I do know that some independent bookshops feel worried and even a little bit hostile to us when we choose to self-publish in e-format. I would hope that they understand that authors are struggling financially too and that we need to do what we can to earn a living. But doing what we can to earn a living might hurt someone else. Even, ultimately, ourselves.
I wholeheartedly believe that writers - published and self-publishing - need to support physical bookshops. And libraries. We need to do this if for no other reason (and there are other reasons) than that bookshops and libraries feed the reading needs of children and without reading children we will have no reading adults. I call bookshops and libraries the mothership for writers and anyone who loves books cannot possibly celebrate or call for their demise. And I know none of my fellow Electric Authors do.
Yet bookshops, particularly indies, are unable (at the moment - and yes, I know there are plans afoot but the plans may not be enough) to sell our ebooks. So we have to use their big hungry
Another ethical problem is Amazon Associates. As you know, anyone can become an Amazon Associate. If you do the technical bit properly, any time someone clicks through to Amazon from the special link on your website or blog and buys a book - any book, or indeed any product - you get a little commission.
So I have. In fact, I've set up an A-store. But I feel bad about this. Because I love physical bookshops and I do all my own physical book buying from them. But I need the income, because my income from my physical books is so paltry.
So, I have a little solution to my ethical tangle. On my website and blog I give the following message:
- I don't mind where you buy my books - I'm just happy when you do.
- I personally buy from physical bookshops because I believe in their importance and their fabulousness.
- But if you, for whatever reason, prefer or wish or need or choose to use Amazon, please do so from my own Amazon store (or from the Amazon store of whatever writer you want to support).
- And if you buy from Amazon through my store, I promise to spend ALL the commission I get in a physical bookshop. My choices in Edinburgh will be the Edinburgh Bookshop, Blackwells and Waterstone's.
Actually, you know what? I still feel bad. Damn ethics. I am now contemplating removing my Amazon store and losing even that little bit of income... In fact, I'm going to call for a vote. Please everyone leave your honest comment below: should I remove my Associates link or to carry on as above?
PS I apologise enormously for the title of this post. I couldn't resist.
Nicola Morgan is the author of books for teenagers and children, most of which (the books, not the teenagers etc) are available in physical bookshops and on the internet. Her latest books are Write to be Published and Tweet Right - The Sensible Person's Guide to Twitter, which is only available as an ebook. Her Amazon store is here!