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Amazon Email (Readers United) Ramps Up the Debate

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Offline Lucas Bale Reading
09 Aug 2014, 07:47 AM | Post: #1

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Amazon Email (Readers United) Ramps Up the Debate

This post was last modified: 09 Aug 2014 07:49 AM by Lucas Bale.
I'm not going to comment, but Amazon's email to me this morning, reproduced at www.readersunited.com is very interesting indeed. I don't know whether I agree with every point they raise - some are a little weak and posturing - but I definitely agree with the sentiment. I won't comment on the dispute itself, I don't know enough about it, but this is certainly essential reading for every one of us here.

This is definitely an indication that things are going to change in the future and the debate is really going to become even more public and Amazon is now involving its indie authors, if it has actually come from Amazon. Some on Writers' Cafe are suggesting the KDP account has been hacked, but that seems unlikely to me. It seems more likely that this is Amazon's attempt to reach out to its indies.
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Offline leep
09 Aug 2014, 07:56 AM | Post: #2

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RE: Amazon Email (Readers United) Ramps Up the Debate

This post was last modified: 09 Aug 2014 07:57 AM by leep.
That is a strongly-worded email indeed.

"Amazon and Hachette — a big US publisher and part of a $10 billion media conglomerate — are in the middle of a business dispute about e-books. We want lower e-book prices. Hachette does not. Many e-books are being released at $14.99 and even $19.99. That is unjustifiably high for an e-book. With an e-book, there's no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out of stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation costs, and there is no secondary market — e-books cannot be resold as used books. E-books can and should be less expensive."

(snip)

"Moreover, e-books are highly price elastic. This means that when the price goes down, customers buy much more. We've quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000. The important thing to note here is that the lower price is good for all parties involved: the customer is paying 33% less and the author is getting a royalty check 16% larger and being read by an audience that's 74% larger. The pie is simply bigger."

Emphasis Amazon's.
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Offline Lucas Bale Reading
09 Aug 2014, 08:01 AM | Post: #3

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RE: Amazon Email (Readers United) Ramps Up the Debate

This post was last modified: 09 Aug 2014 08:02 AM by Lucas Bale.
(09 Aug 2014 07:56 AM)leep Wrote: Wrote:  That is a strongly-worded email indeed.

"Amazon and Hachette — a big US publisher and part of a $10 billion media conglomerate — are in the middle of a business dispute about e-books. We want lower e-book prices. Hachette does not. Many e-books are being released at $14.99 and even $19.99. That is unjustifiably high for an e-book. With an e-book, there's no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out of stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation costs, and there is no secondary market — e-books cannot be resold as used books. E-books can and should be less expensive."

(snip)

"Moreover, e-books are highly price elastic. This means that when the price goes down, customers buy much more. We've quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000. The important thing to note here is that the lower price is good for all parties involved: the customer is paying 33% less and the author is getting a royalty check 16% larger and being read by an audience that's 74% larger. The pie is simply bigger."

Emphasis Amazon's.
It's a little curious that Amazon condemns the use of authors in the middle of the debate, but that does appear to be exactly what they are doing here. Although, the vitriol in respect of this email over on KBoards is not something I subscribe to - the point Amazon are making is that not all authors are united on this and that we should tell Hachette this. I don't disagree with the sentiment, that not all authors agree, but I am not sure this is a way to go about it. However - how else could they have done it?

Perhaps the likes of Patterson and his ilk don't consider us authors...
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Offline Tim_A Reading strictly murder by Lynda Wilcox
09 Aug 2014, 08:10 AM | Post: #4

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RE: Amazon Email (Readers United) Ramps Up the Debate

So Godzilla suggests to all the little people that we get our pea shooters out and spit peas at King Kong. Hmm...

My recommendation: RUN!!!!

They're using us as pawns in a fight that simply isn't ours.
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Offline alexroddie Reading The Terror by Dan Simmons
09 Aug 2014, 08:22 AM | Post: #5

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RE: Amazon Email (Readers United) Ramps Up the Debate

(09 Aug 2014 08:10 AM)Tim_A Wrote: Wrote:  They're using us as pawns in a fight that simply isn't ours.
^^^ This.
Offline Kath Middleton Reading Hell, yes!
09 Aug 2014, 08:23 AM | Post: #6

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RE: Amazon Email (Readers United) Ramps Up the Debate

I tend to agree, Tim. There's much made of the fact that writers should not be in the middle. By joining in this debate, that's exactly where we put ourselves. I think Big Business can manage without me for a bit longer.
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Offline Lucas Bale Reading
09 Aug 2014, 08:42 AM | Post: #7

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RE: Amazon Email (Readers United) Ramps Up the Debate

(09 Aug 2014 08:23 AM)Ignite Wrote: Wrote:  I tend to agree, Tim. There's much made of the fact that writers should not be in the middle. By joining in this debate, that's exactly where we put ourselves. I think Big Business can manage without me for a bit longer.
I think we all have books to write...
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Offline Kath Middleton Reading Hell, yes!
09 Aug 2014, 08:50 AM | Post: #8

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RE: Amazon Email (Readers United) Ramps Up the Debate

I have paint to watch dry and grass to watch growing too.
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Offline Mads Sorensen Reading A Quiet Life by Natasha Walter
09 Aug 2014, 09:08 AM | Post: #9

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RE: Amazon Email (Readers United) Ramps Up the Debate

I agree with the sentiments expressed. Writers write. We are NOT employees of Amazon. They are merely farming us like aphids in an ant's nest

Once we finish a book (or nearly so), we look for the most promising store(s) in which to publish the thing, be it Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, some future outfit we haven't yet heard about or none or all of the above.

In five years time Amazon might still be there, having killed off all competition, or they might have crashed because their business model has failed or because they haven't made any money (which they don't at the moment).
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RE: Amazon Email (Readers United) Ramps Up the Debate

I think it's an unrealistic move by Amazon.
If Hatchet ignored Amazon - what is the chance of them taking any notice of authors?
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