Amazon: Bigger Bullies Than I Thought

424863_10150565031583912_2046016596_nIt’s no shock to anyone involved in eBooks – buying, selling or writing them – that Amazon.com owns the lion’s share of the business.

Not content with market dominance, however, it does seem like they are doing their utmost to crush their competition by any means necessary.

First, there’s the KDP Select controversy; KDP Select offers Amazon’s authors access to a monthy “pool” of cash; they offer extra promotional options, discounts, et cetera…all you have to do is make your title(s) available EXCLUSIVELY TO AMAZON in order to do so.

Amazon-Exclusivity is something I have steadfastly avoided, as my experimentation with it a couple of years back demonstrated only that I got reduced returns, and no share of the “pool”.  I also lost revenue streams and regular customers from other retailers, such as Barnes & Noble, the Apple Store, Kobo, Nook, etc.

Recently, I decided to run an experiment.  A couple weeks back I lowered my price point on Smashwords; as Smashwords brokers on my behalf into all those other stores not run by Amazon.

There’s usually a mark-up between my listed retail price, and the price of the book on Apple, B&N, or other eRetailers who use Smashwords, so that they can make more of a profit on the sale.

As my Smashwords sales are consistently lower than my Amazon sales, I decided to reduce my price-point on Smashwords by 30%, thus making my eBooks more affordable and therefore perhaps more enticing to non-Kindle eReaders.

And then, today, I got this email from Amazon:

Amazon

They basically, in a very cheerful and friendly manner, threatened to pull my titles if I didn’t either lower my prices with them, or raise my prices on Smashwords.

While I feel this violates my rights to set the price of my eBooks according to my tastes, the fact of the matter is I cannot afford to be locked out of Amazon, in spite of consistently diminishing returns.

There is a mob mentality now, at Amazon Kindle; while they will publish anyone, once you publish with them you have to abide to very strict rules or face their wrath.  I can only imagine it’s a matter of time before they decide to not just be a content provider but producer, and oblige their authors to sign exclusivity agreements with them.

Everyone knows that if your eBooks aren’t on Amazon you’re not going to make it as an independent.  But they’re not just putting the squeeze on their competition anymore…now, they’re putting the squeeze on the authors.

Amazon: The biggest kid on the playground, becoming an even bigger bully.