Taking a Positive Step for Ebook Pricing: The Challenge

An editorial by Sheila Clover English


With the Department of Justice looking to penalize publishers over price-fixing and with Amazon looking like a monopoly dictating ebook prices from on high, the question of the day is, “what can be done to take positive steps with regard to ebook pricing?”  We see the bad news. We fear the potential outcomes. Yet, what is being done about it?

It’s time for the publishing industry to band together and come up with its own “Got Milk” campaign.  It’s time for the industry to introduce itself to the average reader in a way that creates trust and loyalty to the industry.

Publishing, as an industry, has had taken a lot of hard knocks of late.  Authors are unhappy about pay, marketing or lack thereof, not having contracts renewed or overall treatment by publishing staff or company policy.  Authors aren’t likely to speak out about it because they fear the repercussions. Instead they meet secretly and talk about what they can do to be treated better and get what they feel is fair. Oh wait! Did I say that’s authors talking about publishers? I think I meant that’s publishers talking about Amazon. Or did I?

So much energy is spent in negative ways.  So much energy is spent in trying to get cheaper prices, better deals and more power. So much energy is spent in making sure you’re not getting screwed by someone else. Publishing is going to micro-manage its problems to death. Literally. It is killing itself and it doesn’t even know it.  It doesn’t have to be that way. We know publishers can band together for a common cause. Just ask the DOJ! What about banding together for the common good of all?  Create campaigns that create relationships with readers.  Create campaigns that remind people how inexpensive books are and how much they offer.

Here is my challenge to the publishing industry: Choose a day to take back your industry.  Choose a place to meet and discuss, not the problems, but what kind of solutions there are.  Be determined that all you believe about books is true and then make your case to the public at large.  BEA is right around the corner.  Many publishers will be at the Javitz already.  If just one publisher will volunteer a place to meet during BEA and a time, I will post the information and contact everyone I know in the industry, inviting them to do the same.  Let’s meet up and make a difference. Let’s open it up to all publishers.  Let’s not talk about prices, let’s talk about people, about readers and how we can reach out to them.

I am a multi-award winning copy writer. I am volunteering to write copy for any publisher willing to create a commercial, print or online campaign that reaches out to readers to state the case of the importance of books and the publishing industry.  I am willing to donate my time for any serious endeavor.  What are you willing to do?

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