Why I'm an Amazon fan

It's become fashionable to knock Amazon; a raft of best-selling, well-paid authors have been urging us all to boycott the online retailer and to use local bookshops (or even Waterstone's) instead.

There are no doubt some genuine grievances, perhaps even on both sides. If I were a Hatchette author and Amazon appeared to be dragging its feet listing my book I'd be annoyed. 

But I'm not. I'm a jobbing writer with books published by three different (small) publishers and guess what? Amazon sells my books. Waterstone's doesn't (in spite of my best efforts). Indie bookshops don't often do so either (although they will order a copy for you should you wish).

No. If you want a copy of one of my books or a copy of probably the majority of titles by many if not the majority of authors, Amazon is where it's at. Or where they are. The books, that is. 

Ok, so there are sometimes eye-watering discounts. The terms can be extortionate. There are serious competition issues. And John-Claude Junkers granted Amazon some pretty decent tax breaks when he was Premier of Luxembourg. 

But no matter. Bookshops, wholesalers, publishers all take a cut of the cake I bake. And they do so (at least, the first two) at no risk to themselves either. If a book doesn't sell they send it back. Authors can't unwrite their words.

So my best chance of reaching a wide readership and making a little bit of cash into the bargain is through Amazon. I know it's not fashionable to say so. And I know it won't make me a fortune. 

But what's the option?


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