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SFWA Now Directing Readers Anywhere but Amazon

The SFWA decided this week that if a publisher can cut ties with Amazon, why can’t they? In what’s bound to be a painful wake-up call for Amazon, the SFWA website is about to lose most of the buy links to the retail giant.

As you probably know, the SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) is a professional organization for authors of SF and fantasy. A lot of authors have a page on the site with a list of their books and link to where you can buy them. As of today, those links aren’t going to include Amazon (unless it cannot be avoided).

Here’s the relevant part of the announcement:

While Amazon has the right to decide with what company it does business, its removal of many of our authors’ books from its ordering system will have an economic impact on them. Our authors depend on people buying their books and a significant percentage of them have books distributed through IPG.  Therefore, SFWA is redirecting links from the organization’s website  to other booksellers because we would prefer to send traffic to stores where the books can actually be purchased.

To that end, our volunteers are in the process of redirecting book links to indiebound.orgPowell’s, and Barnes and Noble.

This isn’t the big 6 publisher that I predicted yesterday, but it’s still not a small story. And what’s even more interesting is that the SFWA made this decision yesterday.

Yes, they made this decision before most of us were done writing up the EDC story. If you were wondering how much Amazon has pissed people off, that should give you a clue.

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Robin Greene February 29, 2012 um 1:38 pm

Excellent news. I chose not to buy a Kindle due to previous nastiness from Amazon. I give B&N my business. I only get free Kindle books to read on my Ipod Touch from Amazon.

George February 29, 2012 um 1:49 pm

You know, as a buyer and reader of books, I’m pretty much to the point of saying "A pox on both your houses, Amazon & Publishers!!"

All I want are the books I want to read as eBooks at reasonable prices & I want them at one convenient location. I think Amazon has done the most at trying to achieve those things for me as opposed to the Big 6, who seem to want to go back to the horse & buggy days of books. But I don’t deny that Amazon hasn’t been pure as the driven snow in all this either.

Common Sense February 29, 2012 um 4:23 pm

Childish, really. Unless all of their books are DRM-free, which they’re not, Kindle owners cannot buy them from those retailers. So Kindle owners will either break down and buy the physical book (unlikely) or find a pirated copy if they really want to read a particular book. I don’t do either of those things so I just won’t be buying or reading their books. I don’t need them anyway, I have over 5000 ebooks in my Amazon account and several hundred from other ebook retailers like Smashwords.

I have 4 Kindles and 4 Kindle Fires in my home for my family members. Do these organizations really think that I’m going to give them up, go out and buy some other ereader and/or tablet, and give up everything in my Amazon library? It won’t happen.

Nate Hoffelder February 29, 2012 um 4:27 pm

If I did a comment of the week award, you’d win it.

Richard Adin March 1, 2012 um 7:10 am

The problem with your position, Common Sense, is the same problem that people like me, who avoid Amazon and buying from Amazon have: we both want for us even if it is at the expense of others. Granted there aren’t 8 dedicated reading devices in my household, only 2, but both of mine are Sonys and are ePub compatible but not Amazon compatible. Consequently, for me, all those books that are Amazon exclusives are unavailable for my household to read. And if they are DRM free, which Amazon doesn’t tell you upfront anymore, you still need to use Amazon software to download them.

The position too many Kindlers take is that only they count. As long as the ebooks are available for them, all is right with the world of ebooks. I have yet to hear a Kindler claim that Amazon is childish in its actions or that it is greedy or that it is anything but great. Yet when the tables are turned and steps are taken to not make something available for the Kindle, then the actor is "childish,", "greedy," or any number of other things.

Why is it OK for more than 100,000 ebooks to be available only for Kindlers and no one else, but it is not OK for books to be available for everyone else but Kindlers?

fjtorres March 1, 2012 um 10:19 am

Well, because they chose to submit to Amazon and you chose to submit to Adobe.

There’s no high principle at stake here.
It’s just about dollars and cents.
And, considering the extent of the Grand Boycott, probably more of the latter and fewer of the former. It’s been a slow news week so everybody is jumping on this now.
Next week is iPad3 week and by the week after the tantrum will be forgotten and the status will be back to the quo.

In the real world people are familiar with lock-in and they know the rules of the game, and *willingly* accept them, so don’t expect any sympathy or support from the 20-30 million Kindlers any more than XBOX owners expect or offer sympathy to/from PS3-ers or Pod-people offer/get from Droiders. Each tribe wants all it can get and doesn’t care if the other camp is happy or not.

In an ideal world here would be no DRM or walled gardens.
But so far, the money seems to lie in the gardens, not in the wilds; the only thing that is prospering in the wilds are the Kim DotComs.

So until somebody changes the rules of the game we’ll see everybody using whatever tricks they can to compete and the most aggressive competitors would still win more often than not. It’s not a genteel game.

This is not new, people.
Tech industry hypercompetitiveness and walled gardens go back to the 70’s and it’s still working. So don’t hold your breath expecting change.

Sturmund February 29, 2012 um 8:07 pm

There is an alternative. But you have to decide for yourself the righteousness of that alternative.

I try to be moral. I won’t steal. But, I refuse to stand idly by while I’m the victim of theft. Also, I am partially responsible for the world that is coming into being. I don’t want the walled garden economic system for my children. And I will fight for my public domain rights; even when they’re being stripped from me by my government.

That’s why I’ve never removed the DRM from a book or movie I didn’t pay for. And that’s why I don’t share out media from which I’ve removed the DRM. But when I buy a book, or a movie, or a song I will play it on any damn piece of hardware I own. And I will make copies of it for archival purposes. I will never buy any piece of media from which I can’t strip the DRM. If it were ever possible for any supplier or government to keep me from stripping DRM from my media I’ll reach for content exclusively from the 19th century and earlier. Or, walk the woods reciting Henry V.

Content availability will not be an issue when I eventually buy an ereader. Neither will I ever be chained to one market from which to acquire content for my reading devices.

If you like Kindle, great! Enjoy it. If you like Apple, fine 🙂 Send them your money. But you don’t have to choose content based on what anyone is willing to sell you, or willing to let you see. You can take your rights back.

Writing on the Ether | Jane Friedman March 8, 2012 um 4:44 pm

[…] Nate Hoffelder has just told us the Science Fiction Writers of America organization is pulling the buy-at-Amazon links from author pages that list where to buy the authors’ books. Nate’s write is titled SFWA Now Directing Readers Anywhere but Amazon. […]

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