I do find it rather regrettable, now, that I have agreed to any duration of exclusivity with Amazon. Future books will not have any enforced 90-day exclusivity with that company.
Why? It’s not due to the formatting frustrations, that’s too little their fault (by choosing to use their own almost, but not quite ePub format, and their Kindlegen’s inability to recognise the perfectly standardised ePub ToC format and convert it mens they are partially at fault), that fault and the headache around it rest primarily with Calibre.
It is because of how they deal with content updates. I don’t know how Barnes & Noble handles uh things with the Nook, but I do know how Smahwords and Apple do it: you’re freely able to redownload the updated content. Period. IF IT’S A CONTENT UPDATE. Now, were I to release as a whole new book, new product number, separate edition, that’s a whole other thing.
Now, I don’t know for sure that Amazon forces you to rebuy an updated product but, if they don’t, it’s quite well hidden. That it doesn’t autodownload to your reader is fine and understandable, but the reader makes no effort to inform you the product has been updated. Also, if you try to redownload you get the old version. Go to Amazon.com, there is a notice there … if you look at the product’s page, but who looks at the page for a book they already own? The product gets a thing at the top saying an update is available. Yet if and if you click it I believe it takes you to manage your kindle. Where you can “Send to device”. “Okay!” one says to oneself. “This must feed the update to my Kindle/Reader!” Nope, sorry, it doesn’t. To gauge from the way something in their FAQ the only way a prior purchase that has received an update is available to the purchaser without repurchase is if Amazon enables it for them, manually, for THAT item at the request of the author (or whoever uploads the work for the author) and after they take “up to 4 weeks” to review and decide.
I’m, needless to say, displeased. Will I stop offering my work through Amazon and Kindle? i mean I’ve voiced a previous dislike for the company, the Kindle product, and recently added a dislike of their software, format, and services. This is true. I don’t like them, and while I can’t say I never did – quite the contrary, I once found them quite a neat idea – that dislike is enough not to look forward to their continued growth and success nor would I care to contribute to that. BUT I would like to contribute to my growth and success, and a simple statistic is that Amazon currently comprises 60% of the eBook market. Not in regards to offered titles, I mean SALES. I’m not going to turn away money on personal pride. If Amazon proves morally reprehensible enough I may consider pulling my work from them, or at least ceasing to put new items there, and this way of handling updates is a demerit in that regard, but I am not a one strike you’re out person. So, no, I’ll not pull anything. I will continue to offer through them.
Will I encourage Kindle Edition purchases? Oh hells no. If Amazon falls to the wayside and Kindle sales are a niche demographic will I go through their formatting headache? You’re joking, RIGHT?!
So: in short, if you already bought Stolen Time and there IS some mystic ritual to summon the update, it’s available to do so. If you bought a free copy and feel it was worth paying $3 for and are willing to buy the update it’s there, go ahead. Are you patient enough for the 24hr I’m waiting for Amazon’s reply to my inquiry on the matter? If so then I’ll be announcing my decision based on that reply (or lack thereof) this time tomorrow. Worst comes to worst I will use some more free promo days.