What The Big Tech Hearings Mean For Indie Authors

The CEOs of Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple were grilled on Capitol Hill yesterday, stepping up the anti-trust chatter that has been percolating over the last few years. While some of you might be tempted to reflexively dismiss these hearings as political theater, many commentators seem to agree that this time feels different.

Political sands have shifted. Public sentiment towards tech companies has soured — companies who were once almost universally loved. Well, at least in the case of three of them; Amazon always attracted some measure of criticism, I guess, probably given the particular companies it disrupted.

Indie authors, in particular, perked up at the news of these hearings, given that three of those places are where we sell most of our books, and the fourth is what many of us predominantly use to drive sales of those books.

Whatever your feeling on these individual companies, their effects on society, or the forces driving these hearings, the mere prospect of anti-trust actions creates uncertainty in business terms, at a time when we already have a significant amount of it. Which makes this an excellent time to examine how well your author business is future-proofed, given the average indie author’s dependency on this set of companies currently in the anti-trust spotlight. Read More…

Amazon Also Creates Competition

The big topic (again) seems to be Amazon and competition. Whether it is a monopoly, or is heading in that direction, and if it should be “stopped” – although it’s never clear what that entails. Barry Eisler dealt with this fear, rather conclusively, in a guest post on Joe Konrath’s blog. This post is from 17 February 2012. It has not been updated except to clean up broken links but the comments remain open. But lately, the hysteria has been ratcheted up a notch by Mike Shatzkin’s (sensible) prediction that Amazon will soon be responsible for 50% of most publisher’s sales. The Author’s Guild now has Amazon firmly in their sights. An article at the end of January entitled Publishing’s Ecosystem Read More…