Big Fish, Little Fish
The latter’d be me, and I’ll necessarily be looking at other options if I self-publish in the future. What’s a tiny minnow to do: Amazon eats whales for lunch.
Lightningsource (LSI) is a subsidiary of Ingrams, one of if not the largest book distributor in North America. I know because they print Slow Road Home as needed for drop shipments (got a couple of boxes going to Mabry Mill and such places soon) AND perhaps more importantly for the little guys like me, printing through LSI gains the independent author access to Amazon for purchase. So here’s the situation as of the end of March:
By now, you have probably read about the campaign launched against Lightning Source by Amazon and its print-on-demand company, BookSurge. Lightning customers are being threatened with Amazon no longer accepting direct orders of their POD books, leaving the books available only from outside sellers on Amazon’s Marketplace.
Since February, a number of author services companies (“self publishing companies”) and some larger POD publishers have been approached by BookSurge, telling them they can move their books to BookSurge to avoid having their “buy buttons” disappear. (Amazon Advantage and Amazon’s new Lulu competitor, CreateSpace, seem to be two other recourses for salvation.) One large author services company, PublishAmerica, has already refused BookSurge’s offer and seen its buttons vanish.
I’d be more upset if I had been making much money via Amazon sales. (I’m 90th in Books > Entertainment > Humor > Rural Life–the category for which Kingsolver’s Animal Vegetable Mneral is #1)
I sold 300 books that way last year and had about 50 returns (which eats huge holes in tiny profits) and netted a few hundred bucks. Amazon for me is just a way for me to hand my book to someone I never meet. I have generated far more income from the book through the direct sales (sign it, hand it to the reader) of the first thousand offset-printed books or the ones I order directly from LSI.
However…I’m on the verge of moving back toward the notion of self-publishing “Bridging the Nature Gap” and man, this makes it hard to know which team to root for and where to put my egg money. If you or someone you know is in the same boat, check out this significant developing story in the world of self-publication.
And am I the only one that gets a bad taste in my mouth from Amazon’s ham-fisted style of business? Makes me want to spit. But hey, they are top carnivore. We’re bait fish. What do they care?