Tag Archives: amazon

Discount Sale on Urban/Dystopian Fantasy Sparks Price War Between Amazon and Google

So, like many folks, my novels occasionally go on sale. Right now, Reparation’s ebook is on sale until October 3 (links at bottom of this post). Usually, this is where I would give you the book’s slugline, which is:

ReparationEbookHaruki Murakami’s 1Q84 meets Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale as a man battles sinister forces associated with a Native American peyote cult.

I would also inform you that the work has won a national award, and that the usual ebook price is $9.99.

Now, here’s where things get interesting.

The sale price was made available through two ebook channels: Amazon and Google Play. Both provide worldwide distribution, and both offer fast and easy access for readers.

Usually the buying choice is entirely about habits and preferred methods. Some folks like to run all their purchases through Amazon. Others prefer Google, while another set don’t display any particular loyalty.

Today, with Google’s continual efforts to pry their way further into the book market, we see one clear step they are taking to gain more share: beat Amazon’s price. Importantly, this will be done without dropping the revenue earned by the book. So, everyone wins…especially the ecosystem that provides readers with more choice through more distribution channels.

Where will you buy today? Let me know, and we’ll see if the sales figures back you up!

Now, finally, about Reparation!

A beautifully written supernatural story—the work of a master craftsman.”
“Endlessly compelling. A fascinating fusion of forms.”

“Whatever is dangerous, let me do it…I am supposed to die.”

When Aidan Little Boy leaves his ailing mother’s side to visit his sister on a peyote church property in South Dakota, he encounters a religious cult run by an apparently superhuman leader. Suddenly his nondescript life becomes tangled in a world that has grown disturbing and strange.

In a series of remarkable events, the ancient beings of Native American folktales are manipulated by people with strong connections to the parallel world of spirits. Soon Aidan uncovers evidence that his sister and the rapidly growing congregation are in danger. He must understand these unknown powerful forces before the Reparation, a ceremony that will slaughter thousands of innocents.

This complex and surreal novel merges folktales, history, and contemporary lifestyles with magical realism in a hypnotically addictive original tale.

Honorable Mention, Writer’s Digest 2016 Ebook Award

Currently discounted on Amazon and Google Play. At the time of this post, Google is beating Amazon’s price by $0.48!

Grab it now, because these deep discounts won’t last long!

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Amazon is a Wolf Eating Its Own Cubs

The Association of Author’s Representatives, the organization that many top agents are members of to prove their professionalism and ethical approach, has sent a shot across Amazon’s bow.

Currently Amazon is delaying deliver of books by Hachette authors by as much as three weeks. The move is intended to force the publisher to accept terms Amazon wants for book prices. Amazon has used this tactic in the past.

Every time this happens, my first thought has been, What about the authors? They are the ones suffering as their books are withdrawn or delayed. Readers, too, suffer when they can’t receive the books they want easily or quickly. Here’s a comment I made on Publisher’s Weekly’s site about the issue:

When this battle first broke out, my immediate thought was, What about the authors? Amazon has used these tactics in the past against publishers but never has anyone in a place of authority inside publishing stood up for the authors and the readers who suffer. Finally, this time, authors, readers and publishers and their associates are standing up to say, Enough! They are engaging in unfair trade practices, and are acting like a monopoly. Shame on them, especially since a recent court case found other publishers guilty of price-fixing…because of their negotiations with Amazon. Amazon is important to authors and readers…which is why it should be ethical in its approach to business. This is just a wolf eating its own cubs.

Amazon’s Top Reviewers

Reader reviews are an important to boost book sales. On specific sites, you’ll find lists of top reviewers…individuals who are so prolific with their reviews that they have achieved top ranking on that site.

It might not sound like much but it’s important. Top reviewers have followers…some of them tens of thousands of followers. When one of the top reviewers pays attention to your book, their followers discover your work. Good or bad, the review can introduce you to individuals who otherwise might never come across your stories.

Over the holidays, one of my novels was reviewed by an Amazon Top 50 reviewer. The post is fairly long and detailed, and can be read here. The reviewer is Grady Harp, who commands spot number 41 in the reviewer ranking. I’ll be following the sales numbers and will report back in a month on any developments.

The Washington Post Sale to Amazon’s Bezos

The past weeks have seen so much chatter about Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s top dog, buying the Washington Post newspaper. On the shrill side, folks are claiming he’ll use the paper to cement Amazon’s position in the halls of the White House. The warm-and-fuzzy side points out that since Bezos (not Amazon) bought the paper, perhaps he’s interested in shoring up a venerable institution that serves the public good.

Of course it’s far too early to tell. But this purchase is part of a trend. Over the past months, many independently wealthy individuals have purchased some of the country’s top newspapers. Many of these purchases turn the newspapers private.

That’s a critical element. Whenever a company goes private, it is no longer chained by law to focus on shareholder profit. Newspapers have always been a true community service. Yes, they need to make money and yes, they carry advertisements. But the content has always been based on a specific set of interests. Even papers that put out national editions provide content that has a particular flavor for a particular subscriber base.

Considering this recent shift, newspapers might actually be on the mend.

Amazon Dukes It Out with Overstock.com; Indie Booksellers Lose

On Friday, Amazon began offering discounts that have never before been seen even on its own site. The move is supposedly a response to Overstock.com’s full frontal assault, which consists of discounting books to match or beat Amazon’s prices.

Dan Brown’s Inferno is now available on Amazon at a a 61% discount. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini has a 58% discount. Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In is at a 64% discount. A whopping 64% discount is offered on The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

There are signs, however, that even Amazon is not invincible in this battle. J.K. Rowling’s The Cuckoo’s Calling, written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, is discounted only 42%. That’s right in the usual discounting area of 40% to 50 percent. Amazon likely doesn’t want to discount something that is selling well regardless of price, and wants to keep the profits involved in that title.

Overstock.com’s shot across the bow of the mighty frigate Amazon is a long-overdue attempt to take some of the wind out of Amazon’s sails. The recent verdict against Apple has already spurred Amazon toward discounting books to eliminate the real competition that is left: the thousands of indie booksellers who together hold more clout among readers than any website ever will.

Unfortunately indies do not yet hold any kind of combined economic clout with publishers and so cannot discount books at the same rate. Thank goodness someone has noticed what’s going on in book publishing and has thrown the economic might of their company onto the battlefield.