The answer just might be yes because this is exactly what is happening to Jamie McGuire. Jamie originally self-published her book Beautiful Disaster and the sales were so good that a publisher wanted the book. So now the book is with a publisher. Cool, right? You’d think so except for this thorn that cropped up. Amazon is sending out mass emails to people who bought Beautiful Disaster when it was self-published. Amazon is offering a full refund for the $3.99 price it was when it was self-published PLUS the difference in price that the publisher is charging ($7.99). And Jamie McGuire is the one paying the bill. So Jamie is now paying every customer who wants a refund about $8. Amazon’s not paying it. She’s made it clear the publisher isn’t behind this.
My thoughts on this:
So what are we looking out here?
Is it now a liability to accept a contract with a publisher who wants your self-published book? Your book took off and became such a big hit that you got the attention of a publisher. So you unpublish the self-published edition and sign a contract with the publisher who then gets your rights and republishes the book. Everything should be roses from there, but I guess it might not be. Because Amazon might send out mass emails to your previous customers and offer to refund the book + the difference in what the publisher is asking.
At what point do we say, “This is ridiculous?” It’s ridiculous as soon as it happens. Is this a sign of things to come? Will there be some other reason we’ll end up owing past customers money on books they bought months or years ago? Where does this end? At what other job would the person be required to pay back customers for services or goods they received far back to who knows when? Can you imagine if your boss came to you and started taking money out of your current paycheck because your boss decided to refund some customers? Like I said, the whole thing is ridiculous. And yet, it’s happening. So not only is it ridiculous but it’s also a nightmare.
What can we do to help?
1. I think we should spread Jamie McGuire’s story as much as possible. I ask that you Tweet, Facebook, Google + (or do whatever you can to inform other authors about this). Here’s the direct link to her post: http://www.jamiemcguire.com/amazon-beautiful-disaster-emails/.
2. If you bought Beautiful Disaster when it was self-published, please don’t ask for a refund. She’s the one who pays the bill, not Amazon. It’s not fair that they’re doing this. I implore you to do what you can to lighten her burden.