Well, we’ve reached the end of August. It snuck up on me, so I haven’t even decided what we’re going to discuss next month yet. You’ll find out on Tuesday, don’t worry. I’ll hopefully figure it out before then. ;-)
For our last post of August, our last discussion on the beast that is Amazon, I want to talk to you about costs.
How much could you afford to lose?
Did you know that authors only really make money off their books if a significant number of books are sold? Seems like an obvious thing, something that you all should know, and yet more and more I wonder if people even think about the authors behind the books. We’re all out for a bargain, a deal, a good price, without even considering the fact that someone put a lot of hard work into this book, and that they won’t really be able to make anything off their work if we buy it at bargain price, years after it came out.
See, authors make royalties based on the sale price, so if you buy the book at a low price, they’ll receive pittance of a royalty—and royalties are really the only money that authors make off their writing. Low royalty, low return, low incentive to try with another book.
That right there is the problem.
If you really want to support the authors behind those books, if you want to make sure that they never stop releasing work, then you really should be buying their books at list price, right around the time the book comes out.
And I know how difficult that can be. Believe me, I do. I’ve penny pinched, I’ve saved my pesos, and yeah, I know how expensive books can be. But I also know how important it is to those authors, that you buy their books asap. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have time to read it right now, or even if you don’t know when you’ll get around to reading it. Just buy it. Support your favorite authors. You’d do it for big name authors, so why not do it for the little guys too?
If you’re not convinced, which I know some of you aren’t, then let me at least talk to you about why you shouldn’t be book shopping at Amazon.
First thing’s first. Your main arguments, I assume, are that Amazon has the best prices and that you’ll have your books on your doorstep in two days. Allow me to refute those.
Amazon’s two-day shipping system is failing. Slowly but surely. Have you noticed lately that when you order something on a Wednesday, with Prime Shipping, it’s not scheduled to arrive until Monday, even though they now offer Saturday delivery? But hey, if you ordered it from B&N, it’ll ship tomorrow and get here around the same time that your Amazon package would’ve.
Oh, but Amazon has free shipping? So does B&N, if you sign up for an account. It’s only $25 a year. Besides, do you really need your books to get here that quickly? If you did, then why didn’t you just go to a store and get them? Then you’d have them now, without having to wait for shipping at all.
Plus, if it’s the price you’re worried about, let me remind you of something. Barnes & Noble is only ever a few cents higher in cost than Amazon, and they have a much better system for paying the publishers and authors who back them.
Why’s that? Because B&N knows that they’re in a business that needs to work with publishers and authors, rather than against them. B&N knows that if they push prices too low, publishers will crumble and authors will give up. They don’t want that. None of us want that.
Oh, and just as an added consideration for you, most local bookstores actually have very competitive prices on your favorite novels as well. So no, you don’t have to go to a big name store. You can go to the cute little bookstore next to the coffee shop, and have a much better experience than you would’ve had anywhere else.
You have options, my friends. If you’re insistent on finding the best deal, you still have options. If you’re like me and you want to make sure authors get paid, yeah, you have options for where you get the book. You get to decide who you give your money to, what part of our economy you want to help.
Personally, I’d pick the backbone of America. We’re not the United States of Amazon. This isn’t Amazon’s world.
Make up your own mind.