So, I clearly don’t mind Amazon. They have a pretty good business model, and they have (through their Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace platforms) allowed me to get my books out there for folks to read. I want to make perfectly clear at the beginning of this post that I LIKE Amazon. This should not be construed as me saying I hate them.
Having said all of that, here are a few things that I have run into that bother me about the way Amazon is doing business. If you are considering publishing books through them, be warned of these in advance:
1) Amazon Affiliate/Associate program – this is the program by which you can add links and get a percentage of all sales through those links. The only thing I would use it for would be my own books (which I link to several places on my blog) so that I could make a little extra on each sale I drive through my blog, but residents of my state are not eligible for this program. It’s more likely due to policies of my state government (and the governments of the other states whose residents are not eligible), but it still irks me. This is from their operating agreement (which is a publicly available doc): “In addition, if at any time following your enrollment in the Program you become a resident of Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, or Rhode Island, you will become ineligible to participate in the Program, and this Operating Agreement will automatically terminate, on the date you establish residency in that state.”
2) Amazon advertising my own book to me – Yes, Amazon will send you emails saying “Buy these great books now” and your own book will be at the top of the list. Seems great, until you start talking to other self-published authors and they are all getting sales emails with their own book at the top. It makes you wonder if anybody is getting your book as a recommendation other than you.
3) CreateSpace pricing model – I have been setting up my books and selling them through CreateSpace for over a year now. The books look good and I like being able to sell through Amazon, but the pricing model is wonky. My first book is a novella, about 130 pages, and it is priced at $4.99. To go through any other channel, I have to raise the price to about $6.25 (and that earns me no royalties). My second book is about 300 pages, and I have to raise its price from $7.99 to $11.00 to sell through other channels (and earn no royalties).
Other than these things, self-publishing through Amazon is great and I recommend it for anybody.