Sunday, 10 August 2014

Amazon vs Hachette - Amazon as the white knight, voice of reason, protector of the consumer?

Amazon are now trying to rope publishers and authors into their price war with Hachette and other major publishers.

It worries me greatly that Amazon are portraying themselves as taking the moral high ground, pushing through change for the good of the book industry.

Their calculations do show that we all make more money selling books at Amazon's dictated low prices, but that's based on Amazon's rather unrealistic example prices.

The real comparison is not cheap ebook to expensive ebook, it's ebook to print book.

Amazon fix the maximum price of an ebook at $9.99 or £6.99, which is where most of our books sit, because their print versions are usually priced in the region of £15 to £25.

Amazon pay a fixed royalty of 70%, and when I say fixed, I mean that sometimes it's 35% for no good reason that I can figure out. They say that it's because someone from another country bought the book. Whatever.

I've copied Amazon's begging letter below so that you can see the game they're playing. Make no mistake, Amazon are not acting out of a philanthropic desire to protect the consumer. They're looking to increase their profits and screw the traditional publishers over for not playing their game.

I urge you not to support Amazon. Let the consumer decide without pressure from corporations.




Dear KDP Author,

Just ahead of World War II, there was a radical invention that shook the foundations of book publishing. It was the paperback book. This was a time when movie tickets cost 10 or 20 cents, and books cost $2.50. The new paperback cost 25 cents – it was ten times cheaper. Readers loved the paperback and millions of copies were sold in just the first year.

With it being so inexpensive and with so many more people able to afford to buy and read books, you would think the literary establishment of the day would have celebrated the invention of the paperback, yes? Nope. Instead, they dug in and circled the wagons. They believed low cost paperbacks would destroy literary culture and harm the industry (not to mention their own bank accounts). Many bookstores refused to stock them, and the early paperback publishers had to use unconventional methods of distribution – places like newsstands and drugstores. The famous author George Orwell came out publicly and said about the new paperback format, if “publishers had any sense, they would combine against them and suppress them.” Yes, George Orwell was suggesting collusion. 

Well… history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

Fast forward to today, and it’s the e-book’s turn to be opposed by the literary establishment. Amazon and Hachette – a big US publisher and part of a $10 billion media conglomerate – are in the middle of a business dispute about e-books. We want lower e-book prices. Hachette does not. Many e-books are being released at $14.99 and even $19.99. That is unjustifiably high for an e-book. With an e-book, there’s no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out of stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation costs, and there is no secondary market – e-books cannot be resold as used books. E-books can and should be less expensive.

Perhaps channeling Orwell’s decades old suggestion, Hachette has already been caught illegally colluding with its competitors to raise e-book prices. So far those parties have paid $166 million in penalties and restitution. Colluding with its competitors to raise prices wasn’t only illegal, it was also highly disrespectful to Hachette’s readers.

The fact is many established incumbents in the industry have taken the position that lower e-book prices will “devalue books” and hurt “Arts and Letters.” They’re wrong. Just as paperbacks did not destroy book culture despite being ten times cheaper, neither will e-books. On the contrary, paperbacks ended up rejuvenating the book industry and making it stronger. The same will happen with e-books.

Many inside the echo-chamber of the industry often draw the box too small. They think books only compete against books. But in reality, books compete against mobile games, television, movies, Facebook, blogs, free news sites and more. If we want a healthy reading culture, we have to work hard to be sure books actually are competitive against these other media types, and a big part of that is working hard to make books less expensive.

Moreover, e-books are highly price elastic. This means that when the price goes down, customers buy much more. We've quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000. The important thing to note here is that the lower price is good for all parties involved: the customer is paying 33% less and the author is getting a royalty check 16% larger and being read by an audience that’s 74% larger. The pie is simply bigger.

But when a thing has been done a certain way for a long time, resisting change can be a reflexive instinct, and the powerful interests of the status quo are hard to move. It was never in George Orwell’s interest to suppress paperback books – he was wrong about that.

And despite what some would have you believe, authors are not united on this issue. When the Authors Guild recently wrote on this, they titled their post: “Amazon-Hachette Debate Yields Diverse Opinions Among Authors” (the comments to this post are worth a read).  A petition started by another group of authors and aimed at Hachette, titled “Stop Fighting Low Prices and Fair Wages,” garnered over 7,600 signatures.  And there are myriad articles and posts, by authors and readers alike, supporting us in our effort to keep prices low and build a healthy reading culture. Author David Gaughran’s recent interview is another piece worth reading.

We recognize that writers reasonably want to be left out of a dispute between large companies. Some have suggested that we “just talk.” We tried that. Hachette spent three months stonewalling and only grudgingly began to even acknowledge our concerns when we took action to reduce sales of their titles in our store. Since then Amazon has made three separate offers to Hachette to take authors out of the middle. We first suggested that we (Amazon and Hachette) jointly make author royalties whole during the term of the dispute. Then we suggested that authors receive 100% of all sales of their titles until this dispute is resolved. Then we suggested that we would return to normal business operations if Amazon and Hachette’s normal share of revenue went to a literacy charity. But Hachette, and their parent company Lagardere, have quickly and repeatedly dismissed these offers even though e-books represent 1% of their revenues and they could easily agree to do so. They believe they get leverage from keeping their authors in the middle.

We will never give up our fight for reasonable e-book prices. We know making books more affordable is good for book culture. We’d like your help. Please email Hachette and copy us.

Hachette CEO, Michael Pietsch: Michael.Pietsch@hbgusa.com

Copy us at: readers-united@amazon.com

Please consider including these points:

- We have noted your illegal collusion. Please stop working so hard to overcharge for ebooks. They can and should be less expensive.
- Lowering e-book prices will help – not hurt – the reading culture, just like paperbacks did.
- Stop using your authors as leverage and accept one of Amazon’s offers to take them out of the middle.
- Especially if you’re an author yourself: Remind them that authors are not united on this issue.

Thanks for your support.
 
The Amazon Books Team

P.S. You can also find this letter at www.readersunited.com

Friday, 18 July 2014

Praise for The Unsticker by Peter Freeth




Wednesday, 7 May 2014

40 Interview Icebergs in Purely Payroll Magazine

Purely Payroll Magazine have published a review of Michael Heath's latest book, 40 Interview Icebergs and How to Sail Around Them...


As fears of the recession fade, companies are hiring again and people are starting to think about making career moves. But more jobs means more competition amongst candidates, and many people turn to self-help career and interviewing books for help.

We’ve been looking at one of the latest to hit the shelves, 40 Interview Icebergs by Michael Heath.
One of the first things to notice about Michael’s book is that it’s comprised of 40 short, concise and valuable chapters, each one dealing with a very specific issue that could get in the way of your success at an interview. As in the title, Michael refers to these obstacles as ‘icebergs’, saying, “So many people go for interviews and sail along merrily before steering straight into the iceberg that sinks their application there and then.”

Michael’s approach, overall, is to say that, if you can prepare for some of the common mistakes that candidates make, you’ll stand a far better chance of getting the job of your dreams. After all, if a job is worth applying for, isn’t it worth making sure you put your best foot forward throughout the whole selection process?

Another point to note about this book is the perspective from which it’s written. So many books like this are written only by the ‘career expert’ who shares their advice with the reader. The danger of this style is that it can be one sided. After all, if you’re looking for a job, whose advice are you really looking for? A careers expert, or a recruiting manager?

Each of Michael’s 40 chapters features valuable advice from a professional recruiter or recruiting manager, many of them from ‘household name’ companies. They aren’t sharing theories, they’re telling you what they want to see and hear before they’ll hire someone in an interview.

To make the book easier to navigate (no pun intended!), Michael has grouped the 40 chapters into 8 ‘iceberg zones’, which follow the process that you’ll go through as you follow your career path. The 8 zones are:

  • CVs
  • Application forms
  • Telephone interviews
  • Interview preparation
  • Interview style
  • Interview questions
  • Presentations and Assessment centres
  • Post-Interview
Overall, this is a great book for anyone who doesn’t want to plough through reams of theory on interviewing techniques and just wants to get straight to the practical advice for each stage of the journey. It’s especially valuable for anyone who feels that they’re generally fine with the process, but who struggles with a particular area, such as writing a compelling CV or making a confident presentation. The book is easy to read, easy to follow, concise and, above all, packed full of real, practical advice.

Michael Heath has nearly 20 years’ experience of interviewing and recruitment. As well as running training workshops for both interviewers and interviewees, he offers a wealth of practical knowledge and advice to prepare people for the challenges they face when attending a recruitment interview.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Accepting the Radical at the Toronto Spring Psychic Fair

The second edition of Accepting the Radical by Ronna Smithrim and Christopher Oliphant is about to be released, just in time for the authors' appearance at the Toronto Spring Psychic Fair.

Visit the authors' website for more information and discounts on tickets: http://radical-acceptance.com/

Queen Elizabeth Building - Exhibition Place
100 Princes' Blvd, Toronto, Ontario Canada
April 25, 26, 27, 2014 - Fri: 4-9 - Sat: 10-9 - Sun: 10-6

Friday, 7 February 2014

Accepting the Radical - Second Edition

The second edition of Accepting the Radical by Christopher Oliphant and Ronna Smithrim is currently in the final stages of production, and will be due for release very shortly.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

NLP Master Practitioner in Goa, India, with Peter Freeth in October 2014

NLP Master Practitioner in Goa, India

Combine world class learning with a fantastic holiday. Just don't tell the boss about the 'holiday' bit...!

With optional SNLP certification for students with an existing NLP Practitioner certification.

October 2014 - provisionally 10th to 19th

We'll be working with ClassNLP to deliver a unique NLP training experience - a real, 10 day SNLP certified NLP Master Practitioner program in the remarkable location of Goa, India. For less than the cost of a UK Master Practitioner course, you can combine your Master Practitioner certification with a holiday in an outstanding part of the world.


Get in touch to reserve your place - there are strictly only 10 available.

What does this mean to you? It means that you get probably the best and most rigorous NLP Master Practitioner Training in an amazing location and the course costs less than a UK based course, and since there's no VAT and it's a tax deductable expense, you save even more.

Your trainer will be Peter Freeth, well known as an outstanding NLP trainer with particular expertise in the business and professional applications of NLP. Peter has over 20 years' experience with NLP training and has written over 10 books on NLP and its applications. Peter has trained thousands of students, both through public NLP programs and through corporate training, as well as through many colleges and Universities, and his innovations in NLP are now used by trainers all over the world.

  

Get in touch to reserve your place - there are strictly only 10 available.

The course fee is £500 (everything there is better value for money!), flights start from £503 from Manchester or £607 from Birmingham and the real total cost with the tax saving is about £800. Plus, because the training takes place outside the UK, there's no VAT to pay, saving you another £100.


There's a huge range of accommodation to choose from, so you get to decide whether to stay in 5* luxury, or a cosy, private guest house. Or why not book a package holiday, including flights and hotel? A package including flights from London and accommodation at the 4* Royal Orchid Resort costs just £988 - plus the course fee and minus the tax is still just £1,100ish per person.


Get in touch to reserve your place - there are strictly only 10 available.

SNLP certification, if you want to apply for it once you've successfully completed the course, costs an additional £50.

See the TimeOut guide to Goa here


Get in touch to reserve your place - there are strictly only 10 available.

And remember to visit ClassNLP too to find out more about them...

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

CGW Publishing to Launch Time Travel Delivery Service

In order to upstage Amazon's bizarre drone powered delivery plans, CGW Publishing has announced its new time travel delivery service.

The new service works by delivering the book before the customer has bought it, so from their point of view, the book arrives at the instant they complete the transaction.

The high cost of the technology required is offset by the use of cheap delivery labour, using the existing network of canals and narrowboats, the pony express and boy scouts.

When a customer orders a book, it is sent back in time to the most cost effective delivery point and transported to the customer's location where it then waits in secure storage for the customer to order it, at which time it is then posted through the customer's letter box.

The new service is currently being trialled in 1973, and will be available worldwide as from yesterday.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Special Christmas Offers on Books



Here are three special offers on Peter Freeth's books for Christmas - half price (plus a contribution towards shipping costs):

Genius at Work
Cover price £20

Shipping options

The NLP Practitioner Manual
Cover price £25

Shipping options

The NLP Master Practitioner Manual
Cover price £25

Shipping options

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

New Review for Genius at Work

Genius at Work takes a fresh look at how to build an effective and committed workforce. Through relevant case studies Peter Freeth illustrates a sensible and engaging way to maximise the existing talent within an organisation rather than relying on the constantly changing trends of business and talent management theories.

The theories and case studies Peter uses in his book demonstrate to be highly practical with a very positive impact and outcome. I would recommend any HR professional who is looking for insight into building a talent management strategy to read Genius at Work.

Andrew Howatson, Head of Talent Acquisition, AOL Europe

Will Greenwood, rugby star, talks about Paul Boross' latest book Pitch Up!