Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Amazon Censorship Alienates Power-Buyers

I hate to say I told you so, Amazon, but...

Okay, I don't hate to say it. 

But I DID tell you so!

According to the numbers being thrown around, Amazon is alienating its ebook "power-buyer" audience by banning erotic fiction.

What!? People are buying PORN on their Kindles? *gasp* 

Yes, yes they are. They're buying a LOT of it. And I don't know why this is such a surprise. Porn has driven every major new technology we've released. And this ain't your mama's porn.

Look, I don't know how much the holier-than-thou reading our porn in the closet commentary while spouting morally indignant objections from customers influenced Amazon's decision to ban certain books from their virtual shelves - however, I do know that while those folks are a vocal MINORITY, the Kindle "power-buyers" are a non-vocal MAJORITY - and they're voting with their dollars.

They are taking their business elsewhere, Amazon.

Do you have any idea how much my sales increased at Barnes and Noble because Amazon "banned" my erotic books from their site? ONE HUNDRED TIMES. That's right, I went from making about $1000 a month on Barnes and Noble to... *drumroll people* almost $100,000 in a month. Now, granted, that number has decreased since the whole banning thing also happened to coincide with the Nook's crazy Christmas-buying extravaganza, but I'm still earning three times the amount on Barnes and Noble than I am on Amazon almost six months later.

The polls don't lie. Readers are abandoning their Kindles for Nooks, especially the "power-buyers" that the publishing industry is drooling over. I could have told you months ago - in fact, I did - that the power-buyers were also erotica readers. And that while they might not email Amazon and protest about the book ban (although some did) in the numbers of the morally-objecting vocal minority - that Amazon was going to feel the sting of actual monetary loss when those erotica readers abandoned Kindle and went elsewhere to find their reading material.

Told ya so.

So is it a good payoff for Amazon, do you think? Was my $100,000 month just a drop in the bucket to the mega superstar? (Their cut would have been about $40K... but Barnes and Noble pocketed that money instead...)

Is Amazon too big to fail?

In this ebook game, I wouldn't make assumptions like that, even if you are Amazon. 

Selena Kitt
erotic fiction you won't forget


  1. Wow, your numbers on B&N are freaking amazing. I just wish they'd open their Pubit doors to your Canadian neighbors to the north (waving madly). Smashwords is a great aide in getting on there, but the turn around time from them to distros is a tad long :(

  2. I hear they're working on it... I'll cross my fingers for you! :)

  3. @Eve Longlais
    What do you consider a "tad long?" A very relative term, if you've never gone through the commercial publisher route, which can take upwards of two years from submission to publication, provided you can first get through the gatekeepers (which isn't a guarantee). Smashwords' turnaround, even at the slowest of times, isn't remotely slow in the general scheme of things.

    @ Selena Kitt
    My biggest sellers are my gay twincest/brothercest shorts ("D.N.A.: Double Helix" and the two "Tinseltown Blues" shorts). The former was denied inclusion by Amazon, the other two I voluntarily pulled down after the fact to avoid the rest of my (relatively non-offensive backlist being deleted under threat.

    Guess what? The gay twincest/brothercest books are still my bestsellers, even without Amazon. Readers know what they want, and they'll go where necessary to find it.

  4. They got the twincest books too? Sheesh.

  5. I'm not surprised at the trend of buyers moving to Barnes & Noble after Amazon's move to censorship, but the numbers you're talking are downright amazing! Thanks for sharing.

  6. i'm not surprise with amazon policy. no porn content.. i agree with that policy

  7. I remember Nintendo falling foul of this after they beat off Sega to become undisputed leader of the home console market. Child-friendly games only. No horror. No gore. We're the only game in town, you do it our way or not at all.

    Then Sony came along with the Playstation and blew them out of the water.

    It's a simple rule. Sell what your customers want to buy else they'll go elsewhere.

  8. I have not made it to your sales figures yet but I know amazon has lost money from the titles of mine they pulled. My incest title was first to go and I am not sure about those who said they voluntarily pulled titles. My titles were summarily executed and unkind email replies received when I protested. The most mind boggling was when they kept a BDSM image collection and banned an erotic art collection from the 1800s. I contacted NCAC(i think that is their initials) to ask for help. I know amazon can do what they want but I think even non erotic authors against censorship would join the cause.

  9. People pretending they can just sell it somewhere else instead is one of the excuses that has been used several times as to why it can't be considered censorship.

    They're not pretending.