Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Changing Channels

With some trepidation, I've decided to sell my books in eBook format through Amazon only.  There are several reasons behind my decision, but the most compelling is that, as a self-published author, I find it much easier to work with Amazon than with their competitors.  Given their size and market position, that's surprising to me, but they got to where they are by offering superb customer service, along with their keen marketing skills.  That superb customer service carries over into their dealings with self-published authors, even people like me.  I account for an insignificant amount of their eBook business, but I still find them far more responsive than their competitors.

Over 90% of my sales have been through Amazon, both for eBooks and paperbacks.  Most of the rest of my eBook sales have come from Barnes & Noble, and it's clear that they aren't committed to independent authors.  I'm not even sure they're committed to eBooks.  It's not that I don't value the sales through Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Smashwords, and the others.  I'm still at the stage where every book counts.  Aside from the customer service issue, having the books in other channels adds significant complexity to pricing and price changes, and makes it impossible for me to take advantage of Amazon's Kindle Select program.  I still haven't decided whether I want to do that, but, by pulling my eBooks from the other channels, I have that option at my fingertips.  I like the idea of being able to offer free promotional copies in the Kindle store, and the option of being able to change prices without weeks of advance planning.  I'd rather spend my time working on the next book.

I'm an avid reader of eBooks, as is my wife, and we've both found that over the past year, all of our eBooks have come from the Kindle store.  Interestingly, neither of us owns nor wants a Kindle; we use the Kindle app on iPod Touches.  We spend virtually all of our time outside the U.S., and our interactions with Amazon are seamless: no matter where we are, we have full access to the Kindle store and our library.  That's not so with Barnes & Noble.  Even though we have a U.S. account, paid with U.S. credit cards, we can't buy eBooks from outside the U.S.  They've told us it's an issue of territory rights with the publishers, and it may be, in their view, but I'm a publisher, and they have had the right to distribute my eBooks globally for the last year, but they chose not to.  So, I'm moving on.

If you came to read this because you wanted to buy one of my eBooks from somewhere besides Amazon, please let me know via a comment here.  I'll do my best to accommodate you.  Readers are important to me.

If you are a fellow writer, I’d welcome your comments and opinions as well. 

Thanks for visiting.

3 comments:

  1. I agree with your rationale to stick with Amazon, and I encourage you to use their Select programme. I'm also an indie author and don't have any qualms about staying with Amazon only. I too live way outside of the US (Kenya) so it's great that I can access, purchase, download etc wherever, whenever

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  2. Thanks, Vered, for your comments. I'm planning to put my next book in Kindle Select. I will probably put the others in as soon as I can give Amazon an exclusive -- another couple of weeks, I think.

    Thanks for posting!

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  3. Why not try distributing through your own website? It's never going to match amazon for sales, but would give customers a chance to get other formats without resorting to breaking DRM. A couple of very well known indie authors use Xuni (http://xuni.com/ebooks.php) and thereby retain those non-kindle users, and get a better cut to boot.

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