to distribute their wares, they could do it themselves, using the Bigger, Badder Empire’s new machine. And it wouldn’t be the same select group of people selling the same old wares, it could be anyone. And the Originators could make much more money using the Bigger, Badder Empire’s machine.

So everyone rushed out to use the new machine, and the Bigger, Badder Empire got even Bigger and Badder. The small stores that sold the Big Bad Empire’s wares were hurt, and the Big Bad Empire was slow to respond to the change.

Twist Ending (because I’m getting bored with this analogy, so you probably are too): Neither are all that bad. Neither are good. They just are. Traditional publishing isn’t bad, even if it is cumbersome and risk adverse. Neither is Amazon, even if they do crush indies and are less than ethical. Guess what? Both of them are there to make money. Both of them are big, bigger than you and I, and are going to make decisions based on their bottom line, and if that’s another Nicholas Sparks book with straight white people kissing on the cover, they’re going to do it because people are going to buy it.

This is my largest consternation with the State of the Industry- Self-publishing is now a viable means of publishing, but Amazon is a integral part of that. Does being an indie author mean excluding indie bookstores? There are ways to help, certainly, but a lot of them depend on traditional publishing.

All of this is really to say, I have a book out and you can now buy it in paperback. From Amazon. If you buy it from there, awesome, obviously I won’t object. If you have a local indie store you love, and want to buy it from them, send me their info, preferably their consignment program or similar and I’ll try to make it happen. If you’re in Bellingham(ish), it’ll soon be in Village Books, so please, buy it there.

Stay tuned next week for a bunch of chances to win a copy as well!



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