Amazon giveth: and taketh away

You may have seen that Amazon are changing the way they pay authors enrolled in their book loan schemes. The library fund will now be shared according to how many pages readers have read, not simply on whether they have borrowed the book. There was previously a 10% minimum proportion read caveat on books – presumably to stop desperate/unscrupulous authors borrowing their own books time after time.

Readers join the scheme for a flat fee, and can read as many books as they like that are enrolled in the scheme.

I’ve made the point to Amazon that no library in the world is concerned with how many pages of the borrowed book are read and that introducing it with e-books, just because you can, is yet a further barrier to the indie author-publisher getting any kind of return on their hard work.

They said my feedback was ‘valuable’. Humph.  I was enrolled in the scheme, I’ve told them I’m going to let it lapse in August (I would’ve yanked it straight out if I could’ve worked out how). I don’t think I’ve ever been borrowed (!) so it is entirely a gesture of principle on my part. But if it affects you, you might consider your position.

I am less and less impressed with Amazon. Having made self-publishing possible, pretty much single-handed, pretty much at a stroke, they are now retreating at speed. They have always paid my royalties back up the stream (if you see what I mean) that I use to pay for my purchases. Now they want a bank account. I have told them that there is no way I am giving them the account number of an account that has actual money in it. So they have my royalties, and will keep them unless and until they start to use Paypal. Why don’t they use Paypal? The world uses Paypal! Doubtless because Paypal refused to be browbeaten into a deal that would cut their own throats. I have lost my little seller account too, because of Amazon’s insistence not only on details of a (as they call it) checking account, but also tax information about the business. I think I’ve sold two books (not my own) that way. So that’s also had to go. I’ve had words with them about that too. Amazon’s backward waltz with indie publishers and sellers has become a real irritant. And as with all online behemoths, if something goes wrong it is almost impossible to sort it out. Will I ever get my royalties? Perhaps I should leave them to someone in my Will and leave it to my Executor to try and screw what little I’m owed out of Amazon …

And THEN there is the way they treat their staff, which is so bad, which is to do with Buying Stuff from them and a whole different can of worms.

Is it time to abandon Amazon? Hmmmm.

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One Response to “Amazon giveth: and taketh away”

  1. childtasticbooks Says:

    Ugh. What a bad situation for indie writers/publishers. It is unfortunately also a symptom of the publishing world more widely and in general in that authors are always at the whim of someone with a financial whip in their hand. I do like using amazon and probably spend, proportionately, more money there than elsewhere but it galls me to hear how badly you and others are being treated. Not good at all. x

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