Sunday, February 12, 2012

Author Exclusivity in Sales Areas

This is going to be a rant. It is my thoughts on this situation and yours may differ. I would like to hear from you and what you think, especially if you are a published writer who has faced this.

I am a Nook user. Before I bought my Nook Color a year ago, I spent several days researching all the different e-readers and their features. I looked into how they worked, what they would do, what book service they would use, and how to get other books from other services. Some were horrible, in my opinion, others were ok, and it came down between Ipod, Nook, and Kindle. We're not Apple users and I just didn't like the fact that it was an "everything" pad and it was larger than I was looking for. I chose the Nook because of the pricing, it is light and it has a back-light included (you don't have to have a clip-on or a cover with a light like the Kindle did), the ability to get service and help, and the fact that it was easy to deal with Barnes and Noble on things. When the Nook Tablet came out, I passed my Nook Color down to one of my daughters and I bought the Tablet. It is light, which is necessary since I am disabled and a heavy book is hard for me to handle now.

I do all my reading on the Nook unless it is a history book or a book on Paganism that I'm adding to my library. Regular "for fun" reading is done exclusively on my Nook and I read everywhere. I read at night in bed when I can't sleep. I read when I'm waiting for doctors, my husband to get off the bus, my grandchildren after school, and other places. It never loses my place and I always can write notes where I am needing to remember something. I have really come to love having the thing. Now I'm doing reviews for Good Reads and other places on it and that has been a lot of fun so far. I've picked up books that I probably would never picked up except for the assignment. I can usually always find the book both on Amazon and Barnes and Noble with no problem.

I ran up against a problem doing a review of the last book I was assigned by the Read 2 Review folks at Good Reads. I had read the first book in the series on my Nook and it was good and I got the second book in the series as an assignment for this week. But the author and publisher had decided to put the book on Amazon exclusively. This was very upsetting and not just for me. Several of the other reviewers were on Nook only and had to back out. So many were only Nook readers and that makes it hard to get reviewers to take the assignment.

I downloaded it and tried to use Calibre to change it from Amazon's Kindle format to the e-pub or at least a PDF form for my Nook to handle. Amazon not only had an exclusive buy on this book but they had a digital lock, a Digital rights management (DRM) on the book and it could not be converted from Kindle to Nook. So I ended up having to download the Kindle app for my laptop and spend time stuck on my couch with my enormous Dell XPS M1730 laptop in my lap reading this book. Not my favorite way to spend my time, and for someone with muscle problems who gets tired, this was also a disability access issue.

Not everyone was as determined as I was, they saw it was Kindle only and they dropped the assignment for this week.  It was just really hard to try to find a way around their rule of "Kindle only" and in the end, having to sit at a computer and read when you have a perfectly good e-reader you can't use to read the book is just not an enticement enough to read a book that you may have not picked up on your own anyway.

Why in the world would an author or publisher limit their readership to one sales unit and one type of reader? Why would you lock out the rest of the reading public when you wrote the book so people would read it? Is Amazon giving you such a great deal that you can stand to lose the readership of the other book dealers and it not hurt your bottom line? Face it, very few writers are doing this job to just put their work out there because it is fun to do, they do want to get paid for it, that's why they call it a profession. So why limit that pay?

I just do not understand this. Can anyone explain it to me?


  1. As an author, I have the problem from that end. I had to struggle to get my publisher (now defunct and I'm moving mainstream) to give me my rights back after they signed a deal for all of us in their ranks to have exclusivity deals. We didn't have much option and not only did it limit sales, it really FUBARed formatting and also the ability to get rights reverted to us when the publisher sank.

  2. I thought about this when I self published my novel A Story Told as an ebook. The main reason I considered making my ebook only available for the Kindle was so that I could give it away for free on 5 times every 90 days. I have seen many authors gain readership from doing such promotions as many people have kindles and shop on Amazon, and free breaks that wall down that separates us from people who don't know who we are because they can read a self published book for free. But I ended up not going exclusive because i feared that I would run across a customer such as you who has a nook, or all those apple people out there who love to buy off ibook store. I can still give my book away for free on smashwords which is good, but last time i did this only 1 person downloaded it because i had to send out a code, but hoping my 2.99 price is low enough to attract potential readers. And hoping to get some reviews up on Amazon or any website that is selling A Story Told so people can see that others are enjoying it:) You can check out A Story Told at

  3. Greetings from Falls County,
    As I understand it all the advantages here would be to Amazon. The only argument I see for an Author to take this deal would be to get published in the first place if that was a condition.

    For me to understand and express this I need to put it in terms of hard copy publishing and sales. This is like saying to have my book sold by Borders I would have to agree not to allow any other bookstore to sell that book. Not Barns and Noble, not Waldens, not the local Murder mystery store. Since the idea is to sell books, limiting the market they can be sold in is stupid!

    You and I would have the same problem, being that you can't use kindel without jumping through hoops. In my case, if the book I wanted was was only available from Borders (if there are any left) I would be out of luck. There are none around here.