Sunday, November 12, 2017

Jeff Bezos' Latest Swindle

     I admit, I'm a little late to the Halloween Party. I say Halloween because this Night of Long Knives against indie authors quietly took place on Halloween night. Here's what happened.
     Apparently, some avaricious executive douchebags sitting in an office in Amazon's HQ in Seattle got a bright idea- They didn't feel like being cut out of a significant source of revenue through the Createspace estore. Now, as anyone who knows anything about today's publishing, Createspace is a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon, which means they can pretty much change whatever the fuck they want with Createspace. So here's what they did on Halloween night:
     With very little if any fanfare, Amazon decided to do away with Createspace's estore. That means you cannot buy CS paperbacks through their site, anymore. Createspace will still publish the books, they just won't sell them, anymore. Sounds like an idiotic business plan, I know. But, as is always the case with the cocksucker sons and daughters of Jeff fucking Bezos, there's a method to their madness.
     By phasing out the Createspace estore, they're essentially forcing indie authors to sell their paperbacks on the Amazon.com domain so they can take out their bloated 40% distribution fee (for a book with which Amazon had no direct involvement whatsoever), plus a bloated shipping and handling fee that everyone knows doesn't all go toward shipping.
     This essentially removes any control over how and where we market our paperbacks, including those of us (like me) who'd pulled our paperbacks off Amazon's site and sold them exclusively through the estore. So what's the difference to us? About 50% less in royalties. Let me explain:
     A couple of years ago, I sold a copy of my novel, AMERICAN ZEN, when someone bought it off Amazion's site rather than through the CS estore. It has and still has a list price of $7.99. When I got my royalty statement that month, I found out I had been paid a thin dollar for that sale. I called up Createspace and asked why my royalty was so low. The guy told me it was because Amazon excises a 40% distribution fee on paperbacks bought through their own site (it's buried, of course, in the fine print of the contract they count on no one reading.).
     Within days, I pulled all my paperbacks off Amazon's site and that's when I began diverting readers to the Createspace estore where my royalties, while not princely, were at least 100% higher. In other words, if I sold AZ through Amazon, I'd get a measly buck. If I sold it through Createspace, my royalty would be two bucks because the only primary cost that had to be met, the overhead charges, were already absorbed into the price point.
     Now, Createspace and Amazon are diverting our paperbacks to the latter's site one at a time, effectively removing any little control we may've had as regards where we sell and how much we can charge for our work. In other words, Jeff Bezos found another way to steal money from authors. As if paying Kindle authors by the page wasn't bad enough.
     I've sent out feelers all through the writers' community on Facebook and plan to do the same thing soon on Twitter and even though this happened nearly two weeks ago, other authors are finding out about this through me. I've been especially keeping in close touch with one of my FB author friends who feels the same way about this as I and many other writers do. In fact, I'd diverted him to Barry Eisler, who's been pissing off the publishing establishment for years as both a bestselling author and as an intellectual property rights attorney.
     Now, I know Eisler's part of that establishment but the only reason he broke his own vow to hire a literary agent was when he married one, Laura Rennart. Barry and I even talked about this last winter. But while he may part of this establishment, it also ought to be remembered that about four and a half years ago Barry pissed off just about every literary agent in the universe for simply saying the only worthwhile thing Big Publishing can offer the indie author is expanded distribution and advertising and that was about it.
     You'd think those facts even back when he'd said them at Pike's Peak in 2013 would've been self-evident. We're seriously thinking of launching a class action lawsuit against this rapacious, self-dealing monopoly known as Amazon. because I can absolutely guran-fucking-tee you not a single author who's ever published a book through Createspace signed up for this shit. They've found a new way to steal our royalties and hijack our books and stick them on their site at a price they get to decide and pay us the dogshit leftovers. Either that, or forcing us to raise our price points so they're no longer competitive.
     So if by any chance you've published a book through Createspace and are now finding your old product pages gone, this is why. Contact me either through this blog or through the email address in my Blogger profile if you want a piece of this class action lawsuit against Jeff fucking Bezos and his undeclared monopoly Amazon.

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