Let’s go Amazon Bashing!

“Bored tonght? I know, let’s go Amazon bashing!”

Hachette – who to put it clearly, are a massive, multinational corporation, part of group of publishers who were involved in DoJ case –where they and Apple colluded to rip off customers (yes, let’s be blunt. That was why they had to pay damages to the customers), a group which controls 85% of the print market, who operate as a de facto cartel (the prices, working conditions, payment to suppliers is effectively the same. This is as close to a monopoly and monopsony as you get without them being the same company.) From customer and supplier’s point of view it is indistinguishable and just bad news. There is no positive side for either suppliers or customers in any way. For a brilliantly inaccurate spin and revisionist history on it you could see here- or not waste your time. Hachette is no different from any of the other big 5 publishers – they pay a tiny fraction of the e-book cover price to the author – probably 12-15% (25% of net. They have learned well from the movie industry). Moreover they outweigh the authors in any negotiation many, many, many more times than Amazon out-weighs them, and the terms of any agreement between authors and them reflect this. Their accounting is unjustifiably opaque (so you may… or may not get your 12-15%. You will never know. You just have to trust them. And why wouldn’t you?), and their payments ridiculously slow. The contracts are labyrinthine and certainly not what anyone could consider ‘fair’. Oh and if you as an author complained publically, or said something they didn’t like, they can and will destroy your career – not just with them but with the cartel, and with the cartel’s co-operative affiliates, the distributors and big box retailers. Just ask John Norman. Notice the lengths that their authors go to, to avoid apportioning blame where it obviously belongs – the post about Hugo nominee’s e-copies by Charles Stross is a good example, as is the post JA Konrath fisks here.

All-in-all, if you were writing one of the ever-so-predictable novels about the evil multinational corporation, this probably provides a better model than the normal oil company (oddly this never happens). In short… very nice guys! (If you happen to be published by them. Or want to be traditionally published at all.)

Now these very nice guys are having a fight with Amazon about… well, it appears to be about their way of gaming the system. Some of it you can see here The Hachette technique appears to be something like this – Amazon pays say 70% on our cover price. Amazon discounts e-book prices to bring them under $9.99. We price our bestsellers new e-books at considerably more. Say $15. We offer a discount – say $8.00 to our ‘friends’ elsewhere – say at B&N (I don’t know, but I can’t see how this can work otherwise. B&N would be up in arms too otherwise. And this is nothing new to publishers. Ask ANY small bookseller about the terms they get, as opposed to one of the chains.). Amazon discounts the e-book to 9.99 to keep its market share. They pay us $10.50 (our 70%) for that sale. Amazon eats a loss of $0.51. The other sellers can match the Amazon price, and make a profit. Even if Hachette drops the cover price to where it isn’t a loss – unless that cover price is $9.99 or less, Hachette gets bigger share of the sale price than 70%.

So Amazon are apparently arguing about who eats the cost of the discount. No doubt they want to make profit. After all, like Hatchette, they are giant-evul-multinational-corp tm and are probably saving hard for their volcanic island lair. And evul henchmen don’t come cheap.

And as part of the fight, Amazon have taken down pre-order buttons (which if you might not be in business together, or might have far worse terms than you can afford…is wise). There have also been sales delays. These it appears are a result of Amazon not pre-ordering a lot of stock, but waiting on resupply. Hachette claims to have been really quick about filling these orders, just as they claim the authors get all that is due to them. You’ll just have to trust them, as they’re not providing proof (meanwhile there is evidence that this is not the case. These people must be liars. When did giant-evul-multinational-corp ever tell anything but the truth!) Now, as these authors point out, Hachette’s various subsidiaries editors make their pitches to buy future books on the basis of these figures. Hachette knows the proportion sold by Amazon so actually their editors and those they pitch to… should have no trouble whatsoever in correcting the figures. But then, perhaps they’re so used to blaming authors and treating them as replaceable, disposable widgets, they’d rather just do that.

Authors however… are livid – well some of them, Joe had one above, and there are bunch more doing the same, apparently. They’re losing sales to bad Amazon, who are just victimizing those poor good nice guys at Hachette. They’re going to punish them by taking down those Amazon buy buttons on their sites. Going to recommend readers get their books elsewhere. Authors – by-in-large—are not wealthy. This is of course a direct result of the way the retail cost of that book is divided. The publishers make a far larger net profit (let alone gross income), than most authors make gross income. And that gross-to-net, well they run a lot expenses that add no value to the author, or to the buyer. The publishing industry has made some dramatic saving and found a lot of extra cash – getting authors to pay for slush reading (the agent system) electronic typesetting (much cheaper) and rapidly diminishing returns – and no returns at all on e-books. None of this found its way back to the author. None. Zero. Very nice guys. So generous.

But, but…but! Amazon are just robbing the poor authors. Action!

I wonder how many of them know that Amazon – not Hachette, has offered to put up a fund – matched dollar for dollar, with Hachette, to see that the authors don’t suffer financially from this. For Amazon, that would be a total loss, for Hachette it would be looking after their authors.

Hachette have refused. Maybe later. In the meanwhile, authors can do without. Really very nice guys. Amazon uncaring Evul! Burn them!

And it’s not the first time Amazon has done this. They did it in the MacMillan dispute too.

Oddly I’ve never heard a MacMillan author mention it. I suppose it is bad form, not going to be popular with your editor. Amazon are supposed to be untrammeled evul. Or maybe MacMillan just omitted to mention where it came from or pass it on. But agents are supposed to scrutinize payments. If I was a MacMillan author, and I didn’t get it, I’d be asking my agent, and my publisher awkward questions. If I was a Hachette author suffering losses… I’d be asking why they would rather have me suffer hardship than take the money and stop hurting me.

Except… they dare not.

It’s a little like the pogroms of the 19th early 20th century. The peasant mobs beating, killing and raping the Jews (and later other nationalities) were not going to take on the nobles who really were the reason for their poverty. And the nobles had reasons for wanting to drive out the victims too, and always got the best loot. A win-win… except the peasant were worse off after, and the victims were a lot worse off, and the society lost tradesmen and skills. But the nobles did well, temporarily, out of it. Very nice guys, as any peasant would have hastily told you.

The big difference is that Amazon not a small weak group who are powerless to resist. It is more difficult for a retailer. They have to stay popular with their customers, who do not have to call them very nice guys. Publishers have no such worries. It’s therefore massively unlikely Amazon is going to engage in the sort of actions that Hachette hands to its authors every day. It’s rather like the current favorite kicking scapegoat – old white men. Preferably heterosexual, married, Christian and conservative in politics and behavior, probably a redneck from the sticks who works for big oil. They’re the current favorite villain. I know. It makes slightly less sense than an emu on LSD. Like Amazon they’re perfectly capable of resisting, they just don’t. When it comes down to reality, and if your daughter had her car break down and had to run away from some thugs who stopped to attack her, the chances that the attackers will be those ‘villains’ is miniscule compared to almost any other group, and her chances of protection and safety are highest with those nasty old white conservative men, closely followed by nasty old tea-bagger white women who are armed and can shoot. That’s actually the ‘message’ that would be in the best interests of the victims… but Heaven help you if you say so in your book. The SJW will be out to crucify you, and, in a publishing world ruled by our dear friends Hachette, and the others who controlled 85% of print publishing, would have destroyed your career forever.

And, friends, therein lies the truth. The problem in publishing… isn’t Amazon (as this small publisher points out) Yes, they’re a big corporation, doing business the way big corporations do, but they have real reason to keep authors and readers sweet. Publishers don’t, even though authors dare not complain. Just as the problem in society isn’t the old white farmer on his way to a church picnic with his wife and kids. Their ‘sexism’ and ‘racism’ are barely even visible compared to the fanatical Somali Jihadi living next door and beating the hell out of his wife for being late with the supper. But the former will shrug and let a vegan feminist from NY tell him how evil he is because 1) He knows it is irrelevant BS. 2) He knows it’s not worth arguing right now. 3) He’s a decent man who won’t hit a woman, or anyone weaker than himself, and she sure is. The latter – well, if he doesn’t kill you for doing so, the SJW will surely lead an internet crusade to make your life a misery. Guess which one the vegan feminist is going to have a ball badmouthing?

Rather like those old white conservative heterosexual men, the fact that everyone dares demonize Amazon says that rather than a threat… they’re not. They may well, finally, get tired of it all. They could destroy Hachette. Take down their product… or just wait them out (the big publishers are proving what happens to a cartel – when it faces competition). Or the forces marshalled against them may finally get too much, and the old order may put authors back in their place, uppity little peasants, and the great unwashed customers can be grateful for what they get. We’re educating them!

But I hope not. I’m sick of eating apple peelings every third Thursday which I know our very good guys thought was spoiling us. I’m kind of fond of getting 70% of the income, and writing what I want to write. This IS a big fight… for readers and writers. And no matter what the various Lord Haw Haws say… follow the freedom and the best deal for authors and readers.

Yes, I know. One of those injured darlings Hachette authors said all independents need was a penis and lots of typos… I’m IN. So, guys: which cover appeals more? – the book is nearly ready to go. (on Amazon).

Stardogs2

cover for Stardogs1b

    Update

– I see this new development. Good luck with it. (and I mean this earnestly. It probably won’t help the big 5 uh 4 uh 3… because it is probably deck chair shuffling. But it’ll give Amazon reason to support indies more. And if they want to survive, BaM will probably have to do the same.

72 Comments

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72 responses to “Let’s go Amazon Bashing!

  1. dgarsys

    BOTH – the smaller print impressed close and jammed together – can you try giving the letters a bit more room even if you drop a point or so in size?

    “CITY” – the backgrounds for your name and the time provide good contrast – but the mottled clouds are a bit busy behind the smaller text since it does;t have a strong darker contrast around the top of it

    SPACESHIP – evokes “stardogs” more to me (dogs hunt in packs, spaceships are mobile…), and also looks more “painted” than “this is 3D” – but the yellow of the background moon and generally brighter cast make the contrast issues much worse for your name. You could put a subtle dark gradient to make the white in the title pop a bit more, but getting some less cluttered small type and a better contrasting color for your name would help more.

    Looking forward to a new book to read either way

  2. I would pick cover one. And Amazon has been very very good to this indie author. I make than many traditionally published authors I have met (not all, of course) and Amazon makes money off of me and everybody is happy (well, maybe except for some traditionally published authors with more sales and less money). And my readers get a good ebook for a lot less than an ebook put out by the traditionals.

    • Doug, Amazon have never been anything but pleasant an professional with me too. And FAST to respond. Honest and reliable in their payment and accounting. I’d love not to do the jump around, but the financial incentive is great, and a lot easier to deal with than most publishers. I recently had one of your books recommended to me BTW.

      • The one time I had a problem with my Amazon royalties, it was researched, corrected, and money in my account in 36 hours from the time I first contacted them. I doubt any traditional publisher could do that.

  3. Christopher M. Chupik

    Cover #2, definately.

  4. Tully

    “the big publishers are proving what happens to a cartel – when it faces competition”

    That, right there. Amazon has developed a more efficient sales/delivery model for books and e-books that shortens the supply chain between the oligopoly and the ultimate consumer, capturing much of the market demand on the selling side. This gives them oligopsony powers, and they’re using them. This in turn undermines both the price-setting capabilities of the traditional publishing oligopoly AND the barriers to competitive entry that enable that oligopoly’s existence (and thus its ability to capture excess economic profits) in the first place.

    It’s one battle in an ongoing price war brought on by changes in technology. Both sides are grabbing for a share of those excess economic profits, which will shrink as a portion of overall profits as the war continues.

    “follow the freedom and best deal for authors and readers”

    Hear hear.

    • And it appears – to me, anyway, that Amazon are fighting the retail battle – where they were the underdogs, and publishers were very very powerful – with computer savvy, and publishing just refuse to adapt.

  5. Tully

    Also #2 for me. #1 looks bleak and lifeless. #2 with the lonely ship has an undertone of pugnacious attitude. I like that. 🙂

  6. robfornow

    “Amazon has developed a more efficient sales/delivery model for books and e-books that shortens the supply chain between the oligopoly and the ultimate consumer, capturing much of the market demand on the selling side. ” Same story for Walmart, Distributorship is the key. That’s why I order from the Internet. With Amazon, I get great service, Don’t like something, hit the “chat” button. Instant service and they will stay on the line with you until the problem is solved. I can hardly navigate B&N.

    On the cover- I prefer the ‘City’ like an Anastasi village. It advises that the story is going to be more interpersonal than a dry desert.

    • Speaking purely as a customer, Amazon has been a much better shopping experience than most. And their recommendation algorythms are getting better and better. I got my own book recommended to me again the other day. Yeah. I WOULD like that author!

  7. I’d go with #2. The reflection of the building in #1 seems to match up with the building, but the reflection of the planet seems off. And that keeps drawing my eye and making me ignore everything else. Plus, in #2, there’s a COOL SPACESHIP!!!

  8. dougirvin

    The first cover seems dark and foreboding. Don’t know if that was the intent. And except for the washout of your name (valid point) the second one seems to stand out better.
    Is there a reason the ship resembles a Firefly class tramp? Not that I’m complaining – I like them!

  9. Luke

    Both are pretty good. If the story is going to be more about exploring alien archaeology, go with the first. If it’s not, go with the second.

    • It’s more about dealing with the planet and each other… mostly. There is a little archeology – but the buildings are still alive.

  10. sabrinachase

    Definitely second cover … but I would change the second “survive” in the tag text to “escape” (or if that is not appropriate, something else other than a repeat of survive)

  11. Cover #1. It draws you to wonder about the motherworld. The other is just another spaceship and the story is about the world.

  12. I like the deeper colors of the first one, but the second does stand out better. And it does have a cool spaceship.

  13. masgramondou

    Stross has some comments on the Amazon thing too where he points out (correctly) that division of labour is a good thing and that therefore it makes sense for him to stick to writing the book and let someone else do all the complicated “turn it into a product the punters will buy” bit.

    What he doesn’t mention though is the price that the publisher charges for its editting, sales and marketing services. As I undertsand it if you publish direct with Amazon you get a royalty rate on the order of 2/3rds of the sales price (and you get to control that price). So if a reader buys a book that you charge $6 for then you get $4. With a trad pub in the way you get 25% of the net price. So to get that same $4 the book has to be sold at $16. Amazon probably gets $2-3 from that and the remaining $9 -$10 goes to the publisher. [Guess what? you are going to have a lot fewer sales of a $16 book than you are for a $6 one.]

    If publishers want to stay relevant they need to cut their margins. In fact it seesm to me that an reasonable split for e-books would be author 50%, amazon 25%, pub 25% yet that doesn’t seem to be what they are willing to go for.

    Cover #1 for me.

    • Net. Amazon pays the _publisher_ 70% of that $16 cover price, then the author gets 25% of that. $2.80. To get $4 per copy sold, the price has to be jacked up to almost $23.

      Which is why writers are skipping past the middle man and becoming their own publishers. More money for the author, but also lower costs for the buyers and readers.

    • Luke

      Stross has also commented that the current state of publishing is unfair to most authors, and has admitted that he’s one of the fortunate exceptions. (Which rapidly became a “Boo! Amazon!” rant.)

    • As Pam points out it is 70% – and as Forbes article points out the profit part of an e-book is high. Yes, I agree with Stross on the division of labor – where he and I differ, profoundly, is the value we put on the various parts of that labor. Look, a cover artist will manage – depending on the medium used and quality – anything between 1 and 20 works a month. A great cover designer, given the artwork and text needed, can put a reasonable cover together in a couple of hours. Call it a day at the outside. Editing varies enormously but the reality is the kind of hard editing needed to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse just doesn’t happen. Two or three days would be generous, a week exceptional. Proof reading and copy editing seldom occupy more than a couple of days each, a week being generous. The marketing effort and time expended on the average book (Stross gets extra) doesn’t even add up to hours. Guido Henkel puts his conversion of a book to e-format (and he is very good -better than most publishers have) to about 2 hours. Few writers can produce a book (including their own edits) in less than 6 weeks – and that tend to be a lot more than 8 hour days. A year is not atypical. 4-6 months would be a normal, hard working author’s time. His skills – at writing the book which is why people buy books EXCEED all the rest (enough agents, editors, proof readers and yes, even artists have tried their hand at being novelists. Mostly they fail. Most novelists can do all the other jobs (barring the art) with a little training, not substantively worse than they’re being done. Yes, because their own books only need the job done once every 4 months to a year, it takes longer (and many of them hire professional for realistic prices for the skill and time needed). So – art aside (and you can buy an acceptable maybe even good piece off dreamstime for $20, commission something reasonable for $250-$400 (I used to by art for the magazine), get a top name for $4000 – and some pretty good stuff between.) So: valuing all the non-writing labor (because I can do all of it nearly as well or better, but slower) at 1.5 per day of what the author gets – taking the longest setting for all of those and 4 months for the author… The highest value I can put on their input is less than 25% or one quarter of what I earn from the book for not doing it myself. That’s what it is costing me – plus the cost of the art. The gap between what publishers think they’re worth, and what calculation shows they’re worth is still WAY too big.

      Retail – as long as it gets me to a lot of customers, is worth a much larger cut. There, sensibly, a multiplier would come into play, increasing their take to a ceiling, depending on how many customers bought your product.

  14. Scott

    I like choice one. Choice two, in my opinion, needs tighter drop shadow on the lettering, and I think the colors are too blown out. In a thumbnail, the blurb will be hard to read for either.

    That said, I’m now curious to read it!

  15. First version. The yellow and white name and title stand out better on the first than the second. And the first one says that the interesting thing is the world; the second one says that the world is a wasteland and everything happens on the ship.
    I’d change the two uses of “survive”.
    “Forbidden mother world of the lost alien empire” sounds a bit cheesy, and I’d like to know who the “survivors” are. A school field trip who forgot to make a left at Altair? A squad of mercenaries? Outcast crazy scientist? Perhaps something more like: “A mercenary team explores the dead homeworld of the alien empire. They will inherit the stars–if they survive.” Mind you, nobody pays me to write, so take that with a grain of salt, and a little lime…

    • Yeah… as I said to Sarah, I suck at one line cover teasers. That’s why I prefer the novel format. The group are the survivors of an attempted hijacking in theta-space which goes catastrophically wrong, and results in the stardog – an alien genetically engineered starship – one of the many that humans found wondering around the destroyed Empire — returning to the motherworld (which had been quarantined, inevitably too late). Basically three sets of villains, and the principal good guy is a reformed holy assassin – who has been brain-damaged and is now reliving his killings ;-/
      They have to co operate to survive. Some have to die.

  16. Wes S.

    I think I’d go with #2 as well. It’s a much more dramatic, eye-catching scene IMHO; the first cover seems a bit too “busy” and dark.”

  17. Synova

    I like the second one better simply because of the intensity of the color.

  18. I like the second cover better, but would change “the lost alien empire” to “a lost alien empire” on either cover.

    • Thanks. Good point. This is what comes of writing knowing the content for people who don’t know the content (I know there is only one empire, but a buyer looking at the cover won’t)

      • Synova

        I wanted to second the “a” instead of “the”. I didn’t notice it when I looked at the cover myself. I guess I was just looking at the graphic design. Once Zachary mentioned it I can’t *not* notice it.

  19. Sean

    *shrug* Te big boys don’t phase me. I’ve harrassed the ever loving shit out of editors at and CEO’s of publishing companies alike Via email.
    I like to go in a bookstore and browse so I’ll still use B&N, by and large though if it’s a slightly older novel it gets picked up at a second hand store. for all things ebook? [and a number of books and other assorted stuff]
    amazon.

    • ‘I’ve harrassed the ever loving shit out of editors at and CEO’s of publishing companies alike Via email.” – as one of their writers or a reader, Sean?

      • Sean

        As a reader. I informed an editor and the vice president of a publishing company that if the editor couldn’t do her goddamn job [she’d had the manuscript for something like 8-10months at that point of an author who I won’t mention] and if the VP couldn’t find a competent editor that it was time for them to find their true place in life given their skill sets…as janitors I sent something around 12 emails. From what I heard…they didn’t enjoy them much

        *shrug*

  20. Sean

    Oh and I like the City background Dave

  21. Mark Alger

    #2, with the Serenity-looking spaceship. Of course.

    M

  22. # 2 gets my vote. #1 is confusing and I’m not certain it will work as a thumbnail (thinking of on-screen book browsing).

    I look at what it costs me to put a book up on the ‘Zon, and what I can earn, look at my academic press contracts (which, granted, are some of the worst around for various reasons), and read what folks with the Big Five and H-rlequin and others get. Assuming anyone besides Baen would even look twice at what I write, I’d still be foolish to go anywhere but indie, until the Big 5 figure out that the supply of writers is growing finite while the supply of buyers just might be, not infinite perhaps, but a h-ll of a lot less finite.

    • TXRed – the curious thing about the big 5’s writers are infinite in supply, writing is easy, they are far more skilled etc – is the LONG list of editors who obviously believed this – and thought they might as well take advantage of being able to manipulate distribution in their favor. And failed. Even with advantages in contacts and promotion that most author could never dream of, the very most successful of them is just midlist.

  23. Blume

    Cover number one. I don’t like the washed out red haze feeling on cover 2.

  24. Arwen Riddle

    I like the second cover better.

  25. I like the city image but it needs haze and depth of field to give a sense of scale.

  26. Given the teaser tag, I prefer the first cover. A lot of it is going to depend on the subject of the story. Is the stardog a major focus as the title suggests (that the stardog is a ship isn’t clear from the tag or the second cover), or is the survival on the lost empire motherworld more important? The city seems important, given the whole motherworld angle, and the second cover focuses on the ship over what appears to be a dead world.

    • Humans cross interstellar space using Stardogs – an organic sentient (intelligent as a border collie) creature capable of traversing the vast distances by going through a chaotic ‘folded’ area of space-time ‘surf’. (Mechanically possible but terribly hard and expensive to do, demanding vast amounts of calculation and rapid response). The Stardogs, once the first one was discovered gave access to hundreds of worlds, all unpopulated but once inhabited. All the the worlds of the Denaari dominion, except the motherworld. And the problem is the Stardogs have been engineered to only breed there, but to stop the plague (which destroyed the Denaari ) the stardogs cannot go back there with their cargo. The only time this is over-ridden is when it happens that one dies – or begins to die, in surf. It has happened before ,but the cargo (human craft) has never been intended to be able to decelerate and land – so there are lots more baby stardogs there – they just do not go back to the old dominion. It’s not a world which is much chop for humans – The denaari were a silicate life-form and there isn’t a lot of water. They have to cross several hundred miles of tectonically active desert to get to the stardogs. Part of this does involve the alien archeology, and part of it alien animals, and part of really dangerous creatures – other hominid escapees from a biozoo ;-/

  27. #1 by far. I will also look better in a thumbnail.

  28. VLL

    For the covers– tough call. The eye is drawn to the bottom one more than the top, but the top excites my world building salivator.

    Also the second has enough space between the planet and everything else. The top one looks like it’s going to be crushed by the planet above it. Which might be a feature or foreshadowing. Just my 0.02 cents plus inflation. 🙂

  29. Which looks better as a thumbnail?

    I’m guessing #1 will look better as a thumbnail. There’s not enough contrast with #2 and all it makes me think is staring at the sun. The yellow title is not a good choice, at least.

    When I properly *look* at them, #2 is my preference, because I don’t really click with #1’s aesthetic. But as-is, I’m not sure #2 would catch attention.

  30. Pingback: World turned upside down | madgeniusclub

  31. symon

    The #1 cover looks better to me, #2 is too bright and tends to wash out the text, also the story is more about the world, yes?

  32. Dan Lane

    Cover 2. Looks better as thumbnail (text size shrunk on the screen and stood way back), and with shadows on the title it will show up better.

    And, I admit, even reading this I clicked on the (second) cover anyway to see if I could buy it. *grin* A bit tired and scatter-thoughted today.

  33. I would pick cover #2, but I would still suggest to change the text color of the author name. Yellow text on yellowish background offends my eyes!

  34. Yuran Asshole

    Why did this article about Amazon and publishers veer into becoming a platform for your filthy racism? Oh yeah, because you’re a filthy racist, that’s why.

    • Well, Mr Asshole, or is that Ms Asshole? To avoid being unwittingly offensive I’ll settle for just calling you Asshole, as someone would Jane or Joe Smith ‘Smith’. I don’t feel I know you well enough to be familiar and call you Yuran, and I don’t think I want to. Besides, people would think I was taking the p!ss, I am certain I never veered into anything. I’m a very careful driver. Most of your comment reflects the fact that you’re singly uninformed, yuran-poor at doing basic research, unable to read or think coherently, but great at taking offense. Or a fence. Isn’t that uncomfortable for an Asshole? You are however correct on a minor detail, I am filthy. I just finished mucking out the pig-sty. I am, and always have been, frequently filthy, because I do a lot of those hard, physical dirty jobs. This accounts for the fact that I have over the years being called a filthy Kaffirboetie (look it up, Asshole. Oh no, you’re too incompetent to do that. It’s a derogatory term for black person brother), a filthy commie, a filthy racist, and a slew more insults starting with filthy, which have all been 50% inaccurate. The correct part was ‘filthy’ in case you’re too stupid to grasp this. I do know grasping things is a hard task for an Asshole, as it is not their biological function. You really are good at what Assholes do best. Now let’s talk about this ‘racist’ comment, which you seem to think is a great way of shutting up anyone who says something you don’t like. As it happens, I know a great deal about unfair racial discrimination, which, in case this was in the ‘too hard’ basket for you to grasp is what ‘racists’ are called that name for doing. South Africa, where they have real recent historical reason to identify and combat racism, wrote this very clearly into their Constitution (which has what is widely praised (although I think it inferior to the US one, myself)) – section 9 ‘equality’ go to some length to establish that there is nothing wrong with ‘fair’ discrimination. To try and put this in terms that even an Asshole can understand: To say a man with a PhD in Computational Physics is stupid because of the color of his skin, is unfair discrimination. To say a man who set his pants on fire while trying to light his own fart is stupid, is not discrimination or unfair, regardless of his skin color. Got it? To say a group (or race) of people – say Japanese – are cowardly because they’re Japanese and all Japanese are cowards is unfair (on the basis of the facts, easily ascertained) and plainly discriminatory, to say nothing of stupid. To say the Japanese are lousy market for blonde hair conditioner _is_ discrimination – but it is neither unfair nor racist. It deals with facts and probabilities based on those facts. There are very few blonde Japanese. You don’t have to like the facts, but they’re not racist. Asshole, I know this is hard for someone with sh!t for brains, but try to understand. Now, the reason I compared Amazon – the publishing world’s favorite kicking boy in business, to old white men, the publishing and arts world’s current favorite kicking boy for everything else, besides that similarity, are the following. They’re both very large (but not the largest – Apple and white women being those I’d say) entities/groups. They’re both potentially very powerful. They’re demonstrably being demonized unfairly — as I pointed out for OWM used as villains, usually violent, when the facts -easily ascertained show this to be massively improbable. Crime, particularly violent crime, has a very clear age profile – across nations and race groups, and sexes too. It peaks in 17-24 area, and drops rapidly after that. Similar data exist for race profile which when compared to the demographics of the US, show that even with a vast difference in numbers, your chances of being attacked by a white man, even if he wasn’t old too, are lower than than for several other groups. Despite huge effort going into trying to find otherwise… rural (where the probability is very much higher the county will be red state) areas have much lower crime per capita, than their inverse. You can go on down the list, but the truth is the groups I mention are actively unfairly discriminated against – by definition, on the receiving end of racism. Likewise, Amazon does so many things provably better than their peers for customers and suppliers alike -rapid settlement, transparent accounting, rapid customer response, great author support, that calling the company the villain is hard to grasp – when compared to their peers. It’s true to say they are being unfairly discriminated against, as traditional publishers are far worse. Finally, neither Amazon, nor AWM have responded to what amount to vicious and unjustified attacks. They’re similar in the features I describe, and thus we may derive that the reasons for attacking them — rather than their peers — are similar too. And in a nutshell, it seems to be pogrom behavior by most of the attackers. They would not dare attack the other more legitimate targets. It seemed important to dispel the narrative that ‘Amazon is big – so Amazon is bad’ by comparing it to a group which is also big and is similarly accused, and for which the evidence also does not hold up, to establish that this can be true.

      Speaking for myself here: I believe in judging individuals on their merits, regardless of other, usually irrelevant features (I’ve yet to meet anyone who wrote with their skin or vagina. I’ve read work from some excellent writers who are neither white nor male nor old. I’ve read some stinkers people who are neither white nor male nor old). I believe in equality before the law, and as much chance of equality of opportunity as possible. I believe all humans have an inalienable right to die. The rest of the ‘rights’ are constructs of society, many of which I support as deeply held ideals, even where such ideals produce outcomes I don’t enjoy or like (which means for instance I let someone who calls himself an Asshole spill his drivel on our site). I have said the above many times on public record. There is plenty of evidence of I and my family having stood for those beliefs. I’ve been beaten up for it, spied on, one of my cousins was jailed, another spent 20 or so years in exile for opposing racial discrimination. If you think that makes me a ‘racist’, you really need to stop trying to set fire to your own farts. However, I do admire your posting under your own name, as most moronic trolls don’t dare . And now, as I am filthy, I must go and take a shower.

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