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"We recognize that writers reasonably want to be left out of a dispute between large companies. Some have suggested that we "just talk." We tried that. Hachette spent three months stonewalling and only grudgingly began to even acknowledge our concerns when we took action to reduce sales of their titles in our store. Since then Amazon has made three separate offers to Hachette to take authors out of the middle. "

And the solutions they then present are very admirable. However, it was still amazon that took the unilateral action to punish authors, and it was likely the backlash from that that motivated those three noble solutions. It's a shame amazon had to poison the well with that move, because everything else points to Hachette being dumb and making bad decsions that hurt authors.

"Hachette spent three months stonewalling and only grudgingly began to even acknowledge our concerns when we took action to reduce sales of their titles in our store."

Hachette stonewalled. Amazon took action. Sales of Hachettes' titles. Out store.

Clearly, the authors did not factor into these moves.

"the lower price is good for all parties involved: the customer is paying 33% less and the author is getting a royalty check 16% larger and being read by an audience that's 74% larger. The pie is simply bigger."

That's great, but it's not a justification to hurt authors. It may be more revenue and customers for amazon in the long run, but these are authors who have put their souls into their art and worked for years. Jeopardizing their release window and sales for a percentage is evil and out of touch.




You keep propagating the myth that it's all Amazon's doing.

"Amazon took unilateral action to punish authors" ?

The contract between Amazon and Hachette expired.

They started negotiating a new contract. They can't agree to terms hence Amazon limiting Hachette's stok because, well, they no longer have a contract to sell Hachette's books on Amazon.

There was nothing "unilateral" about it. Amazon doesn't agree to Hachette's term. Hachette doesn't agree to Amazon's terms.

Amazon didn't "punish" authors. It didn't even "punish" Hachette. 2 giant companies failed to agree on distribution terms.

It's regrettable that authors are collateral damage here but how do you put the blame fully on Amazon and none of it on Hachette?

Especially given that Amazon is the party that proposed a way to compensate the authors during negotiations. 3 proposals, actually, all of which Hachette rejected. Because Hachette cares about their authors so much.


I'm not doubting that's the case, I honestly don't know - but Amazon could have been much clearer about that. Using the language "when we took action to reduce sales of their titles in our store." makes it seem like a deliberate and voluntary action on their part and seems really dumb if your claim is accurate.


It does not seem all that even. As I understand it Amazon is demanding Hachette to sell their books at a certain price. This is highly unusual. Amazon can demand higher percentage of the sales, etc. but controlling the price of your product? As a business I would never agree to such conditions. And due to Amazon's massive reach, this starts smelling like blackmail. Why do author's side with Hachette? I'd speculate that people are concerned with having a single player with such massive power, and this episode confirms their worst fears.


"As I understand it Amazon is demanding Hachette to sell their books at a certain price. This is highly unusual"

how is this different from Walmart deciding at what price it sells its suppliers' product. Almost all the retailers decide the final selling price of suppliers' products, that is the reason they are able to undercut mom&pop retail stores. Only exception on supplier side is Apple and to some extent Bose who have the brand leverage to dictate their prices to retailers.


I see what you mean - Amazon are different in ebooks to paperback etc because they want a Kindle walled garden. Their goals align pretty well with consumer good imo, but it's still a walled garden they control.

My guess is that they want to standardise pricing much better than they are able to rely on publishers doing (understandably on both parts). Even Apple's walled garden lets you set the price doesn't it? I guess maybe consumers see less variance in ebooks and Amazon want to simplify things.

Amazon seem to better support my best interests as a consumer - and I plan to buy a Kindle soon fwiw - but I think trying to compare Amazon to anything traditional is going to fail because their model is so different - and at the end is basically a walled garden they need to control as much as possible.




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