It would seem that the publishing industry is still trying to convince us plebs that they’re poor, hard-working, downtrodden critters scratching by with nary a penny to their name or something, at least if Passive Guy’s latest post is anything to go by. After reading the excerpted section, my masochistic inner self (at least, I presume so because there’s bugger-all else to explain why I’d inflict this on myself) hopped on over to the blog he linked and read the whole piece.
There are no words.
Seriously. I’d say the money quote is “At $9.99 for an e-book, publishers could no longer make their margins” except that there are so many more equally epic fail quotes in there it’s really cruel to only highlight just the one. So, those of you who feel brave, or wish to torture yourselves, read the whole thing. But don’t come whining to me about the stupid. Either this person is quietly snickering behind her screen about the latest one she just pulled on the rubes (unlikely) or she’s gone so far up the De Nile she passed the headwaters and she’s now sailing the uncharted waters… er… something… of her own fundamental orifice and is looking out of her own mouth.
So let’s have a look at this steaming pile of denial (or something). The author of the original post has been reading Brad Stone’s The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon and finds herself conflicted. Apparently the cause of this conflict is that as a reader she loves the convenience of Amazon, but as an agent she fears Amazon is… wait for it… a ruthless competitor. Gosh. Are you shocked? The dear thing seems to believe that ruthlessness in the pursuit of market share and profit is a bad thing in a business. Of course, she probably doesn’t think publisher are really businesses – they’re more like, you know, services to enlighten the public (horrible little plebs they are, don’t know what’s good for them) who’d never do anything so vulgar as chase a profit. At least, not officially….
She goes on to wail about how Amazon’s low low prices for ebooks ($9.99 – horrors!) caused those poor noble publishers extreme stress – conveniently neglecting the little fact that once created the cost of an ebook is somewhere in the order of… oh… zero. Now, when you consider that these same publishers have no issue making their margins on paperbacks at $7.99 to $9.99, half of which will be returned to them to be pulped at the publisher’s expense, well, the bullshit factor is somewhere off the charts. They pay to ship the books to the stores, to have their picks on special display, then pay to ship half of them back, pay even more for storage and warehousing, and pay again to pulp the things – and that’s before you factor in the cost of actually printing them. But generating a file in an ebook format is more expensive than this?
I guess the publishers must be doing what one of Passive Guy’s commenters suggested: maybe they think that ebooks are actually stored on punch cards. Not only that, they must be making the agents do all the punching, with special glittery punches for the works of the Feminist Glittery Hoo Haa crowd. Between the glitter storage (you need specially insulated warehouses, you know. You have to isolate each individual Feminist Glittery Hoo Haa otherwise you’ll come in the next morning to a pile of glitter and a few sad-looking hanging chads), you’d need massive trailers for each new epic fantasy punched out by G.R.R. Martin’s poor overworked agent. The things these poor people suffer.
There is, of course, more, including the mind-boggling assertion that Amazon somehow screwed the publishers by selling ebooks for less than they paid the publishers (I know all the definitions of “screw”, and this does not fit any of them), the flat out lie that Amazon forced those poor, poor publishers to go to the agency model (I have a DOJ lawsuit that says different), the convenient omission of the fact that since the agency model authors have been getting less than they were getting for ebooks when Amazon sold them for less than cost.
Just don’t tell the poor delusional female about this. If her head gets any further up where it is, she’s going to become a singularity and the suckage will destroy the universe.