Fuck Amazon

People think if a book is at Amazon it is somehow more “legitimate”

Below is an excerpt from a paper I wrote about some of the business aspects of publishing. Let me know if you have any questions.

As the buzz on Light Boxes picked up last spring, I found it increasingly difficult to keep up with fulfillment. Even Amazon, who had previously been sending Purchase Orders for 2-3 books at a time, started to send orders in the dozens every week, and for shipment to multiple distribution centers. This policy of theirs is extremely frustrating, because for one thing, they don’t pay for shipping even while they demand a 55% discount. For a publisher participating in their “Advantage” program, this structure is backbreaking. Having to mail books to four places, in special packaging (since they’ll destroy any book they deem unsellable), eliminates the already-tiny margin and drives up the cost to the user. For instance, a paperback book like Light Boxes, at 167 pages, stretches product value with a $14.95 price tag. At that amount, though, PG is paid $6.73 per copy. Okay, that isn’t too bad. Subtract from that the cost of production (including printing, design, art rights, cataloging numbers, promotional items and copies and so on), the amount PG earns is closer to $2.25. Now consider Amazon’s tendency to order books to four different locations, which means that shipping has to be paid four times, and the result is that it actually costs about $.30 to sell a book with them. Separately, Amazon charges the customer (or enduser) $3.99 for shipping, which means that the cheapest Light Boxes will sell for through them is $18.94. Having paid this kind of money can cause readers to have certain expectations, and I am always afraid that the shortness of the book will disappoint them. READ MORE >

Behind the Scenes / 142 Comments
February 18th, 2010 / 1:33 pm

Print Industry Shakeup

A while ago, I read this post by Reb Livingston of No Tell Books and thought, ‘yeah, fuck Amazon’ and ‘man, Reb is awesome.’

Then I ordered a lot of things from Amazon the next day; I binged like crazy, sent things to a friend through Amazon, those things were lost in the mail, etc. Now I am outraged again. It is probably not the kind of anger that Reb had, but it is anger, and that’s what matters.

So I am happy to see that Adam Robinson, the man behind Publishing Genius, has posted this prospectus for an article he’d like to write. He wants reading suggestions. He wants to break scholarly ground. He wants to write an annotated bibliography for fuck’s sake. Help him out.

Presses / 2 Comments
October 2nd, 2008 / 1:36 am