Little did I suspect. when I set up Wizard’s Tower, that I would be spending a lot of time dealing with the petty bureaucracy of people like PayPal and Amazon.
Much of the past week has been spent worrying about how to deal with the unexpected cash flows resulting from the Great Finnish Book-Buying Event. Partly that has been financial. The money came in as GBP, and needed to go out as USD. Thanks to the Bank of Morgan-Standlee I managed to save over $50 in currency conversion fees. But I have also been fretting about whether any of the payments I’m making are going to trigger alarms at PayPal, and I still have far more cash in the account than I’m comfortable with. PayPal are liable to freeze your account at any time, and set impossible conditions for getting it back. Their idea of customer service is more reminiscent of a loan shark than a bank.
As a result of this I’m considering adding a Google Checkout payment option to the store. Financially it doesn’t make much sense. The percentage fee that they charge on transactions is lower than PayPal’s, but they also charge a flat fee of around 30c per transaction. That’s fine if you are, for example, selling art prints at $100 a pop, but if you are selling books and your average price per order is around $5, it is a significant extra charge. The reason for having it would be so that the store doesn’t have to close down if PayPal suddenly decides to freeze my account which, frankly, could happen at any time for no apparent reason.
Of course my own books are on sale elsewhere. You can now get Archangel Protocol from the Nook store. It should available from Kobo, Weightless and Angry Robot fairly soon too. As for Amazon, who knows? I uploaded the book shortly before I did the same for the Nook. It’s not on sale yet, and I have no idea when it will be. That’s because Amazon have, once again, started from the default position of assuming that I pirated the book, and they won’t put it on sale until I can prove to their satisfaction that I haven’t.
This happens pretty much every time I try to put a book on sale there.
Things are getting better, though. Last time this happened they insisted that they had proof that the book was pirated and took all of my books off sale for weeks. And they refused to talk to the author. This time they appear to be willing to speak to Lyda. Here’s hoping that works.
The annoying thing is that I have to keep doing business with Amazon because there are so many people who refuse to buy from anyone else, even though they can get exactly the same book, at the same price, from other stores.