Dear Dirty America


The Losing Battle of Books

July 13
00:29 2013
photo by Jorge Royan
At fourteen (2003), I made a decision to become a writer. Nearly ten years later, I self-published my first “official” book, “Destruction Lovers”, on the Amazon Kindle Store. This comes only days after Barnes & Noble announced record loses, while Amazon announced the opposite. This is nothing new. For years now, writers have been at the mercy of changing currents from traditional to new media. Huffington Post, Gawker, and Perez Hilton have nearly completely replaced traditional newspapers, forcing many to instill a pay service, in the case of The New York Times. 

Amazon, in the space of a year, have taken inspiration from YouTube and Netflix, and moved from being a content medium to a content provider. Similar to how Netflix produced “House of Cards” and the new “Arrested Development” season, Amazon is now cutting out the middle man of publishers and now offers the Kindle Direct Publisher (KDP), a free self-publishing eBook service, that gives authors more creative and administrative control. An aspect amazingly rare for publishers to offer since the book goes through department heads, associate editors, editors, researchers, proofreaders, lawyers, the marketing department, cover artists, translators, and focus groups before the book even reaches distribution, let alone book shelves. Which leads to one of the best advantages Amazon is offering writers. 

70 per cent royalties for your work. You heard me right. Due to cutting costs of manufacturing, you can cash in 70 per cent of the book price that YOU set between $2.99 to $9.99! Traditional publishers pocket up to 80 per cent of royalties, and can price you’re book at anything. Now at first, I’m sure you’d be tempted to charge the most for your book, but consider the invisible hand of the market. We look for a bargain. We enjoy a deal. And we all love when something is free (I’ll get back to that point in a moment). 

But the greatest achievement this new self-publishing medium has obtained is what may very well be the figurative nail in the paper coffin. When I was 16 (2006), after years of looking and searching, I finally found a publisher who would publish my first book. That same year, the recession hit Ireland. And I received a polite email explaining that they needed to focus resources on more “established” writers. Amazon, is taking all these disgruntled, angry, passionate, intelligent, young, new writers, in a similar way Youtube have the new and exciting comedians, writers, film makers, and musicians. Amazon is strangling the publishing industry of their future prospects & cash cows. The losing move print media made isn’t allowing this to happen, but rather not realizing its happening.

Conor Matthews’ book, “Destruction Lovers”, is FREE until the 15th of July on the Amazon Kindle Store for any PC or device with the Kindle App. If you love sci-fi comedies adventures, search “Destruction Lovers” or click the link. 

Conor can be reached at:, and at Twitter:!/conorelmo.


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