Monday, March 01, 2010

Disappearing Buy Buttons

If you’re a published author of e-books, you might want to keep an eye on the Authors Guild’s Who Moved My Buy Button page.

The Author’s Guild is tracking Amazon’s tactic of removing buy buttons as a way of controlling certain publishers they consider “unruly.” According to the Authors Guild:
The buy buttons are removed, then Amazon calls the publisher and suggests it's time to talk terms
The site has a chronology of the Buy-Button Removal, from 2008 to today. In 2010, the latest entry is called “The Big One.” It appears Amazon removed “buy buttons from nearly all Macmillan titles, not just from e-books, but from physical books….”

Although Amazon has done this sort of thing before, it appears this has a new twist:
Amazon makes its first known use of its buy button weapon to use its heft in the physical book industry to exert control over a new format: e-books
Unless you’re with Macmillan, it doesn’t seem that this will affect you…now. Who knows what moves will happen in the future, though. You can get more details on the site. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. 
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19 comments:

  1. Whaa? Amazon has been misbehaving lately, hasn't it?

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  2. And everyone thought WalMart was the evil empire.

    It's a scary thing. Maybe our government should be concerned that Amazon will remove their Buy-Now buttons!

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  3. Wow, they've got lots of moxy. Doesn't even seem like that should be legal, to play around with control like that.

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  4. Doesn't it often seem that the bigger a corporation or group becomes, the bigger the stick they swing?

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  5. That's quite the magic trick! Think Amazon's too big for its own good.

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  6. I guess this is what they call business. It doesn't surprise me. I have worked for both small company and big company (oil not books) and have seen the tricks from both sides

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  7. Ouch. This isn't pretty.

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  8. I don't think they're doing anything that other businesses don't do, it's just that their moves are more visible. :)

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  9. As if selling books was not hard enough, now I learn there’s something more for unsuspecting authors to look out for.

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  10. Perhaps their actions are more visible because part of the "staff" are not in-office. Their authors are spread all over the place.

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  11. "Amazon makes its first known use of its buy button weapon to use its heft in the physical book industry to exert control over a new format: e-books "

    It's getting messy and it's very visible. Definitely Amazon is swinging it's new might. Legally can they? And is it worth the effort for pubs to bring in an attorney? I guess each Publisher will have to decide that.

    Personally, I don't like games, regardless of the arena.

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  12. While they have put the buy buttons back now, at least for print books, the whole business made a lot of authors very, very angry. (including me)

    Bad idea, Amazon.

    As Scott Westerfeld said, "Hey, Amazon. When cutting off publishers, don’t start with the one that has the most science fiction writers. We will blog you dead!"

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  13. I can see this just going downhill, and fast. Something will set off the domino effect.

    I'm just happy the bookstores in town are still doing well!

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  14. More and more we see this sea change in publishing. Every day it seems I'm reading more about the ebook revolution. Seems like Amazon is only interested in lining their pockets, but what else is new? Sigh...

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  15. It does seem to be that Amazon, like a lot of other "institutions," is throwing its weight around. The low man or woman on the pole gets kicked around (how's that for really mixing metaphors?).

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  16. Are they removing buy buttons as in PayPal on authors' websites? Or buy buttons directly linked to Amazon?

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  17. I usually say "business is business" but this just seems ridiculous. The more I hear about Amazon the less I want to buy from them. If only they weren't so darn easy to shop through! I recently ordered some books through The Book Depository (http://www.bookdepository.com/)--free shipping worldwide. They and Indies are great alternatives to Amazon.

    Michele
    SouthernCityMysteries

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  18. Seems sad but predictable - the big beating up the rest. But I'm glad we have Powell's in Portland.

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