domingo, 31 de agosto de 2014

Eggs and basket

I touched this some time ago. I had another one about it, today.

You see, I googled a book. Its title words, without quotes, its writer (ibid)... And then I added "-amazon".

I didn't do it to bugger anyone, but I already knew amazon had the book and when you allow amazon into your search results you get them from each of their sites. US, UK, CA... Plus the author's minisite at amazon, plus related searches... Half of Google turns into a search within amazon itself. Pass.

So, what was the result? First three results, in order: Goodreads, B&N, and Google books. I don't usually get Google Books in my search results (which says a lot about their commitment to it). The fourth one was another review site, popular within the genre. Among the rest in that page, an ebay listing and another review site I'd never heard of.

The rest? Pirate sites. Both torrent and direct download.

So, the moment you extract amazon from your results (because you already know those, because you're a crusader against the amazon monopoly, because...), the first page in google, and very few go beyond that, is like this

  • Review sites: 3
  • First hand / e-book shops: 2
  • Second hand shops: 1
  • Pirate sites: 4
So, 40% of the sites are pirate sites, 30% are promotion. Only 20% offer the chance to the writer for some benefits. You might want to account second hand as promotion, but I don't think a general place that just happens to have some books on sale is really all that promoting. No data on this last item, though.

Now, that particular writer doesn't have an amazon exclusive. I happen to know she recently decided to quit smashwords. I'll grant you that smashwords' system is a pain in the ass, for publishers. For readers, it's suboptimal, but works just well enough.

Search engines don't give a damn. Now, you might choose, even so, to forgo smashwords. But then... Kobo, Apple, Omnilit, Baen, your own site... Yes, the amazon filter crippled that one a bit; not really that much: it comes up 10th if I don't filter that, and only points to a tag-filtered posts list.

In case I'm dancing too much around the point: with my standards in that post linked up there, my only choice in that first page of results is to get a pirate copy. I won't even enter the A-legality of that, here [*]. Even if I liked B&N and GBooks, which I don't, those are only two results out of ten.

Do please make it harder to find pirate books. And I don't mean "swamp Google with DCMA notices". Be aware that the moment I get a DCMA tag I won't buy your book. At all. But you have other options. Scribd, iBooks, Kobo, Paypal... At the very least, they'll help displace torrents farther down the list.

Guys, those proportions up there are unacceptable. Deal with it.

Take care.

[*] And, guys, Illegal and Allegal are not the same.

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