Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Reader Casualties in the Amazon/Hachette War

WARNING! THIS IS A LONG ONE AND IS OFF TOPIC! I don't know if any readers out there are following the whole Amazon and Hatchette war. Today I received a letter from Amazon and you can read the letter here: http://www.readersunited.com/. The problem I have is not about authors getting fair pay. We ALL deserve to be paid for our work, if and only if, we choose to. Some authors would like to offer work for free because it is their way of giving back and I don't begrudge them of that. MY problem with this is that this fight will hurt readers' buying power. I remember a time when I used to be able to go to a book store and purchase a lot of books in both hard cover and paperback. I was in my glory in those days, but as the prices skyrocketed, and my funds grew smaller because of bigger responsibilities, I found I could no longer read because I just couldn't afford to. I didn't think it was fair back then to be denied my pleasure of reading, and frankly, to be denied my pleasure of paying the author for their hard work! Sure I could go to the library, but the author doesn't get a cent from me taking out a book. That's not fair! I first got published in a local paper at the age of 9 and I'm a now a nationally recognized writer for my articles, blog, and books on Fibromyalgia. BUT just because I'm recognized it DOES NOT mean I have a right to over charge people who want to read my books! These people who suffer from chronic disease are already suffering high medical costs-- why on Earth would I want to burden them any deeper? And it's not just the Fibro community, many others will be denied access to reading if prices go through the roof. Big book companies forget that kids read too and kids are limited to what their school or their parent can afford to put in front of them. Is it fair to "dumb down" our growing society just to make money now? What happens when these "dumb downed" children grow up? Do you think they will have money for books? NO THEY WON'T because they won't have good paying jobs to buy books! Reading is very important for growing children and very important for adults wanting to continue to exercise their brain. It is a proven fact that Alzheimer's can be prevented if you read, do cross word puzzles, etc. Are big book companies thinking about that? OF COURSE NOT! They want their money now and they don't care about the consequences this may cause our society or even their pocketbooks down the line! And finally, are big book companies thinking about crime? Surely we as a society have more than enough crime. Why add to it by denying books to the ones who need them the most! There is a community trying very hard to promote literacy because they have linked high illiteracy to high crime rate! Here's a little about this organization: The Book 'Em Foundation was founded by suspense author p.m.terrell and Waynesboro, Virginia Police Officer Mark Kearney as a partnership between authors and law enforcement. The mission of The Book 'Em Foundation is to raise public awareness of the correlation between high illiteracy rates and high crime rates. The Book 'Em North Carolina annual event brings together at least 75 authors under one roof to speak on a variety of subjects and to sell their books. A portion of the proceeds raised from the event (a minimum of 40%) is given to the community - Robeson County and Lumberton, North Carolina - for the purpose of increasing literacy and reducing crime. For more information on Book 'Em Foundation please visit their site! http://www.bookemnc.org/. And also please consider sending a letter to Hachette if you are a passionate reader that doesn't want to see eBook prices skyrocketing to an average of $14.99 to $19.99 per book. Authors are caught in the middle of this. Some are under contract and are not capable of telling off the big book companies. Many indie authors like myself are trying to fight this, but ultimately it really is going to come down to the readers and what they are willing to pay for a book.
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