Why Yes, Every Single Failure of Your Business Model IS an Amazon Conspiracy

Oh, God.  Read this one, on Amazon charging for bandwidth on Kindle downloads.

Amazon changed the rules. They now charge for transfers on a metered basis. Send a file to your Kindle over the air, and it will cost 15 cents/megabyte. Suddenly what once looked attractive now starts to become expensive. If we update a beta book 10 times, and the .mobi file is 5.5Mb (about our average), then you’re out of pocket $9. Because we don’t want our readers to get hit by surprise Amazon bills, we’ll probably remove the feature from our store over the next few days (let us know if you think we should keep it).

Color me paranoid, but I suspect, that’s exactly what Amazon wants publishers to do. Of course, they could argue that it’s fair for readers to pay for bandwidth usage, but in reality I suspect that these transfers are a vanishingly small percentage of their overall network usage.  Instead, Amazon probably realizes that this facility allows publishers to bypass their store and have direct relationships with clients. And Amazon d0esn’t want that. This charge is just enough to discourage most readers to sign up with publishers such as ourselves to receive automatic updates to the eBooks they own.

Yep, it’s all about trying to kick you out.  Yep, they don’t want you to have any control over how your books are sold to the Kindle.  Call the FTC!

Just one problem. A mild, teeny, tiny one, but still a problem:

Amazon’s new policy (as opposed to the old one, of $.10 per book email converted), actually helps people like me. And people like her. And folks like them. And even a Barnes & Noble company. All of us manage to get our single books below 1 meg, in many cases, below 250k, or even 100k.

So, we can now go for it and so some kind of email-2-kindle thing, just to stay competitive.

And, given that erotic romance, and her cooler, more sophisticated sister, smut, dominate the ebook market, and have since around ’01, if Amazon was gonna try and knock anybody out, it’d be us.

But instead of having a $.10 surcharge per title, now we’re looking at $.15 for 5-10 books sold via the Kindle email option, or mebbe $.02 per book (assuming Amazon actually charges.)

Yep, a specific measure to combat the high costs of Kindle power bandwidth users, one that benefits a number of small presses but impacts some bloatware, is anti-competitive “conspiracy.”

I think we have next year’s Tools for Change Keynote; we can pair him with the guy who doesn’t like the way he can’t put links to his own site in reviews.

/Probably going to start doing compressed Mobi this weekend, depending.

About dmoynihan

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