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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 http://jimhanas.com/pluscachange .
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 Amazon.com has f...
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3 comments
 
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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