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More numbers.

So I sold a copy of the new book through Amazon a couple-few days ago, for eighteen dollars. —I made forty-three cents.

Publishing is hard, y’all.

Despite recent movements advocating pushback against Amazon, most people in the United States maintain a favorable view of Jeff Bezos’ “everything store.” Peter Hildick-Smith, president of book audience research firm Codex, says that this includes most people who frequent independent shops; just over three-quarters of that cohort also use Amazon, at an average of five times a month, according to a 2019 survey. Even among bibliophiles, Hildick-Smith says, “It’s not as if everybody’s saying, ‘Gosh, I really don’t like Amazon. I don’t shop there’.” The result? “A very skewed market.”

When I first started putting this thing out in books (as opposed to words, or ’zines), I went with CreateSpace, because it was there, and because you could give them a PDF and some money and a couple days later you’d have a book-shaped stack of paper, neatly bound—

The author, with two of his books.

—which was a neat-enough trick, even if the paper’s a whit too glossy, and the cover a touch too stiff, to feel quite right in the hand, and every now and then you get a copy with sixty some-odd pages of the Petrisin Guide to Taking CLEP Exams stuck in the middle.

But even then, CreateSpace was being bound ever more tightly to Amazon, and now it’s been utterly subsumed, it’s gone; it’s nothing but Kindle, all the way down. —And if Hildick-SmithThe Amazon edition. had a hard time finding bibliophiles who don’t like Amazon, well, he didn’t talk to very many booksellers, or librarians.

If you spend eighteen dollars to buy the old CreateSpace Amazon paperback edition of “Wake up…”, published by and distributed by and pretty much only sold by Amazon, well, Amazon pays me four dollars. I can buy an author’s copy for six dollars and eighty cents, so we’ll take that as their basic cost to print; eighteen minus four minus six point eight leaves seven dollars and twenty cents for Jeff Bezos’ pocket.

The numbers for the new, Supersticery Press edition shake out a bit differently: published by me, printed by IngramSpark, distributed by Ingram, available to be sold by just about anyone who buys books wholesale from Ingram.The Supersticery edition. The wholesale price is forty-five percent of the list price, or seven dollars and sixty-five cents. It costs seven dollars and four cents to print a copy; IngramSpark then credits my account with sixty-one cents. Profit!

But there’s fifty-five percent of the list price left over: nine dollars and thirty-five cents. And that goes to whomever sells the book. Me, for instance, if you buy it direct. Your local bookstore, which you can do through IndieBound, assuming your local bookstore participates—even if they don’t have it on the shelf when you order. —Or, y’know, Jeff Bezos, I suppose. If you wanted.

Or if you buy a copy through Bookshop.org—which you can do with the click of a mouse or a tap on the screen—ten percent of the list price, or a dollar seventy, goes into a pool that every six months gets divvied out to bookstores in the American Booksellers Association; another dollar seventy goes to whomever gave you the link to Bookshop (like me, if you buy through this). (If it’s an ABA bookstore that gives you the link, they get twenty-five percent, not ten: four dollars and twenty-five cents.) —And you’ll notice you’re not paying full price, which is another thing a retailer can do with that fifty-five percent.

(Of course, there’s still anywhere from two dollars and four cents to four dollars fifty-nine cents going into Bookshop.org’s pockets, but they have expenses, and it’s okay, they’re a B-corp, and also capitalism.)

I’ll probably keep the Amazon editions around; I’m mildly amused by the mild confusion, and anyway to shut them off I’d have to figure out which website I’m supposed to log into now and what my password was or is or ought to be, and who has the time. —What’s also amusing to me, with Amazon, is of course they carry the new editions, of all three books (they carry everything Ingram distributes, because why not), but: you wouldn’t know it from search results, or looking at my Amazon author page. You can only find the Amazon editions for the paperbacks of the first two, but! Amazon makes more money off the editions that aren’t theirs: two dollars and fifteen cents more, per copy.

Well, anyway. I chuckled. Mordantly, but.

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