Shared Text: Colbert says Amazon lead by Lord Bezos-mort

Colbert gets his biggest laugh when he calls Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos “Lord Bezos-Mort.” To risk explaining the obvious, is there any other character in fiction ever whose name could be so altered and no one would struggle to get the joke? Well, okay, the visual helped, but you get my point.

Full disclosure (or is it TMI?) — I have some skin in this game. My books are published by four different companies: Penguin, Tyndale, Zossima Press, and Unlocking Press, the last of which is my adventure in self-publishing. Though these titles are available at bricks-and-mortar stores, especially Barnes & Noble, the great majority of their sales are through, as paperbacks or e-books.

Here’s the thing. Amazon, unlike Barnes & Noble online, no longer offers discounts for any of my books, and, for titles from Zossima Press, books that are printed by Lightning Source rather than Amazon’s Create Space, the books are only available “In Two to Four Weeks” or, as with Deathly Hallows Lectures, they are listed as “Temporarily Out of Stock.”

Why? Because Amazon wants to crush Lightning Source publishers and create a ‘Create Space’ monopoly that closes off all space at their online platform for writers at LSource not willing to agree to Amazon’s much less generous terms. The absence of discounts on backlist items that sell consistently drive Amazon Marketplace used book sales from which Amazon takes a cut without having to order or move any books. Authors and publishers, of course, receive no money from used book sales on Amazon or anywhere, for that matter.

I recently learned that more than 100,000 copies of my books have been sold online and in retail outlets in the last ten years. I’ll never know how many have been purchased as gifts and never read, of course, or how many readers have shared copies with friends. I get a decent amount of mail each week and there are always notes from those who borrowed the book in question from a friend or the library. C’est la vie.

I’m with Mr Colbert, though, in lamenting that I can be confident I am losing royalty money every day because of Amazon’s discount policies and biggest-gorilla-in-the-room tactics to strong arm publishers into submission. I do not want government intervention or even your sympathy, truth be told. The market is what it is. What I’d like to see is American publishers creating an alternative online venture with which Amazon would have to compete, something more user-friendly than Please let me know if you’re aware of a venue of this kind that already exists!

Tomorrow, first thoughts on The Silkworm

More Colbert and Links to articles about this story and to book pages after the jump:

New York Times: J.K. Rowling’s ‘The Silkworm’ a Boon for Other Booksellers as Hachette and Amazon Brawl

NYT: Amazon Boycott Gets a Helping Hand From Stephen Colbert

NYT: As Publishers Fight Amazon, Books Vanish

Amazon: The Silkworm “Usually ships within 2 to 4 weeks” Incredibly, used copies are already available at a 25% discount.

Amazon: Deathly Hallows Lectures ‘Temporarily Out of Stock’

BN.Com: Deathly Hallows Lectures ‘Ships Within 24 Hours’

Amazon: Harry Potter’s Bookshelf No Discount off $16 cover price, available used for $2.65 Harry Potter’s Bookshelf $12.43, 22% off the cover price

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