It’s time to state what has become an obvious fact to me: There is a war against authors.
Look at the facts: –
Google won a court case against the Authors Guild last week that allows them to ignore copyright laws and freely scan any book they like, make its pages available to the public and not compensate the author or publisher. The judge ludicrously ruled that Google actually helps authors find new markets and create new revenue streams. Sure, as if people will pay for something once they see it is free.
– Kindle Direct Publishing has created a new threshold in the mind of the public on how much a book should cost. They do this by paying higher royalties on lower priced books. That “forces” the author to choose a price no higher than $9.99. Books used to cost $24-$35 dollars (roughly).
– This tactic also sets a price point in the mind of the consumer. They think books should cost $10 or less. Now the public thinks paying $20 for a book is highway robbery.
– Amazon is trying to plant the idea that books should be free by promoting the “free” books in every search of its topical list, side by side with books that sell for a few dollars.
– Amazon, or book consultants, I’m not sure which, have developed a marketing tactic to offer your book for “free” so it ranks high and is visible on its best seller charts. They suggest you do this for a short time and then switch the price to 99 cents or a few dollars. They hope that people who missed the deadline will say, “Well, it’s only a buck so I’ll buy it.” Then the book starts to rank high on the paid list. It’s a clever idea. But the bottom line is the author makes peanuts. It also reinforces the idea that books should be cheap.
– The newest marketing campaign from Amazon says, “Buy the printed book, get the e-book for free.” This is a great deal for customers, but a rotten deal for authors. Yes, you could argue that the “bonus” book will invigorate sales. But to me, this says e-books aren’t worth the pixels they are printed upon. – Authors, too, are to blame. They are giving their books away for free to sell speeches, coaching and consulting. This trend has been going on since I wrote one of the first books on Internet marketing back in 1993. First, newsletters were given away for free, then white papers, then teleseminars, then webinars, now books. It won’t end, folks. You need to find ways to monetize your message.
Silicon Valley has always – and I do mean always – taken the position that “information should be free.” So don’t expect the technorati to come to defense of authors.
One author posted in Judith Briles’ Author U LinkedIn Group recently, “Please, authors, don’t make your books free.” I would have loved to have agreed with him, but I’m afraid his plea is 3 years too late. The cat is out of the bag. The toothpaste is out of the tube. We can never go back.
I’m not the only one who feels this way. Read “Slaves of the Internet, Unite!” for the lowdown on “Write for me and I’ll pay you with exposure.”