We’ve all heard of “dime novels.” Now, thanks to Amazon.com, there are “penny novels” available, and one of them happens to be mine. How did I learn this?
An old friend, someone with whom I went to school, recently sent an unsolicited review of my first novel, A Line Between Friends, and I asked him to post a version of it on Amazon.com. He did. And when I went to the site to read it, I noticed there were two “new” copies of the book available from Amazon vendors for 1¢. One flippin’ cent. How can that be? Even I can’t get copies of my own books for under nine bucks!
My friend Beaver, who has a thriving Amazon business, explained that vendors make more money on some of their items from the minimum $3.99 shipping allotment Amazon provides than they do on the product itself. I get that, but it doesn’t make me feel any better. Placing the value of a story that I labored to write and edit, and on which my publisher invested printing and distribution expenses at a mere penny is, well, pretty damn degrading. It’s almost as bad as a negative review.
On a brighter note, my friend’s five-star review of A Line Between Friends was the 22nd five-star rating of the work posted on Amazon. And I know for a fact that reading it and reconnecting with his past (and with me) was worth far more than a flippin’ penny.