With Amazon blocking Kindle editions of all Macmillan books, particularly my friends who are Tor authors, I’d like to log a couple thoughts about ebooks.
First, some blatant pimpage: The Windup Girl is available for $6, DRM-free, at Webscriptions.net. http://www.webscription.net/p-1121-the-windup-girl.aspx. If you’re into ebooks, it’s pretty much the best deal going. It’s a fair price, and both I and my publisher make some money from it. We all win.
In the past, I’ve had differences with Night Shade over whether we should also sell ebooks directly through Amazon or not. I’ve always figured that consumers should have a choice of where they shop, and if they want to spend more for a DRM’d version of my book–while I wouldn’t do it–I argued that we should certainly be willing to accommodate.
That said, selling ebooks on Amazon looks less tasty these days. I sympathise with Amazon’s interest in keeping ebook prices relatively low so they can sell Kindles, but they also clearly want to dominate the ebook market, and every ebook sold through Amazon solidifies that monopoly. Long term, they’re not interested in serving consumers, or making books affordable, they’re interested in control. Monopolies, even if they’re nice in the short term, always turn predatory in the long term, and more and more Amazon seems intent on demonstrating that.
Maybe Macmillan can’t sell ebooks for $15. Personally, I think it’s high. But that shouldn’t be for Amazon to decide. That should be for readers to decide. Macmillan can figure it out on their own, with the help of market pressures that should push their prices downward over time. Instead, Amazon wants to use its market share and retail power to force Macmillan to price its product to Amazon’s specifications, and in the process it’s using a bunch of my friends’ books to make its point.
While I’d love to have an ebook sitting on Amazon’s shelves in front of all its traffic, I’m pretty certain that without competition, that Amazon will never learn to behave any better. So I’m happy to host The Windup Girl with webscriptions.net, and very happy to see new products rolling out from Apple. Maybe when there’s more competition in the ebook sphere, we’ll make The Windup Girl available on Amazon, too. But for the moment, webscriptions.net feels like the right place to be.