December 31, 2010

on Kindle lending, devils, and a scribbler in Brooklyn

i won't assume that you're getting tired of reading my posts about Kindle and Amazon; if you are, i understand if you stop reading right here... (also, this is a long post and i hope your eyes don't glaze over.)

to be honest, i'm getting a little tired of them myself, but i do have one last thing to say, prompted by an email i received from Amazon yesterday, and the friendly email debate that followed.

Amazon notified me that my Kindle edition of Eldala is now part of their Kindle Lending program. to see a comprehensive overview of this little development, read Lisa's blog post: "Amazon's New Kindle Lending Policy." She also gives her well-thought out opinion.

when i read Amazon's email, my first reaction was: i don't want my book lent out. i want people to buy it, not get it for free.

wanting to know what my two indie author friends thought, i immediately sent an email to Lisa and Kristie. i have to say that i'm blessed with two ladies who can show me both sides of an issue and they did just that.

Kristie's opinion in short was that "The more people who read your first book, despite how they get it, the more who will buy your second. And the more people who will be talking about it to others, who will buy it. That’s my thought, anyway.  Also, this availability attracts more people to buy a Kindle in the first place. More Kindle owners means more Kindle-book buyers, not just borrowers. Nook already allows lending and the other ereaders surely will follow. I don’t see it as a bad thing at all. Just another way to grab a reader."

my response to Kristie was that i was never trying to sell a lot of books and i end up giving a lot of them away anyway. i also realized that i like the idea of my book being in a library, but i'm not sure i wanted it to be Amazon's library.

Lisa shares her opinion in her blog post.

here's what i said to Lisa: "if i were growing a career, it would annoy me. do i sound like i'm talking out of both sides of my mouth? i like it and don't like it. but then, after reading more and more about amazon, (see Karen Gowan's two blog posts -- "Analyzing Amazon" , "There is a Santa Claus and His Name is Amazon" , and an article Karen pointed me to the Boston Review's article "Books after Amazon" )
 i'm not very happy with them in general right now....on some days, i feel like i've sold my soul to the devil to put it on kindle, to even sell the paperback on amazon, and on other days, i know it's just another way to sell it. a necessary evil, as it were."

that led to back and forth emails between me and Lisa about selling our souls and how i felt that whether we publish independently or get our books to a traditional publisher, "it's all part of the game of getting our stories distributed so people can actually read them."

and then Kristie pointed out that Amazon is a business like any other business. they have a bottom line and other businesses need to find ways to fill a niche that Amazon can't fill, just as they need to do to compete against big box stores like Barnes and Noble and Walmart.

now, if i really thought Amazon was the devil, i wouldn't have anything to do with them. instead, i use them all the time and i bought almost all my Christmas presents from them because i hate shopping. along that same line, if i were to think of them as the devil, i'd have to think of Walmart the same way.

my conclusion is that authors do what they can to get their books out there for the public to read. i may not like that i have to use Amazon to sell books. i certainly don't like their strongarm tactics and the miniscule royalties indie authors get from selling there. i'll use them anyway. they're a tool to get my book to whoever.

next thing you know, i'll be selling my soul to Twitter, all in the name of getting more people to read my book.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

As Kristie said, the more who read your book, the more who will want to read other books by you.

Lisa Yarde said...

Try as we might, the Kindle posts can't go away, as Amazon keeps changing the publishing landscape with new initiatives.

In talking about this yesterday, I realized we have to give them some credit on the royalties. They may seem abysmal, but have you seen what the average midlist author makes in royalties? Tragic.

Catherine Denton said...

I'm not sure how I would feel about lending my book. But I think it's fabulous you have a completed book TO lend!

I also bought presents from from Amazon this Christmas.

N. R. Williams said...

Even if you had a traditional publishing contract, in many ways your selling your soul. Because so much of who we are is in our books.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author