Well, okay.

Yes, I know about the Macmillan thing. Thanks for all the emailed heads ups. No, there’s nothing I can do about it. You can just chalk this up under “one more thing authors don’t control.”

John Scalzi and Cory Doctorow have beaten me to the thoughtful breakdowns, so I won’t go into that here.

Suffice it to say, there’s still a great deal of speculation — but it looks like Macmillan and Amazon are bickering over how much Macmillan is allowed to charge for its ebooks. In short: Macmillan wants to charge fifteen bucks a pop for [some new-release] ebooks, and Amazon thinks the price should stay at ten bucks so that people will keep buying the Kindle. So Amazon has quit selling all the Macmillan titles.

Tor is a Macmillan company, so yes, that means they’ve stopped selling those books of mine which are published through Tor.*

My reaction to this is pretty straightforward: I think it’s dumb and it sucks.

But at the end of the day, there are lots of other places selling books. In fact, if you go to IndieBound I bet you can find a number of fine, upstanding, book-selling establishments in your own neighborhood. Or if online ordering is your pleasure, Barnes & Noble has a great selection and pretty good prices (for example, right now Boneshaker is available at the member’s price of $11.51). And you can find a listing of all my books available through B&N right here, easy peasy. Don’t forget, you can also order signed copies (at no extra cost, and from anywhere in the country) through the University Book Store here in Seattle.

So I took a few minutes this morning and changed all the Amazon book-selling links on my website and livejournal; and later today I’ll get around to yanking them off the Clockwork Century too. Just as I’m sure Amazon’s decision to quit listing my books is not, shall we say, personal … so too my decision to link potential buyers elsewhere is only business.

* Though the listings remain, and the books continue to be available on Amazon through third-party sellers.

Last Modified on January 31, 2010
this article Well, okay.

15 thoughts on “Well, okay.

  1. Sean

    “So, in a fit of pique, Amazon has decided to quit selling all the Macmillan titles.”

    Not precisely. Amazon currently ISN’T selling MacMillan titles, but that decision could have easily come from MacMillan’s side. Neither party has made any public statement.

  2. Fair point. But I did preface this with “it looks like” and the word “speculation.”

  3. Nice, pragmatic approach. Easy-peasy, as you say. I kind of love it. “So this one bookseller decided not to sell my publisher’s books. Here’s a bunch of other people who will.” The important thing being for readers to still get their books.

    I’m not sure it really is speculation; I saw it pointed out that this didn’t just affect e-books but also the print. Amazon (like any bookseller) must have a large stock of Macmillan books in some warehouse(s) or other. This isn’t just like Barnes & Noble refusing to buy more copies of “Bone Shaker”; it’s more like B&N pulling the copies already on the shelves. Which is why it appears it’s more on Amazon’s side of things than Macmillan’s. Even if Macmillan had decided not to sell Amazon any more of its books (and I don’t think it’s a direct relationship, anyway), Amazon still would have had a mess of copies on hand to continue selling (and which they would have already bought for sale).

  4. Bookselling is a business, and I think your approach is absolutely right. You want people to buy your product, and you’re making that as easy as possible. Likewise, the two companies are disputing over a business issue. Often readers assume that bookselling and publishing takes place in some world of light and magic, where the bottom line is getting moving works into the hands of readers (preferably on the backs of unicorns who traverse rainbow roads). This situation just demonstrates how serious the business can be. I hope, for everyone’s sake, that this does get smoothed over… but in the mean time, you (and other writers who are doing the same thing) are totally making the right choice.

  5. Alex aka adiav

    Blah. I don’t really want to support a behemoth who’s prone to throwing tantrums and taking its bat and ball and going home to get others to capitulate, but the problem for me is that there are so few online retailers that actually ship to my home country (Australia) that my choice really is limited. One could argue that I could just buy whatever I wanted in Australia, but that presupposes that it’s (a) available and (b) not exorbitantly expensive, because, as a full time student with no job, I just can’t afford to pay ~$25 for a paperback.

    I’ll do what I can, though. I don’t like bullying, and I’m sorry that’s it’s impacting upon you and other authors in the vast Macmillan group. You shouldn’t be treated like pawns.

  6. Thanks for being one of the few people to recognize/publicly state this is all working on speculation. :) It’s making me nervous, watching a wildfire started by an anonymous source.

  7. Thanks guys. And Sir Puss, I agree most heartily. We don’t have all the facts yet.

    But I got about a dozen emails about it this morning, and I knew if I didn’t say something that I’d keep getting them all damn day.

  8. Nicole D.

    I recently bought your book at Powells while I was visiting Portland. They had it featured on an endcap. I’ll be reading it as soon as it moves up in my queue (I tend to buy books waaaaay faster than I can read them). But I thought I would note that Powells rocks, and so does your reaction to this situation.

  9. Chris

    Well. I don’t have a Kindle, but since the only ebook versions of the 2nd and 3rd Eden Moore books I could find were at Amazon for the Kindle, I am certainly glad I bought them and got them loaded into Kindle for iPhone on my iPod Touch before this came down. Yeesh.

    What utterly silly business. Hopefully saner heads will prevail sooner than later and you’ll be properly listed at Amazon again.

  10. Kate

    I have an Amazon kindle and I HATE when publishers push up the price of books. I’m so on the side with Amazon for sticking to their guns about pricing the books at $9.99. Why would you as an author be offended by Amazon and not your publishing company?? They are the one trying to make more money and causing problems. While amazon may be making this move to keep selling Kindles it is also in an effect to keep their promises to their current kindle customers. I’m much much much more angered by the greedy publishers and in a sense will now not be buying books published by Tor or Macmillian. While there may be more places for you to sell your books (via linking too)….there are many more authors for me to read.

  11. It is rather unfortunate that corporate bickering like this happens, because in the end the only people who are hurt by this is the individual authors themselves.

    …although it’s unrelated, I watched something similar happen with Coca-Cola and Costco back around 11/09. They had a dispute over pricing and Costco decided to remove Coca-Cola products from its stores and they did that because they refused to charge their customers more. Of course at the time they said they would not put coke back in the stores but wheeling and dealing went on behind the curtain and they eventually reached an agreement and its back in stores now. Although Books and Coca-Cola hardly fall under the same category, the point I’m getting at is that this could very well be temporary but only time will tell. However, keep in mind this is only one retailer, albeit they have become quite popular, there are plenty other retailers that would be happy to pick up the slack (and most could really use the business).
    Just my 2 cents. -Shawn-

  12. I wanted to reply to Kate because to me that seemed a bit like an “attack” on Cherie and thats not cool:


    As an aspiring author myself I can understand and respect Cherie’s decision and I would have done the same thing. Amazon was told that they could keep their current pricing plan but it would involve “Deep Windowing of Titles” here I’ll quote it: (this is from the following article): http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/lunch/free/

    (begin quote)”This past Thursday I met with Amazon in Seattle. I gave them our proposal for new terms of sale for e books under the agency model which will become effective in early March. In addition, I told them they could stay with their old terms of sale, but that this would involve extensive and deep windowing of titles. By the time I arrived back in New York late yesterday afternoon they informed me that they were taking all our books off the Kindle site, and off Amazon. The books will continue to be available on Amazon.com through third parties.” (end quote)

    So instead of Amazon keeping the books on their site at the “Old Terms of Sale” they decided to remove ALL Macmillan titles from its site. Now keep in mind, this “new pricing plan” only effected “E-Books” not the hardback/paperback copies. So if Amazon wanted to do something like that they could have just removed the Macmillan E-Books but no they chose to remove ALL Macmillan titles. Who does that hurt? Only the authors. There were other ways Amazon.com could have handled this without throwing a gut punch to the authors. You have to try to look beyond the corporate smokescreen, there’s one reason why Amazon did this and they’re using the “price conflict” as a scapegoat. It’s all because Apple announced Macmillan as a major partner to their new iBookstore, which is a competing business entity. Think two competing businesses as two sides of a war. You get your supplies from Supplier A and your enemy gets his from Supplier B. Well 2/3rds of the way through the war, Supplier A starts selling to your enemy to make money. That not only puts you in a dangerous position it may also help turn the tides of the war, you can no longer trust Supplier A so you have to cut ties, stop getting supplies from them and move on.

    So Cherie’s choice to remove Amazon.com links from her site or any others is fully justified. Amazon.com made a business decision which cost Cherie potential future sales, so Cherie made a business decision to not send any business Amazon’s way. She even said it herself, its nothing personal just business.

    (Everything written in my comment is the sole expressed opinion of myself, and in no way do I represent Cherie or any one else who may be someway linked/involved in this Amazon/Macmillan endeavor. I’m just an outside observer and fellow writer speaking his mind. It is my opinion combined with my knowledge of corporate business and the hard facts I have looked at with my own eyes.)


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