3 Replies Latest reply on May 24, 2011 8:45 PM by jaquellae

    Open letter to booksellers. Re: Lost customers

    Antonio_S

      I thought I would paraphrase the previous message addressed to authors. I found a lot of thoughtful comments in that thread, but I think our actions should be directed towards the booksellers, not the authors.

      For years I was a happy member of Fictionwise's ebook club. For a low annual membership fee, I got discounts and "Fictionwise dollars" back with each purchase.

      Alas, Fictionwise was gutted out when it was purchased by B&N, and the selection nowadays is considerably smaller. But I demand a similar loyalty program from my next providers of ebooks.

      I have asked Barnes and Noble why their membership program and discounts offers always explicitly exclude ebooks. I was told we are already getting great prices, and they have determined such incentives are not necessary.

      To that, I respond with the following promise: If any major ebook seller (Amazon, Sony, whatever) creates a loyalty program like Fictionwise's, I will sell my Nook and I will start buying ebooks from them.

      True, I already have a lot of ebooks I purchased from B&N (not counting the free ones). I will not break the law by converting them to other formats; I will just get an Android-based device that can take books from any vendor. Having multiple eReader apps is a minor inconvenience I am willing to live with.

      I am aware of all the restrictions the ebook sellers are saddled with. But a seller with enough clout can start chipping at the edges of the current price-fixing schemes, and I hope there are lots of buyers that share my opinion and will switch to buying from that seller.

      Start by offering me discounts on self-published books; that would be enough for me to make the switch.

        • Re: Open letter to booksellers. Re: Lost customers

           


          Antonio_S wrote:

           

          For years I was a happy member of Fictionwise's ebook club. For a low annual membership fee, I got discounts and "Fictionwise dollars" back with each purchase.

          Alas, Fictionwise was gutted out when it was purchased by B&N, and the selection nowadays is considerably smaller. But I demand a similar loyalty program from my next providers of ebooks.

          .

          You demand????  Good luck with that.

          • Re: Open letter to booksellers. Re: Lost customers
            bklvr896

            Antonio_S wrote:

             But I demand a similar loyalty program from my next providers of ebooks.

             

             But a seller with enough clout can start chipping at the edges of the current price-fixing schemes, and I hope there are lots of buyers that share my opinion and will switch to buying from that seller.

            Start by offering me discounts on self-published books; that would be enough for me to make the switch.


            As Alan said, good luck with "I demand".

             

            Also, Amazon should have had enough clout, but they played chicken with Penguin at the start of the agency model, Amazon blinked first.  Penguin didn't back down and Amazon was forced to not sell any Penguin eBooks that were published after April 1, until the signed on to the agency model.  Not sure there's another retailer out there with more clout than Amazon at this time.

            • Re: Open letter to booksellers. Re: Lost customers
              jaquellae

              Good luck with the "I demand" part. I, too, mourn the loss of Fictionwise's rebate program. However, *All* ebook retailers are hampered by the Agency model, now. They're not allowed to discount or offer rewards for books from the 6 major U.S. publishers.

               

              If you're looking for a rewards program similar to the old Fictionwise one, you can certainly look at BooksonBoard.com - they offer a rewards program for non-Agency titles and books in a variety of ebook flavors. Choose the Adobe epub format if you keep your nook. They also sell Agency books, but once again, no rewards. They're not a "major" retailer and don't sell their own device (except for links to the Sony Readers), but they seem to have filled some of the space Fictionwise used to occupy.

               

              Edit: I don't think any one retailer has the clout to go against the publishers by themselves. All the publisher has to do is pull their books from that site and customers will go another retailer that does carry them.

               

              I also think, like it or not, that the Agency model *helped* some ebook retailers, including Barnes and Noble. Amazon showed itself perfectly willing to use ebooks as a loss leader to gain marketshare. I don't know how long that would have lasted, but smaller bookstores, including the then fledgling B&N ebookstore when Agency pricing started, probably did not have the capital to out last them.