Just when you thought…

… that both sides of the Amazon-Hachette debate had been thoroughly debated, yet a few more arguments for and against surface, adding to, or perhaps muddling, the issue further.

I think some very good arguments have been made on both sides and from several different perspectives. To be honest, I am not quite sure who posits the stronger argument, Amazon, Hachette, or the various authors, both agented and indie. At first the issue was vague and riddled with speculation. Then folks like Hugh Howey offered some clarification. But now, it’s slipping back into the fog again. I reckon that is ok because, hey, my book is not quite ready yet for publishing on any platform.

Still, I believe a business or an author has the right to set whatever price it or he wants. But I also think that it is up to the author to decide how he or she wants to publish and should take the responsibility to negotiate a suitable contract. There is plenty of history and evidence to support a particular price point that makes the author and customer happy – I know it as the free market.

I read just this past weekend that the big publishers colluded to set ebook prices, however, I did not realize it may have been in response to how Amazon tried or wanted to dictate the ebook prices. I actually did anticipate that the price of an ebook would be less than a hard copy for obvious reasons. I was one of the first to receive the new iPad back in spring of ’09 and I thought it was the coolest thing. It meant I no longer had to make space for rows of books shelves in my home – I had a lot of books by the time the iPad launched. I was happy to donate my collection to the local library.

However, much to my annoyance, ebook prices were not lower, even though it seemed they should and could be. So maybe the collusion was forced, a defensive measure. In the grand scheme, I think there will be plenty of room for traditional publishers and multiple ebook platforms – enough to go around for everybody.

I do want to point out that not enough attention is being paid to the gatekeeper role agents play in the published book arena. One could argue that self publishing floods the market with less than quality reading material. Knowing this makes it harder for an avid reader of any genre to find a decent read. One could also argue that this same flood of lesser quality material will dumb down new readers in the long run. I have no proof of this, it’s merely speculation. The same could be said for calculators, GPS (and maps), and common core. I reckon it depends on what generation you hale from.

I will press forward with my plans to e-publish my first book with the various ebook platforms, most likely setting a price I was familiar with growing up in the ’80s.  I hope Amazon and Hachette sort out their differences soon.

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