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Stephen Colbert: “We’re going to prove that I can sell more books than Amazon”

Stephen Colbert’s books are published by Hachette, and his guest last night was another Hachette author — “my fellow Amazon(s AMZN) victim,” Sherman Alexie. In two segments addressing Amazon’s ongoing contract negotiations with Hachette — in which the retailer has taken away preorders on upcoming Hachette titles and is shipping many current titles with multi-week delays — Colbert asked viewers to boycott Amazon.

“Delaying shipments. Sometimes three to four weeks. Folks, that is just cruel,” Colbert said. “If you ordered Hachette’s 21 Day Weight Loss, by the time it arrives, you’re still fat.”

“This has pushed me past my tipping point. I think,” Colbert said. “Because I’m still waiting for my copy of Hachette author Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point.”

“Well, I tell you what, Amazon,” Colbert said. “I’ve got a little package for you right here. This package is care of me, J.K. Rowling and Explaino the Clown [referring to a picture of Malcolm Gladwell] here. It ships immediately…and I think you’re really going to like it.”

Stephen Colbert Amazon Hachette

“Customers who enjoy this also bought this.”

Amazon colbert

Colbert is also seeking to give a debut Hachette author, Edan Lepucki, “the Colbert bump.” In the segment and on his website, he refers viewers to independent bookstore Powell’s to pre-order Lepucki’s upcoming book California.

You can watch both segments below.

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The Colbert Report
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18 Responses to “Stephen Colbert: “We’re going to prove that I can sell more books than Amazon””

  1. sue abrams

    Consumers and artists are getting screwed everyday because our government no longer enforces the Sherman Antitrust act. Most of our services such as phone, internet and cable costs much more than they do in most European countries and we have many fewer choices because of these monopolies. Read Susan Crawford’s book the Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power. What is most puzzling to me is why the American people not only put up with this but many seem to actually support these huge monopolistic corporations. I guess the money they use to buy politicians is just too enticing and the very bad decisions by the Supreme Court to support the take over of our government by the rich and big business is destroying our country.

  2. David Chisnell

    Didn’t Hachette just get nailed for price fixing? Amazon passes these savings on to customers, Colbert is just being greedy, He didn’t send out any refunds when customers were overcharged by Hachette and Apple.
    It’s been clear that publishers are overcharging for e-books, by virtue of the lack of competition in the publishing industry, if Amazon can pressure E-book prices down as a retailer, I think it’s long overdue. I don’t see any reason why Amazon should feel obligated to provide Hachette with any advantages through it’s website while Hachette is overcharging. (as in the advantages it normally provides that encourages us all to do business with Amazon)
    Also why are we fighting about Republicans and Democrats on this? I haven’t seen any politicians jump in this so far.

  3. Amazon is not just “trying to keep prices down.” Amazon is trying to gut the value of books in order to use them as a loss leader to sell other products. There’s far more to this than the general public knows.

    • Really? Because you disagree? I do with much he says (i.e. that he is really making fun of conservative values and religious ones – but not always :) ) but i still laugh.

      Maybe you are more into people getting kick in the nuts (makes my wife laugh).

      Maybe you just enjoy knock knock jokes.

      Anyway, you dont need to care what he says. It is entertainment. Don’t like it? Watch reruns of hee-haw.

  4. Jack C

    I just don’t find this compelling at all. Millionaires outraged because the billion dollar publishing giant that made them rich is in routine negotiations with a billion dollar major distributor. Hachette broke to law when they colluded with other billion dollar publishing giants and *Apple* (I’m guessing the biggest digital content distributor in the world, and probably more of a monopoly in music and other digital distribution than Amazon is in books – but of course that’s not a problem as long as prices are high…) to keep prices high. The notion that consumers should be outraged when Amazon’s pressures publishers to lower pricing is patently absurd.

    The public’s attention span is extremely finite. When artists/writers focus attention on one issue, it’s at the expense of another. When they choose to put their personal interests ahead of the many genuinely troublesome issues out there (and arguably ahead of my interest as a consumer), they lose all credibility.

    • Jack C

      I’d just add that the it is deeply concerning that, as far as I can tell, no one (including the journalist we entrust to be reliably objective) is stepping in here to point out how problematic the anti-Amazon “outrage” is.

      It’s hard to trust anything that “objective” sources say when it’s clear that they are not only biased when their own interests are at stake (i.e., *the* test of whether or not someone is truly objective!), but surreptitious about their own interests?

      <- have no direct financial interest in any of this whatsoever, much of what I've read about this issue is largely done by seemingly anti-Amazon biased sources, haven't read a single thing skeptical of the opposition, Amazon is one of countless retailers that I purchase things from, I totally support artists, and I'd love to benefit from the obvious efficiencies of digital content distribution in the form of lower prices.

        • Jack C

          Yeah, that’s totally true; this just irks me.

          Eisler sets forth his bias in the first sentence. Where are the stories from the “unbiased/objective” sources? Biased input is a certainty and somewhat better when interests are transparent. However, the absence of commentary from “institutions of objectivity” critical to the outrage are what I find troublesome. What about Hachette’s legal settlement? How sympathetic are they? What about the fact that the obvious alternative, Apple, is in many ways more of a digital retail monopoly than Amazon? What about the fact that “institutions of objectivity” do crap like downplay their own bad press or coverage of their parent/investors?

          This just makes me very pessimistic (I maintain this pessimism is legitimate and well-founded here) about writers. I suppose I’m just being naive; writing is just another for-profit business and, when it gets down to it, has the same nature as every other business. /rant off

      • iliad1954

        There are no more “obvious efficiencies” to take advantage of. If there were, these would be “routine negotiations.” It’s not routine to make thousands of books unbuyable.

  5. At first I liked Colbert because I thought he was truly a conservative trying to bring knowledge of politics to a demographic that typically would not be interested in what was happening in the world … until I found that he was a phony. Is is as much Democrat as Jon Stewart. There are SOME politics that you can laugh about but both these losers wind up making the public just “laugh off” serious, illegal, and treasonous offenses committed by politicians.

    Yeah, “Hahaha they took your freedom away, hahaha”” – well FU Colbert and Jon Stewart!

    • davey

      Really? Well I guess if you are a fan of Rush and Glen and the rest of Fox News then I should not be surprised that you thought Colbert was a real Conservative since everyone I just referenced are really just comedians too.

    • Jason McKenzie

      If you ever thought Colbert was actually a conservative, that just proves how retarded most conservatives are. He’s not a “phony”, he’s a satirist. If you want a phony, try Rush Limbaugh, Bill O or anyone else on Fox or CNN.

        • bobe123

          Shouldn’t that saying really be – no one ever went broke by overestimating the stupidity of the American people (as in they are so amazingly stupid that it is simply impossible to overestimate their stupidity).

      • I’m “conservative”. I knew it was a joke. I’m not retarded.

        Sorry, but it does NOT prove most are. I guess that you think a poll of 1 proves something proves you are what you called conservatives. Sorry, but as one segment on the Daily Show this week showed – Liberals got theirs too.

        BTW, are liberals allowed to use “retard”? ;)

        That being said .. anyone who didnt get that it is satire,etc – either has no humor (i.e. the dude he interviewed from the CIA/FBI) or just is dense.