The bookworld may be buzzing about Harper Lee, but busy indies are making the news this week too. Valerie Shanley reports on what’s happening among our ALLi partners and friends.
Amazon Letter To Be Dispatched … Authors are being asked to rally behind a letter to the US Justice Department, requesting it “to examine Amazon’s control of the book market.” The Bookseller reports that the Authors United letter, penned with the help of the Authors Guild, has been “strongly endorsed” by the American Booksellers Association and the Association of Authors Representatives. In question is Amazon’s market share in physical and e-book sales in the US market, to include its 85% of e-book sales from self-published authors. The letter, due to be sent in late July, goes on: “In recent years, Amazon has used its dominance in ways that we believe harm the interests of America’s readers, impoverish the book industry as a whole, damage the careers of many authors, and impede the free flow of ideas in our society.”The formal European Commission investigation into Amazon’s e-book distribution practices and its relationship with publishers is ongoing. When it comes to business competition, it seems the online giant is not an open book — but what business is? Orna Ross points to a lack of understanding of self-publishing by The Guild and will address the letter in her next opinion piece for this blog. We want to know what you think, answers please in the comment box or drop us an email.
Knowing Me Knowing You So No Review … Do a few online comments mean we’re friends now? This matters to Amazon when it comes to author reviews. Galley Cat Editor, Dianna Dilworth reports that Jas Ward, an author who has self-published five books in the Kindle store, has challenged Amazon with a Change.org petition (11,000 signatures so far) to change its policy after one of her readers was unable to post a review of her books on the site. The issue came to Ward’s attention when readers discovered they couldn’t post reviews because they had previously communicated with her online. Enter another indie author, Imy Santiago, whose attempt to post a positive review of another author’s book on Amazon was was rejected because “account activity indicates that you know the author.” Electric Literature.com reports that on her blog, Santiago says she only ever interacted with the author online and considers Amazon’s action as “censorship at its finest.”
Indie-publishing The Swiftest Response to the Bullies … Lovely success story for young author Aija Mayrock whose self-published The Survival Guide to Bullying was picked up by Scholastic. Publishing Perspectives interviewed her on transforming her own painful experience of bullying into a guide for kids and parents alike. And she couldn’t wait to get her story out there, self-publishing her book at 16. “I wanted to get it into kid’s hands as soon as possible. So I self published it as an eBook and made it as inexpensive as possible – $4.99! One month later, Scholastic acquired my book and now it’s sold wherever books are sold! Crazy!” In the introduction, she says, “I’m not a doctor, teacher, or therapist. I’m just a girl. But I’m a girl who has not only survived bullying – I have thrived because of it” Good on you, Aija.
Children Growing Fast These Days … September sees the welcome return of The Bookseller Children’s Conference. According to the magazine, children’s books are the fastest-growing sector in publishing and have out-performed the overall market consistently for many years. The event will focus on how authors bring stories to life and get them into young readers’ hands, and also reveal data and consumer insight into their reading habits. To discover your inner Harry Potter and more, book your place at the Barbican for 29th September.