Friday, June 22, 2012

A Story Behind the Story

It occurs to me that as I am fast approaching the release of Nobody, Aggadeh Chronicles Book One, instead of talking about industry stuff I'm learning, it is time to start actually talking about the story I'm writing. A good place to start, I think, is with the main character and a bit about his world.
Nem Aster was a character I created a very long time ago. I just didn’t know what to do with him. I have a couple characters like this, I just keep them boxed up until I come up with a story that fits them.
Nem Aster started out as Gah’velle Nem. Gah’velle meaning, the thief
The original Nem was a much darker character; or rather, his story was much uglier.
Nem Aster is more of a Benjamin Franklin kind of character, a self-made man. Like Franklin, he starts his early life with a criminal act. Franklin ran out on his apprenticeship, which back then was considered a crime. Nem got into trouble when he made a poor choice. Where Franklin was a runaway, Nem was sentenced to be banished from Aboria for seven years as soon as he came of age.
Nem, in an effort to protect his father’s cattle from an old dragon, offered the dragon an old bull his father had taken in for a friend. Only, the bull was a prize stud hired by Nem’s father to increase the family heard, even though it was getting near the end of his days. Nem took responsibility for his mistake when people blamed the dragon, earning both respect and his sentencing at the same time.
Nem was well prepared for his life away from home when the time came for him to leave Aboria. Despite the circumstances of his departure, Nem was well-liked in his community.
Gah’velle Nem, was not.
Gah’velle Nem was a street rat. A thief. Ultimately, a convicted murderer. Nem Aster was given an education to prepare himself for his eventual banishment, Gah’velle Nem’s education came from trying to survive in the streets. Honing his wit with the effort to stay alive.
This version of Nem is tortured, mutilated, survives being hanged and burned at the stake before he is finally tied to a camel to be dragged out into the desert to finally execute him. Through all this, he survives.
It is single act of kindness to him that inspires him to look beyond the inhumanity he has suffered and try to do the same for someone else. When he realizes he has contracted the plague, he decided he didn’t want his death to be meaningless, and grabs at an opportunity to save someone else even at the cost of bringing about his own demise.
Only, his selfless act was witnessed by the a force that could give him a second chance at life and salvation. And potentially lead him to his doom.
And thus began A Warrior Out of Time, the original story about Nem.
Aggadeh Chronicles draws many of its elements from A Warrior Out of Time. Both Nems are given a sword cut from the claw of a dragon. Both swords can cut through anything and have the nature to disrupt magic for different reasons. Both of them received unusual educations. Both their worlds are being driven to war and chaos by hidden powers manipulating events. And they find themselves in the role of disrupting those plans.
In many ways, they are outcasts in their worlds. They are rejected by those around them, yet they walk the path that all others will follow.
Both Nems have the power to destroy their worlds.
At some point, I will write Warrior… as an alternative universe to Aggadeh Chronicles. A way to show readers where the original idea came from. Maybe tack it onto a collection as a extra or just sell it as a standalone. It is the story behind the story.
As Aggadeh Chronicles begins, Nem Aster is a fairly passive character. Things happen to him and around him, but he is not fully in control of those events. Like a ship driven on the sea by the wind, he can only go with the flow and must yield to the currents. As a sailor on a ship, his actions affect how the ship behaves, but he is not in command of that ship.
When he leaves the sea, Nem begins to become more resistant to the flow of events around him. More assertive in what choices he makes and actions he takes.
When he fulfills the promises he made, only then does he become free to become authoritative in his role.
In the Aggadeh Empire, this independence gets him into trouble with those who feel only they have the right to dictate authority. They need his power but cannot command him. Nem is the new order that they cannot control. To them, Nem represents chaos.
Aggadeh is, in my mind, similar to the Roman Empire if it had never fallen. It has several thousand years of history, but is in stagnation. Aggadeh is technologically at the level our world was in the 18th century.
Many years ago, during a class in Greek history, the professor—a native Grecian himself—made a comment that has stuck with me all my life: “Two thousand years ago, the Greeks had everything they needed to put a man on the moon.” His explanation went on that they understood the mathematics, physics and other sciences needed to pull that off. The scientific curiosity to consider such possibilities. They certainly had the engineering knowhow to design complex designs, including the basics of rocket engines. Hell, they even had computers back then!
So, why didn’t they?
The answer is, necessity is the mother of invention. The Ancient Greeks did not have necessity, therefore, they didn’t invent.
They didn’t have the necessity, because they had slaves to do all the grunt work. There was no need to invent some tool that would make the work easier. Therefore, any technological advances were reduced to being used for parlor tricks and curiosities.
The Romans took engineering to a whole new level in the ancient world, but like the Greeks, they didn’t go much farther. Romans built incredible water and sewerage projects that were so well built, many of the components are still standing today, and many are still functional after thousands of years. Those waterworks were developed and built because there was necessity.
Yet, the Romans never built combustion or steam engines. They had slaves that could provide the muscle work to power cranes and other machines needed for construction.
Even the United States of America was nothing more than an agrarian society until slavery was abolished. Only then, did the industrial revolution catch up with the U.S. and turn it into an industrial  and world power.
In the world of Aggadeh, they have magic to do the grunt work. As a result, there was no need to turn to technology or even slavery. Slavery only exists where magic is not used, such as on the continent of Arabon.
But magic is this world has a price. The energy to run a spell, or curse, or any other magic, is life force. A connection called a ‘lease’ must be created between the spell and the source of energy for the spell. The quickest and most potent way to cast a spell is to power it with oneself. But do this too many times, and one can drain one’s life away. A mage who casts magic  around indiscriminately could potentially kill his- or herself. A spell doesn’t have to activate immediately, but create too many delayed spells or curses, if they are activated too suddenly, the caster could drop dead when his life is drained away.
After casting a spell, it takes time to recharge and be at top energy again. Like athletes who can run quickly in short bursts or long distances with great endurance, some people have deeper wells to draw from and/or some who can regain their energy faster. Pretty much anyone can use magic, but it requires a certain level of education to use effectively and safely. Those who have deep reserves of energy and can recover the most quickly are understandably the most powerful.
There are ways to get around this limitation of energy. A mage can create a connection called a ‘lease’ between the spell and another living being as source of energy. This could be another person, an animal, or a plant. An animal can often supply a strong burst of energy to run a complicated spell, but depending on the size of the animal, they often don’t have much of a well to draw on. An angry mage could lease a curse to the cattle of a farmer and place a curse on the farmer; leaving the farmer with the choice to either endure the curse, or kill off his cattle to end the curse. Plants, especially old trees, often have very deep wells, but the energy can only be drawn off at a lower rate. So, simple spells can be leased to a tree, but these spells can run for a long time. Often, villages have a grove of well-tended and large trees in the town green for use with defensive spells to hold off attackers for long periods.
This means there are limits to the use of magic.Therefore, it was necessary to develop a certain level of technology to perform those tasks not worth draining away the energy of one’s life. The balance reached in the world of Aggadeh is a pre-industrial level of technology.
There are other ways that a spell can be powered: One way is to create a contract with a non-corporeal being from another plain of existence to act as a power source for a spell for a limited period of time. Because such beings are connected to the universe in a far deeper manner, the power they can supply is almost limitless. But they will only agree to such a contract if there is a limit on the time it lasts and there is some sort of compensation for their sacrifice. Demons are more than happy to oblige, but only for short periods of time, and their compensatory demand is usually quite dear.
A second way to power a spell is with a power stone. Such stones are incredibly rare. They are crystals, usually gemstones of the utmost purity, that have been imbued with energy from the very basis of the universe itself, at a much deeper level than the life force normally used for spells. Often such stones are embedded into magical tools—such as a wand or staff—with a spell attached that can be used for specific purposes. A power stone can be as large as the largest gem stone, or as small as a grain of sand.
There are only two sources of a power stone.
While anyone can learn to use magic, only the most accomplished at the unnatural arts are labeled as mages, witches, or wizards. But there is a fourth class of magic user: the sorcerer. A sorcerer is considered the physicist of the magic users; delving into the very source of the universe’s power directly. Most sorcerers have a natural talent for manipulating magic right down to the most precise minutiae. Nearly all successful sorcerers are those who were born prodigies at using magic. Sorcery, or elementalism, is incredibly dangerous, because if the flow of power isn’t controlled properly, it will rapidly go out of control, killing the practitioner—and everyone in the surrounding countryside—in a spectacular explosion.
The majority of those who make an attempt at sorcery usually don’t survive very long. Nor do their neighbors and fellow townspeople. Practicing of sorcery near populated areas is greatly frowned upon. In any given century, there may be fewer than two or three successful sorcerers.
But for those who succeed, there is great demand for their talents. For only a sorcerer can create a power stone, by forcing the energy of the universe into the crystal structure of the stone. But, the stone must be attuned to the type of magic that it will be used to power.
The second source of power stones are dragons. Creatures of energy whose very habitat is the flow of the universe, who can make themselves corporeal and therefore manipulate power into the stones. A dragon can push the most pure of power even into the lowest purity of crystalline stones. A power stone created by a dragon is so pure and harmonious that its power can be used for any magical purpose. Possessing a power stone created by a dragon could lend its wielder enough power to become the next emperor.
There are only three known power stones created by dragons. Dragons don’t interact with people, except under extraordinary circumstances. The Aggadeh Empire was founded when the first emperor managed to steal a power stone from a dragon and used it to crush his enemies. The Holy Empire of Caltha has two such power stones in its possession. While much smaller than the Aggadeh Empire, Caltha manages to maintain a détente with Aggadeh on the merit of these two stones. Each of the emperors keeps his power stone in an imperial staff. After thousands of years, each of these stones in nearly out of power. The third is embedded in the tiara of the Great Lady Oracle and is actually powerless at this time; many erroneously believe that the Oracle’s power comes from the stone in her tiara.
People who are uneducated usually cannot use magic. They are often driven out by bullying and other social pressures and tend to settle in the outlying lands of the empire.
Nem hails from the land of Aboria.
Aboria is only marginally marked on imperial maps. Separated from the Aggadeh Empire by the Abor mountains and only accessible via sea to the east or through volcanic regions to the west, Aboria is fairly isolated. Add to that, Aboria has a large population density of dragons. Imperial maps usually have Aboria marked as, “Here, there be dragons.”
Aboria was settled a few centuries ago by those disenfranchised from the empire because they couldn’t use magic. Because magic users are generally dangerous to dragons, the fact these people could not use magic led to the dragons tolerating their presence. The Aborians learned to work with their hands and tools in the place of magic and became great artisans and craftsmen. Their society became one based on egalitarianism, where individuals proved their worth by their efforts. They believe strongly in education, so that skills and knowledge are properly passed on to each generation. Technologically, the Aborians are probably a century ahead of the rest of the world.
The Aborian respect for education brought them to be viewed in a more positive light by the dragons that lived in this region. While still very rare, there is more interaction between humans and dragons in Aboria than anywhere else in the world. In Aboria, there are a number of family lines scattered about the land where there are individuals who are born with the rare ability to understand dragons. If a dragon needs to interact with humans for some reason, they will seek out these people.
Most of the top luxury products purchased by the nobility of the empires, are manufactured in Aboria. Many merchant seamen strive to obfuscate the source of these luxuries through complex trade routes and practices. Many of these merchants retire as very wealthy people in Aboria.
Many Aborians would also prefer to not draw imperial attention, and therefore tend to have isolationist tendencies.
This is the world in which Nem Aster lives.
Aggadeh Chronicles simply proved to be a more interesting story than A Warrior Out of Time. But, I would still like to tackle Warrior… at some future period. As I said above, it might make a nice addition to a special edition collection when I am done with Aggadeh Chronicles. The reader will have to understand that A Warrior Out of Time is not a rehashing of the Aggadeh Chronicles. Rather, Aggadeh Chronicles is an expanded retelling of A Warrior Out of Time.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Business of Writing: the FOURTH Swing of the Pendulum!

Barnes & Noble has finally weighed in on the Department of Justice lawsuit against Apple on the issue of whether or not it colluded with publishers on price fixing ebooks. Laura Hazard Owen has an excellent summary on B&N’s filing over on I strongly recommend Owen’s excellent coverage to get a clear summary of B&N’s legal submission.
It’s pretty clear that B&N is in opposition to the DoJ’s position. They offer an opinion that both echoes Apple’s response to the DoJ’s filing and gives it from another point of view. An eyebrow-raising point is that Barnes & Noble is a direct competitor with Apple. Both publish ebooks in the ePub format. Therefore, ebooks purchased from one can be read on the ebook reader of the other. Once you remove any DRM, that is.
In my opinion, this further weakens the case that the DoJ is bringing against Apple and the publishers. At least until this lawsuit comes to court, where the DoJ will present their collected evidence.
What I find most interesting about B&N’s filing is the data they present to the court. For one thing, they place’s position in the  ebook market at 60%. I have seen reports from various time periods guessing anything from 45% to 80%; the 60% strikes me as a more plausible number. It is very difficult to find accurate numbers reflecting market share, because the companies guard these numbers very jealously. wants everyone to think they have 85% of the market on ebooks. Their competitors prefer to say Amazon only holds 45% of the market.
Why is this number so important? Bargaining power!
For example: if truly holds 85% of the ebook market, they could go to independent authors and say, “We’re only going to pay 40% royalties on every ebook sold.” While their competitors offer 70%. Very simply, what it boils down to is that 40% of 85% of the market still yields more in sales than 70% of 15% of the market. Out of $100, that means $34 in your pocket vs. $10.50. If 85% of your books are going to be sold through, in order to maximize your return, it behooves you sell through (For the record, offers 70% royalties, Apple offers 70% royalties and B&N offers 65% royalties.)
What if the companies each offer you an exclusive deal, where you sell exclusively through one company for a period of three months? Again, market share comes into play here. What if only held 45% of the market? If you signed an exclusive with them for three months, then you would be cutting out 55% of the market. would have to sweeten the deal to guarantee you a good return in exchange for the exclusive. In this situation, you would have the bargaining power.
It could be worth it to you to sign an exclusive with a smaller competitor in the market. It is a marketing campaign to increase their market share by getting an exclusive with an author. If fans can only buy the book through that company’s channel for a period of time, then it guarantees sales during the promotional period. The smaller competitor would have to pay you extra in compensation for cutting out a larger part of the market. It’s a way to increase sales traffic and market share for the company, so it would be worth to pay you, the author, extra in compensation for the exclusive. If the period is not too long, it could also serve as hype for when the exclusivity period is over and jog sales on other sites higher.
This is why market share is so important. You need to take this into consideration before locking yourself into any restrictive deals.
While writers describe themselves as artists, one cannot forget that writing for a living means writing is a business. When you go out to sell your book, you must pay attention to the markets. Who buys your book? Where they are buying it from? These are vital things you should pay close attention. Each book you sell is the source of your income so you should do everything you can to maximize those sales. Bills don’t pay themselves and food doesn’t magically appear on the table; one can only freeload for so long.
To the artist’s heart in a writer, it comes across as rude and impersonal to view things as a business, to reduce the purchases by your readers to cold numbers on a spreadsheet. Hate targeted advertising when you log into a particular website? This is exactly what you must do! If you wrote your book with the mind that it would be popular among college-aged men, but it turns out pre-teen girls are accounting for 90% of your sales,  then maybe it would be financially prudent to spend money advertising your book in Seventeen instead of Playboy. (You may also want to reconsider that sex scene you were writing for the next book…)

If you don’t want to sell your book through a certain channel due to personal reasons, but that channel yields a lion’s share of your sales, then you had better be prepared for the reality that you won’t be a writer for very long. You won’t be able to afford to continue writing if sales don't generate enough income to make a living. The time to take personal moral stands is when you have enough of a following that they will buy your book no matter where they have to get it. Until then, suck it up, park your ideals and work to maximize the sales of your book.
The foundation for all this is which distributor sells the most books. Knowing the hottest places to sell your book is important. Keep in mind, that just because one site may sell more books in general than the others, perhaps one of the smaller sites is the biggest seller in the genre your story is categorized. You may want to maximize your attention there.
Next, who is buying your books? Where do they prefer to buy their books? This will play into your marketing, too. If a large number of sales of your book are in the Boston area, then it would probably be wise to schedule a booksigning in Boston. Soon!
By paying attention to where your book will best sell and thereby maximize your financial returns, you can better guarantee for yourself an actual career as a writer, as opposed to making a little extra on the side as a hobby.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012 Buys Avalon Books! Now What?

So, has purchased Avalon Books. This is going to make things interesting.
For the better part of a year, the rumor mills were cranking out the line that Amazon was looking to get into publishing for itself and just dispense with dealing with major publishers altogether. Now it has finally happened.
I will say the book publishing companies have done a much better job at dealing with ebooks than the music publishing companies did with digital music. Which is to say, they made the same mistakes that the music industry did, just not as badly. The music industry erred so badly, that they pretty much left themselves wide open for an upstart to sweep in and take it away from them. That upstart was Apple with the iTunes Music Store. Apple is now arguably, the largest music distributor on the planet.
My suggestion to company executives, next time you hear about a new technology popping up that might affect your business? You’d damn well better park your “I know better than you” attitude at the door of your office and go and talk to your newest and youngest employees. Instead of viewing these new technologies as threats to your distribution channel, try looking at them in the light of how to leverage them to your advantage.
The music industry didn’t.
Steve Jobs did.
Enough said.
Ebooks have actually been around for a lot longer than people think. For almost three decades now. The reason they never caught on until a few years ago was that there were no viable ebook readers on the market. It could also be mentioned that there were a limited number of titles available. Everyone knew that ebooks would eventually catch on, it was simply no one had come up with a good, affordable, ebook reading system to support that.
This was when the publishing industry made their biggest mistake. They took the attitude that ebooks would never really catch on. That ebooks were merely a sideshow that would come and go. In fact, I know people in the book selling industry that still stubbornly cling to this notion! Even though sales on ebooks have already outstripped sales of printed paper books.
So, the publishers basically sloughed off ebooks and stepped up to take them. took their cue from Apple’s iPod. Build the device to support the concept of ebooks and start pushing it. And in very short order, did for ebooks what Apple had done for MP3s: created a device that worked and worked well at presenting ebooks for reading.
It didn’t take long for the publishing industry to realize that they had shot themselves in the foot, much in the way the music publishing industry had shot itself in the head concerning digital music. They had created a monster by handing the ebook market to first became the largest distributor of books in the world. Then took over the ebook market. They already had the infrastructure needed for distribution, it was just a matter of loading the ebook files onto a disk where people could download them after paying. They became such a heavyweight in the book distribution market, that they began to dictate terms to the publishers, much in the way Walmart dictates terms to their suppliers. “Play by our rules now, or we’ll cut you off.”
And that’s what did: they cut off Macmillan when they balked at’s demands. The boycott didn’t last long, but it sent a shockwave through the industry! didn’t just prove they were willing to play hardball, they put nails in the bat, too.
Buy purchasing the publishing company, Avalon Books, has sent a chilling message to the publishing industry: We don’t need you anymore! had done one thing by simplifying the process by which an independent author could publish himself via converting it to an ebook. Now, they’ve stepped up to the next level by bringing in the ability to actually nurture new talent by becoming a publisher themselves. has upped the ante. The key question is how are they going to attract new talent to their publishing arm? Is this going to bring about new competition into a stagnant industry? If it does, this could result in a writer’s spring where better terms are offered to authors to try and lure them in. Or, as the field of publishers narrows, will turn on the authors and say, “Now that we are the only game in town, we are going to dictate new terms to you for royalties…”
Again, this is one of these situations where only time will tell what is going to happen next. Many pundits have been saying that the publishing industry has been terrified that would get directly into the publishing business, rather than just being a distributor. Well, now that it has happened, we’ll see the result.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Business of Writing: The Third Swing of the Pendulum

A few days ago, Apple filed their response (read here) to the Department of Justice’s lawsuit accusing Apple and a number of publishers for price fixing. The PDF is not written in legalese and is easy to read. The introduction puts forward Apple’s position on the case and makes some interesting arguments. After that, the document follows Apple’s responses to the points brought forward by the DoJ and goes on for over twenty pages. Definitely read the document for the introduction. If you have the time and would like to see the minutiae of the issues being addressed, read through the “Response to Individual Paragraphs.”
So now what?
The DoJ is saying Apple colluded with the publishers to form a price fixing scheme. Apple counters that all they offered was an agency model, where Apple takes 30% for the distribution system and the publishers set their prices to whatever they choose. used the wholesale model, where paid the publishers for the ebooks at a set unit price and then set the sale price to the consumer wherever the hell they wanted.
From the above paragraph, I can go in a whole bunch of different directions! From the monopoly on ebook sales to arguing whether or not there was real conspiracy to wrest control of the ebook market from Amazon. But I want to focus on something else. It is a clause that all the distributors have in their agreements.
This clause states, that the publisher will not allow the ebook to be sold at a lower price via another distributor.
What this means, if Distributor-C wants to offer my ebook as the “eBook of the Week” for free, then I have to have to reduce my price to $0 at Distributor-A and Distributor-B. I would assume that Distributor-C is going to pay me the going rate for each of my books that they give away for free. But A & B won’t have to because they aren’t offering the special on my book, but I am still obligated to give it away for free on their sites because it is free on C’s site.
Now, you’d think a free promotion would be a good way to raise awareness of my book. Let’s say Distributor-C gave away 260 of my books. That would net me enough money to keep the lights on, so long as I skimped on food for the month. But because Distributor-C gave it away for free, I had to drop the price on A & B to $0. Because A & B are both much bigger than C, 8,000 people saw my book for free and decided that it was worth looking at for that price.
In earlier blog entries, I’ve commented that I need to sell about 10,000 copies of my ebook in order to be able to make a living. So, if 8,000 people downloaded my book for free, that meant I just lost out on 80% of my annual income. To put that in perspective, that would be the equivalent of you working for your employer the entire year and the first paycheck you get is at the end of September and it is only for the previous week of work.
That would suck.
So what’s the harm? What if I simply forgot to change the prices? How would they ever find out?
The same way you get results when you do a search for the best price of a product online. They look at the list of titles they have, then use a program to go out and scan the other distributors to check the prices. If my title shows up at a lower price, then I am in breach of contract.
The penalty for being in breach of contract is my account is closed and I forfeit all unpaid monies. Because it takes two months from a sale before the money is paid out to me, that means I lose all the money that sales from my book generated held up in that two month waiting period.
This, too, would suck.
This practice is, in essence, a form of price control. It removes the possibility of another distributor gaining a competitive edge by offering a given ebook at a lower price, even if only for a temporary sale. And more, it puts the responsibility on the publisher to police the prices, not the storefront (the distributor). The penalty then falls on the publisher because the distributor claims all proceeds should the publisher be in breach of the contract.
The best way to attract shoppers to your store is to offer goods at a lower price than your competitors. This is why stores put various items on sale each week. Get people through your doors once, and they are likely to come back. But, if every time you have a sale, your competitors change their prices to match yours, then potential customers don’t have any incentive to come and visit your store.
It kills off competition because there is no competition. Rather, there can’t be competition in terms of the pricing of a given product. The distributors have to compete for the costumer’s attention through other means. That’s their business. My business is writing and selling my book.
I don’t like this clause. It takes away all the risk and incentive for promotion from the distributors and puts all the penalties on the publisher/author.
The solution to that clause is to simply go with the wholesale model. I state the wholesale price I want for each copy of my ebook sold, and the distributor can sell it at whatever price it wants. If a distributor wants to have a sale that week and reduce the price, that’s fine. As long as I get paid my due, I’m happy with that.
The downside to wholesale pricing is, if there are very few distributors or possibly only one available distributor, then that distributor can say to me, “You say you want us to pay you $X.XX for your ebook, but we want you to sell it to us for XX¢ instead. Take or leave it!” In this case, the wholesale model works against me. This is essentially what has been doing already to the big publishers. Their response to that was to agree with Apple on the agency pricing model. was forced into accepting the agency pricing model because when Apple entered the ebook market, it was the  first time faced any real competition in the ebook market. At the time of this writing, the Apple iPad is decimating the sales of the Kindle Fire. This competition is very serious for, which had a veritable monopoly in ebook sales until Barnes & Noble and Apple entered the fray.
The most obvious response to all this is, “If you don’t like the details, why not just sell it yourself?”
And a good point that is. I am setting up just that capability on my website. (Right now, if you click on the Buy button, it comes back and says it is out of stock, before automatically pushing you to the “Whoops” page. That is going to change very shortly.) Very shortly, I will be opening up that purchase page to allow pre-ordering my ebook.
The answer is to that question about selling it myself is that it makes it a harder sell. Someone going into, Apple iBookstore, or Barnes & Noble is going to a known commercial entity, with a very polished store interface. It is a front that customers trust. Selling through a distributor like this adds a certain legitimacy to a product.
Selling through a personal website, people think, “Wait a minute! Is this legitimate?” Also, it opens to a PayPal page instead of a shopping cart page still within my domain. Not exactly polished like a nice store front of the other distributors. It is a legitimate payment system, and it is also very affordable for me. Yes, there are shopping cart systems for web pages, but I can’t afford that right now. Maybe in the near future—I hope—but not right now.
It will be interesting to see if this price-matching clause is removed after the DoJ has reached a settlement with Apple and the others.