I have a love/hate relationship with Amazon. As a consumer, I love the ease of shopping with them. As an author, I am in no way happy with their changing book-selling landscape, their elusive algorithms, the near impossible discoverability on their search engines, and how difficult it is to make sure I’m getting paid correctly. I’m very much aware of pirate sites and scammers hanging around on Amazon and stealing MY money. And I am aware Kindle Unlimited is flawed. But I had no idea just HOW flawed. I have been apparently (and blissfully) clueless of scammers that are also authors. Clueless of clickfarms. Clueless of the unethical manipulations of popular Amazon lists—the coveted lists that also help spread author names and titles to more Amazon readers. This not only affects hard-working (starving) authors, it affects readers, too. So why isn’t Amazon doing anything about it?
On my Kindle: Stay by Candi Wall
Talk Back – Tell us how you write!
There was a French research that came out not too long ago which showed that people who spent a lot of time on Facebook tended to be less happy and satisfied with their lives than people not using the social media site.
People tend to show only the best side of themselves on social media, and admit it, beside cat memes, there are a whole lot of pictures of exotic holidays, family graduations and other milestones, adorable babies and luscious meals from various eateries on people’s feed.
Seeing those constantly, made it seems as if our friends have these perfect glamorous and successful lives when ours is just, well, normal.
When it comes to writers, I wonder if the same is true. Seeing series of beautiful cover reveal, news of new contract sales, positive reviews and pictures of writers frolicking with cover model may seems to us as if all our writer friends are having this wonderful party of success to which we are not invited.
Personally, with almost 5000 friends, a big chunk of them writers, it can seems at time like that. While I toil away at writing my little chapter, Facebook makes it sound like everyone is having successes after successes with nothing but exciting news.
And seeing those statuses, I find, is both good and bad for my spirit. I noticed that when I limit my time on Facebook to a few minutes a day, seeing my friends happy news makes me happy and super motivated.
However, scrolling down for over an hour will see me frustrated that my career is stalling.
It’s all a question of balance.
What about you? Are you on Facebook? How do you react to gazillions happy news from all your friend? A tiny wee bit jealous? Frustrated? Or needed to keep you on track?
I’m curious, let me know!
Song of the Day: Almost Easy by Avenged Sevenfold
To DMR or not to DMR? That is the question.
DMR, Digital Rights Management, is technology used to limit the use of digital material and the devices that material is viewed, listened to, played, or watched. Bear with me here, it’s like an encrypted code that padlocks books, movies, music, and games from being shared, copied, printed, or resold illegally. In other words, it is supposed to prevent piracy.
In theory, controlling the use of digital material after the initial sale can be a good thing. In theory. The problem lies with the fact that it is easy to strip these access controls from a book. Thus not slowing down those who wish to share or pirate a book. Don’t ask me how. I’ve no experience with technology in these matters. In fact, a group of acrobatic trained monkeys are typing this post for me.
DMR proponents argue that these locks protect the intellectual property from being copied. It keeps the content from being altered and converting it to other formats. All in effort to curb illegal activity and maintain revenue ends up where it belongs—in the author’s pocket.
Opponents call foul, saying that it limits activity between stores and devices. Those who lawfully purchase a book are restricted from doing things that are legal under the fair use laws, including making a book readable on a e-reader that may not have supported the format it was purchased from. This inconveniences many consumers. More importantly, legitimate customers might be surprised they don’t actually own the book, DVD, music, or game they bought. Remember when Amazon remotely deleted in mass George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm from every Kindle with the purchased books without the owners’ consents? Yeah, well, that’s the case in point.
Now, there is a new DRM meant to allay both sides of the debate. Well, only part of the debate. Small changes are made within each book sold—a varying punctuation mark, an alternate word replacement—and serve as a ‘digital watermark’. You can read more about this new DRM here in an article from Wired Magazine.
It’s all very interesting. I am glad to see proactive measures are taken against piracy. But there is so much more to this story. There is so much more to DRM, both good and bad. In my opinion, if a criminal wants something bad enough, they get it no matter what safeguards are in place.
What are your thoughts? Are you for or against DRM? What do you think of the new DRM changing your words, your story? As a reader, would this bother you?