Lately there seems to be a campaign to persuade us Amazon is evil. But that’s definitely not true from where I’m standing. From an author’s perspective, Amazon is great. Here’s why.
- Amazon is good at selling books.
Don’t believe the anti-Amazon propaganda that says they’re not proper booksellers. Amazon stocks an enormous range of titles and uses the power of its website to help you find what you want. Those ‘people who bought this, also bought that’ recommendations have helped me discover books I might never have found any other way and some of those books that have changed my life. (more about that in another post)And once you’ve decided what to buy, Amazon lets you do it easily. It offers great customer service, prompt delivery and a good returns policy, so customers trust it and buy more books. That’s definitely good for authors.
- Amazon’s associate scheme helps us make more money from our books
If we join the Amazon Associate scheme, we can link the books on our websites to the relevant pages on the Amazon site and earn at least 5% commission on any sales that result. That’s almost as much as I earn in royalties – more in some cases. The money arrives in my bank account faster too, monthly instead of half yearly.Of course, Amazon aren’t the only online bookshop with an associate scheme, but theirs is particularly well designed. I’ve experimented with a couple of others, but neither could match Amazon for ease of use or quality of reporting. I didn’t get as many sales through them either – customers trust Amazon and are used to buying from them.
- Amazon has opened up the e-book market by developing the Kindle.
E-books had lurked on the horizon for years before Amazon put its money and skill into launching the Kindle and the Kindle store. They produced what customers wanted and triggered the e-book revolution. Judging by everyone I know, people with Kindles buy more books and that’s definitely good for authors.
- Amazon has opened up new ways to publish books.
Through Kindle Direct Publishing and Createspace, Amazon has made it easy for authors to publish their own books and get them into readers’ hands. I love this change. It’s liberating to finally have a viable alternative to the traditional route to publication – no more long waits, no more loss of control and no more unreasonably restrictive competing works clauses.
- Amazon treats authors well.
If we self-publish with Amazon, we – the creators – receive a much larger chunk of the profits from our work than we get from traditional publishers. The staff answer questions quickly, and the system lets us see our up to date sales figures at any hour of the day or night.
I’ve dealt with Amazon as a customer, an associate and an author since 1999 and watched them steadily improve their site and the way they work. They’re not destroying the book industry, but they are changing it. That must be uncomfortable for those who see their own role in the industry changing or even disappearing. But those changes are opening up a whole range of opportunities for authors.
If you are interested in self-publishing, you’ll find plenty of information to help you on www.helpwithpublishing.com.