Tag: Amazon

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With Whom Should Authors Unite?

That’s the question on my mind since I started self-publishing ebooks about a year ago. Falling ebook prices and rising number of cheap reads—an increasing number of them serials built around single characters—offer readers bountiful choices. What’s good for consumers may not be best for producers, though. If 99 cents is the value of all books, who can make a living writing them? The answer to that question makes Amazon the savior of publishing or the great Satan destroying it.

I write about this today because overnight Amazon sent long email “Important Kindle request” announcing Readers United. But the letter didn’t come to me as a reader but as an author, from Kindle Direct Publishing. Amazon and publisher Hachette are engaged in a dispute that, long-term, could affect future ebook pricing. Hachette Authors United seeks resolution from Amazon, which calls on readers—and writers—to respond in kind.

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My Books are Now Exclusive to Amazon

I have removed my ebooks from Google Play and all stores but one. Amazon. The decision wasn’t easy, but as an author I believe it is the right one. The retailer just launched Kindle Unlimited, which some social sharers call the “Netflix for books”. Subscribers pay $9.99 per month for whatever written or audio books participate in the program, and Amazon claims 600,000 titles.

To join the Kindle Unlimited program, independent publishers must put their books into KDP Select and give exclusivity for 90-day intervals (or longer). As a writer and reader, I love the “Netflix for books” concept, but as an independent publisher my participation means commitment to Amazon.

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My First Kindle ebook: Trials, Tribulations, and Triumph

Yesterday, my first ebook published to Amazon, with the strangest of titles, having nearly nothing to do with the contents. In May, I submitted “The Principles of Design” to the bookseller for consideration as a Kindle Single. Singles are curated, short-form works, between 5,000 and 30,000 words. Amazon acts as editor and publisher. Four weeks later to the day, I received a rejection letter, without any explanation.

That put me squarely down the self-publishing path, which is exactly where I didn’t want to be for this first work. Books are a strange frontier to me, a vaguely familiar landscape but alien—like Mars is to Earth. I wanted Amazon to walk me across this domain. Besides, to start, I plan to write mostly shorter non-fiction essays, which look to be perfectly-suited for Kindle Singles. But the rejection email, and realization that editorial approval takes up to a month, changed plans.

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Some Advice to the Washington Post's New Owner

Today, in the Guardian, former CIA analyst John Kiriakou accuses the Obama Administration of abusing the 1917 Espionage Act, claiming that “only 10 people in American history have been charged with espionage for leaking classified information, seven of them under Barack Obama”.

From Day One, the Obama Administration sought to plug any leaks. What’s said in the Oval Office stays in the Oval Office. That’s context for understanding the aggressive approach to whistleblowers. It’s philosophical. The current White House sees leaks as betrayals, so why not view whistleblowing as treason?

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Online Buying for Dumb People

I an in a foul mood because of Amazon affiliates. On January 17, my wife ordered textbook Japanese for Young People I: Student Book through one of Amazon’s affiliates. Twelve days later, we still don’t have the book, and another ordered with it.

I take the blame for the mistake. My wife asked my assistance when ordering the book, and being work rushed that day I failed to demonstrate diligence. I should have done what my daughter did: Check Amazon reviews of the seller. Many, many of the reviewers complained about long delivery times, no books received, or damaged items. I would have canceled right then, but I quickly learned that the seller provides no easy cancelation mechanism. So we gambled on the order, for which we received shipment notification on January 18, and lost.