Publishers Weekly has an excellent article covering many agents' take on the Amazon-MacMillan flapdoodle. Check it out here.
Not surprisingly, the majority of agents, like the majority of authors, have come down on the publishers' side and against Amazon's bizarre and heavy-handed decision to remove buy buttons from all Macmillan books in any format.
I know a lot of readers (many of whom imagine that JK Rowling, Danielle Steele, and fictional-mystery author Richard Castle represent the typical author, in terms of earnings and lifestyle) don't believe this, but book publishers survive on razor-thin profit margins, and the majority of authors get by on Ramen noodles, coupons, and/or spouses with benefits. With the economy slumping, countless editors and other publishing personnel have found themselves jobless and even more midlist authors are seeing their royalties slashed and options declined. So believe me, we're not insensitive to the readers who want and need to save a buck wherever possible.
But when one retailer sells a product as a long-term loss leader (in order to sell, say, its $259 Kindle) it puts downward pressure on the commodity and eventually guts the very industry -- the book biz -- that is its lifeblood. Although I've found lots to love about Amazon (and have spent a fortune there in the last few years), I'm really disappointed in the Big Brother tactics and hope that everybody can make nice again soon.
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