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What could B&N, Smashwords, etc. do better? Share your ideas...

Oct 26, 2014   [permalink]

Over on the Huffington Post, Mark Coker of Smashwords lambastes Amazon for their anti-competitive moves surrounding the recent "KDP Select" program, whereby Amazon gets exclusivity for ebooks in exchange for an unknown share of a $500,000/month pie.

His points that this is an anti-competitive move are on-target; it is, and probably should be investigated as such.

However, it begs what seems to me to be the real issue today: That Amazon doesn't need to ask for exclusivity, because they already have the lion's share of sales, and thus the real concern here is that B&N, Smashwords, Apple, Sony, etc. aren't a much higher share of ebook sales.

A Goldman Sachs report indicated B&N was half the market share of Amazon, at 27% vs. 58% — yet anecdotes from many pro authors are that it's nowhere near this high, and more like a 10:1 ratio at best between Amazon and B&N. That's a terrible shame — it would be awesome if B&N sales were half of Amazon's! — but they aren't, so it leads to the question:

What could B&N, Smashwords, or those others do better?

I have to ascribe a large chunk of failure to the other players for not being adequately competitive. I'm not defending Amazon — I love competition — I'm bemoaning that the other distributors don't have the knack that Amazon does for selling ebooks. Amazon appears to have put a lot of (successful) effort into selling not just bestsellers but books from indie and midlist authors.

So what could they do better to sell more of your ebooks?

Perhaps if we compile a list we can submit it; I'm sure Mark at Smashwords would be receptive at least, even if we couldn't reach anyone at B&N.

So let's critique B&N and Smashwords as examples of what they could improve.

Share your thoughts/ideas/critiques at: http://critique.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1514 (which is also gatewayed to the sff.net Critters newsgroup under the same Subject line as this post, so posts to either place are equivalent.)

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