Tag Archives: controversy

Approaching a Crossroads

It has been a long time. A very long time. And now we’re approaching a crossroads. Lament for the Living Book 2 should have been released by now, but it hasn’t. But do not be concerned, the crossroads isn’t about whether or not Book 2 is happening or not. It definitely is happening, but I’m currently in a quandary as to where it’ll be published.

Lament for the Living Book 1, The Deluge of Elias, and Hannibal House have all been published on Amazon as the main platform, with Lament for the Living and Hannibal House also being available through the outlets fulfilled by Smashwords (Hannibal House is free through Smashwords).  Amazon has been where the majority of sales of my titles have come from, but I’m becoming increasingly unhappy with their business practices.

Issue 1: They seem to have no morals regarding where they advertise, which means that their advertising helps fund sites and/or content that are completely opposite to my own personal ethics. I have reached out to them on more than one occasion regarding their advertising, and they are subject to the spotlight of Sleeping Giants whose aim is to “stop racist and sexist media by stopping its ad dollars”. I wholly back their mission, but like them, both Amazon and Jeff Bezos have failed not only to respond to our concerns, but have remained completely silent on the issue of where they advertise.

Issue 2: Amazon is inept at dealing with scammers who exploit the Kindle Direct Publishing platform and instead target and punish legitimate authors. David Gaughran has posted extensively on these scams and his own experiences of trying to get Amazon to take these concerns seriously, and do something about the scammers. He has presented masses of evidence to Amazon about the issues and their responses have been as overwhelming as they have in regard to their advertising ethics: none.  That is until now, where they appear to be taking some action against legitimate authors instead of scammers as detailed in this report by David Gaughran.

Personally I’ve been a strong advocate for Amazon in the past. I’ve got Kindles (standard and Fire), Amazon Prime, a Firestick, and they’re usually my go to place to buy everything from rubber gloves to motorbike parts. But that looks all set to change. As a platform Amazon seems to becoming more toxic and unhinged as time goes on. Their business ethics and level of competence in dealing with issues are nowhere as high as I expect them to be.

So here’s the crossroads: Lament for the Living Book 2 is now penciled in to be released in the Spring/Summer of 2018. Unless Amazon addresses the issues of their advertising ethics, and start using more precise tools to identify and punish spammers rather than a sledgehammer-tipped blunderbus I’ll be leaving the platform completely.

I’m not prepared to support an unethical platform financially by buying and using their products, and I’m certainly not prepared to place my work on a platform that is akin to a petty and vengeful god.  The decision will be made closer to release of book 2, but right now it’s not looking good for my relationship with Amazon.

Why the Resale of ebooks Isn’t Evil

Recently there have been a number of alarmist posts made on the interwebs about companies (Amazon being one of the them, but Amazon is ALWAYS one of them…) planning to allow users to sell their second-hand ebooks.

People have been really throwing their toys out of their prams over the issue. Or non-issue as I like to think of it. I know that some of you are you wondering what I’m on about here so I’ll do a quick recap on the issue:

  • All creators have the right of first sale, it’s part of copyright in that when their product is sold (for the first time) they get their cut.
  • Until recently there wasn’t the technology to allow the resale, or second hand market, for electronic goods.
  • It’s apparently a back-door for pirated copies (and we all know that piracy funds terrorism (!)).
  • The main argument, especially where DRM is used, is that the first purchaser is an “end-user” and so they are only licensing the product for their personal use, so resale is VERBOTTEN!!!!!! (yes I went over the top with the exclamation marks there, but it was for comedic effect).

Now I’m not going to go into any of those points because frankly, each of them is a choice for the individual copyright holder/publisher to decide on. Personally, I’m not going to put DRM on my future works (unless required by certain outlets…. Amazon) because I think it’s limiting and frustrating for the reader. “Surely you’re worried about piracy?” I hear you gasp. Well…. no. Not as much as I am about alienating readers in the first place.

So why am I not bothered about the re-sale of ebooks? Or more specifically, why am I not worried about the re-sale of MY ebooks? There are two reasons:

  1. I’ll have earned what I consider to be my entitlement via the ‘right of first sale’. I think it’s fairly obnoxious to expect to be paid when someone sells that book on. 
  2. I actually see the option to re-sell e-books as another revenue opportunity.

Wait! What? You heard me! Now put your brain in gear. As an reader, how many copies of an ebook do you legally own? That’s right, as many as you legally paid for. Now, as an author, how many copies of your ebook do you legally own?……. Okay, let me help you with that one. It’s somewhere between infinity and whatever comes after that.

See where I’m going with this yet?  These re-selling services operate by allowing you to sell any copies you legally own. With ebooks (as long as you haven’t stupidly sold your publishing rights), as an author you own an infinite amount of them. You can create them at will, which means that you can also sell them at will. So why should a canny author be bothered about these services when he/she can use them as another revenue stream.  Log on, see how much your book is going for in the second-hand market, put a load of copies up for sale at a competitive price. A percentage of something is better than a percentage of nothing. Simples.

I’d love to read your thoughts on the issue.

Don’t forget, ‘Lament for the Living’ is out on May 10th – get a sneak peek at the first chapter for FREE!

Currently it’s .prc (DRM free for Kindle) or .pdf only.
Kindle/.prc – Download Here
PDF – Download Here

Download, read, enjoy. Let me know what you think.

While you’re waiting for ‘Lament for the Living’ to be released the following titles are also available:
Hannibal House by David Nicol   The Deluge of Elias by David Nicol
For more information and purchasing links please visit:
www.tbfmedia.com/bibliography