Lunatic Ravings

I read an article over on Writer Beware! about Amazon reviewers ripping books with a one-star rating because they didn’t like the publisher’s eBook pricing policy.

They went out to and left scathing reviews on an author’s piece of work, a chunk of their life, because the reader didn’t like the price.

I can’t wrap my mental arms around that at all. Not at all. This is similar to my buddy Yellowcat (with whom I don’t always agree) receiving bad tips because the restaurant is too cold, or too hot, or isn’t decorated the right way, or the food was late coming out, or for any other reason she can’t control.

Unless the book is self-published (and these aren’t, these are major authors from major publishing houses), the author has no control, at all, over the price of their eBook. None. Zero. The publishers set that, and they often get backlash from Amazon about the policy too.

The embattled publishers unanimous cry is “We’re a business too! We have to recover our cost no matter the book’s format! Have mercy! Pay our prices! Don’t let big mean Amazon bully us into reasonable pricing! Costs! COSTS! We HAZ DEM!” But Joe Konrath did a pretty scathing job of dismantling those claims on his blog, and no one can say he doesn’t know what the publishing industry is like, because he was a relatively successful mid-list author for a long time before he jumped to self-publishing eBooks and blowing the industry away. Check out his blog if you’re curious: A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing.

As a self-publisher, if your eBook is priced out of the market with other books like it, or the general consumer doesn’t find your talent level worth the ask price of your product, then you’re not able to deflect those one-star ratings you get. You earned them. But if you’re a publishing house author who can’t control their own title, never mind pricing, what can you do in defense of your work? How can you stop your book from sinking like a Bumpy Brownfish to the bottom of the toilet?

This is yet another reason why I don’t like the gatekeeper system for publishing, why I think eBooks can and SHOULD extinct that model if not its self-aggrandized and self-important, overly-subjective POS archaic industry as a whole. I hope it does, actually. I’m not afraid of the gatekeeper system, but I’m not the huge proponent of it I used to be, either. And I don’t need it for validation of my ability anymore. Why should I? All that means is that a few opinions – nothing more – of my work aligned to get me on a shelf somewhere and the publicity and marketing is still going to be largely my responsibility. Why should I do that for a paltry share of profit and a weak advance?

What do you other writers think? How about YOU, readers? Do you like having someone else determine what you can and can’t get to read, or do you want that power yourself?  And would you trash a writer because of a policy of a publisher the way these readers have?  or would you rate the book rather than the publisher on the book site?

Sound off, let me know, and most of all have an awesome weekend!

God bless you all,


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5 thoughts on “Lunatic Ravings

  1. I definitely wouldn’t give a one star rating because of the price I paid for a book, especially when nobody tied my hands and put a gun to my head to buy it.

    I hear that! The author doesn’t control that, and rating a book poorly on anything but its content isn’t right.

    I understand customer angst but the writer isn’t the person to take that out on. I’m sure there must be other ways to voice complaints about pricing.

    Amazon needs to work on this DESPERATELY. They’ve set up a system that doesn’t allow the consumer to rate their experience with AMAZON separate from their item of purchase. That’s stupid IMO. And if Amazon DOES have a way of doing that, they are NOT advertising it. THAT needs to change, and I say a swarm of angry emails from customers would be of great effect. I think the same might be true of the publishers pricing eBooks out of market; spam ’em with emails telling them how you feel, but DON’T punish the author.

  2. It would never occur to me to slam a book because of the price. I might complain about the price directly, but I wouldn’t say that the content of the book was no good unless it was actually written badly. It wouldn’t solve anything.

    I just can’t understand these people either. I hear poor Yellowcat’s stories about how she’s stiffed because someone’s unhappy about restaurant policy and this is exactly the same scenario to me. The author suffers because someone’s unhappy with Amazon. I’ve seen the same thing happen where a one-star review was given because the customer’s shipping time wasn’t as promised. Gimme a break!

  3. Agreed, that is pretty stupid. It wouldn’t even occur to me. It’s petty and immature and ineffective.

    It is all of those things, sweetie. In part, it’s a reflection of those who resort to this sort of thing, and in part a reflection on how well Amazon has shielded itself and the publishers from the consumer’s wrath. Not good.

  4. Unless I truly disliked it, I wouldn’t give something I read only one star, and definitely not because I disagreed on price. Sadly though, in all formats, there are those who like to dog on everything, for no real reason.

    Well, I think they DO have reasons. I’ve seen a lot of people trying to punish AMAZON doing this, too. The only one hurt is the product producer. Amazon gets off pretty much Scot-free.

    I like to make my own decisions when it comes to reading, or even movies for that matter. I don’t make my choices based on a rating, I base it on whether or not it sounds appealing to ME. I’ve seen many movies, and read many books where I’ve heard lots of mixed reviews, or even predominantly bad ones, and I’ve ultimately enjoyed it.

    This is true, but I want to be careful with my money too. I’ve been fooled before. So I like customer ratings. 🙂

  5. Ahh…here it is and oh boy am I ticked. 🙂

    If I didn’t like the price of something, I wouldn’t buy it. I certainly wouldn’t leave a one star or any sort of negative review since the review is based on the book, not on the cost.

    A rational viewpoint. How can we make it mandatory for all?

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