Saturday, July 19, 2014

How Can Authors Self-Protect Against Exploitation?

Amazon has just unveiled a tempting new program for authors called Kindle Unlimited. It will work in a similar manner to Netflix. As I understand it, for a monthly fee, Kindle readers will have unlimited access to all ebooks whose authors have granted an exclusive to Amazon through KDP Select.

Sounds great, but is it, really? One important perspective on this program is that of Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords. His blog post on the topic makes for interesting reading. Check it out at:

The following brief quote from Coker's essay reflects my own personal experience:

"With KDP Select, Amazon rewards authors who go exclusive and disadvantages authors who do not.  That's right, they're punishing regular KDP authorswho don't go exclusive by denying them access to special sales and discovery tools like free promotional pricing, Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners Lending Library.  These are great tools so it's a shame Amazon doesn't make them available to all authors without restriction. Amazon is creating a caste system within the Amazon store." 

Ever since I refused to give Amazon an exclusive with my own books through KDP Select, my sales at Amazon have plummeted. Coincidence? Unlikely since my sales at other retailers continue to grow. I would have to forgo these sales if I joined KDP Select. Why should authors have to make such a choice?

We authors are getting caught in the middle of commercial wars among publishers and electronic retailers. We are the content creators without which readers wouldn't have stories to read and nobody would make any money. It's a revolution and, as we all know, in times of great change some folks will get hurt. 

Can we content creators can "create" new structure for self-protection. It's worth giving some thought to this, isn't it?

Any ideas?

Robert Tell

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