03 September 2012

Exclusivity: An Author's Arrogance

I've been noticing a trend throughout the Internet that I wanted to ramble about today...it has to do with establishing exclusivity for one's books with particular online retailers. In this case, it's the big boy on the block, Amazon.

Now, exclusivity isn't always a bad thing. Perhaps it's doing quite well for you as an author (though it hasn't seemed all that great to me, but that's another blog post I'm planning for the future).

The trouble is when you, as an author, began to exhibit signs of arrogance when it comes to your titles being exclusive, and this is the trend I've been seeing. One particular celebrity I follow on Twitter (and who, ironically enough, gave a blog review to one of my books in the far distant past) is notorious for this with his two e-book titles. I constantly see him tweeting responses to fans. They ask him if his books are available anywhere besides Amazon, and he just keeps telling them that there's a free Kindle app...get that and read the books.

Now, I don't have a business degree...but I always thought that the "customer is always right" (some examples not withstanding). If I, as someone who is trying to sell books to readers (the customer) continue to get requests for the book to be available at all of these other retail outlets, I'd think that it would behoove me greatly to start putting it up there. It's not all that difficult to do with sites like Smashwords, and apparently, there would be a ready-made market for the books on these other sites.

I personally would like to read these two titles from this celebrity, but I own a Nook. Certainly, I can get the free Kindle App on my netbook, but the entire point behind an e-reader is the convenience of downloading the book and reading it on the device. Why would I want to circumvent the device I already own, when the author could just as easily upload the book to the other stores?

Now, I did upload my latest Triple-Shot as an Amazon exclusive (through the KDP Select program), as a test to see if it made any difference in the amount of downloads I received from readers. Though I do plan a follow-up post later on the statistics involved, my personal experience has not been positive. So, come October 16, my book will be sent off to the other online stores for consumption...

And who knows? Perhaps with a celebrity, the money was just too good to pass up the exclusivity...but myself, I don't see how alienating your potential readers makes good business sense.