Category Archives: amazon

A Few Licensing Issues with Amazon

Many of the technologies we use every day come with a license agreement of some sort.  You might not even realize that it’s so because of where you are in the transaction chain – either as a buyer or as a seller.  Content, for instance, is created, licensed/sold, packaged, re-licensed/re-sold, bundled, re-licensed/re-sold, and on and on so many times that you can hardly figure out who actually created much of what you read online.  This is important, especially insofar as you want to be sure of who is providing the information that you use to make decisions, but also because as information is licensed/bundled/re-licensed over and over, it’s possible that the content creator isn’t getting what they earned as part of the transaction (namely, credit/attribution and/or payment).

Several services have popped up recently that are allowing content to move from one format to another – especially on Amazon-related products and platforms (ie: the Kindle).  More specifically, Amazon is now allowing blog authors to license content for packaging and distribution on the Kindle, with the blog author receiving about 30% of the revenue generated from the license price.  So, if I were to want this blog to be available as a Kindle subscription for say, $1.99, I would get $.31 for every subscription.  But there’s a problem, Amazon has a license agreement that I would have to accept in order to make this happen.  And this license agreement also gives Amazon the right to bundle and resell my content in other forms, too, without paying me for it at all.  [For a full conversation on this, see this great post by Edward Champion.]

Additionally, Amazon’s current system doesn’t actually even check to see if I’m the owner of the blog I’m submitting into the Kindle Blog service!  So I could create an account, submit any of your blogs as my own, and in just a few clicks, create Amazon entries for your blog’s content – even competing with the “real” listing (if you so happened to have agreed to the terms as well and started using the service).

So, for the record, while I love Amazon for a bunch of reasons, this blog is NOT being made available as a Kindle subscription.  It is, however, being posted ON Amazon as part of Amazon’s author services… so you can read the individual postings if you go to the Software Licensing Handbook page at Amazon.  But if you happen to see it on your Kindle device, you’re paying someone else for stolen content.

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Speaking of Firesales…

As you can see from the multiple prior articles, we just held our first free conference call regarding firesales. Stephen Guth was gracious enough to host and we had several great suggestions on how to deal with the inevitable steals and deals that seem to pop out of nowhere this time of year.  Thank you to all who participated!  We’ll look forward to seeing you again in January or early February with another call.

And, as expected (but kinda’ eerily coincidental nonetheless), Amazon is currently selling my Software Licensing Handbook for 23% off (regularly $114.95, now $88.82). Geez. What a deal!

I don’t know that I’ve ever explained to you how the publishing process works, but suffice it to say, I do not get the same royalty from a book sold via Amazon (or other resellers) as I do from Lulu. In fact, I have to give the resellers a WIDE margin in which they are allowed to play. This margin includes their profit, so they can discount the book any way they desire, as it only affect their per-book profit. But regardless of the discount they offer to you, the total value of the margin comes out of my royalty.

I, however, can’t discount my own book because the price I offer to you via Lulu has to be the retail price presented to the resellers. Amazon and others can offer you great deals and I can’t match it even if I wanted to. So, dear reader, if you wanted to save money on the Software Licensing Handbook, now is the time to do it, as the Amazon holiday firesale is in full swing!


Open Letter to Owners of the Software Licensing Handbook (either edition)

Dear Reader:

One of my favorite aspects of Stephen King is that he tries desperately to communicate with his readers. He sends “open letters” to them through the front or back pages of each novel… leaves notes on his website… whatever he can do to let them know that he’s a real person, with real feelings and real gratitude for their support.

One of the disadvantages of selling a book through Lulu, Amazon and other retailers is that I (like any other author) simply don’t have a window to the buyer. I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you like or dislike. I only see numbers.

So far, the numbers have been better than I expected. Like King, I’m eternally grateful for the support you’ve shown and it’s really the reason I went ahead with a second edition of the book – I felt there were some missing pieces and I wanted you to have everything I could possibly share through the written word. I’m also honored by your faith and trust in my opinion and experience (as that’s what the book really is, after all).

In the coming weeks, I’m going to be retiring the first edition of the book. Amazon has finally made the second edition available on their site – so that means that other retailers will be getting the data soon, too. Back in September, I offered a special deal to owners of the first edition to transition to the second. I’m going to continue to extend that offer through the end of this year. I hope you’ll take advantage of it – the negotiation tips alone should be worth their weight in firesale gold. 😉

Oh, and if you have the time, please take a minute to submit a review of the SLH on Amazon.

Thank you again for all of your time and support. I look forward to continuing this journey together.

~Jeff