I’ve been watching with interest as so many of my author colleagues migrate toward Amazon self-publishing as the be-all and end-all of success. And I understand why they’re choosing to do so. That heady feeling of control over your product and your destiny. That sense that, yes, the author can determine not just the price of his product but also the cover design and the content. I’ve chosen to stay with traditional publishing because I happen to enjoy working with my editor and my publishing house. I appreciate all they’ve done for me.
And today, I see another reason why my choice has been justified. I checked on Amazon to see how my new book LAST TO DIE is doing, and was startled to come across this announcement on the site:
While this item is available from other marketplace sellers on this page, it is not currently offered by Amazon.com because customers have told us there may be something wrong with our inventory of the item, the way we are shipping it, or the way it’s described here. (Thanks for the tip!)
For some unspecified reason, Amazon — the largest online bookseller — has stopped selling the hardcover edition of LAST TO DIE. Without warning, just like that.
Luckily, my book is still for sale by other numerous retailers, from independents to bookstore chains, online and in brick-and-mortar stores. But imagine if the only bookseller carrying your book suddenly, without warning, without reason, chose to halt all your sales. What could you do? How would you ever find your audience? How do you battle against a monopoly?
For this reason alone, I’m happy I’ve gone the traditional publishing route. It’s frightening to rely on the good graces of a single unpredictable bookseller. It’s frightening to know that, with the flick of one electronic switch, your sales could be halted.
Times are changing in the industry, but that old saying still holds true: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.