A little update on the Also Boughts issue at Amazon: it’s obvious now that the wholesale removal of ABs is not a permanent change and that the book seller is split-testing its consumer base like mad. The testing is definitely occurring across browsers, with major differences amongst Internet Explorer, Mozzila Firefox, and Chrome.
Like many self-published writers, I’ve been unhappy/dismayed/puzzled at Amazon’s removal of ratings and stars from Also Boughts’ listings, but I might be having a change of heart–I was just looking at the Also Boughts for my most recent novel, One Right Thing, and realized something very refreshing: every title looked as interesting as any other.
Seattle–(BUSINESS LINE)–April 1, 2013– In a not-entirely-surprising move, online retail giant Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced today that it had moved its publishing model beyond the distribution of paperback and digital books and has bought its customers’ ability to read.
“It’s really just a natural progression of both Amazon’s technological and business goals,” said Ravi Bharathi, professor of neuroscience at Stanford University and author of the now redundant book, You’re Worth What You Know. “Why bother with fussy New York city publishers and clueless retirees uploading their memoirs about vacationing on the Jersey shore when you can cut right to the chase and just buy a stake in your reader’s brain?”
Asked if this bold new initiative by Amazon threatened to impose a debilitating monopoly over other book merchants such as Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Inc., and Smashwords.com, Bharathi appeared confused and said, “Who?”
An inside source at the Seattle technology company’s research and development division in Seattle, Washington has reported that the customers’ innate ability to read will be monetized by a small digital device mounted on the top of the user’s head. Dubbed the “Thinkle™,” the device will calculate how much the user would typically read based on past purchases, conduct a small electrical charge to the pleasure/pain centers of the brain to simulate the act of reading, then automatically deduct a fee ranging from $.99 to $9.99 from the user’s bank account.
“No muss, no fuss,” the source said. “You’ll never run out of space. Unless you have a tiny brain. And it gives a whole new meaning to ‘side loading.’”
Asked if the Thinkle™ would charge for a simulation of what were formerly free books on the book seller’s site, the source replied, “Of course not, they were free. Besides, nobody ever read them anyway.”
Wall Street technology forecasters have predicted that the only real competition for “brain space” would come from Apple, Inc., makers of the hugely successful iPhone and iPad line of products.
When reached for comment, however, Apple CEO Timothy Cook laughed. “Worried? Not really. We’ve been piping music into people’s heads since 2002.”
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, currently conducting an archaeological dig on the surface of Mars, could not be reached for comment. Happy April Fool’s Day, everyone.
Cue the Ambivalence Machine. Goodreads has just “joined the Amazon family.”
While all indies should be happy and thankful that Amazon helped break traditional publishing’s stranglehold on the market, lack of competition–or in this case, a blow to independent reporting and reviewing–isn’t really good for anyone.
It will be interesting to see how other book distributors like Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Apple react. Is this the warning bell Apple needs to get off their ass and actually make iBooks work? Will Kobo take the challenge and soak their parent company Rakuten for more bank to fight the good fight?
Or are we watching the end game?
My forays into advertising my self-published books continue. I know I’m tardy on reporting on many of my ad buys (like, by a few months), but I’ve recently had such success with Bookbub.com that I wanted to tell you about this out of order.
Writer friend Karen Cantwell (of Take the Monkeys and Run fame) heard from other pen-smythe and colleague Scott Nicholson (he of The Red Church, Liquid Fear, and a google of other books) that young upstart book-bargain site Bookbub.com was a great place to advertise for indies. The skinny: Bookbub’s price was steep in comparison to almost all other advertising venues of its kind–maybe the highest–but the returns were worth it.
Since I’m in the “it’s time to advertise or get lost in the shuffle” camp, I checked it out, blanched at the price, but dove in anyway.