A HERO'S SPARK: the final book in the Wicked Women series!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fight for your RIGHT to read!

Friends, whether you know it or not, a revolution has been brewing in the print/publish industry.  I often liken it to the invention of the Gutenberg printing press back in the 1400's, because not since that invention, which brought books out of the libraries of the wealthy and into the hands of the masses has there been an printing issue as important as this.

You all know I'm an independent author, that I e-publish through Amazon and other such sites.  There are those forces, those people in the industry who do not believe that anyone has the right to share their stories or their knowledge with the world. There are those who believe only traditional publishers should be allowed to pick and chose not only what is read, but who gets to read it.

Right now electronic books are being sold for low prices, making books cheap and easy for anyone with an electronic device to read.  I believe books should be cheap, that reading is a RIGHT for everyone and that a society that thinks of reading and books as being something "special" or something only SOME people can do and have is a society falling backwards into the Dark Ages.

Below is a letter I received from Amazon regarding a massive lawsuit between Amazon, who has been a great friend of independent authors, and those forces who would prices e-books out of reach for many readers.

Don't be fooled by the argument that low book prices mean low wages for authors. That is not the case.  I have been traditionally published and I have e-pubbed and I can tell you I'd rather have 70% of $2.99 or lower and sell more copies of my books than get 30% of a higher price and have no one buy my book. We authors make more money if we sell more books.  It's that simple Basically, higher prices hurt independents like people, the authors traditional publishes won't publish because they won't take a chance on independent thought and fresh voices.

Please read and email the Hachette group.  Stand with me and the thousands of other independent voices that will be silenced and the millions of readers that will be denied.

Thank you!

Dear KDP Author,

Just ahead of World War II, there was a radical invention that shook the
foundations of book publishing. It was the paperback book. This was a time when
movie tickets cost 10 or 20 cents, and books cost $2.50. The new paperback cost
25 cents – it was ten times cheaper. Readers loved the paperback and millions of
copies were sold in just the first year.

With it being so inexpensive and with so many more people able to afford to buy
and read books, you would think the literary establishment of the day would have
celebrated the invention of the paperback, yes? Nope. Instead, they dug in and
circled the wagons. They believed low cost paperbacks would destroy literary
culture and harm the industry (not to mention their own bank accounts). Many
bookstores refused to stock them, and the early paperback publishers had to use
unconventional methods of distribution – places like newsstands and drugstores.
The famous author George Orwell came out publicly and said about the new
paperback format, if “publishers had any sense, they would combine against them
and suppress them.” Yes, George Orwell was suggesting collusion.

Well… history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

Fast forward to today, and it’s the e-book’s turn to be opposed by the literary
establishment. Amazon and Hachette – a big US publisher and part of a $10
billion media conglomerate – are in the middle of a business dispute about
e-books. We want lower e-book prices. Hachette does not. Many e-books are being
released at $14.99 and even $19.99. That is unjustifiably high for an e-book.
With an e-book, there’s no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no
returns, no lost sales due to out of stock, no warehousing costs, no
transportation costs, and there is no secondary market – e-books cannot be
resold as used books. E-books can and should be less expensive.

Perhaps channeling Orwell’s decades old suggestion, Hachette has already been
caught illegally colluding with its competitors to raise e-book prices. So far
those parties have paid $166 million in penalties and restitution. Colluding
with its competitors to raise prices wasn’t only illegal, it was also highly
disrespectful to Hachette’s readers.

The fact is many established incumbents in the industry have taken the position
that lower e-book prices will “devalue books” and hurt “Arts and Letters.”
They’re wrong. Just as paperbacks did not destroy book culture despite being ten
times cheaper, neither will e-books. On the contrary, paperbacks ended up
rejuvenating the book industry and making it stronger. The same will happen with

Many inside the echo-chamber of the industry often draw the box too small. They
think books only compete against books. But in reality, books compete against
mobile games, television, movies, Facebook, blogs, free news sites and more. If
we want a healthy reading culture, we have to work hard to be sure books
actually are competitive against these other media types, and a big part of that
is working hard to make books less expensive.

Moreover, e-books are highly price elastic. This means that when the price goes
down, customers buy much more. We've quantified the price elasticity of e-books
from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would
sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example,
if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then
customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue
at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000. The
important thing to note here is that the lower price is good for all parties
involved: the customer is paying 33% less and the author is getting a royalty
check 16% larger and being read by an audience that’s 74% larger. The pie is
simply bigger.

But when a thing has been done a certain way for a long time, resisting change
can be a reflexive instinct, and the powerful interests of the status quo are
hard to move. It was never in George Orwell’s interest to suppress paperback
books – he was wrong about that.

And despite what some would have you believe, authors are not united on this
issue. When the Authors Guild recently wrote on this, they titled their post:
“Amazon-Hachette Debate Yields Diverse Opinions Among Authors” (the comments to
this post are worth a read).  A petition started by another group of authors and
aimed at Hachette, titled “Stop Fighting Low Prices and Fair Wages,” garnered
over 7,600 signatures.  And there are myriad articles and posts, by authors and
readers alike, supporting us in our effort to keep prices low and build a
healthy reading culture. Author David Gaughran’s recent interview is another
piece worth reading.

We recognize that writers reasonably want to be left out of a dispute between
large companies. Some have suggested that we “just talk.” We tried that.
Hachette spent three months stonewalling and only grudgingly began to even
acknowledge our concerns when we took action to reduce sales of their titles in
our store. Since then Amazon has made three separate offers to Hachette to take
authors out of the middle. We first suggested that we (Amazon and Hachette)
jointly make author royalties whole during the term of the dispute. Then we
suggested that authors receive 100% of all sales of their titles until this
dispute is resolved. Then we suggested that we would return to normal business
operations if Amazon and Hachette’s normal share of revenue went to a literacy
charity. But Hachette, and their parent company Lagardere, have quickly and
repeatedly dismissed these offers even though e-books represent 1% of their
revenues and they could easily agree to do so. They believe they get leverage
from keeping their authors in the middle.

We will never give up our fight for reasonable e-book prices. We know making
books more affordable is good for book culture. We’d like your help. Please
email Hachette and copy us.

Hachette CEO, Michael Pietsch:

Copy us at:

Please consider including these points:

- We have noted your illegal collusion. Please stop working so hard to
overcharge for ebooks. They can and should be less expensive.
- Lowering e-book prices will help – not hurt – the reading culture, just like
paperbacks did.
- Stop using your authors as leverage and accept one of Amazon’s offers to take
them out of the middle.
- Especially if you’re an author yourself: Remind them that authors are not
united on this issue.

Thanks for your support.

The Amazon Books Team

P.S. You can also find this letter at

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