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‘Up the Amazon with the BS Machine ‘ – Ursula K. Le Guin

Up the Amazon with the BS Machine | Book View Cafe Blog.

leguinphoto“Amazon and I are not at war. There are vast areas in which my peaceful indifference to what Amazon is and does can only be surpassed by Amazon’s presumably equally placid indifference to what I say and do. If you like to buy household goods or whatever through Amazon, that’s totally fine with me. If you think Amazon is a great place to self-publish your book, I may have a question or two in mind, but still, it’s fine with me, and none of my business anyhow. My only quarrel with Amazon is when it comes to how they market books and how they use their success in marketing to control not only bookselling, but book publication: what we write and what we read.”

I buy Ivory laundry detergent from Amazon because more and more stores refuse to stock it which leads to fewer people knowing about it and asking about it which leads to fewer stores stocking it.

amazonmainlogoLe Guin views Amazon’s role in selling books as this kind of mentality. Push it, sell it, profit from it, and then forget it. There’s no durability to the modest-selling book here because on Amazon, she says, it’s a commodity.

I don’t like the way Amazon controls the market and forces publishers to conform to its model. It’s the store, not the creative source behind the books (regardless of CreateSpace, Audible and Kindle), so conforming to Amazon is the worst possible thing a publisher can do. A cookie cutter approach to literature.

Click on the link and see what Le Guin has to say. Then decide whether cheap prices is the way writers will be able to stay in business. It’s easy to hang out hats on Amazon, but are we killing the business by doing it?




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2 thoughts on “‘Up the Amazon with the BS Machine ‘ – Ursula K. Le Guin

  1. I definitely agree that hanging our hats on Amazon is killing the book business. They control the publication and distribution of a great proportion of books. That’s way too much power!! What interests me is that people hate big business, but don’t seem to mind that Amazon is rapidly heading in that direction. People seem to think of Amazon more of a service than a business, but they are interested only in the bottom line. Even if I wanted to self-publish with them, I wouldn’t. They need your social security number (at least they did the last time I checked) and there is no way I would ever give them access to my social security number!!

    • I think people see Amazon as the company that has (purportedly) brought democracy to the publishing business. The old line houses wouldn’t (and won’t) read their manuscripts, but Amazon doesn’t judge the work. Add to that a certain entitlement amongst readers that e-books have no inherent value, Amazon is the great savior that provides e-books at minimal prices. That’s my guess about why so many people love the company that’s ruined the business.

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