Amazon to readers: You should email Hachette’s CEO and CC us

38 Comments

On Sunday, a letter denouncing Amazon’s tactics in the ongoing negotiations between it and book publisher Hachette will run as a paid, full-page advertisement in the New York Times. Signed by more than 900 authors, the “Authors United” letter calls Amazon (s AMZN) out for blocking sales of Hachette titles, singling out authors “for selective retaliation” and “inconveniencing and misleading its own customers with unfair pricing and delayed delivery.”

The letter, overseen by thriller author Douglas Preston, who has been a vocal opponent of Amazon throughout the negotiations, was signed by traditionally published authors including Stephen King, Lee Child, Anna Quindlen, Barbara Kingsolver, Meg Wolitzer, John Grisham and Malcolm Gladwell, among hundreds of others.

The letter suggests that readers “email Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon, at [email protected], and tell him what you think. He says he genuinely welcomes hearing from his customers and claims to read all emails at that account. We hope that, writers and readers together, we will be able to change his mind.”

In response, Amazon posted an unsigned “Readers United” letter at around 3 AM ET on Saturday morning and also emailed the same letter to KDP authors with the subject line “Important Kindle Request.” The letter repeats some of the same arguments on pricing that Amazon made in a comment posted on its forums on July 29. It claims that “ebooks are highly price elastic. This means that when the price goes down, customers buy much more.” It also says “we will never give up our fight for reasonable e-book prices. We know making books more affordable is good for book culture.”

The letter, which doesn’t list an author other than “The Amazon Books Team,” concludes by saying: “We’d like your help. Please email Hachette and copy usHachette CEO, Michael Pietsch: [email protected] Copy us at: [email protected]

38 Comments

Will Buckley

I haven’t read the community guidelines, yet. I wonder if they say anything about disruptive trolls.

cremes

The guidelines are silent on trolls. Though I won’t discuss this matter directly with AnonAmazonJoke anymore, I don’t consider him/her a troll. We both have differing opinions on the subject matter and have vigorously defended our positions. Aside from a few personal attacks, I don’t see much trollish behavior.

AnonAmazonJoke

Cremes – I will say that I appreciate you not supporting the troll comment as it is utterly ridiculous and looks like an attempt to silence a critic of Amazon (regarding this story) just because I am an active commenter and care about this issue.

Yes, we definitely have differing opinions on this issue and the personal attacks go both ways… remember “[You] have nothing better to do that educate every internet ignoramus with a keyboard”… and your condescending tone in your comments… and your rude way of trying make it sound like you are the only one with a brain in this world… even to Julek. I just won’t take it from you because I think you are wrong in your opinion and I don’t like the way you have spoken to me just in case you were dying to know why my post are a little more colorful toward you.

If you don’t want to discuss the “matter directly with me anymore” that seems reasonable as I agree that we have both “vigorously defended our positions.” But, if you post something I believe is incorrect (such as the Amazon market share figures or Amazon’s KDP conpensation) skewing the facts or something I do not agree with (in this open forum where all could and should be heard) then I will absolutely post as I see fit… sorry I do not believe in silencing differing opinions to make my position get heard in an attempt to “bias” the audience.

AnonAmazonJoke

BTW, let’s set the record straight now…

I began with “sarcasm”… you began with the condescending tone and personal attacks back on 8/11/14… even through your own admission…

“Your sarcastic and disingenuous interpretation of my post is wrong. Let’s correct you on each point because I have nothing better to do that educate every internet ignoramus with a keyboard.”

You fanned the flames… sorry you couldn’t take the heat!

cremes

You’re right, AnonAmazonJoke. I started it. I apologize. I’ll gladly accept an apology from you too for participating instead of taking the higher road.

This thread was fun. I hope to do it again in the future.

AnonAmazonJoke

cremes – Consider that return apology extended to you as well.

Although we have different views on this matter at least all will be able to see both sides… I do agree it was fun.

I am glad that it has come to this.

AnonAmazonJoke

Were you going to add something to the conversation? … Or are you just another supporter of Amazon and their business practices who is trying to silence those that disagree!!!

Will White

Let’s face it … if you like the way Walmart operates, you should love Amazon’s tactics in this fight. If you think Walmart is a parasite that destroys communities and local businesses while delivering sub-par product then you might like Hachette position.

Hachette believes that it can deliver better product to the customer by charging a higher price on product so they can take more risks on products that might not sell as well and to pay authors better and more quickly. This is a customer benefit. The customer doesn’t have to buy the books from Hachette … they can decide that they are too expensive. By forcing Hachette to sell to Amazon for less, Amazon is comoditizing books and publishing.

Maybe Amazon is right and the days of publishers are over and they are no longer needed, but rather than acting as a corporate bully, they should allow the wholesaler to price their product reasonably and then let the customer decide. Instead, they are deciding on the customers behalf and thereby restricting consumer choice.

Personally, I think Walmart sucks … and I’m not a fan of Amazon in this fight.

cremes

Look, I can provide a false choice to make you look like a jerk too.

Let’s face it.. if you think Walmart provides cheap quality goods to the poor and underpaid while local businesses try and gouge this demographic, then you might like Amazon’s position.

No one is *forcing* Hachette to sell to Amazon for less. They can say no which is what they are currently doing. Amazon is not in a monopoly position here. They don’t even have 40% of the bookseller market.

And Amazon *is right* that the days of traditional publishing are over. Publishers are still needed, but they aren’t worth giving up 70+% to a small-time author. Their position as “gatekeeper” to the book world is over and done. Amazon takes 30% versus Hachette’s 70%. Which one is on the side of the small author making money?

Lastly, you say corporate bully and I say smart negotiating tactics. Tomay-to, tomah-to. In this case, Amazon is on the side of the reader who wants cheaper books. I’ll take some short-term “restriction” of customer choice (which is really just a delay if I want a Hachette book) if it means that $15.99 Lee Child book will soon be available for $7.99. (I still won’t buy it because I can get a paperback for that price; why pay the same or more for bits and bytes on my kindle? And I’m also tired of paying Lee Child for the same plot over and over again, but kudos to him for his success.)

Julek Kopczewski

The very fact that Amazon can use this kind of negotiation tactics shows they are a monopoly.

cremes

No, they are not a monopoly. Look up the definition and you will clearly see that they do not have the characteristics of a monopoly. A reasonable argument could be made that they are an oligopoly, but at 40% of the market that argument probably wouldn’t pass muster either.

AnonAmazonJoke

Well, it seems that the figure supplied is quite a misrepresentation of the truth… Amazon’s market share actually has consensus at 50% to 70% (http://janefriedman.com/2014/03/27/smart-set-1/) for ebooks with sources such as Forbes putting the figure at 65% of the ebook market which is what this argument is about although there tactics are less than honorable in the print world too… “Now Amazon has changed the way they deal with [print] books from Lightning Source and other … suppliers—all except their own supplier, CreateSpace.” (http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2011/09/amazon-and-lightning-source-the-end-of-an-era/)

Julek – Dont worry anyone who has the ability to look beyond the literal – except the most staunch supporter of Amazon and their tactics that is trying to skew the argument and point you were trying to make – knows what you meant by your comment … and I won’t insult your intelligence by asking you to grab a dictionary either :-)

It is clear Amazon stands to gain the most with a market share already larger than all the other major ebook retailers combined.

The source supplied above (janefriedman.com) actually raises some excellent questions for those actually concerned by Amazon’t tactics:

– If Amazon increases its dominance in the ebook market, as expected, will they ultimately reduce royalties to Amazon KDP authors, as they’ve done through their audiobook division? How much will profitability of authors be affected?

-If Amazon gains more market share than they already have, how will this affect book discoverability and sales for the overall book industry , especially if they prioritize their own publishing imprints?

-Can and will another worthy competitor arise in the next few years?

I, for one, do not think that Amazon’s positioning or tactics are a good thing for anyone in the end… they are akin to a Trojan Horse and will pop out to slaughter all once they have succeeded through there wolf in sheep’s clothing tactics. Those who truly believe Amazon to be noble and fighting for anybody but themselves is trusting to the point of naivety.

AnonAmazonJoke

Well, it seems that the figure supplied is quite a misrepresentation of the truth… Amazon’s market share actually has consensus at 50% to 70% (janefriedman DOT com/2014/03/27/smart-set-1/) for ebooks with sources such as Forbes putting the figure at 65% of the ebook market which is what this argument is about although there tactics are less than honorable in the print world too… “Now Amazon has changed the way they deal with [print] books from Lightning Source and other … suppliers—all except their own supplier, CreateSpace.” (thebookdesigner DOT com/2011/09/amazon-and-lightning-source-the-end-of-an-era/)

Julek – Dont worry anyone who has the ability to look beyond the literal – except the most staunch supporter of Amazon and their tactics that is trying to skew the argument and point you were trying to make – knows what you meant by your comment … and I won’t insult your intelligence by asking you to grab a dictionary either :-)

It is clear Amazon stands to gain the most with a market share already larger than all the other major ebook retailers combined.

The source supplied above (janefriedman DOTcom) actually raises some excellent questions for those actually concerned by Amazon’t tactics:

– If Amazon increases its dominance in the ebook market, as expected, will they ultimately reduce royalties to Amazon KDP authors, as they’ve done through their audiobook division? How much will profitability of authors be affected?

-If Amazon gains more market share than they already have, how will this affect book discoverability and sales for the overall book industry , especially if they prioritize their own publishing imprints?

-Can and will another worthy competitor arise in the next few years?

I, for one, do not think that Amazon’s positioning or tactics are a good thing for anyone in the end… they are akin to a Trojan Horse and will pop out to slaughter all once they have succeeded through there wolf in sheep’s clothing tactics. Those who truly believe Amazon to be noble and fighting for anybody but themselves is trusting to the point of naivety.

cremes

(I won’t respond directly to AnonAmazonJoke anymore; if that handle doesn’t clue you into his/her bias, I don’t know what will.)

I did a quick google search and found that the Forbes numbers are pretty much accepted by the industry now (see here http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2014/02/10/amazon-vs-book-publishers-by-the-numbers/) so Amazon likely has 65% market share for ebooks.

However, it still doesn’t pass the test for being a monopoly. The barrier to entry to an online book seller is pretty low. The fact that the Big Five (and no one seems concerned that there is an *actual oligopoly* of publishers) haven’t self-funded their own online store should indicate just how backwards they are. They could probably host it on Amazon’s cloud infrastructure for cheap too!

I seem to be the only one here defending cheap ebooks for the reader (whether they come from Amazon or elsewhere). It’s surprising to me that the readers of a tech blog are against a firm that has done more to democratize online selling than almost any other firm (with the possible exception of ebay). I have now adjusted my expectations.

AnonAmazonJoke

This is where you are wrong about me… I am all for cheap books… just not the way Amazon is trying to accomplish it as I believe their motives are disingenuous and will be worse for all in the end once their stranglehold on the market tightens.

I would support a push for cheap books if it came from the businesses that actually produce the product!

And bias – ha… yes I have an opinion and it is against Amazon in this case. At least I admit it… all you have done is tip toe around whether you actually support Amazon and their business practices and whether they act in a noble manner.

Oh and the barrier to entry may be low… but see how expensive gaining market share would be… especially with a competitor like Amazon… and other huge companies like Apple who can’t even get a real foothold on market share.

cremes

I think it’s great that Amazon is disrupting the publishing business. Their new Kindle Unlimited service is quite nice; all you can “eat” for $10/month for a couple of hundred thousand books. I’ve taken advantage of it several times already during my free trial month.

IMO, Hachette and Amazon are both right. Hachette will likely go bankrupt if they continue to try and run their business unchanged while also caving to Amazon’s demands. The fact is that the big authors listed (King, Child, Collins, etc) have already “got theirs” and are pulling up the ladder behind them. Hachette screws the little guy/author while the big names make out great.

Amazon currently offers a much better deal PLUS they let budding authors publish their ebooks without most of the onerous terms that Hachette imposes on a small author (assuming they event accept your manuscript). Indie authors get paid way better through Amazon than they do through Hachette. This is indisputable fact for the small author. If Hachette falls, then I fully expect Amazon to (eventually) make their terms worse so someday these small authors might be back in the same boat.

The good news there is that the industry will likely get disrupted again, so it doesn’t matter if Amazon’s terms eventually converge onto the crappy terms that Hachette offers today. There will be a new “Amazon” to make it right again.

In the meantime, I do *not* buy any ebook that costs more than $5. I either wait for it to be offered on a discount, loan it from a friend or library, or skip it altogether. I’m not alone.

AnonAmazonJoke

Wow, what an interesting post.

So let me get this straight… you support Amazon controlling pricing at the manufacturer/publisher (rather than retail… which is what I though Amazon was) level and think they should win that battle over another independent business (who would now NOT be able to choose the pricing that is right for THEIR business)?

And, furthermore, you note that some of these inflicted businesses, like Hachette, may go bankrupt as a result but good ol’ Amazon will still stand. Then you further concede that once that happens Amazon will probably become worse for all consumer, author, publisher because they will have such a stranglehold.

Brilliant argument… enjoy your $5 books and let’s hope your vision comes to fruition and then we will see where the noble Amazon leaves us then… I cannot even relate to how genius your logic is!

cremes

Your sarcastic and disingenuous interpretation of my post is wrong. Let’s correct you on each point because I have nothing better to do that educate every internet ignoramus with a keyboard.

First paragraph. Way to beat up that straw man. He never had a chance. So, no, I do *not* support Amazon controlling pricing. Hachette is free to pull their books and use another distributor if they can’t come to an agreement with Amazon. Amazon is only *one* avenue they have for book distribution. If Hachette doesn’t like the terms, they can walk just like you don’t have to sell your widgets to Walmart if they won’t agree to pay your minimum. If Amazon really really wants Hachette’s books, then they will pay for it.

Second paragraph. So what if Hachette goes bankrupt? Do we owe that company protection from failure? If the market demands cheaper ebooks and Hachette will not supply them, they are sealing their own fate.

Second paragraph continued. It’s the nature of business (and bureaucracy) to get worse over time. *When* it happens, and it will, then another challenger will take them out. Krochs & Brentanos, Walden Books, and several other major booksellers from my youth went bankrupt after Borders and Barnes & Noble destroyed them in the marketplace. The same thing has happened to Borders and is happening to Barnes & Noble by Amazon. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. (heh)

Third paragraph. I will enjoy my $5 ebooks (and the cheaper ones too). There is nothing inherently better about a $15 book.

While this all plays out, please vote with your dollars. I have and will continue to do so.

Will White

I’d say watch for anti-trust action against amazon forcing them to allow consumers to purchase e-books from any online retailer, not just amazon.

AnonAmazonJoke

So, by you providing Hachette’s alternative of “Hachette is free to pull their books and use another distributor if they can’t come to an agreement with Amazon” that equates to you not supporting Amazon controlling pricing “So, no, I do *not* support Amazon controlling pricing.” Please explain further on how you DO NOT support Amazon controlling pricing because this is exactly what they are working to accomplish with this fight and sounded like you were in favor of “I think it’s great that Amazon is disrupting the publishing business.”

And stop publicly spewing falsehoods making it appear as if Amazon does not matter and that all publishers and authors should just go elsewhere if they do not like it. Amazon IS large enough that it does make a huge difference. That is why all of these ivory tower type corporations get his with anti-trust over and over again… with these practices Amazon’s days should be numbered in this category.

Seems pretty clear that you are one of those cheapskates that wan’t something for nothing on the backs of those that actually produce the product with comments like “Their new Kindle Unlimited service is quite nice; all you can “eat” for $10/month for a couple of hundred thousand books. I’ve taken advantage of it several times already during my free trial month.” and “I will enjoy my $5 ebooks (and the cheaper ones too).”

Many of those $5 books are coming from independent authors and publishers that really do have minimal expenses. Unfortunately, Amazon is not doing those guys any favors either… look at what they are doing to those that choose to publish via LSI (and others) trying to bully everyone into their print services which have many disadvantages and surly will have more once they have irradiated this competition too!

You claim I am the ignoramus but you are the one who somehow appears to support Amazons tactics which if successful will set a precedent leading tho Amazon having control over pricing and a controlling interest in the market… where do you think Amazon will leave you then with your “I want everything for nothing or at least for less than what companies can profitably produce products for” attitude. You do realize, as all of Wall Street does, that Amazon basically has a huge influx of revenue but makes no money in an effort to suck up market share in virtually every category. Why do you think they are doing this… out of the goodness of their heart? What do you think their end game is?

You were one of those dopey kids on the playground who eagerly ran up to the funny looking man handing out candy thinking he was a nice guy until you were crying, kicking, and screaming in the back of his van weren’t you!

cremes

“You were one of those dopey kids on the playground who eagerly ran up to the funny looking man handing out candy thinking he was a nice guy until you were crying, kicking, and screaming in the back of his van weren’t you!”

I don’t think you are adhering to the Community Guidelines for posting comments here. Those who have to resort to such cheap rhetoric and personal attacks usually have weak arguments. I believe that is the case here too.

Amazon is not controlling pricing because they can’t. Sounds like a tautology (and is), but you act as though demanding a lower price is “controlling.” It isn’t. Hachette can go elsewhere or, wait for it, *start their own online store.* If the Big Five had any brains, at their next scheduled meeting to collude on price fixing they should discuss launching their own store. Each one could pony up a few bucks for an ownership interest in a new joint venture. Then they could illustrate for the world how charging $15 for an ebook is superior to charging $9 or $5 or $3. The world will beat a path to their door.

You can read several of my comments here to see my exact answer as to what will happen if Amazon takes over everything and then becomes the bad guy. Another competitor will spring up and eat their lunch. Quit acting like Amazon is the apex predator and the last company standing. History has shown, and will continue to show, that companies that stop listening to their customers or who don’t provide value end up dead. Dead, like Hachette will probably be in the next decade.

If you want to label me, a consumer seeking good value for my dollars, a “cheapskate” then I will wear the label with pride. Feel free to overpay for the same or similar product.

Now have I answered your questions thoroughly enough? If not, please reply again with a specific list of questions and I’ll do my best to comply. ;)

AnonAmazonJoke

Pretty easy for you to say “So, no, I do *not* support Amazon controlling pricing.” when your new argument becomes “Amazon is not controlling pricing because they can’t.” Convenient, to support a position that you go on to claim is not possible, huh! What are they trying to accomplish then? Oh wait, you believe they are working to get the consumer the best price :-)

This works both ways, Amazon could just as easily say they will not carry Hachette books as you oppositely argue that Hatchette could find other distributors. Why is Amazon going through the trouble when it has a billion other products (books and otherwise; digital and physical) from a million other companies? Really, why does Amazon need the hassle?

I will say it in a way that is not “cheap rhetoric and personal attacks” so you can understand… I believe what you have said throughout your comments is ridiculously naive.

You are like a three year old with a dictionary and an Intro to Philosophy book… maybe you should review the chapter on self-reflection instead of using it to try to mask your naivety regarding you blind faith in Amazon. I know, I know…you don’t have allegiance to Amazon, someone else will just take over if Amazon become the bad guy. How exactly is that supposed to happen with the damage they inflict on the industry in efforts to slant all in their favor? Yes, this is very Wal-Martesique… with the preponderance of evidence showing how that has affected both suppliers and other retailers…. what is so different about Amazon? Amazon may not be “the apex predictor or last company standing” but companies of this size, influence, and way they do business can inflict far reaching and long lasting damage in an industry far after they have gone.

Here’s an exaggerated question… Are you okay with only shopping at Wal-Mart offline and only shopping at Amazon online?

I will ask you one more question since your clarity leaves much to be desired considering as you write as if you are against Hatchette and argue as if Amazon is the noble consumer advocate…

1) Be clear, do you honesty believe that Amazon is enduring this fight (when they could just simply not carry Hachette books) because they are trying to achieve better pricing on the customers behalf with 100% pure intentions? Do you also believe if this is successful that the industry will be affected for the better even if Amazon is knocked off the top of the mountain in the future should they become “the bad guy?”

Don’t worry you can put away your textbooks to reference… I am done here because you obviously have more time on your hands than I do… and my arguments are so weak that you might have to throw out a “I don’t think you are adhering to the Community Guidelines for posting comments here.” in an attempt to get me kicked off or some of my post deleted…. boohoo more sarcasm!

cremes

“I will say it in a way that is not “cheap rhetoric and personal attacks” so you can understand… I believe what you have said throughout your comments is ridiculously naive.

You are like a three year old with a dictionary and an Intro to Philosophy book…”

And once again you can’t seem to keep to the community guidelines for posting.

“I am done here because you obviously have more time on your hands than I do… and my arguments are so weak that you might have to throw out a “I don’t think you are adhering to the Community Guidelines for posting comments here.” in an attempt to get me kicked off or some of my post deleted…. boohoo more sarcasm!”

See? Even you admit you are not arguing in good faith.

AnonAmazonJoke

You are so brilliant! Yep, you got me… I completely admitted “I am not arguing in good faith.” Provided an easy way out for you, huh!

Keep nit-picking and ignoring the real arguments made while trying (oh, where is italics when I need it) to flex your knowledge of philosophical logic. And, don’t forget to avoid all of the questions :-)

Oh, we also must not forget the attempts at silencing me by telling mommy on me :-(

I assume we are done here… you have been exposed for what you really are and anyone that reads these comments can see… at least until your campaign to get them deleted is successful!

cremes

I hope the blog owner doesn’t pull your posts. Your responses provide a great illustration for the weak arguments against Amazon in this situation. Anyone coming to this article in the weeks and months to come will be able to read our exchanges and decide for themselves which of us made the better argument.

You’ll likely want the last word. You may have it.

AnonAmazonJoke

I will oblige…

My argument is clear as to why Amazon is a bully and attempting to control market forces which in the end will be worse for all as we (manufacturer/publisher, author, AND consumer) will be left at the mercy of Amazon (if they are successful and take this further and further). With this current fight it is clear that this is Amazon’s goal and they have shown this type of demeanor before (for example, LSI). I would not like actions to happen to facilitate this possible outcome or Amazon to even get any further in their underhanded practices.

Your argument is clear that you do not mind being under the thumb of Amazon as you obviously believe them to have noble intentions in all of their efforts. Although it it still unclear whether you *do* or do *not* support them because of your brilliant avoidance of the most fundamental question of the argument while appearing to take one side through your post but saying another as with your attempted exposure of the straw man fallacy. If Amazon is not the noble one you want it to be, your knight in shining armor new company will come and destroy the evil Amazon and we will all be happy little elves again.

BTW, you are world class in your argument skills… fully equipped with avoidance, denial, a dictionary, and a philosophy book, and the will to tell mommy if things don’t go your way… boy are you dangerous… Well played!… ooops more sarcasm – oh I know your philosophy professor told you that is the sign of a weak argument :-)

Franklin Pierce

Amazon has every right to make demands on publishers. Amazon provides the “channel” or the “vehicle” by which the bulk of e-books are sold. Without Amazons huge investment in infrastructure for e-books, there wouldn’t be much e-books.

I feel the comparison to paperback publishing is apt. The authors and publishers resisted and they were dead wrong. E-books are a market expander, not a market replacer.

Wake up authors and paper printers.

Sam

The publishers actually make the product. There would be no “channel” for Amazon to provide, if the publishers had not produced anything.

Amazon is like a Coke or Pepsi vending machine. It’s worthless without having Coca Cola or Pepsi Co contracts to fill the vending machine. Amazon is asking for a higher percentage of sales price without incurring more investment or risk.

Not a great analogy, but you get the point.

cremes

Amazon also allows you to self publish wherein I believe they take 30% instead of Hachette’s 70%. What they offer in return is access to their world-wide distribution, near real-time statistics on who is buying your book, and some options for marketing.

There are now a number of independent editors who have hung out their shingle and will help knock your Great American Novel into shape for a reasonable price. What that editor doesn’t do, unlike Hachette, is decide that your novel (or other manuscript) isn’t worth the risk so they send you a nicely worded rejection letter. If you really want your book out there, you can still do it.

Amazon has helped disintermediate the publishing industry. No longer do a few gatekeepers (they call them the Big Five for a reason) act to keep you out. Anyone is free to publish and some of it is really, really good (e.g. Hugh Howey).

I know there is probably some romance still attached to the idea of being an author, but at the end of the day you are churning out a product. 99% of the written word ain’t art, so let’s stop acting otherwise. And if you are doing it for the sake of the art, then you probably don’t care if you make much money anyway, so again Amazon is the better economic option for you.

AnonAmazonJoke

BTW, for kindle eBooks Amazon is 35% with restrictions to get that 35%… and 70% in the other cases… For those that want the truth rather than this load “Amazon also allows you to self publish wherein I believe they take 30% instead of Hachette’s 70%. What they offer in return is access to their world-wide distribution, near real-time statistics on who is buying your book, and some options for marketing.”

And, print publishing they are Worse for independent publishors/authors… 40% for U.S. distribution and 60% for “Expanded Distribution. While you could go with another printer to publish like LSI and distribute worldwide for as low as 20%… unfortunately, Amazon is a bully in this department too and frequently uses tactics to discourage sales for those independents that did not go through them. Way to support the little guy Amazon as you try to pretend to (even in this fight with Hachette)!

Your comment sounds suspiciously sales pithy for Amazon. If it was a fair comparison it would have stated what both sides offer (and correctly) and not try to paint Amazon in a better light!

Heck, this whole post sounds like you work for Amazon!

No need to carry this one on like our other post… please have your last word :-)

AnonAmazonJoke

If those demands include telling another business what price they can sell THEIR product for then I one billion percent disagree!

Business-wise, please explain how this model works?

I mean, do you think your local Ford dealership goes to Ford and says give me our F150 stock for 90% off MSRP each because I want to help the auto driving consumer and think cars should be affordable for everyone and this would allow me to sell them each for only $3,000? What do you think Ford would/should say to that dealership as the retailer? Sounds great for the retailer, huh? What about the manufacturer?

Of course, the retailer doesn’t care if the manufacturer loses money if they were able to control price this way as there is another manufacturer with a similar product around the corner for the retailer to cannibalize next. Don’t you think manufacturers (in this case publishers) should be able to set their own price for their own product based on what they know about their business?… Or, does the retailer somehow know the manufacturers business better than the manufacturer?

Jason O'Brien

I’m a reader and a consumer. I’m not an author, and I care about authors about as much as authors care about me and my profession. So I’m not buying a book for $15. I’m especially not buying an e-book for $15. I can’t afford it, and if that means I have to go to the library and check it out for free or not read it at all, I’ll do that. This means that authors don’t get my money, Hachette doesn’t get my money, and Amazon doesn’t get my money. However, making the books affordable means I’ll take a chance and buy the book.

Just today I bought 2 $9 Kindle books I’ve wanted to read for $2.99 each. As a consumer that’s a great deal and I purchased them without thinking twice. As a reader, it’s awesome cause now I have 2 books I get to read. Both books had been on my wish list for several months and would have never been purchased had they not gone on sale.

Sam

So as a reader, you don’t care about authors?

As poor as you claim to be, not being able to buy “expensive” eBooks, you prefer to pay Amazon rather than go to the library and read the books for free?

What a weird post…… Amazon propaganda?

AnonAmazonJoke

I do not mean to be rude, but this is the dumbest thing I ever heard from someone who obviously has zero business knowledge.

In your comment you are basically advocating retailers setting price regardless of what the manufacturer can sell their product for and remain profitable. This is not how it has ever worked and should not now including in this scenario between Hachette and Amazon. As with any product, the manufacturer sets the price based on their business model and sells the product down the supply chain. At the retailer level they get to choose their markup based on their business model.

Do you really believe Amazon knows Hachette’s expenses better than Hachette? Heck, Amazon should just say you can only sell your eBook for $1 and paperback for $3 and hardcover for $5… in a dream world that is awesome but the problem is that the retailer does not own, run, and incur the expense of the manufacturer and therefore should NEVER be able to dictate at which price they should get a product for from said manufacturer so “they can give the consumer the best deal”… yeah right give me a break…. Amazon is looking out for themselves and does not care who it hurts (or puts out of business) along the way.

hotrodder98

Thank you for letting me know about Amazon’s letter-writing campaign. I wouldn’t have known to respond to it if you hadn’t told me about it.

I’m happy to join in, because I believe strongly in this issue. Following is my email to the CEO of Hachette Books USA:

“RE: “Amazon Book Team” request

“I’m responding to Amazon’s efforts to get readers and authors like me to write you about its position in your ongoing dispute over selling Hachette titles through Amazon.

“I’m happy to do it. In short, I’m rooting for you to stand strong in the face of Amazon’s underhanded and self-serving efforts to dictate terms to you and cripple your sales until you agree to what they want from you.

“As Amazon cherry-picks statistics and tries to put pressure on you to buckle under its onslaught on your business, I admire your restraint in not resorting to such serf-serving and underhanded tactics. I also feel it’s unfortunate that you were the first major publisher stuck bargaining for new terms with Amazon. It’s got to be difficult to carry the burden of the entire publishing industry as Amazon tries to drive a deal down your throat that it hopes to force on the rest of the industry. I hope the rest of the industry stands strong behind you.

“I also know that a lot of us small publishers would kill for the deal that Amazon offers you and other major publishers. We don’t have the strength to fight this self-omnipotent retailer that is cloaking its deal as “fighting for the little guy.” Because I guarantee you, as one of those “little guys”, it’s clear that Amazon isn’t fighting for me. Our only hope is that as you and the rest of the major publishers fight off this bogus effort, we gain the ability to fight against Amazon’s anti-competitive stance. We’re too small to do it ourselves; maybe we can find justice if state attorneys-general and the Department of Justice take up our cause instead of Amazon’s.

“So, I’m happy to write you and send a CC to “[email protected]”, though I doubt the sock puppets for Amazon will will be featuring this prominently in its “Court of Public Opinion” astro-turfing efforts.

“Good luck, and Godspeed.”

You think this is what Amazon is looking for?

AnonAmazonJoke

Anyone affiliated with KDP get the letter from amazon were they try to paint Hatchette as an evil large corporation and themselves as the noble one just looking out for the consumer? Well here’s my response….

Oh how noble you are Amazon….

As you hurt small publishers affiliated with LSI (Lightning Source) by marking all published titles with 1 -3 week wait times, 2-3 week wait times, and “temporarily out of stock” even though these are all POD books. I have seen these “out of stock” books go from selling well to virtually selling none and you leave it out of stock for months. also, covers sell books, yet it is regular practice for you to take weeks before the cover image is shown with an LSI uploaded title.

You have made this choice, regarding Hachette, to serve your own interest (hundreds of billion dollar company since you felt the need to try to paint Hachette as an evil large corporation – maybe so but YOU are too) while hurting many small independent publishers and writer that choose LSI as their printer.

Thank you for being so high and mighty… but something tells me that in the end YOU only serve your self interest and when it comes down to it your fights for the consumer are a sham!!!! GOOD JOB EVIL LARGE CORPORATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AMAZON start practicing what you preach and stop this practice of hurting small LSI publishers!!!!!!!!!
All small LSI publishers hurt by Amazon practices should email Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, and tell him how you feel at [email protected].

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