AMPLIFICATION: We should have pointed out in this post originally that Smashwords as a distributor doesn’t distribute most of its self-published ebook titles to Amazon and so would benefit from more readers buying ebooks from other retailers. We regret the omission.
Mark Coker, the CEO of self-publishing distribution business Smashwords and an indie author himself, is rooting for Hachette in its current business dispute with Amazon.
Unlike many indie authors, Coker is rooting for Hachette to prevail against Amazon because he believes that a Hachette loss now would make it harder for big publishers to eventually switch to the old “agency” model of selling ebooks (where the publisher sets the price and takes 70% of the proceeds) and that the agency model is good for indie authors.
According to a Smashwords spokesperson, Coker believes that the agency model:
1. Has allowed indie authors to price ebooks lower to consumers, creating a favorable price comparison with traditionally published ebooks, while still earning a large royalty.
2. Has helped keep Amazon’s power in check, creating a more diverse ebook retail ecosystem, which…
3. Benefits authors (giving them more sales channels to pursue), publishers (same as authors) and readers (who get more choice when it comes to how and where they purchase ebooks).
Coker also believes that large publishers missed an opportunity on the agency model to lower book prices and give authors a higher cut, giving Amazon and other retailers less margin to pursue.