“Authors are Upset at Amazon. Again.” — New York Times

[In a surprisingly candid and forceful piece the NYT 12/27/14 covers the widespread  Kindle author rage at Amazon’s latest bells and whistles–“enhancements” which cost ’em big bucks. Some best-selling authors have seen income drop by as much as 75%—]

Brief excerpt below; read the rest at Amazon Offers All-You-Can-Eat Books. Authors Turn Up Their Noses


Authors are upset with Amazon. Again.

For much of the last year, mainstream novelists were furious that Amazon was discouraging the sale of some titles in its confrontation with the publisher Hachette over e-books.

Now self-published writers, who owe much of their audience to the retailer’s publishing platform, are unhappy.

One problem is too much competition. But a new complaint is about Kindle Unlimited, a new Amazon subscription service that offers access to 700,000 books — both self-published and traditionally published — for $9.99 a month.

It may bring in readers, but the writers say they earn less. And in interviews and online forums, they have voiced their complaints.

“Six months ago people were quitting their day job, convinced they could make a career out of writing,” said Bob Mayer, an e-book consultant and publisher who has written 50 books. “Now people are having to go back to that job or are scraping to get by.  That’s how quickly things have changed.” …. 

To read the rest, see link above.

Amazing the drastic fall-off some authors have seen since the introduction (per force) of Kindle Unlimited.  Interesting, pertinent article for anyone who publishes e-books.

About Margaret Jean Langstaff

A lifelong critical reader with literary tastes, a novelist, short story writer, essayist, book critic, and professional book editor for many years. A consultant to publishers and authors, providing manuscript critiques and a full range of editorial services. A friend and supporter of all other readers and writers. A collector of signed modern first editions. Animal lover and tree hugger. Follow me on Twitter @LangstaffEditor
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6 Responses to “Authors are Upset at Amazon. Again.” — New York Times

  1. jef says:

    Amazon + the growing idiocy of the ‘reading public’ = commodified books. Read the tea leaves, people. And Bob Mayer’s macabre complaint that people can now no longer quit their day jobs to become successful writers – I have no idea what to say to that. Maybe “Paging Lewis Carroll”. Our literature and electric toothbrushes are being designed by focus group and polling. The few of us who care will soon enough be intermingled with the soil and the Bezos AllThing can have its way absent the tinny and self-interested hollering of penny-wise pound-foolish ‘authors’. Don’t write for money, write for the edification of your neighbors and the race. You’ll be fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Applause! Kudos! Bravo! Just heard the most frightening book review of new novel THE WORD EXCHANGE wherein language has been digitized literally out of existence unless dispensed as memes by a few mega-corps for a fee. BRING BACK PRINT! I am not a Luddite, but a realist. I refuse to buy another e-book, period.


      • PS anyone who writes for the “money” is, first of all, nuts and out of touch with the odds against them and, secondly, not writing anything I want to read.


      • Maybe don’t buy another e-book from Amazon. The digital book, whether as an ebook or app, PDF or epub, has many applications for reaching readers with immediacy and keeping work widely available to readers, stuff that would be otherwise unaccessible, even in the world of print-on-demand. Writers, since the beginning of the self-publishing revolution in the early ‘aughts, seduced themselves into thinking that being on Amazon was the Holy Grail of publishing. As noted in the article, some markets–largely those emerging as a result of the nature of the new digital delivery system–have found profitable niches, but finding those niches does not guarantee the inalienable right that those niches, created by Amazon, cannot be replaced with other emerging mechanisms at the whim of the delivery system’s owner. I wholeheartedly agree with Jef’s statement above about why we should write. But even if one is writing just for money, which is after all anyone’s option, one should realize even more than the rest of us that Amazon is in business for the money as well, and is perfectly within their power to change the mechanisms of delivery through their system. Writers helped build this giant thing of clay, and they should not be surprised when it decides to act on its own and not in service of them.

        One other item to remember here is that in this situation, writers are, as Bezos notes, customers. Being a customer of 8 track tapes does not mean that 8 track tapes will always exist, and confers no rights to the user of said system of delivery. But isn’t it the music that counts? Are there any musicians who quit playing music when culture and commerce chose the CD over the 8 track tape and cassette and LP? Writers should not tie their identities or successes so closely to a specific delivery system. These things rise and fall all the time–and it’s not about ebooks, it’s only about this system for delivering them. There are plenty of ways in which the existence of digital books (JSTOR for instance for academic research) has been of great benefit, to readers and writers alike. OReilly’s innovative way of selling content, and giving the customer a great deal of choice over the modes of delivery (print/ebook combos, free updates, multiple formats, no DRM) is a great example of how this can work in a commercial setting.

        Liked by 1 person

        • O’Reilly has always been cool and one step ahead. Did I mention that in the last two months all of the e-books I had published on Amazon vanished? Poof! Gone. The hoops I had to jump through (even though they were still selling them) to prove they were mine — it was absurd. Drove home to me the vaporware of e-books in general. Here today, perhaps gone tomorrow. Yes, art counts. That’s why I am here and you are here. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

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