Amazon is probably the most well-known and largest online retailer of pretty much everything. It can open up sales channels to independent/small business that would normally be beyond their potential reach, in theory it is a great opportunity that most people should take. However, scratch the surface and the gleam of this opportunity is not so bright.
As a company we have taken the decision to stop selling our books on Amazon. There are a few reasons for this bold decision.
When a book is published, one of the first questions most authors are asked is ‘are you on Amazon?’ It is as if the availability of your book on this mega online platform is a sign of credibility or quality, something which could not be further from the truth. They don’t value authors or small publishers and have an aggressive policy towards independent booksellers who cannot keep up with the constant demand of decreasing their prices to maintain a decent ‘recognised’ sales level. It’s a dirty process and GYCC have decided that we will no longer be part of it.
The opportunity to self-publish through Amazon is understandably tempting to authors, for next to nothing you can have a book out, the ironic thing is that most people will earn next to nothing for their work and be encouraged to pay for advertising or give their books away in order to promote them. The ever changing algorithims that create book suggestions are problematic to keep a track of and the bare truth is that unless you cough up for advertising or are already receiving heaps of reviews, your book will not do well.
Our own experience of selling through Amazon was not good; every week there were further issues such as restricting our sales, delaying payments and demanding to see our author contracts, we felt tied to Amazon and were expected to jump through their hoops to be seen as a ‘credible’ publishing house.
There are increasing reports of the disgraceful treatment of Amazon workers, the most recent one that came to my attention was that the idea of having workers enclosed in a cage like structure while on shift, as far as I am aware this was dropped, but the fact that this was a real mooted idea was the straw that broke the back of our Amazon selling account.
Some people have suggested that what we are doing is career suicide and they may well have a point but we have to be true to our ethics and no longer want to be part of or beholden to this vile industry wrecking company.
If a customer is able to use the internet to buy a book then just as easily as they can type in Amazon they could go access many websites, including ours or those of other independent sellers. We cannot stop other sellers using the platform to sell our books but we can take a direct stand and refuse to sell directly through Amazon.
We know that our action is small and Amazon will not even notice our absence from their ever expanding clutches, they won’t lose sleep over us but we will certainly feel better and less harrassed by eliminating them from our wee business.
“If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.”