I’m sitting in the garden, my feet up, tablet computer on my knee .. Oh, you don’t want me to push details of my life at you while you’re sitting at your desk browsing instead of working.

Oh, you’re not? Well, good on you (this is where I would put one of those little smiley things if I knew how to do it).

Despite my pleasurable surroundings, I don’t know whether to laugh or be furious. I’m not sure either is a proper response.

It all started with a note from my publisher that the books are to be made available via an improved distribution channel across Europe. Now, that won’t mean much to most of you because most of my readers have bought either direct from the publisher’s website or via one of Amazon.Com’s sites. But it make a difference to me because now the books will be printed, for the first time, outside the USA.

There will be production in both the UK and somewhere in what is somewhat confusingly called “continental Europe.” Not Ireland, then. Which is odd because lots of US companies set up in Ireland because of a helpful tax regime (which really, really pisses off the rest of Europe that wants to tax people so highly there’s little point in working).

So, we worked on revising the descriptions of the books and setting UK / EU prices. At present, for non-US websites, Amazon.Com apply some kind of “auto-conversion” pricing from the US retail price set by my publisher. So the price varies (we think. Actually we are a bit confused. Whatever, the prices quoted end up as very strange figures instead of the usual x.99). Under the new scheme, we have control over the RRP of the book across Europe. At least, now, they look uniform and tidier, or will when the roll-out is complete.

So far so good. Over the next week or so, the books will be released not only through Amazon.Com’s UK and EU sites but also via any bookshop that chooses to stock them.

Then, as I sat here, lunch still a fresh taste and the last drops of the wine and coffee being supped, I remembered that the books were already available on Amazon.co.uk. So I wandered off to look and that’s when I became irritated.

I am not irritated with Amazon.co.uk (well, not over this issue, anyway) but I am mightily pissed off that their website is being used as an opportunity for what seem to me to be nothing more than con-artists.

Let me explain.

In the UK (under the “translated pricing” system), Amazon listed Pete, Fay, Love at GBP8.71 including delivery. Other booksellers linked via Amazon’s site and fulfilment services list it at prices ranging from GBP6.98 (plus delivery of GBP2.80) to – and here’s where I’m pissed off – GBP888.00 plus delivery, again GBP2.80. 888 – a very lucky number in Chinese numerology.

Now let’s look at this carefully: out of the new UK price (GBP8.99) my royalties will be GBP0.99. Yes, just under a pound. I don’t know what the con artists are paying for the book (that’s buried somewhere in distribution channel reports and I can’t be bothered to look) but it’s got to be less than GBP8.99. Let’s assume a 30% discount against cover price so they are paying, roughly, GBP6. And they are not even paying to post it – that’s why all the listed resellers charge the same – they use Amazon.Co.UK’s fulfilment services.

So the con artist is making – if anyone is dumb enough to buy from him / it / them a whopping GBP882 on my book while I make less than a pound.

The thing is, they are not doing anything illegal and, although that case is extreme, there are several resellers promoting, via Amazon.Com’s platform copies at higher than our RRP.

There are also some who are promoting it for less (that’s fine for me: I get the same royalty!)

So, as it says in “The Things That I Can’t Say”

“Take care out there
Not everyone’s a friend out there.”

I could have added

“And when you’re buying my books
Remember “buyer beware.” “

© 2012 Jefferson Galt
All rights reserved

words by jeffersongalt.com JG - The Blog