Portrait of a Doggy
John Sargent's address to authors about the Amazon situation

Bye, Amazon. It's been fun.

Well, just a couple of days after I revised my site to push harder to promote online booksellers -- a change made at the request of one of my publishers -- I find that I need to remove Amazon from the list. Bye, Amazon. It's been fun.

Looking for Something? Amazon's response tp a query for the Kindle edition of my Year's Best Fantasy

They are having a stupid trade war with the company that owns one of my other publishers (Macmillan USA owns Tor), and so have delisted a bunch of my books that are still in print. They still allow for third party sales, but for that you may as well search via AddALL. (Hint: most books available for sale via 3rd parties on Amazon are also listed cheaper for the very same physical book via another book search engine.) So I can no longer recommend Amazon as a source of my books.

I don't care much about the issue of e-book pricing. I don't own a e-reader and think the devices are not an adequately developed technology. I have no plans to buy one in the next several years.

For my own new books, I would suggest you buy them from The University Bookstore in Seattle. (Just one problem: The UB seems to list them with only one author, so you'll have to look for them under my husband's name. ) For older hardcover titles, I suggest L.W.Currey. Lloyd is amply supplied with Hartwell & Cramer hardcovers at reasonable prices. 

Also, most (but not all) of my Tor titles can be purchased from Tor.com, as well as a number of our other books. 

In general, I think it is up to the publisher to set their own prices, and not Amazon and that whatever the specifics are, Macmillan should not back down.

Further details:

  • NYT: Amazon Removes Macmillan Books
  • BoingBoing: Amazon and Macmillan go to war: readers and writers are the civilian casualties
    If the NYT's report is true, then this is a case of two corporate giants illustrating neatly exactly why market concentration is bad for the arts.
  • John Scalzi
    . . . this bit of asshattery on the part of Amazon has well and truly cured me of any desire to ever get a Kindle. If Amazon is willing to play chicken with my economic well-being — and the economic well-being of many of my friends — to lock up its little corner of the ebook field, well, that’s its call to make. But, you know what, I remember people who are happy to trample my ass into the dirt as they’re rushing to grab at cash.
  • Patrick Nielsen Hayden
    Teresa Nielsen Hayden from the comments: A fixed $10 price point would certainly be good for Amazon's ebook business, but it would take a shark-sized bite out of the market for hot new bestsellers, which is trade book publishing's single most profitable area. That revenue source is what keeps a lot of publishing companies afloat. It provides the liquidity that enables them to buy and publish smaller and less commercially secure titles: odd books, books by unknown writers, books with limited but enthusiastic audiences, et cetera. My honest estimate is that the result would be fewer and less diverse titles overall, published less well than they are now. I don't fancy having my industry gutted just so Amazon can maintain its stock prices.
  • Publishers Weekly

    With word circulating about Amazon’s action to drop the buy button from Macmillan titles, one independent bookseller is trying to rally support for the publisher. Matt Norcross of McLean and Eakin Booksellers sent an e-mail to the ABA Saturday morning urging the association to contact members to have them create a page on their Web sites that features Macmillan titles and to promote the offerings on their home page. Norcross also sent the e-mail to Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association board members to get them to back the proposal.

    In Norcross’s view, Amazon’s action gives independent booksellers the opportunity to show support for publishers “that are willing to stand up to Amazon’s pricing.”

  • Jay Lake: Bug off, Bezos. And take your damned bookstore with you.
    . . . if they’re going to choose to toss me overboard in a business dispute over which I have no influence, control or participation in, I can choose not to do business with them.
  • Brenda Cooper:
    . . . if Amazon wins the ebook price war and publishers lose complete control (whether that’s me – I’ve published some of my back list stories on Kindle — or that’s Macmillan/Tor who owns all of my novel print rights) then many of things we need in this industry will go away completely. Publishing is changing, and we need publishers to change, too. But this is one battle I want them to win, as a reader and an author.
  • LA Times
  • Cherie Priest:

    But at the end of the day, there are lots of other places selling books. In fact, if you go to IndieBound I bet you can find a number of fine, upstanding, book-selling establishments in your own neighborhood. Or if online ordering is your pleasure, Barnes & Noble has a great selection and pretty good prices (for example, right now Boneshaker is available at the member’s price of $11.51). And you can find a listing of all my books available through B&N right here, easy peasy. Don’t forget, you can also order signed copies (at no extra cost, and from anywhere in the country) through the University Book Store here in Seattle.

    So I took a few minutes this morning and changed all the Amazon book-selling links on my website and livejournal; and later today I’ll get around to yanking them off the Clockwork Century too. Just as I’m sure Amazon’s decision to quit listing my books is not, shall we say, personal … so too my decision to link potential buyers elsewhere is only business.

  • Charles Stross:
    Amazon.com can kiss my ass. Shorter version: they're engaging in monopolistic practices that damn well ought to be illegal, in an attempt to use their near-monopoly position to fuck over authors and bring publishers to heel. Longer version: google on "Amazon" and "Macmillan". Hint: Tor, who publish my Merchant Princes books, are part of Macmillan. And I've got a new book in that series coming out in six weeks' time.

    Srsly. They can fuck right off. As of now, I'm not sending them any more trade. If you follow the 'buy my books' links in the sidebar to the right, you'll notice that they don't go to Amazon any more. This is the third time I've done this in 12 months, and this time it's personal — they've gone too far.

My own impression is that someone very high up in Amazon is lacking in basic Internet socialization and is overwhelmed by megalomania. It bears mentioning that quite a while back that Amazon swore publishers to secrecy about their sales figures via Amazon. Why would they do that? Because Amazon likes to give the impression that their sales are more impressive than they actually are. 

I'm not sure why The Future of the Book has become a convenient mud pit for megacorporate mud wrestling, but I would like Amazon and the other big-box online retailers to get their embarrassing squabbles off my lawn.

(Reposted because Typepad ate the first version. -KC)