Amazon and Goodreads Sitting in a Tree…

I am hip-deep in the editing of Tesseracts 17 – while simultaneously getting ready for THREE different book tours – (Hackmatack, Silver Birches and Writing on Fire) – AND trying to bash out a rough draft of a follow-up to my latest YA novel – so this is going to be a VERY short blog post – but I feel like I just can’t let this bit of news pass without throwing in my two cents worth.

I want to talk about the big news this week of Amazon buying out Goodreads.

Let’s face it – EVERYONE is already talking about it.

I mean EVERYONE!!!


All right. That’s enough. Anyone with access to Google and a working index finger can doubtless find another article pertaining to the acquisition.

It’s big, big news.

Or is it?


I’m going to be honest here.

For starters, Kobo has been a lot kinder to me than Kindle has in 2013. I’m one of those weird exceptions-to-the-rule. Whether it is because I am Canadian or whether it is just weird-dumb-circumstance – I sell a LOT more e-books through Kobo than I do through Kindle – THIS MONTH.

So I’ve got a bias.

BUT – next month might be a whole different story.

Things change.

Still, I want to be PERFECTLY honest with you folks.

I read that big news yesterday and the first thing I thought of was – “Wow, so this is how Amazon is going to hit back at Kobo’s competition. A move like this could dry up the Kobo review machine – which hinges directly upon a good working connection with Goodreads reviewers.”

Well, maybe.

However – if we read what Goodreads CEO Otis Chandler has to say about the merger we will see that Otis claims that nothing is going to change about Goodreads.

He’s lying.

Things HAVE changed.

The whole picture HAS changed.

And things are going to KEEP ON changing.

Is this a good change?

Is this a bad change?

I dunno. It makes more sense to moan about the weather. Face it boys and girls – we live in a changing world and ANYONE involved in the writing and/or creation of e-books who says that they CAN’T deal with change had better get off the freaking train!

Things changed yesterday.

Most likely they will change again tomorrow.

Don’t force me to break out my old guitar and try to learn how to sing again and to start wailing – in my worst Bob Dylan voice – OH THE TIMES THEY ARE A’CHANGING!

Because they are.

Or – in the words of David Bowie – ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes – turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes…

Things have changed.

They’ll most likely change again.

For now – and for always – my job as a writer is just to ride out the changes and write a little faster.

I could post a hundred intensive fear-mongering scare-story blog entries over the next month saying – “Oh my God, Amazon is the devil, they done bought out Goodreads”.

I could tweet a thousand bitter little tweets – me and Chicken Little singing out “THE SKY IS FALLING”.

Or – better yet – I could go back to my writing and write.



So that’s what I am going to do.

I’m a member at Goodreads.

I’m a writer over at Amazon.

And I’m a writer at Kobo.

(and if you REALLY dug this blog entry why don’t you swing on over to Amazon and/or Kobo and buy an e-book?)

Nothing’s changed.

I’m still writing.


What it boils down to is this.

I don’t know HOW this change will affect me.

I don’t know if this is going to affect Kobo.

I can’t even tell you what the weather for next Wednesday is supposed to be.

All I can tell you for certain sure is that EVERYTHING IS FREAKING CHANGING.

So deal with it.

If you want to read what smarter folks have got to say about the Amazon/Goodreads merger you might want to read what David Gaughran or Hugh C. Howey have got to say about it. They’re both two smart dudes who sell a whole lot more e-books than me.

But maybe that’ll change too.

Some day…

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

PS:  Here’s Scott Turow of the Author’s Guild’s take on the situation.  


10 responses to “Amazon and Goodreads Sitting in a Tree…

  1. Our first impressions were the same. Wise words and thank you for that piece of enlightenment about David Bowie – I always thought it was “turn and face the strain” Turn and face the strange is SO much better. But yes, life happens and you roll with it and it might be bad, it might be good. We really don’t know and there’s no point worrying. Make some contingency plans and see what happens, that’s my view.

    I must start sticking e-pub files directly on Kobo and see what it does. It’s quite big here in the UK so I’d like to get into it if I can. My stuff is there though Smashwords but I’m guessing I should put it up there myself… or join that Ingram thing.




    • You know – I think that David Bowie’s CHANGES has about a thousand or so variations on the interpretation of the lyrics. If I ever meet the man I must ask him just what the heck he WAS singing.

      And DO try Kobo. I’ve had some of my work put out through Smashwords – and although they do sell books I find that there reaction time is just a little too slow for my liking. I’ve got one book that I want to release directly through Kobo and it’s still stuck in the Smashwords gears even after I requested it be removed several weeks ago.


  2. Great blog Steve. Amazon takeover of Goodreads is a game changer. Kobo has to compete now with both a distribution site and an interactive reader-author site. I support kobo (my sales are terrible) and they have major issues with the search engines, codes for affiliate links and I could go on…but what this move between Goodreads and Amazon has really done is move B&N (Nook) almost out of the game. I’m not for a monopoly so I’m hoping Kobo (which was taken over by a Japanese company about 3 years ago) will get with the program.


    • Thanks, Renee.

      Neither Kobo nor Amazon are going to sit still for very long. So we will just have to wait and see what comes next.

      I’m not in favor of a monopoly, either. Sooner or later a monopoly would start squeezing it’s suppliers- meaning us writers.

      Long live competition.


  3. Steve,
    THANKS for an objective perusal. I’ve not seen too many of those so far (not any?)


  4. The most common sense post on the subject I’ve read so far. Bravo. I’ll be following you from now on.

    You will have to wait a week or so before I buy any books though. I’m waiting on my Zon ‘dividend’ check.


  5. I’m waiting for the audio version of your change song list. 🙂


    • Oh no. You don’t want to hear me sing. I used to sing all of the time while I was unloading semi trailers. Sooner or later somebody shot me. I’ve got more bullet holes than you would want to imagine. I prefer to think of them as echo-chambers…


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