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Chickens, Roosting

Yesterday, during one of my many obsessive checks of my Amazon ranking, I noticed that my short story collection, Why They Cried, was no longer available in the U.S. I figured it was a glitch and waited for it to work itself out. Now, come to find that my book has been pulled in a dispute between Amazon and my distributor, IPG, which distributes Joyland eBooks and ECW Press in the U.S.

At last, I am catching Amazon blowback, and -- frankly -- it serves me right.

I've never been an anti-Amazon radical. I usually remain quiet when people discuss the great lengths they go to not buy from Amazon. Amazon offered more convenience, and I remembered being a bookseller when Barnes & Noble was the enemy. Meanwhile, the indie bookstore I worked for in '90s is still there and Borders -- Borders! -- is gone. Plus ça change, in other words. Things will work themselves out. I supported all sellers of my books equally, from Amazon to WORD in Brooklyn.

But now what? I don't want to make any heated edicts or promises I can't keep, but Amazon seems bent on forcing me to reconsider my agnosticism. I note all this, despite the fact that it exposes me as less than ideaologically pure, because I want to warn Amazon how they are alienating content producers -- even friendly ones -- bit by bit.

And it's not that I think Amazon won't win. I think they probably will, and writers like myself (who really only want their work available to the greatest number of readers) will have some very tough choices to make. I admit I might not be tough enough to make them. How many books can you write in a lifetime? And to sit out a decade or more of sales, waiting for the Amazon era to pass? That's going to be a high price to pay in a business model that is already, well, difficult.

I won't figure that out today, I know, but I also won't be hitting "Buy" on my Kindle anytime soon. Anyway, off to learn more -- much more -- about sideloading this thing.

" Plus Ça Change" is an increasingly infrequent column on (but almost never about) Google+. For archives and email subscriptions visit .
President of the second-largest independent book distributor Independent Publishers Group (IPG) Mark Suchomel said in an e-mail alert yesterday, "I am disappointed to report that has f...
Peter Darbyshire's profile photoKat Richardson's profile photoPatrick Michels's profile photo
It would be nice if the competition could get their shit together enough to offer some actual competition.
Thanks for the post. I don't want to rant and screed about Amazon, but I'm angry that their way of doing business hurts the little guys--writers--first, and yet so many people flock to them. Ouch....
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