Thursday, August 28, 2014

Amazon vs Hachette

Amazon has stopped selling books by Hachette published authors. This move is ruining the livelihood of many professional authors. This is what happens when you let a company become a monopoly. Amazon is the enemy of authors.


Hachette is dragging their feet. Hachette refuses to negotiate because they want to force Amazon into being a party to their exploitation of all their authors. They are hiding behind the media and publicity generated by their big name authors. It's one more motion by traditional publishing to screw us all over.


Look, this isn't affecting me. Hachette and Amazon bickering over contract terms? Nothing to do with me. I'm not published by Hachette and Amazon is still selling my book.

So rather than addressing Amazon or Hachette, I'd like to take this time to address all the authors who are getting involved. I'm specifically talking to you Hachette published folks who are taking a stand for your publisher, but it applies to everyone.

Authors everywhere, on both sides of this argument, you need to shut up for a little while.

I've been reading about this a lot since it started and as far as I can tell, nobody really knows what is going on except the big boys at Amazon and Hachette. They can't tell us what's being said in negotiation and the details of what terms are contentious. You and I just don't know. It's foolish to assume we do and jump into this argument like we've got all the facts.

And Hachette authors, if you're concerned about not having your books in stock with Amazon, there's this big company called Hachette that is in charge of your distribution. If they're not doing their job, talk to them. They're your middle man. Your contact is with them, not Amazon. They exist to speak for you, so go make sure they're speaking for you.

Or go back to writing. In the end, stories are going to be told. If Hachette folds, books will still be written. If Amazon quits the book selling business, books will still be written. Two people are needed for this arrangement: An author and a reader. No matter what happens, authors will author, readers will read and we'll find some way of getting out stories into the hands of the audience. Industries change, but that will always be true.

In the end, Hachette is trying to do what is best for Hachette. That's not the same as doing what's best for Hachette authors. They have a bottom line to look out for and do you know what is written on that line? Protip: It's not your name.

Amazon is no different. They want to run their business in a way that, they think, will make them the most money. That's not the same as making the most money for their suppliers. They are looking out for their profits and you shouldn't expect anything different.

Side with the people who are benefiting you. That's easy in this scenario, because when Amazon isn't stocking your book and Hachette isn't getting your books stocked, neither of them are benefiting you.

It's like Treebeard says: I'm not on anybody's side because nobody is on my side.

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