So by now y’all have probably all heard about how the Agency 5
- Hachette (Grand Central, Orbit, Forever),
- Penguin (Berkley, Ace, Roc, Jove, Signet, NAL, Putnam),
- Macmillan (St. Martin, Tor),
- Harper (Avon, Avon A), and
- Simon& Schuster (Pocket)
will no longer allow retailers to continue their buyer loyalty programs. As a consumer, I had to hear about Fictionwise discontinuing their Buywise Club memberships from Dear Author rather than from the actual retailer. And when I went to the Fictionwise site, I had to DIG to find that information (as in, you can only find it if you were planning on going to try to buy a membership–which for someone like me who has a membership through next February, isn’t going to happen). Definite customer service fail. Of course legally, they have to honor the terms of the membership contract. We still get our 15% discount on books at the site. But as of yesterday afternoon, all the books from the Big 5 publishers have DISAPPEARED from the site. And when I went to look at my wishlist, most of it was just flat GONE. There is so much wrong with this, I don’t even know where to start.
A Taste for E-Books, a new e-book review site has a couple of posts interpreting events. Post 1. Post 2. And there is another post at DA about how the Kindle versions of Penguin books have disappeared from Amazon. This makes it such that until new deals can be struck with assorted retailers and the Big 5, a bunch of books will only be available at the newly launched iBookstore. No, I’m not going to link to the bastards because they don’t deserve the traffic. Apple is driving this train, and they don’t give a rat’s ass whether they run the industry into the ground because they already have a booming business in iTunes.
Here’s the deal. I have a limited discretionary budget that can go toward books. I’m one of those ebook readers who still likes paper and embraces e simply for another alternative and the ability to carry books with me to more places than I could before. I will not pay $12.99 for an ebook. I won’t pay $9.99. My personal cap for an ebook, unless it’s something REALLY AWESOME, is $7. Right what I’d pay for a brand new paperback. And for those books from the Big 5 that I still want to read, I’ll either get them from the library, the UBS, or I’ll wait ’til they come out in paperback. I’d love to boycott them entirely, but there are too many Big 5 published authors whose work I love, and really, boycotting only hurts the author, not the publisher.
I won’t resort to piracy (though I think these ludicrous price points will make it rampant). But I’ll be branching out in my ereading. I’ll check out more indie reads and reads by small publishing houses. I’ll probably wind up trying lots of new authors I haven’t ever heard of. Fine. It’s good to try new things.
And I have to say, I think that it’s a GOOD time to be an indie author. Despite my admitted aspirations to be traditionally published someday, right now I AM an indie author, and I have to think that a lot of ebook fans are going to be more likely to take a chance on my work, which has high ratings and good reviews (thank you fans), and is reasonably priced at $1, than they are to shell out more money for an ebook than a full album costs. So I’m hoping that this asshattery will lead to more sales and increased rankings for me and other writers like me. The Big 5 stupidity is going to level the playing field some for independents and small presses.
If you’re pissed at the industry like the rest of us, go out and buy a book by an author NOT published by one of the Big 5. Show your support.