Okay, first, go read this article: The International Digital Rights Mess (or Amazon’s Cock Up). If you don’t, here’s the recap: Without my permission, Amazon jacked up the prices of my books, BUT only to everyone outside the US. Why? Amazon is claiming “higher operating costs” and VAT are to blame. That’s bullshit. Why does an electronic store have higher operating costs for sending a digital product to a foreign buyer? And VAT on e-books is not so fucking high that you can justify a price increase from 0.49 cents to $2.43.
Yes, I’m pissed off. I’ve sent an email to Amazon, and they have one week to drop this policy. Otherwise, I will be pulling my books e-books from Amazon AND Mobipocket. If you want to buy my books, you’ll be able to get them at Smashwords, and you can download many titles for free from my site.
I’m pissed not because this is a typical corporate scumbag policy, and not because this kind of policy is way too common for Amazon. No, I’m pissed because my sales at Amazon were fan-fucking-tastic for an indie writer with no marketing budget. All of my e-books have dipped into the top 10,000 of Kindle sales at one time or another, and two cracked the top 100 for Horror sales. None of my books has risen above 35,000 in the sales ranks, indicating steady sales across the board.
As a storefront, Amazon is my big moneymaker. But their customer service sucks, and they’ve consistently treated me like shit when I have to contact them about anything. I’ve disliked just about everything in my working relationship with them, and the only thing that’s kept me coming back is the reminder: 90% of my sales are all through Amazon.
I’m sure this factors into the logic of their decisions. They’re so successful as a marketplace that they feel they can dictate terms to both the sellers and buyers, and no one will say anything against them.
Well I’m not so easily bought, and I’d rather take a loss by giving my books away then allow a bunch of corporate assholes to collect extra money that they don’t deserve. Even if this extra money were going to me, I wouldn’t want it. Back when Lulu jacked up prices in accordance with Amazon’s wishes, I put out a cheaper Lulu version of the book to prevent Lulu buyers from being overcharged. If I won’t let Lulu get away with making extra money off of my stuff, I sure as hell won’t bow down to Amazon either.
Yes, I love it when you people buy my stuff, but I also like feeling like I’m earning your money, not ripping you off. Having the prices be cheap in one market, but much, MUCH higher in another market is ripping people off, and if I turn a blind eye to this, I’m complicit in letting Amazon screw many of my readers. I want your money, folks, but I don’t want it that bad.
If Amazon doesn’t drop this new policy by next week, I’m gone. If you live outside the US and want my e-books, go to Smashwords. You can pick up my Campaign trilogy books for 0.99 cents each instead of $3.44, and you can set the prices on my other e-books to whatever you think is fair. You can’t get the Campaign trilogy for free, but most of my e-books can be found on my site, either in the stories archive, or on my books page.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll keep repeating it every time something like this happens. I like your money, but first and foremost, I want to earn your money by operating an ethical business. That sometimes means avoiding associations with unethical markets, and Amazon is looking like they will become too dirty for me to work with them.
Maybe by doing this, I’ll lose all of my sales. That will suck if it happens, but I won’t reward Amazon for behaving badly. So if you as a reader want to support me as a writer, please consider looking at Smashwords. Or you can just tip me on my support page and download the books for free. But until the policies at Amazon change for foreign e-book markets, please do not reward them for lying (again).