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26 May 2014 @ 01:57 pm
The Hachette Job  

For those of you who have not been following along–and frankly, I have no expectation that the larger percentage of my readers will be, because it’s a topic that at best affects them from a distance–Amazon is trying to force publishing house Hachette to agree to more-favorable-to-Amazon contract clauses.

They’re doing this by:
- not listing Hachette titles
- setting Hatchette title prices at (sometimes extraordinarily) high price points to discourage readers from buying them
- setting shipping dates for already-available Hachette books at 3-5 weeks out, instead of making them immediately available
- suggesting other books when readers search for Hachette titles

This is not the first time Amazon has done this. (B&N has been known to do it too, for that matter.) And it’s not the first time that publishing houses and writers are the ones being hurt. Lilith Saint Crow spells out how writers are being hurt, and Harry Connolly writes about Amazon and an eye-opening experiment he ran regarding sales.

I hate this. I really do. Amazon is the biggest game in town; like Harry, 90% of my sales from self-published material comes through it. But for my traditionally published stuff, I have a favor to ask.

Don’t order SHAMAN RISES from Amazon if you’ve got another choice. A local bookstore is best by far: go in (or call) and ask them to pre-order you a copy of SHAMAN RISES. Or B&N, whether online or local to you, if there’s not an independent nearby.

And then–especially if you’ve cancelled an Amazon pre-order to do any of this–email Amazon and tell them you’re not ordering this book (or some other book, if you’re not looking forward to SHAMAN RISES (*sob*)) because their predatory approach toward publishing houses and writers gives you sufficient incentive to shop elsewhere. If enough people change their buying habits, even briefly, and tell Amazon why, it might get their attention.

Let me say this, though: if Amazon is your best available choice for whatever reason, please understand that I am *not* going to hold it against you if you keep shopping through them. It’s not like I’m going to stop *selling* through them, and I like to think I’m not quite that hypocritical. So really, truly: this is not a post to censure anyone ordering through Amazon. It’s just–if you can, this once, stick it to ‘em.

(but for god’s sake pre-order SHAMAN RISES one way or another so the first week numbers are bright and shiny! O.O :))

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Deborah Blakedeborahblakehps on May 26th, 2014 02:12 pm (UTC)
I've got SHAMAN RISES preordered through Amazon (I have a great Indy store in town, but I'm ashamed to admit that I often just order from Amazon because it is easy, especially with books I known about months ahead of time like this one). But the Hachette blackmail and manipulation is appalling, even for Amazon. I will definitely cancel my pre-order and get SHAMAN RISES locally. SIGH.
kitmizkit on May 26th, 2014 03:48 pm (UTC)
Pre-order it locally! first, that'll make sure yyou get a copy, second, it'll make sure the Powers That Be know people are pre-ordering! And thank you. ♥
Deborah Blakedeborahblakehps on May 26th, 2014 09:39 pm (UTC)
Yup. I plan to do it tomorrow :-) Suck it, Amazon. (And, er, please don't penalize me by pulling MY books.)
Deborah Blakedeborahblakehps on May 26th, 2014 02:19 pm (UTC)
Here is the comment I sent to Amazon:
I just want you to know that I find your treatment of Hachette Publishing and their authors APPALLING. It is blackmail and dirty dealing on a truly low level. You should be ashamed of yourselves. I am cancelling my preorders and will be buying my books from my local Independent Bookseller until you stop this behavior and treat all publishers and authors fairly. You depend on them--and those of us who buy hundreds of books a year--as much as they depend on you.
hegemony hedgehogagrimony on May 26th, 2014 02:51 pm (UTC)
I would say that I'm going to stop buying books through amazon over this but I don't actually buy books through Amazon. My eReader is a nook, so I'm B&N's bitch. :)
dancinghorse: lolgenghisdancinghorse on May 26th, 2014 04:54 pm (UTC)
This looks to me not as one thuggish corporation abusing its powers, but two. Hachette is playing hardball, too--while pretending to be the pooooor wittul suffering victim. Don't believe it. They're not telling anyone what the actual fight is over; which indicates to me that it wouldn't look good for them if it were known.

I feel for the writers caught in the middle, with their careers in jeopardy and their Stockholm syndrome on high display. One article I read noted that this is going to happen to every other publisher involved in the DOJ ruling, one by one. If they can get Hachette to blink, the others will have that much less chance to get their way.

However it comes out, none of these huge multinational corporations is going to feel any real pain. It's just business. Versus the authors whose hearts and souls go into the product that's being fought over, and whose ability to pay the bills is directly affected by the fight.

The really shitty part here is that Amazon is indie authors' main and major source of income. If Amazon wins this war, it won't just be the Big Howevermanyareleftbythen who may find their nice terms suddenly not so nice at all. And yet, if Amazon doesn't win, and in the meantime, boycotting Amazon isn't any better for authors in general than letting Amazon crap all over one publisher's books. One of the combatants in this fight will come out on top--but authors will get crapped on no matter which one it is.
Chrysoulachrysoula on May 26th, 2014 06:13 pm (UTC)
I admit I've had these thoughts. Hatchette is no angel and I've been unhappy with the stock market's influence on corporate publishing for a long time (people are blaming the stock market wanting profits for Amazon's behavior). I have specifically had flashbacks to my immediate manager at Microsoft constantly pressuring me and then blaming the pressure on somebody else. I actually quit Microsoft explicitly because of this-- and found out as I was quitting that he was not allocating blame correctly.

So I'm incredibly sympathetic to the authors who feel dependent on Hatchette for everything, but... I'm personally dependent on Amazon. This isn't me saying, "I want Amazon to win!" but that from my point of view, somebody is a controlling thug with the power to make everything harder and that's just the way it is. If it's not Amazon for me, it's somebody else. It's very much a sort of learned helplessness, where I feel like all I can do is grit my teeth and figure out how to roll with the punches.

I also keep thinking I hear-- like I'm Professor X hearing the voices-- whispers from Amazon saying to Hatchette authors, "If Hatchette cuts you off mid-series because they can't afford to pay you the miniscule non-increasing advances they do (and how much do their executives make, how much?), we'll be happy to give you a publishing platform...." Which, yes, is also awful but I'm sure what their cynical response is to unhappy authors.

I hope this resolves soon. I suspect it will resolve with Amazon buckling. Unfortunately that won't really change the conditions that Big 5 authors have convinced themselves are SOP.

I hope that doesn't sound like a lot of Amazon apologia. I have a very cynical relationship with Amazon. But I'm also very cynical about the other corporations involved and a lot of my emotional energy goes toward a general desire for corporations to have a lot less power on a broader scale.
kitmizkit on May 26th, 2014 09:16 pm (UTC)
It doesn't sound like Amazon apologia, nor is Judy in the least wrong. It's a completely shit situation all around for writers.
Aberdeenaberdeen on May 26th, 2014 06:52 pm (UTC)
If you can't pre-order locally, may I suggest Powells.

BethAka ScifibookcatBethAka Scifibookcat on June 1st, 2014 03:34 pm (UTC)
I already pre-ordered SHAMAN RISES from Amazon back in February. Unfortunately we lost our only bookstore three years ago (city of 150,000+) and nearest BN is 40 minute drive so Amazon is my default source. I hope this dispute ends quickly for the sake of the authors who are being hurt by this.
kitmizkit on June 1st, 2014 08:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Pre-order
I hope it ends quickly too, and I also want to re-emphasize my thanks for pre-ordering, period! It makes a difference and I really appreciate it!