Posted by Jason Sizemore on Mar 27, 2012 in Apex Publications Blog: Matters of SF, Fantasy, and Horror, Words from the Publisher | 1 comment
I worry about a potential Amazon monopoly on the book publishing business, and because of this I have become somewhat anti-Amazon in my views over the past year. I mostly keep these personal opinions off-line, as I don’t like biting the hand that feeds me (and Amazon feeds Apex quite well… and everyone else, which is sort of the problem, right?). But the sad truth is that the publishing industry, the book sellers, and even authors (led by pied piper authors who claim “independence” but are on Amazon’s payroll) have escorted Amazon by hand to the company’s current mighty position. Apex (and its owner, too) is just as much to blame as anyone else, since we sell through Amazon and indirectly help fuel its dominance.
Apex also wants to exist, so playing in Amazon’s field is required. You can argue with me about this until you’re blue in the face, but I won’t be convinced otherwise. As a publisher, it is my job (duty) to sell as many copies of our books for our authors, and that means being part of Amazon’s grand game.
To that end, Apex is stepping into the Amazon Select pool. Amazon Select is a promotional program that allows publishers (and self-publishers) to make titles (in ninety day increments) available for ‘lending’ to Amazon Prime members (and Amazon pays the publisher a nominal fee that has averaged around $2 per borrow). Five days of those ninety the publisher (or self-publisher) can choose to make a title free. The idea is based on the long held notion that if you can generate a big enough audience with freebies, you will cultivate a paying customer base.
If the stipulations of the Select program did not go beyond these bounds, I would be a big fan of what they’re doing. That they pay for each lending of your book is quite nice and being able to offer books for free as either a promotion or reward to your readers is great.
Amazon requires each Amazon Select title to be exclusive to the Kindle.
For this reason, Apex has shied away from using the program. It’s predatory, monopolistic, and it puts publishers in an unreasonable position.
Still, I do think there are times when using the Select program might be of benefit. One of those scenarios is placing the first book in a series in the program in an effort to give the series a promotional boost and an opportunity to gain readers, thereby lifting the readership of the rest of the series. There are a couple other scenarios I feel are worth exploring, but I don’t want to divulge them just yet…
So Apex is jumping into Amazon Select with Sara M. Harvey’s Penemue Trilogy series, specifically the first book The Convent of the Pure. We’ll see how it goes. I’ll report back to our blog readers the results of the promotional experiment and let you know how dirty I feel for taking part of Amazon’s exclusivity requirement.
I want to hear your thoughts about Amazon Select, be you a publisher, writer, editor, or reader. Am I being overly judgmental on Amazon? Am I slimy for taking part (indirectly!) in their plans for global book domination? Leave your comments below.