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Publetariat Dispatch: Moving Toward Amazon Only

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!

In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, author L.J. Sellers discusses her reasons for considering a move to Amazon exclusivity.

And the craziness continues. Yesterday The Sex Club, which  is now selling well again, was suddenly being discounted on Amazon from  $2.99 to $.99. Which means, I was suddenly making a third of the money.  After cursing loud and long, I tracked down the culprit. Kobo was  selling the title at $.99—even though I requested they take it down two  weeks ago.

I requested the takedown because I enrolled The Sex Club in  the Kindle Select program and it requires exclusivity. So the fact that  it’s still selling there could also get me kicked out of the program.  I’m doing everything possible to correct this, but retailers are  notoriously slow about taking down books, especially if they’re selling.

I distribute to Kobo, Sony, and various other retailers through  INgrooves, and this is not the first time I’ve had to deal with the  discounting issue. For those not familiar, here’s the short version:  Amazon will not be underpriced. If a competitor puts an ebook on sale,  Amazon matches the price. This can be a serious problem for authors who  make most of their money from Amazon and need to control what price  their books sell for on Amazon.

When I starting losing money on Amazon, I see my mortgage payment for  the next month disappearing. Which leads me to strongly consider  withdrawing all my books from INgrooves. The small amount of money I  make from other retailers is offset by the profit I lose from the  discounting issue.

My only hesitation, as always, is readers. I want them to have full  access to my books, regardless of their e-reader device. But I’m running  a small publishing business (Spellbinder Press), and I have to make  smart business decisions. I have to be able to track and predict profit.

Also, I have to remind readers that my ebooks are available for purchase from my website.

Other writers tell me I should upload to Smashwords as my  distributor, but that doesn’t fix the discounting issue. And I’m tired  of continuously having to scan the other retailers to ensure they’re not  undercutting my ability to make a living from Kindle sales.

Pulling my books from INgrooves would leave me with ebooks available  on Kindle and Nook only. But what I sell on B&N/Nook every month  won’t even pay my cell phone bill.

After I see my first bonus payment from Amazon for enrolling in the  Select program, I’ll have to decide whether keeping my Detective Jackson  books on B&N is actually worth it. I predict I’ll be exclusive to  Amazon by the end of the next year. Some people may see this as a sell  out. But I have to make a living, and I’m worth more than minimum wage.

Readers: Can you sympathize with this decision?

Writers: How do you deal with the discounting issue?

This is a reprint from L.J. Sellerssite.


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