Saturday, January 30, 2010

"So where can I buy your book?"

As an author, I like to focus on creating books. I'd rather not worry too much about selling them. It's a complicated business, and there are people who know much more about it than I do. However, I am clear on one very important thing: My books need to be in bookstores in order for people to buy them. And a second, related thing: If my current books don't sell, it becomes riskier for a publisher to take a chance on anything I write in the future.

Having my books in bookstores seems rather basic. It seems like something I should be able to count on, considering I am published by a well respected New York publisher. But I've come to realize there are thousands of new books published every year by well respected New York publishers, and not all of them get picked up by Borders, Barnes & Noble, or the independents. Even with cute covers, glowing reviews, and fine literary awards, these giants might say no thank you to your book for a variety of reasons. (Rumor has it they wanted Jemma Hartman in paperback, but it was only available in hardcover.)

When people ask me, "Where can I buy your book?" I usually tell them to try their local independent but that they can always order it from Amazon. Because Amazon carries everything. Right? Well, apparently, not anymore.

Amazon and Macmillan are having a little tiff about how to price their Kindle books, and Amazon has just pulled every Macmillan book off its shelf. Including mine. Including tons of best sellers that people will be way more upset about than my two little books.

How this will play out, I have no idea. I understand the principles at stake here. But as an author who wants her books to sell, I have a vested interest in making sure my books are available for purchase. Somewhere! E-books are not going away. I hope someone figures out a solution soon.


Lisa Nowak said...

That's terrible! I hope they work it out soon. It's not fair that authors should suffer.

Lisa said...

Usually, I prefer to (Barnes & Nobles), but still has your books, Bren.

Brenda Ferber said...

Hooray for! I've been reading more about the conflict, and it is actually very interesting/confusing. Macmillan wants something called an "agency model," which I'm not 100% sure I understand. But they say Amazon will make more money that way, and they are truly interested in providing more choices for consumers and trying to keep Amazon from forming a monopoly.

Margo Dill said...

This is horrible. Your books are wonderful, and it is sad that they are suffering because two big giants can't figure out their petty disagreements. UGH! I bet you can still order your books from independent book stores online too like I know Left Bank Books in St. Louis has an online store, and they have any book I've ever tried to get. Maybe this is a good thing for indpendents? Just trying to see a little positive.


Cheryl Bardoe said...

What if consumers could email Amazon to voice our dislike for this policy? The ability to find every book available is one of the biggest reasons I shop at Amazon. This is a poor way to treat customers, and the authors--without whom Amazon wouldn't have anything to sell. I looked on their site, and of course couldn't find an email address for "customer relations." Any suggestions?

Brenda Ferber said...

That's a good idea Cheryl. If you go to the help page, a yellow button comes up that says Contact Us. I think that's the best way to voice a complaint.

Ellen Reagan said...

Great idea. I'm going there now to voice my complaint.