Author Topic: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette  (Read 35763 times)  

Offline Marcus Herzig

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Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
« Reply #275 on: August 09, 2014, 11:59:32 am »
I got the email, and I was fairly amused by it. This is like a good old schoolyard fight, and while I'm secretly rooting for one of the fighters (Amazon), I'm not gonna start shouting abuse at the other, because I ultimately don't really care all that much about the outcome. As a reader I want lower ebook prices, sure, but when I look at my Kindle, I see dozens and dozens of indie books and only maybe two or three Big 5 books. If those two or three weren't there anymore, my Kindle would still be full of - for the most part - pretty good stuff. If Hachette wants to price itself out of business, let them. It won't have a great effect on my reading habits as indie books priced at $2.99, $3.99, or even $5.99 are totally worth my while.  ;D


 
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    Offline thesmallprint

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #276 on: August 09, 2014, 12:00:31 pm »
    The email is a rare mis-step  by Jeff Bezos imo, but at least he did it in style. 99 percent of the time, Amazon's response to its business matters is 'no comment'. From that to a 1,000 word letter...looks like the no comment dam burst.

    As for the NYT ad, people who imprison themselves in publishing contracts shouldn't complain when their gaolers use them as hostages.

    From a business viewpoint, I believe it would help indies if all trad publishers went bust. If every writer self-publishes, the only gatekeeper is the reader.

    Offline wtvr

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #277 on: August 09, 2014, 12:02:57 pm »
    As for the NYT ad, people who imprison themselves in publishing contracts shouldn't complain when their gaolers use them as hostages.

    HAHAHA! Well, I guess they don't mind too much though... seeing how their gilded cages are so damn comfy.

    Offline hardnutt

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #278 on: August 09, 2014, 12:05:16 pm »
    Amazon is a business. You don't owe them loyalty in some made up war because they send a flowery email.

    It's awesome that they helped you with your indie author career. But they aren't the only vendor in the world and they certainly aren't a general in some holy war you need to follow.

    I'm "uppity" about this because it's gross. It's gross to send a letter called "Important Kindle Request" that asks people with no stake in a business negotiation
    flood another company's inboxes with emails for their own cause. If you don't think it's gross, well, okay. I hope they never send an Important Kindle Request to flood your inbox.

    Tori, I think you're over-reacting. It's 'gross' that some countries in this sad old world leave baby girls out in the countryside to die of cold or hunger.

    I would class this email as 'mildly annoying', if I was inclined to feel any kind of negative emotion about it, which I don't. If I did, I would simply press delete and move on. My inbox is often filled with businesses or individuals asking me to 'do this' or 'do that'. Most of them are easily recognisable, so it's just 'delete', 'delete', delete', all the way. Or, if I'm feeling really gung-ho and efficient, I unsubscribe. Okay, you might not wish to unsubscribe from kdp, but you still have the delete option, as several people on this thread have said they took.

    As far as I'm concerned, they ARE the only vendor. They're certainly the only vendor that consistently puts worthwhile money in my bank account.

    I don't do Holy Wars. I was brought up Catholic and that's enough religion for anyone. It certainly was for me.

    I've already had my email inbox flooded once (by spam). I simply sighed, abandoned it and started a new one. I try not to get over-excited by the many things in life that irritate, which is one reason I gave up buying newspapers. Life's too short and irritations many.


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    Offline Mark E. Cooper

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #279 on: August 09, 2014, 12:08:16 pm »
    Remember when you wish Hachette to be forced into lower eBook pricing that mid-list Hachette authors are going to take longer to earn out the advances on their non-compete contracts.

    Hopefully not. As it stands they don't ever earn out, or few do. With lower prices they "might" sell more volume and increase their chances. Who knows really_ I certainly don't know where all this is going. One thing I do know, is that fights like this really validate my decision to sell in all channels, formats, and direct from my own site (ASAP)

    Offline Vivi_Anna

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #280 on: August 09, 2014, 12:11:45 pm »
    I fully understand why many people here want lower priced e-books (I do too).  I don't understand why any self-published author believes they need to insert themselves into a business negotiation that they are not a party to.

    I totally agree.

    I understand why those big authors are speaking out, they are with Hachette, they have a pony in this race, but I don't.  And I'm pretty sure the lot of us indies don't. 

    As a customer sure maybe, because I want lower prices on all ebooks, but as an author, I'm staying out of it. 

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    Offline Robert Bidinotto

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #281 on: August 09, 2014, 12:19:53 pm »
    As an indie author saved from financial ruin by KDP a few years back, I most certainly DO have a pony in this race.

    I've just commented on this, along with my letter to the Hachette CEO, just sent. It's far too long to copy the whole thing in this thread; if you want to have a look, go here:

    http://www.bidinotto.com/2014/08/amazon-vs-big-publishing/




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    Offline FictionalWriter

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #282 on: August 09, 2014, 12:27:01 pm »
    What happened before digital books became mainstream?

    When I was happily reading print books, hardcover books would come out at, what I considered, outrageous prices. If I wanted one from of those authors, I'd simply wait until it came out in paperback. They always did. Yeah, I'd have to wait, but I wasn't about to pay upward of $20 for a book.

    For the author who'd been releasing in mmpb for 20 years, that meant she'd finally arrived. Good for her. Not so much for me. But there were plenty of other books I could read while I waited for her book to come down in price.

    To me, digital books isn't about equalizing authors due to its format. I'm sure as long as I write, Nora Roberts, John Grisham and JK Rowlings will always be able to demand and receive a higher ebook, mmpb and hardcover price than I ever will. And it's their millions of fans that make it so.


    Offline FMH

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #283 on: August 09, 2014, 12:33:13 pm »
    I got the letter, and I'm writing to support Amazon.

    Why I care about authors who are with Hachette when they could go self-publish, I don't know. But I do.

    Maybe it's because of the principle of digital sales. I totally agree that a lower price point on ebooks helps us all. The proof is in the pudding with  Kindle Unlimited. Since it launched, my pen-name book sales have doubled---with all the people downloading them in KU, they've told their friends and that spread the word for me. Word spread = more sales = word spread = more sales and so on and so on and so on.

    Offline Vaalingrade

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #284 on: August 09, 2014, 12:33:39 pm »
    Dear Amazon,

    I don't think you get how this works. Despite the fact that I have to jump through your ridiculous hoops to do so, I am the one paying you to sell my books. Unlike some others, I am under no illusions that you are somehow a prerequisite for my career. I am willing to put the time and effort to build myself up on other platforms and curate a fanbase for me, not for you. I am not beholden to you beyond your terms of service, which you are well aware are not in my favor.

    The general thrust of this is tha I am not your dog. I am not your soldier. If you want me to carry out your dirty work, you don't get to just ask nicely with lot of Orwell references like a 14 year old on their first political forum. If you want me to do something for you, there's going to need to be some equivalent exchange.

    So here's the deal: I'll send you letter, which will then immediately be dumped to the spam folder anyway thanks to your spambomb tactic. But yeah, I'll send it--IF you start treating me like every other platform treats me. No more favored nation status on pricing. No more price floor or ceiling for my full percentage of what I earn. No more gymnastics to make a book free. No more piddling two categories--I want full BISAC control. No more  p*ss y little emails threatening to delete books for reasons not laid out clearly in the TOS. No more serial returns. And yeah, I want that goshdarnn pre-order button.

    Tit for tat. I do something for you, you do something for me. That's how an actual partnership works. Savvy?

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    Offline Cherise

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #285 on: August 09, 2014, 12:35:58 pm »
    To be fair, Amazon pulled that trigger first, with the very first line of their letter.


    Touche.

    Offline dianasg

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #286 on: August 09, 2014, 12:38:04 pm »
    Sigh.

    Hachette is a PUBLISHER. They publish work they think can sell. Before publishing it, they edit it, work through revisions with the author, line edit it, copyedit it, and make a cover and a marketing plan. They also PAY THE AUTHOR an advance against royalties. The author doesn't pay them anything.

    Amazon IS NOT a publisher. They are a vendor. They are the same vendor Hachette uses. The same one you use.

    Amazon wants you to conflate the two for some twisted sense of loyalty but it is not actually the same. If you do not want a publisher, that's fine. You can act as your own, which you're doing if you self-publish. But unless you're with an Amazon imprint, you are not an "Amazon" author. You are a self-published author who sells books on Amazon.

    LOL Amazon is not my publisher??? Whaaaat?? If you read the posts i was responding to (and do so with a level head), you'll see my point was that Hachette doesn't provide those services out of altruism... They take their cut, too. Amazon and Hachette provide different services to authors, but ultimately those authors are beholden only to themselves.

    This is such a weird thing to quibble over. All I mean is that both sides are doing the same thing when they try to rally different groups of authors.

    (I also wanted to mention that Amazon included WWII to describe the time period in which paperbacks were adopted - not, as you seemed to assume upthread, to make this dispute out to be a "war" with "armies" of authors.)

    I want ALL authors, indie and trad, to sell more books on better terms. I want all readers to have access to affordable book prices and not feel like they're getting taken advantage of. I want reading to remain a viable form of entertainment in a world of TV and tweets. Right now, Amazon is the one making that happen - not Hachette.

    Offline Alan Petersen

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #287 on: August 09, 2014, 12:40:09 pm »
    Agreed. I wish the letter had gone out to Amazon's customers instead of to KDP accounts. I mean, a lot of KDP authors are rooting for Hachette and high ebook prices. I'm not one of those people. I feel bad for Hachette authors who are being harmed by this scuffle. I'm more interested in this kerfuffle as a reader, because this will set precedents with other publishers. I agree with Amazon that the current ebook pricing measures are bad for literature overall, and books are kinda my thang.

    I also think Amazon is doing everything it can NOT to pull Hachette's links, the way they did with Macmillan's links a few years ago. The Macmillan move backfired on them. I think the slow effort here to force Hachette to the negotiating table has also backfired on them. At some point, they are going to have to pull Hachette's links to get them talking. Maybe it'll help to have this history of efforts and public statements; I don't know. I certainly wouldn't blame them for turning off the spigot for Hachette and putting out a press release explaining the inability to come to terms. They probably should have done this over a month ago. If Preston et al are going to call it a boycott, you might as well be really boycotting them.

    Three things that I don't understand:

    1. Anyone saying "Amazon is not your friend. Hachette is not your friend." Who is claiming they are? Whole Foods isn't my friend, but I like their selection better than Winn Dixie. I go around saying positive things about Whole Foods. I also complain about Winn Dixie's long lines and horrible customer service (in my neighborhood. The stores vary from locale to locale). There are vast differences between these places. They don't have to be my "friend" for that to be true. There are also vast differences between the way Amazon treats readers and writers and the way Hachette treats readers and writers. I don't see how that can even be argued. It's not about friendship, it's about varying levels of jerktitude.

    2. People saying "Hachette should be able to price their books wherever they like. Let the market decide." But read the complaint from Preston et al. They are accusing Amazon of raising the prices of their ebooks! They don't want the prices that their publisher is setting any more than Amazon does. They just don't understand who to blame (or they understand that there could be trouble if they blame the offending party). To say Hachette should be allowed to price their ebooks to protect their legacy print relationships is to leave Hachette authors high and dry.

    3. Even $9.99 is too expensive for most ebooks. Some authors are arguing that Amazon is wrong to aim for a $9.99 price point. They aren't aiming for that price; they're claiming that the price maximum (aside from a handful of exceptions) should be $9.99. Look at their pricing tool and the prices of their imprint titles. Amazon knows publishers should be using the $4.99 - $7.99 price points for a LOT of their ebooks. So when people point to $10.99 ebooks or the paucity of new releases at $14.99, they are missing the point. And if Hachette comes to the table, agrees to terms, and simply prices all of their new releases at the upper end of this range, that will be just as harmful to their authors. I spoke to a Hachette author at RWA who is going indie because Hachette won't lower their ebook price FROM $9.99.

    I'm on Amazon's side, but I do feel a bit uneasy at forcing price points. It should be a free market. If a company can charge $15 for an e-book and readers are willing to pay that price, is that wrong, unethical? I don't know, but as readers we have the right to say, no, I won't pay that much for an ebook.

    I also love Whole Foods, but the price of their products is a lot more expensive than Safeway (that's our Winn Dixie). Should Whole Foods be forced to price their items at Winn Dixie prices? Sure, as a consumer I would love that, but is it fair? I choose to pay more to shop at Whole Foods. It's a more pleasant shopping experience and the food quality is better (meats, etc). If someone wants to pay $15 to read a Hatchette published book, that's their prerogative. I won't do it, but others do. Let the market (readers) decide.

    Now if Amazon says we won't carry books over $9.99, fine, just remove those e-books, but they can't really do that because readers would be upset to not be able to buy those books.
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    Offline Lisa Grace

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #288 on: August 09, 2014, 01:07:24 pm »
    How come they are giving you that much money when your three titles are ranked so low on Amazon? Is there a secret Amazon fund that we don't know about? Or is this just a wildly optimistic financial projection of yours? :o

    You're only seeing the books he chooses to share in his sig. There's LOTS of Kboards authors that have multiple pen names.  ::)

    This. It's naive to think everyone shares their whole stable of ponies.
    « Last Edit: August 09, 2014, 01:09:32 pm by LisaGraceBooks »
     
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    Offline Vaalingrade

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #289 on: August 09, 2014, 01:08:10 pm »
    I want ALL authors, indie and trad, to sell more books on better terms. I want all readers to have access to affordable book prices and not feel like they're getting taken advantage of. I want reading to remain a viable form of entertainment in a world of TV and tweets. Right now, Amazon is the one making that happen - not Hachette.

    Amazon gives the trad books better deals already. This fight is about giving them worse deals. Deals more like ours.

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    Offline 77071

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #290 on: August 09, 2014, 01:12:33 pm »
    I just sent this email--to [email protected]

    I hope I haven't made a mistake, but Amazon has always treated me well, and I wanted them to know how I felt about being included in this (i.e. not good).



    "Dear Amazon Books Team,

    I am concerned by your email, and wondered if it could be Spam.  Either way, please do not include me in further emails on this subject.  As a reader, I have opinions on pricing, and am Pro-Amazon, and want you to succeed against Hatchette pricing models. 

    As an author, I am not comfortable being put into the middle of these business negotiations.  I will vote with my (reader) dollars, as always: I am currently not buying fiction titles priced above 8 dollars.  I am extremely uncomfortable at being asked to intervene in your business negotiations by writing to the CEO of a company--any company--that you are negotiating with.

    While I have many of my stories exclusively for sale on Amazon, and am very glad for the opportunity to do so, and tell people how much I appreciate the choices I have with Amazon, I also choose to publish some stories through multiple outlets or with small presses. 

    I have not signed a contact with you to be a KDP only author.  I use the service, I support Amazon, I'm glad to sell here.  But I do not work for you and do not want to be put in the middle of negotiations.

    I hope you can understand this isn't personal.  But please leave me off future mailings asking for action about this or any negotiations I am not a part of.  It's the classy thing to do."

    Offline Lisa Grace

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #291 on: August 09, 2014, 01:13:13 pm »
    I'm not sure why Hugh is gung ho to have  trades lower their prices.

    It's like asking Louis Vuitton to lower their purse prices because everyone knows you can pick up a purse at Wal Mart much cheaper, or even a good knock off at the flea market for $45.

    If they perceive their value is higher, let them ask for it. The market will bear out what price it sells at or doesn't. All Amazon needs to do is honor their wishes. Let Hachette be in charge of its own sales.

    I believe in capitalism, and if Hachette thinks they can $45 for an ebook, let them.
    « Last Edit: August 09, 2014, 01:15:45 pm by LisaGraceBooks »
     
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    Offline Robert Bidinotto

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #292 on: August 09, 2014, 01:19:29 pm »
    Alan, I agree with you that price points should not be FORCED. Which is why, contrarian as I am, I did and do NOT support antitrust (political) action against parties involved in market transactions, such as the pricing of ebooks. Hachette and Big Publishing should have the legal right to price wherever they want -- and to agree on pricing, if they wish. After all, it's THEIR books (by contract with authors) that they're pricing. If they want to charge $500 per ebook, well, it's their financial funeral. And if authors are willing to acquiesce to onerous terms with Big Publishing, then so be it. It's their financial funeral, too. In short: The antitrust case never should have been brought.

    But that's history, now. Antitrust is not the issue at the moment. The issue is ebook pricing, and it is being NEGOTIATED by private parties in the free marketplace, as it should be. The salient question for all concerned is: What makes financial sense? What kind of pricing is in the long-term best interests of all concerned?

    On this, I support Amazon's position. The math demonstrably makes sense. Attempts by Big Publishing (including its hangers-on in the Authors Guild, agencies, distributors, et al.) to suppress ebook sales in order to prop up print sales are doomed. These people are standing in front of the juggernaut of progress yelling "Stop!" -- and predictably, they are getting rolled over. Online selling, ebooks, and their step-child -- the Self-Publishing Revolution -- have added competitive forces to the book marketplace that publishing's dinosaurs won't be able to stop. Ganging up on Amazon, the avatar for these disruptive changes, and launching p.r. campaigns in captive media won't work. Customers will vote with their dollars, and they'll continue to vote for online distribution, more and more ebooks, supplied by more and more authors, including indies.

    I applaud Amazon for encouraging indies and readers to speak out. After all, the voices of publishing's Luddites shouldn't be the only ones to be heard during this transition. And self-serving, deceptive arguments by prominent rich authors trying to stem the tide of competition (i.e., us) ought to be publicly challenged and refuted.

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    Offline Susanne O

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #293 on: August 09, 2014, 01:24:46 pm »
    Here's someone's pov with a different take. Not saying I agree with all or even any of this. But it made me laugh.(apologies if it has been posted before)

    http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/08/09/in-which-amazon-calls-you-to-defend-the-realm/



    Offline Rachel E. Rice

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #294 on: August 09, 2014, 01:25:42 pm »
    I received the same e-mail this morning.


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    Offline ToriWritesWords

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #295 on: August 09, 2014, 01:26:51 pm »
    (I also wanted to mention that Amazon included WWII to describe the time period in which paperbacks were adopted - not, as you seemed to assume upthread, to make this dispute out to be a "war" with "armies" of authors.)

    I don't think it was an accident that they invoked war imagery.

    Quote
    I want ALL authors, indie and trad, to sell more books on better terms. I want all readers to have access to affordable book prices and not feel like they're getting taken advantage of. I want reading to remain a viable form of entertainment in a world of TV and tweets. Right now, Amazon is the one making that happen - not Hachette.

    I don't believe Amazon is actually doing that, though. Ask them what their imprints pay their authors. And I love their imprints. I met the gentlemen who run 47th North this year and they're fantastic book-loving guys! But they pay their authors about what Hachette does, though they may give them slightly more for ebooks. But most non-big 5 publishers do that. It's still not the terms they were trying--absurdly--to demand Hachette pay authors for ebooks.

    « Last Edit: August 09, 2014, 01:31:49 pm by ToriWritesWords »

    Offline Susanne O

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #296 on: August 09, 2014, 01:29:19 pm »
    I'm not sure why Hugh is gung ho to have  trades lower their prices.

    It's like asking Louis Vuitton to lower their purse prices because everyone knows you can pick up a purse at Wal Mart much cheaper, or even a good knock off at the flea market for $45.

    If they perceive their value is higher, let them ask for it. The market will bear out what price it sells at or doesn't. All Amazon needs to do is honor their wishes. Let Hachette be in charge of its own sales.

    I believe in capitalism, and if Hachette thinks they can $45 for an ebook, let them.

    So, are you saying trad published (or just Hachette) = Louis Vuitton? and Indie= Walmart? Hmmm...

    Offline JRTomlin

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #297 on: August 09, 2014, 01:31:38 pm »
    Amazon gives the trad books better deals already. This fight is about giving them worse deals. Deals more like ours.
    It is about continuing to function as a retailer with the right to discount products.
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    Offline ElleT

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #298 on: August 09, 2014, 01:33:30 pm »
    Here's someone's pov with a different take. Not saying I agree with all or even any of this. But it made me laugh.(apologies if it has been posted before)

    http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/08/09/in-which-amazon-calls-you-to-defend-the-realm/

    That was a fun read! He's witty.


    Offline Lilpenguin1972

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #299 on: August 09, 2014, 01:36:41 pm »
    I got the email and I thought it was stupid. BTW, it said "Dear KDP Author". I'm not an author, I'm a customer. So, good job Amazon. 

    I do have a question, because I keep seeing the 14.99 ebook price referenced. Do many mid-list authors have high priced ebooks?  I'm only asking because I buy a lot of books by traditionally published authors who are not bestsellers, and I rarely pay more than 7.99, even on release day.  I just bought Ilona Andrews newest release, which came out in hardcover, and I paid $11 for the ebook, not 14.99.  I just don't see that price very often, if ever.
    « Last Edit: August 09, 2014, 01:38:23 pm by Lilpenguin1972 »

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