Amazon is taking money out of authors pockets, again. The myths about authors making millions are not true. I'm really sorry to burst the bubble of anyone out there with huge dreams. It still happens of course but it is the exception to the rule, not the norm. Anytime someone offers to sell brand new hardback books for ridiculously low prices it hurts authors, a lot. Authors get around 10% of a hardback price and 6% of a paperback, seriously, that's it. Most debut authors sell under 40,000 books. Add it up, but be careful, it may depress you. Don't forget to take out around 30% in taxes and 15% for your agent. That starving author thing, not a myth.
So what has Amazon done this time? They refuse to compromise with MacMillan, one of the biggest publishers in the industry. MacMillan was trying to get them to raise the price of an e-book from $9.99 to around $15 dollars. I think that is a reasonable request, both as a writer and a consumer. I don't mind shelling out a couple more dollars for someone's blood, sweat, and tears. That's what it takes to write a book folks, seriously, blood, sweat, and tears. When monopolies like Amazon lower the price of a book when it first comes out, before it's even had a chance to sell at regular price, they devalue that book and the authors hard work! It's one thing to reduce the price of a book that isn't selling, it's another altogether to do it to one that hasn't had a chance to sell yet.
A friend of mine, Shannon Delany, has a book debuting this summer, 13 To Life, and it is published by MacMillan. By pulling all of MacMillan's books Amazon is going to seriously hurt the sales of her book and will severely hinder her ability to make the New York Times bestseller list. How you ask? Because Amazon is one of the biggest retailers in the world, millions of people shop on it. Of course you'll still be able to buy all of MacMillan's titles from your local bookseller, which I urge you to do! Amazon thinks they have a monopoly on this and therefore the power to do whatever they want, they're wrong. Let's show them that. Support your local bookstore! No worries Shannon, I'll be buying your book from Barnes and noble!
Here's the New York Times article on the subject: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/30/technology/30amazon.html