Ebook Business Update: Discount-For-Review Exemptions and Pricing Wars

Graphics of books on a laptop screen to accompany a blog post about the ebook business

Ebook Business Legal News: Authors Can Still Give Out Free Advanced Copies Of Books, In Exchange For Honest Reviews

Did you hear about the changes in Amazon’s online review policy? Basically, sellers can no longer offer free or discounted products in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

Alas, dear writers, there is an exception: ebooks!

Since Gutenberg first pimped his press to the public, authors have given out free advanced copies in exchange for reviews; the practice is the publishing industry’s primary marketing artery. (Think about it: Who would’ve plunked down dimes for the then unknown Thoreau’s Walden, if it didn’t include a forward by his bud, the popular Ralph Emerson?)

How can sellers leverage the ebook exemption in Amazon’s discount-for-review policy? It depends on the product. For example, service providers reliably attract new clients by developing niche ebooks. Ask yourself: Can you do the same for your product?

Ebook Business Performance News: Digital v. Paper Pricing Wars Lumber On

For years, paper publishers and Amazon have unwittingly found themselves in a polygamous marriage. Sure, certain benefits keep them happily bound (Amazon is the country’s largest book distributor), but the relationship is also plagued with heaps of jealousy, resentment, suspicion, and, of course, power struggling.

The Brinkmanship Of Book Pricing

It all started when Amazon successfully hooked readers on ebooks, and the paper-book market took the bullet; bookstores were lined up in front of a firing squad.

But traditionalists fought back. In an arguably injudicious move — which perhaps revealed the old-industry-guard’s detrimental and intractable shortsightedness — the paper publishers sued for the right to set ebook pricing…and won.

But it was a Pyrrhic Victory, of sorts.

Why?

Because Amazon buys books at wholesale and still controls paperback / hardback pricing on the site. So, when the publishers hiked ebook costs, Amazon started pushing paper books at a lower-than-retail cost. And now, according to a recent article in Tech Crunch, ebook sales are down 22.7% compared to 2015. (Ay, Dios libro! Can’t the publishers all just get along!?)

Nice To Meet You

Self-published authors regularly become entangled in intellectual property confrontations; plagiarism is also a big problem — as are writers who deploy phony defamatory reviews to disparage competitors.

We help authors overcome these obstacles. If you’re grappling with an online publishing business or legal problem, we’re here to help. Get in touch; we’ll chat and come up with solutions to your ebook business challenges.

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