Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Amazon and Self-publishing: Start to Finish, Good and Bad

Some people would argue otherwise, but I say that the self publishing revolution started with the introduction of the Kindle in 2007. Amazon was selling their own line of hardware, and they needed a plentiful supply of inexpensive ebooks to make buying a $400 device seem reasonable. Publishers were alarmed when Amazon priced the Kindle version of their books mostly at $9.99 and they revolted and now control the Kindle price which is usually at least as much if not more than the paperback. One side effect is, this made more reasonably priced self-published books more attractive to Kindle owners.

Kindle 1

The Kindle price came down, and the Kindle line expanded from one basic model with 3G connectivity and an e-ink screen to several different models with different features, including wifi and front lighting. The Fire tablet was added to provide color and multi-use functions, but the e-ink versions are still sold. Lots of people read on tablets or even smart phones now.  I refer e-ink, but to each his own.

In 2008, my son was in the hospital for a week or so, and while I sat by his bedside, I read books on my Kindle 1. No one knew what it was back then. It's a new world now, and ereaders are everywhere. Also, self-publishing has benefited from ereaders and tablets. It's difficult to compete on price in print publishing, but it's easy to do with ebooks. Amazon still dominates ebook sales, as every self-published author knows. The Kindle Unlimited (KU) problem requires that authors a) only have that ebook for sale on Amazon and b) be paid by pages read rather than per title. A lot of authors, me included, often make more on KU than on sales. This and the smaller number of non-Amazon sales make KU attractive, for certain genres. especially romance.

Amazon may be a soulless giant corporation bent on dominating the market, but they made self-publishing possible. 

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