03 April, 2011

Dear Amazon: You're a Let-Down.

This weeks' research has led me to discover a few things. Firstly, I don't do enough Finnish study. But secondly, Amazon is a big, fat, outdated disappointment. Kindle, you too.

Let's imagine I had something worth publishing in my hot little hands right now. I could e-book it (yes it will be a lot of fiddly formatting, but I'm capable if I spend enough time, effort and energy swearing sweating). Now what would I do with it? Let's suppose for a moment I stick with electronic - we can save the annoyance of handling physical books for later.

I can (and have) sold e-books before on a website. Easy-peasy, person pays their (whatever) PayPal amount and in return gets a link to download my e-book. This isn't an ideal setup, because nothing really stops them sharing out the location of the file. I can remedy that somewhat by monitoring it and moving the link location now and then, or I can pay for a virtual store ($5 a month, protects the link location). But it would kinda work. Messily. I'd then have to do the entire amount of marketing myself, and nobody is ever going to stumble onto my e-book while looking at other people's e-books.

I could sell it via eBay, and also lose the eBay fees in the ride (plus the PayPal fees). Additionally, like the first option, very few people would find my book by accident while browsing books to buy.

Both have an added fun part - withdrawing the funds. I could spend the PayPal funds on something else that ships to Finland (almost never possible). Or, I still have an Aussie bank account, and could withdraw it to there. And then... not be able to really do much with that money. Perhaps spend it on Australian websites occasionally, for gifts to family.

So, Amazon's Kindle store should be the obvious choice right??? I can get seen all over the world. People trust Amazon. No messing with the link location and I could get great exposure. Buyers might take a chance on me if the price is right. Amazon handle all the money and just pay me a check.

Er - there's the problem. Check-only. Notice I did not write cheque but check, because they would ONLY pay out in US-currency. Or direct-deposit into a US-bank account.

And what (the fuck), pray tell, am I supposed to do with a bloody CHECK? Finnish banks will look at me like I've got two heads and suggest I use it as toilet paper - they phased them out here twenty-five years ago, back when Abraham Lincoln was a child. If I get it sent to my mother in Australia, she can go to the trouble to park, walk into a bank branch, cash it over the counter into my account, for a $25 currency-change fee each time. Twenty-Five-Freakin'-Bucks. That's quite a hit to take assuming I even sell enough books, and even after Kindle's cruel commission is bitten out.

What's doing, Amazon? You're quite happy to take my money from anywhere in the world, and sell me an e-book anywhere in the world. Why the hell are you conveniently unwilling pay me? I already have to prove my tax status to you... I have no problem proving nationalities and my registered address to you either, if you're just concerned I might cheat you out of US taxes. In fact, hell, take out the tax just in case. It's not that bloody hard to route money to an overseas bank. I know it, because I've sent money to Sweden from here. You know it too, because you can pay Canadians directly.

Thoroughly and utterly disgusted.