If you’re an author, get ready for a very nasty battle ahead. Barnes & Noble’s decision to remove all Amazon published books marks something akin to a declaration of war.
Following hard on the heels of Amazon’s demand for exclusivity with their KDP Select program, it is now becoming clear that self publishing is being used as a tool in a commercial war.
For authors this makes for grim reading as the whole essence of being self published is in being independent. Having to decide on one distribution platform, and therefore one online retailer forebodes badly.
Barnes & Noble announced this week that they would not be selling any titles that had been published by Amazon’s publishing wing — both indie published through their KDP (Kindle Digital Publishing) and CreateSpace platforms, as well as their new publishing imprints. Source
In reading this decision by B&N, it would appear that even ebooks published independently on Smashwords and then distributed to B&N, will be withdrawn from sale if they are also available on Amazon in either Kindle, or paperback format published by Createspace. So where does that leave the authors?
While there are alternatives to Amazon and B&N, the market share of the other online retailers is so small, it is a folly to think that these could supply any worthwhile volume of sales. So as a self publisher or small press, it comes down to a choice of devils. Logically, Amazon, as there is no doubt that they deliver the greatest volume of sales.
While this is a ‘no brainer’, the danger that lies ahead is that it leaves one totally open to changes in Amazon’s publishing terms and conditions, which can and are updated regularly. There is no notification of these changes and unless you visit the page regularly, you won’t know that the rules have changed.
Then, if you do happen to dislike these possible changes in the future, what are the rules regarding moving your book to another retailer? Current KDP Select rules would indicate a period of at least 90 days. But who knows? The only thing that is for sure, is that self publishing authors are about to lose their independence and freedom of choice.
Self publishing has been around for a while now, but ebook publishing is still in its infancy. However, this little infant is turning mega bucks of profit for the likes of Amazon and B&N. This being the case, I expect it is going to get very dirty from here on in.