Does Amazon represent the future or the end of books?

One has to marvel at Amazon.  In spite of the warnings provided by the music industry and iTunes, authors and publishers keep right on giving (yes, giving!) away their content to Amazon for the “privilege” of being listed on Amazon’s store and having a “Kindle” version of a book.  Do authors or publishers get a percentage of the Kindle device sales? No.   Should they? Well, for an answer to that question, you might want to ask a few unemployed music executives who thought a 70% margin on $0.99 iTunes downloads was sufficient, never realizing that Apple’s real cash cow was the device itself (the iPod), sales for which the music industry received nothing, even though without music the iPod was useless.    Does that sound similar to the Kindle?

Or you may want to ask musicians ranging from Garth Brooks to AC/DC, who believe iTunes is “killing” music, according to Prefix Magazine.  The analogy is right on point with what is happening in the publishing world today.

While I would never think to suggest that authors who choose to publish directly through Amazon are literally digging their own graves, it is worth considering.   I was reading the Nov/Dec 2010 issue of Boston Review article “Books After Amazon: Publishing’s Race to the Bottom” by Onnesha Roychoudhuri, and I wanted to share this excerpt:

Cheap books are easy on our wallets, but behind the scenes publishers large and small have been deeply undercut by the rise of large retailers and predatory pricing schemes. Unless publishers push back, Amazon will take the logic of the chains to its conclusion. Then publishers and readers will finally know what happens when you sell a book like it’s a can of soup.

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

Book publishing on Amazon

Over the past few posts I have been comparing a book published by Amazon with a book published by Outskirts Press.  In my last post I referred to the irony, and here it is, revealed in these two screen shots that I took when I was composing these posts, on November 19th:

The circled area for the book above, published by Amazon, says “In stock, but may require an extra 1-2 days to process.”

Now let’s look at a book published by Outskirts Press:

By comparison, the book published by Outskirts Press says “In stock” and even offers the total amount still in stock and a rapid delivery option. This option is conspicuously absent on the Amazon-published book in the top screen shot — almost as conspicuous as the lack of distribution to the following sites for the Amazon-published book:,,, and

Note: the last few postings have been using my Outskirts Press book Sell Your Book on Amazon as the comparison, but I realized when I was taking the screen shots for this posting that one could easily become confused about which book was the “Amazon book” and which book was the “Outskirts Press book” since “Amazon” is in the title of the Outskirts Press book.  Needlessly confusing on my part, I’ll admit.  So, rather than risk that confusion with this comparison, which clearly demonstrates the benefits of Outskirts Press, I took a screen shot for Self-Publishing Simplfied, another one of my Outskirts Press books, instead. This demonstrates the full advantages of Outskirts Press without the risk of people mistaking OUR benefits for Amazon’s. But these screen shots hold true for every Outskirts Press book.

So more to the point:   The book published by Amazon in the top screen shot is SLOWER to get from Amazon than the book published by Outskirts Press.  And the distribution channels offered by Outskirts Press are greater. And the royalty Outskirts Press pays to the author is HIGHER.

I mean, I realize I’m a bit biased, being the Outskirts Press CEO and everything, but still… is this really that hard of a choice?

And now over the past several blogs, we have the longer answer to the question I receive in person when I’m speaking: Why would an author choose to publish with Outskirts Press instead of Amazon? There’s your answer… 

Is Amazon cheaper? Sure. So, then the real question becomes, what is your book worth to you?

Better distribution, better quality, better royalties (even on Amazon),  and faster availability (even on Amazon) — only with Outskirts Press.