Colin Robinson has an article at the Huffington Post about his new startup, OR Books, which published Going Rouge. Robinson points out that Amazon wants a discount of 55 to 60% and if the publisher tries to match that price Amazon will use the publisher’s lower price as the basis of their discount, so it is impossible for the publisher to compete with direct sales to its customers. Robinson then says that Amazon doesn’t do much for the discount; just makes the books available rather than marketing them.
But at OR Books, our calculation is that, for the amount of money we would have to give Amazon, we can do a better job finding customers ourselves. We know who our audience is, we share their interests, we visit the same websites and read the same writers. We empathize with them in a way that is impossible for the Bezos behemoth.
Orbooks.com will never, remotely, be a destination site in the manner of Amazon.com. But by investing our money in clever advertising and extensive online mailing, in imaginative viral video and lively author events, we are heading out into the world to the places where our potential readers already congregate.
I note that on OR’s site their ebooks are priced at $10, half the price of the paper edition. The article makes no mention of what Robinson thinks about the Apple store.