I haven’t spoken about the Amazon-Hachette stuff again, mostly because I don’t have time for the army of angry self-pub evangelists who inevitably descend (and send me nasty, ungrammatical, indifferently punctuated screeds) but thankfully, I do not have to with Chuck Wendig and John Scalzi doing such a good job.
…I really really really wish Amazon would stop pretending that anything it does it does for the benefit of authors. It does not. It does it for the benefit of Amazon, and then finds a way to spin it to authors, with the help of a coterie of supporters to carry that message forward, more or less uncritically.
Look: As Walter Jon Williams recently pointed out, if Amazon is on the side of authors, why does their Kindle Direct biolerplate have language in it that says that Amazon may unilaterally change the parameters of their agreement with authors? I don’t consider my publishers “on my side” any more than I consider Amazon “on my side” — they’re both entities I do business with — but at least my publisher cannot change my deal without my consent. Which is to say that between my publisher and Amazon, one of them gets to utter the immortal Darth Vader line “I am altering the deal. Pray I do not alter it further” to authors doing business with it and one does not. (John Scalzi, link and italics his)
Scalzi also points out that Amazon’s math is dependent upon the assumption that Amazon is the only book retailer that matters, instead of being “only” 30% of the market. (I put quotes around “only” because that’s still an incredible amount of market share for one company to have, really.)
I’ve been asked what I think of Kindle Unlimited–here’s Harry Connolly on that subject, which sums up everything quite nicely. After seeing what similar things did to the music industry, and taking into account Amazon’s business practices and history, I’ll take a pass on the whole damn thing. My publishers may offer some of my books through Kindle Unlimited, and I suppose I’ll see what happens there, but left to my own devices–whether it’s for my self-pubbed work or if I’m given a choice about other works, I’ll just say a polite no thank you. Shares out of a fund just seems like another way of saying “do it for the exposure!” And we all know how I feel about that. Also–and this is the bigger reason–I do not trust Amazon in this situation. Yes, I sell books through them and am using their Audible arm for the SquirrelTerror audiobook, but their business practices are such that I am incredibly hesitant to engage with them further. I won’t do KDP Select for the same reason–it’s a bad business decision for me, given Amazon’s behaviour.
And that’s that.