A Note Re: Amazon Links in Big Idea Pieces

Some of you may note that despite my being annoyed with Amazon in the last week, Amazon links have not been pulled from previous Big Idea pieces, and I added an Amazon link to the latest Big Idea piece as well. The reasoning here is simple: Unlike some large online retailers I could name, I don’t go out of my way to hurt an author’s sales when I have an argument that doesn’t directly involve that author. And you know, making it difficult for my readers to seek out a book at the Internet’s largest retailer would do just that. So the Amazon links stay, for the benefit of the authors.

(And no, not also because I have affiliate links. Never have used affiliate links for The Big Idea pieces here. Too lazy.)

That said, I have made two small changes:

1. Rather than deleting Amazon, I added a link to IndieBound, a site which makes it easy for people to get books online from independent bookstores near them. Frankly, I should have done that a long time ago.

2. Customarily, in the intro paragraph, I’ve linked the title of the book to the commensurate Amazon page. This week and going forward I won’t be doing that; I’ll be rotating that link between the stores I link to at the bottom (Amazon, B&N, IndieBound, Powell’s). And for that link, I feel fine keeping Amazon out of the lineup until such time as they, you know, put my Tor books back up. Feels fair to me.

29 Comments on “A Note Re: Amazon Links in Big Idea Pieces”

  1. Hey, thank you! I used the Indiebound link and found a bookstore near me that I didn’t know about. They are sponsoring a talk by two local writers on 2/17 (Sharon Shinn is one). So, of course, I’m going and taking my daughter. And, of course, I have to visit the store to purchase Shinn’s newest hardback so that we can read it before the talk.

  2. Great idea, John. And I can’t believe Amazon still hasn’t rectified the situation. I know I’ll be thinking twice before I order anything from Amazon ever again.

  3. As a reminder, there are also some other large booksellers on-line, even if they are not in the 800-pound gorilla category of Amazon. I have had satisfactory service from both Tower and Books-A-Million, although Tower has been a little slow to ship on a couple of occasions. IIRC, you linked to Tower for one of your books 2-3 years ago.

    For those who are not blessed with a good local bookstore, these may provide a viable option. (Books-A-Million also has a number of B&M locations in the eastern part of the country, FWIW. Personally, I prefer both their on-line store and their B&M stores to those of Barnes & Noble and Borders.)

    With best wishes,
    – Tom –

  4. IndieBound has this message on their home page: Macmillan books available here – and at thousands of independent bookstores across the country!

  5. Good stand to make. In the UK the ebook market is fairly quiet for me – I am wary of Amazon Kindle, and Waterstones’ ebooks are too expensive – cheaper to buy paperbacks!

    I hope the independent bookshops from Amazon’s foolishness!

  6. I hadn’t been paying attention and didn’t realize this was happening until just now. So I went over to Amazon to see for myself — and found them willing to sell your books, new or used. Have they relented, or am I missing something?

  7. How about moving amazon from the first spot to a middle spot on the lineup? I realize it’s currently in alphabetical order, but no reason it should be, and it’s too easy to just click on the first link. Yes, I’m still mad at amazon three years after an unhappy discussion or two with their customer service.

  8. John H – I just went and checked. It’s only selling them via third party sellers, as far as I can tell.

  9. Another alternative, should you feel like it is helpful, is to link to the “About” page for the book on Google Books. Google is then kind enough to provide links to relevant retailers.

  10. aphrael @ 9: True, but there are other Tor books that are available directly from Amazon right now — Robert Jordan’s Knife of Dreams and Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother to name two I found. And my understanding was they had yanked any and all links to new sales, but they obviously aren’t now.

    Just wondering how things stand…

  11. @John #14
    but there are other Tor books that are available directly from Amazon

    Only the bargain price books.

  12. Here in the Great White North… Am I missing something or is Amazon Canada still selling Tor titles. In any case: “buy-o-diversity: is always, always better than any type of quasi-monopoly.

  13. @dvoyageur: I keep reading that it’s just Amazon.com, and not the other regional Amazons (.ca, .co.uk, etc.), that pulled the ‘buy from us’ links.

  14. Meanwhile, say, the Gathering Storm is still unavailable.

    It looks to me more like they are having some technical problem than that this is deliberate. But it’s hard to say as they aren’t speaking.

  15. I’ve read several authors’ perspectives at this point. While I can appreciate being upset at the lost sales, I find it really hard to believe that you place all the blame on Amazon in this situation.

    Macmillan had their own hand in this mess.

    Here’s my perspective:

    Looking at the latest Big Idea for Alcestis, I went to Amazon, B&N, and Powell’s to compare pricing. The prices went: $15.64, $16.56, and $23.00 respectively.

    Should the publisher have the right to go to Amazon and force them to charge $23.00? What about forcing them to change $30.00? The publisher has a *suggested* list price of $23.00 for that book. Amazon and B&N both charge less than that.

    How would it be beneficial *to the consumer* for the publisher to force pricing on stores?

    So, what recourse does Amazon have when MacMillan wants to force them to charge $15 for an ebook? It is within their right to decide to make a statement by NOT selling MacMillan products. As stated, there are plenty of other places online for people to purchase MacMillan books. Several are listed on this blog.

    Based on this, it is my opinion that MacMillan is to blame for this mess. Not Amazon.

  16. Shane, popping up with a Handy Compendium Of Every Argument Already Aired in Nearly Every Other Thread On the Subject in the Last Several Days.

    Shane, please go wander through the some of the other threads on the subject here. You’ll see your arguments tossed up and batted down. What we don’t need at this point is the same argument being had for the umpteenth million time in a new comment thread. It’s beginning to bore the crap out of me, it is.

  17. John Scalzi – but, but, but. The entire internet is an appropriate place for every possible argument anyone wants to have at any time, and places which are tangentially related are better than random places with no relation. Right?

  18. Just wondering what are the thoughts toward alibris.com. I have used this site for a number of years (textbooks, mostly) and have always been pleased. Ordered Zoe’s Tale thru them as well. (is Indiebound better for the author renumeration wise?, etc)

  19. aphrael@22 said



    Scalzi keeps tripping over the bloody things in his hallway, up in the spare bedroom, in the cat baskets, even! Is nothing sacred?

    Admittedly reports of a Amazon guerrilla force hiding out in the garage are, as yet, unsubstantiated but you and I know it’s only a matter of time.

    So give the guy some support; stand up and be counted!

    And provided you do so in a non-confrontalion manner, as required by our host here, then you can express your entirely reasonable concerns by kicking them in the balls.

    Then he can get back to his writing with a clear conscience …

  20. That is what I wanted, links to other sellers. It would be nice if you had a page listing as many links you can find! Give us options, I would personally prefer little indie shops.

  21. John,

    Well… sorry for bringing it up, then. I keep tripping over the same argument from authors on twitter and blogs, and it’s wearing me out too. Probably because these are authors that I both respect and whose writing I enjoy.

    I guess it just tweaked a nerve in me, and I couldn’t help it.

    I’ll dig around in some earlier comments and see what I find. If what I brought has been batted around, I’m very interested in the back and forth.

    I won’t belabor the topic on this thread.

  22. Why don’t you add The Book Depository as well? I’ve only had good experiences with them and they now have a US site and are the only retailer to have free international shipping as far as I know. (Very important to someone on the other side of the world with a large book habit to feed!)

  23. John – Just wanted to say thanks for adding IndieBound links to your articles. It means a lot for us small independent shops to have sites as big as yours supporting it. We need it!

    Thanks again,

    Jerry Fieldsted, Windows on the World – Books & Art

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