You’ve now doubt read about the ongoing war between Amazon and book publishers.
Amazon’s business model is predicated on getting the best possible product to the customer at the cheapest possible price with the best possible service, even if that means squeezing the supplier and obliterating the competition. Publishers – the suppliers – are, quite understandably, not so happy to be squeezed. They’re trying to fight back, to defend their profits and, to an extent, their writers’ livelihoods by keeping book prices, as much as they can, up.
My publisher, Unbound, recently signed a deal with Penguin Random House (PRH) to distribute their books. And so, suddenly, I found myself unwillingly caught up in the crossfire of Amazon-PRH wars.
PRH – for reasons I completely get – want to keep the kindle prices of their books somewhere close to the print prices. And so Life After The State was priced at £6.99. But people stopped buying it. Why shouldn’t they, when there are so many kindle books available for 99p, £1.99 or £2.99?
In the Amazon rankings, Life After The State has always been in the top ten, and often top of the obscure category ‘political economy’. But priced at £6.99, it slid to 396th. At its peak (when I was on the Today programme) Life After The State got to top the of non-fiction, and it remained for a long time in the top 10 for economics. It slid 840th earlier this week. The price of £6.99 effectively killed sales of kindle version of the book.
I kept begging and nagging Unbound to reduce the price, but they couldn’t. Now though, thanks to the wonderful negotiating skills of Jason Cooper at Unbound, PRH have reduced the price to £2.99. We have already “soared” back to 168th in the political economy charts. ( I know how ridiculous that sounds).
Life After The State was a work of, I don’t know, passion, love, something. It was never about the money. I just wanted as many people as possible to read it and see the light about our stupid government systems, which create so much inequality, waste and unnecessary unhappiness. With everything that is going on in the world, there should still be an appetite for the book. At the new price of £2.99,I’m hoping that appetite will be rather sated.
Thanks to PRH for compromising – and thanks Jason!