Category Archives: Delivery Systems

AZ poised for (more) growth, winning the e-book platform, new suit filed against Amazon & Big Six, and more…

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Amazon, the largest marketplace in the world, is prepared to grow some more in 2013.  Somehow I don’t think this is a huge surprise, for those who have been paying attention at all.  It is interesting to note, though, that Amazon hasn’t even been around for ten years, and has become so huge that the number of its employees rival those working for Microsoft. See what other plans are up, at Amazon Genius!

This extreme growth will be at least partially fueled by the fact that customers are rapidly growing to prefer the online shopping experience to brick and mortar shopping, and people even prefer Amazon over eBay, Overstock and Newegg. More of this story at Amazon Genius, again.

Is part of the reason for Amazon’s overwhelming success attributable to the ease of finding popular e-books? David Gaughran thinks so in his blog, Let’s Get Digital. He thinks Amazon wins in the ebook category, at least, because there’s not a huge, built-in bias over already-published and popular authors.

“While Amazon hasn’t done away with “virtual co-op” completely, the vast majority of slots where books are recommended to customers are open to any book, author, or publisher – if they perform well enough.”

And this is the key to winning the ebook platform for writers: lots of recommendations and (paid) downloads. Free downloads only count in the ranking system as one-tenth of the value of a paid download. David discusses the entire concept in depth at his blog.

Last week independent bookstores filed suit against Amazon and the Big Six publishing houses. The problem? Digital Rights Management for ebooks that keeps them from being shared on any e-reader device. Independent book stores are kept from selling e-books, and device owners who wish to read a book must purchase these e-books from their device’s providers.

As an independent writer, I have the choice every time I send up an ebook to Amazon (my only publishing platform for now) whether or not to enable Digital Rights Management. I always choose not to enable DRM, simply because I don’t want to make my readers angry. I do happen to believe, though, that once I have sold a copy of my book, it should belong to the buyer, not to me, and certainly not to Amazon or the manufacturer of any reading device. As long as the contents can’t be altered any more than they could be on a printed copy of the book (which is, of course, not at all), I think the buyer should be able to share his copy (singular) with whomever he wishes. I do not think e-book buyers should be able to make unlimited copies and pass them around to everyone. But just as they could hand over a printed copy of my book, they should also be able to share an electronic version. DRM has not, in my opinion advanced to the point where it allows purchasers of my books to treat them like physical books, and until it does, I’ll skip that part and be glad someone wants to read them!  (Note:  Amazon already allows writers who publish on the KDP Select platform to share copies of their books, but these shares are only allowed within the Amazon, and thus Kindle, platform.)

The key with publishing, of course, is not only NOT to anger the readers, but to get people interested enough to want to buy – and share –  my books! That’s the true challenge in ebook publishing – rising above the huge pool of new publications which are flooding the market in some cases not because the authors have something important to say, but just because there are practically no barriers to entry! Still, I don’t want someone else deciding which books are good enough for download – let the marketplace speak!

And finally, in an attempt to blame every bad thing in the world on our favorite retailer, Waterstone’s CEO James Daunt says that skyrocketing unemployment in the U.K. is Amazon’s fault as well. He reasons that Amazon is receiving huge tax breaks to expand in the U.K. and that the low-paying warehouse jobs do little to make up for the retail jobs lost as Amazon takes over the publishing and retail sales platforms that are being lost as a result.

My opinion is that, while not every advance in technology is a great thing, technology will advance, whether we like it or not, and the financial, economic and employment landscape will change with it. Best to adapt, learn and bend it toward our own eventual use than it is to try (futilely) to hold back innovation by sticking our fingers in the virtual dike. Things may not always change as we’d like,and in fact I can pretty much guarantee that some changes are going to be uncomfortable, but change they will. The original interview with Mr. Daunt is only available for registered users, and I didn’t want to register, but you can read a good synopsis of the story at Good

I’d love to hear from you in the comments whether you think Amazon is harming the already-poor employment situation by providing low-paying jobs here in the U.S. and causing higher-paid jobs to be eliminated.

Photo credit: The Scales of Justice (Colin Smith) / CC BY-SA 2.0

No more freebie eBooks? What price DRM-free? Cloud Player connecting to your car…and more!

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No more freebie ebooks? Not a great thing for those of us who download a lot of them, but Amazon is about to start penalizing sites that point their affiliate links primarily toward free downloads. I don’t expect this will – at all – keep people from using free promos as a sales tool, but it is definitely going to have an impact on these freebie sites, who obviously are hoping that while you are there picking up the freebie, you’ll buy something and they’ll get a commission for it. Details at   Although this penalty will only kick in with some pretty hefty downloading, the start date for this new penalty is March 1st.

Speaking of paying, how much more would you pay for a DRM-free book? When you consider many indie authors don’t place DRM restrictions (I certainly don’t) on their ebooks anyway, I suppose it only matters if you purchase mainstream ebooks for your reading device. However, has a test running. Head over there to see which will come out more successful.  My nickel is on the DRM-free, even if it costs a little bit more.  (Though my thoughts are: boo on the extra payment required.  When you go to the store and buy a physical paperback or hardback book, you don’t have to pay extra if you plan to loan it to someone else, do you?  I think this is eventually going to come back and bite authors where it hurts, but I am not yet sure exactly how).

Amazon Cloud Player – available now in your car?  Starting last week, Ford SYNC Applink-equipped vehicles have made this service available for your audio listening pleasure.   Is this a step toward making Kindle content also available through your vehicle?  I guess time will tell, but Amazon’s not (yet) telling more than what you will see in this link to help.

And finally, is wondering whether Amazon should take pity on Radio Shack and just buy it to put it out of its misery.  Since Amazon has instituted the “locker” concept for quickly and safely delivering items people have ordered,  Mashable thinks RS stores might be a great place to further implement the idea.

How would you feel about going to your local Radio Shack to pick up items you ordered from Amazon?


Amazon purchases office site, Commissions six pilots, and more…

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The Seattle Times reports that Amazon is paying over $207 million for their new site at Denny Triangle. It’s going to be a high-rise office complex covering three blocks! The first city permit applications (for demolishing an old hotel on the property) have already been filed.   It’s hard to imagine a company that needs that much room to operate, but when you consider the size of the warehouses, and the ever-increasing number of customers, I guess it makes sense!

And stepping off in another new direction, Amazon is panning to commission six original comedy pilots for its streaming Instant Video service – and they’re asking prospective viewers what they want to see! That’s certainly a refreshing change. Once the six pilots are finished, viewers will get to watch them for free and give their comments and feedback. Read the story on USA Today.

I previously talked about Amazon’s (Lockers) and Googles (BufferBox) delivery systems, and now these two companies are going to be joined by The hallmark of a successful service is that it draws competition, so this new service must be making customers very happy. Look for these systems to soon be installed in office supply companies, drugstores, and convenience stores. I only have to wonder, though: often has large items, and the locker systems I’ve seen typically only handle smaller packages. Time will tell, but in the meantime TechCrunch talks about it in more detail.

So, that’s about it for Amazon today. I think they are really too busy selling and delivering to make much news right now. Even though online sales have slowed down a little (after all, it’s **almost** too late to deliver before Christmas), Amazon is still working hard to get everything that’s ordered out to the customers.

I hope you all have a wonderful, Happy Christmas, Holiday Period, Kwanzaa, or whatever holiday you celebrate. I will be back with you all shortly after the 25th!