Archive for December 15, 2010

Why Buying through Amazon.com is the Best Way to Support Writers

Posted in Uncategorized on December 15, 2010 by carltonmellick

Many people believe that amazon.com is the big evil of the publishing world. Perhaps they are a bit evil from time to time, but they are an excellent company in a lot of other ways. I love amazon, both as a writer and as a consumer.

In my opinion, I believe that amazon.com is the best thing that ever happened to the small press. The idea that shopping through amazon is bad for publishers and writers couldn’t be further from the truth from my experience as a writer. In fact, I believe that the best way to support small press authors would be to only buy their books through amazon.com. Here’s why: the more copies of a book that sell through amazon.com, the more amazon.com recommends that book and connects it to other books.

In 2001, when my first book Satan Burger came out, I promoted it to readers who were into weird fiction. Due to the also-bought feature on amazon, my book became linked up to a very popular weird fiction book: House of Leaves. For the next three years, Satan Burger was the #1 recommended book with House of Leaves. This launched my career and even though I made less profit per book than copies that were sold at smaller sites like Shocklines.com, I still sold hundreds of copies of the book that wouldn’t have sold otherwise. I’d rather get tons of people reading my books and make just a buck or two per copy sold than make a lot of money per book sold. Ever since Satan Burger was connected to House of Leaves, I was making $500-1000 per month on just that one book, which was enough for a 23 year old with a low cost of living to write full time without need of a day job. My dream of writing as a career became a reality, and it couldn’t have happened without amazon.com.

Flash forward to the current day, Satan Burger is selling just as well as ever because amazon continues to link it up to other products, which keeps it in the public’s eye. There isn’t another bookstore in the country that would keep this book shelved that long. I’ve got 27 more books in print now, many of which sell just as well or better than Satan Burger did. And, due to also-boughts, I’ve become the number one author connected to Christopher Moore. There isn’t a bookseller in the world that would put a small press author’s book alongside a mega seller like Christopher Moore, or Chuck Palahniuk, or House of Leaves. Amazon does this, because it connects things based on what readers buy, not on what the big book industry thinks readers should be buying.

So the best way to support an author, especially a small press author, is to only buy their books through amazon.com. And these days, amazon allows much better discounts so that the publisher and author make more money when books are sold through amazon than anywhere else. This includes books sold directly from our websites. That is, unless we were to charge far more for our books, which would be unfair to the reader. It would also be a lot more work for us, and take much, much longer for the reader to receive the books.

Perhaps amazon.com is a bit on the evil side. They have pulled some cheap tricks to destroy the competition in the past, and will likely continue to do so. But as of now, at this point in time, they are a great company. You should know that the best way to support an author is to buy through amazon.com. At least at this point in time.