The Rise and Rise of Indie Authors

The Author Earnings website has worked hard at 'scraping' data from Amazon's various sites to provide unprecedented detail on sales data. As Amazon now represents close to a majority of print titles sold, knowing what is being sold and by whom is very interesting indeed. The data shows that independent authors represent a large and rapidly growing fraction of book sales on Amazon. There is also ample evidence that having a book listed on the Amazon bestseller lists provides a substantial boost to non-listed titles from the same author. Overall, Author Earnings claim that they identified over 9,000 authors earning more than USD $10,000 per year, and half of that number were earning over USD $20,000 per year. Read the whole report, which goes into much greater detail.

Amazon Set to Open Non-Virtual Bookstores

After spending the last decade laying waste to the bookstores of the world, it now seems vaguely possible that Amazon is about to build a few of its own. That's right: physical bookstores, with actual books on actual shelves. And actual customers, one assumes. Amazon doesn't do anything without a plan, and without a preternatural understanding of their customers, so their business model must be pretty robust. As this blog post points out, the massive number of print on demand titles that Amazon hosts gives it the ability to tailor store offerings in a granular way without having to maintain huge warehouses of stock. And no-one does logistics and fulfillment as well as Amazon. Lovers of books may find it reassuring that Amazon evidently subscribes to the view that print books will be around for the foreseeable future.

Getting a Title Removed from Amazon / Reassertion of Copyright

Recently, a local publisher (Jo Jo Publishing) went into bankruptcy owing authors, printers and suppliers a great deal of money. The liquidators indicated the authors were free of any contractual obligations to the now-defunct company. Many of the authors published by Jo Jo wished to remove their books from Jo Jo-badged online listings (with Amazon in particular) so they could re-upload their titles with new ISBNs. As Jo Jo was now unstaffed, they had to take matters into their own hands. Amazon has a facility for authors in this kind of situation:

If you believe that your digital content is being sold by a publisher no longer authorized to sell your copyrighted content, please provide Amazon.com’s copyright agent the written information specified below. This procedure is exclusively for notifying Amazon.com and its affiliates that your copyrighted material has been infringed.

Amazon's requirements / contact details continue as follows:

  • An electronic or physical signature of the person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright interest;
  • A description of the copyrighted work that you claim has been infringed upon;
  • A description of where the material that you claim is infringing is located on the site;
  • Your address, telephone number, and e-mail address;
  • A statement by you that you have a good-faith belief that the disputed use is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law;
  • A statement by you, made under penalty of perjury, that the above information in your notice is accurate and that you are the copyright owner or authorized to act on the copyright owner's behalf.

Amazon.com 's Copyright Agent for notice of claims of copyright infringement on its site can be reached as follows:

Copyright Agent

Legal Department
P.O. Box 81226
Seattle, WA 98108-1226
Fax: (206) 266-7010
E-mail: copyright@amazon.com