Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Amazon Overcharging for Ebooks

David Gaughran  has posted a disturbing essay on why ebooks cost more through Amazon than in the US and a select few other countries.  You should read David's post, especially if you live outside the US, UK, Germany, Canada, Ireland, and a few other countries.  In most of the world, including France, Spain, Israel, South Africa, India, and Brazil just to name a few off the top of my head, there's a $2 surcharge added in addition to any sales tax or VAT.  This surcharge goes directly to Amazon, not to a government, and certainly not to the author.  While most of my readers are American, I know there are a few in countries in which Amazon slaps this surcharge.  David is encouraging his readers to buy through Smashwords or iTunes, because there surcharge isn't added there and the author gets more money. 

Some of you may have noticed that I've recently become an Amazon Associate.  You may be wondering:  Will Amazon be displeased with this post, will they revoke my Associate status, and will I lose a revenue stream in they do?  The answers to those questions are:  Almost certainly, maybe, and not at all.  If Amazon were to even notice this small blog, they would almost certainly be displeased and could very well revoke my Associate status.  But at the present time, I wouldn't lose a dime.  Because so far I haven't made any money by being an Associate.  (Considering a recent post which stated that Locus Online, which probably gets more hits in a month than both my blogs combined have ever gotten total, only generated a few hundred dollars a month from links to Amazon, I'm not exactly planning my retire on my earnings.)

I'm less concerned about ad revenue than I am fair trade practices.  What Amazon is doing is hurting authors in the long run, as David so eloquently explained.  Since I hope to begin doing some indie publishing myself within the next year, I'm taking the long term approach rather than the short term by not offending Amazon.  Plus it's just the right thing to do.


  1. Hey,

    I would be surprised if Amazon revoked your affiliate status for these post. There are plenty worse things being said about the company every day.

    I'm not an Amazon detractor myself, while some of their business practices could be considered questionable, I'm very grateful to them for providing a top-class platform for me to reach my readers without having to go through a corporate publishing company.

    However, I think they have it badly wrong on this, and I wanted to call them out on it.

    I would love to have 30 mins with an Amazon exec, I'm pretty sure I could make a convincing case as to why this policy is harming THEM, and that they could make a hell of a lot more money by abandoning it.


  2. I doubt they would as well. I just don't like things that keep books from readers, both from the perspective of a reader and a(so far unpublished) writer. The principle here is important enough to me to be willing to take a financial hit. Now, if I were making a four or five figures through Amazon,...