So, over the weekend, someone or somebot at Amazon apparently decided that Galaxy’s Edge Press was in violation of their terms of service, and deleted and banned their KDP account. Dozens of books disappeared from Amazon in a heartbeat. An entire weekend’s cash flow was disrupted.
It did get resolved, and all the books are back up this morning, though a lot of the details of just what happened are still hazy. There are some ideologues at Amazon who like to pull these little fast ones from time to time. Entire authors have been deleted. There’s no evidence that this is what happened this time, but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
As Nick Cole has said, it still makes one wonder about being Amazon exclusive.
Now, this is concerning to me for a couple of reasons. One, my upcoming releases through GE Press’s Wargate imprint were also affected. But that’s almost a secondary concern.
Amazon has been a hell of a tool for the independent author. Kindle Direct Publishing has enabled thousands who might not otherwise have gotten published–not necessarily due to the quality of their work, either–to get their stuff out there. That’s one of the reasons the company has become a behemoth, the 800-lb gorilla in the room that no author or publisher can afford to ignore.
The problem with the 800-lb gorilla is that when he steps on you, who’s going to stop him?
Everyone in publishing, yours truly included, is inextricably intertwined with Amazon. Their services are how we’re making our money. But as we’ve seen over the last three days, that’s a single point of failure. A single point of failure that can cost you a lot when it fails.
We had a saying in Recon. “Two is one, one is none.” That’s been hard to do with Amazon being the only game in town. There are authors who’ve done well “going wide.” I haven’t been one of them. But now it might be time to start looking seriously in that direction.
I don’t have anything solid yet. Working out the logistics without nuking the business I already have is going to take some careful planning. But one thing I saw fairly clearly a couple years ago, when the reaction to the “Unspecified Virus of Unknown Origin” started breaking supply chains, was that decentralization is key to survival.
Amazon has been useful, but it might be time to start looking for other baskets.
One of the first steps, of course, is the email list. If you’re not already subscribed, please sign on now. It’s going to be the best way to stay connected (especially since Facebook has become increasingly unreliable).