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Saturday, 31 May 2014

Amazon's fight with publisher affects customers

Amazon are once again flexing their muscles and the company which is in dispute over eBook pricing with publisher, Hatchette have told customers to buy Hatchette titles from other companies as they are not keeping Hatchette titles in stock. The eCommerce giant said it has been ordering less stock from Hachette and stopped letting customers pre-order books by Hachette authors, which include JK Rowling, James Patterson and Michael Connelley. Hachette said the changes affect about 5,000 titles. The changes had been widely reported but Amazon had not commented on them previously.

This is not the first time the online giant have fought publishers in such an aggressive manner, but this time many bestselling authors have become involved and Amazon are very clearly being seen as the bad guy.
Amazon and Hachette are reportedly at odds over terms for eBook prices, at a time when Amazon is in a position of strength and vulnerability. The Seattle-based company is the most powerful force in the book market, believed to have a share of more than 60% of eBook sales and at least a third of book sales overall. Rivals have struggled to compete with Amazon's discounts and customer service.But recent earnings reports have been disappointing and Amazon's stock prices, which surged for years despite narrow profits, have dropped sharply in 2014.

Numerous Hachette authors have criticised Amazon in recent weeks, including Sherman Alexie and James Patterson, who on his Facebook page noted that the purchase of books written by him, Malcolm Gladwell, Nicholas Sparks and others had been made more difficult. Some author's have also charged Amazon with a large drop in their royalties and Amazon have responded with a pool of money set aside to compensate affected authors.


Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

There is nothing new in Amazon fighting with publishers, but previously this has not affected Amazon's customers and for Amazon to tell customers to look elsewhere for affected titles is indeed worrying. It suggests that Amazon may in the future not put their customers first.

Buddy2Blogger said...

"It suggests that Amazon may in the future not put their customers first." - Well put, Gary.

I noticed recently, that Amazon has removed their "Return for Refund" option for ebooks on the Amazon website, even though their policy has been that ebooks can be returned for refund within seven days of purchase.


Davieboy said...

Hugh Howey (of wool fame) writes about this and other publishing stories on his web-page
His view is that Amazon is on the side of writers; who really needs publishers (which are themselves usually mega-corporations colluding and conniving over pricing).
Much like you do Gary, he works hard at self-promotion; he has retained his ebook rights which I believe have made him pretty rich. He's happy with Amazon. And, as a mere consumer, so am I.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Davieboy I read Howey's blog and I too have little sympathy for the big publishers, but in this instance I think Amazon have annoyed a lot of customers and authors with their stance against Hatchette. I'm a big fan of Amazon, as you know but I think they may have flexed their muscles a little too much in this instance.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Though to be fair AMAZON have set aside a pool of money to compensate authors affected, while Hatchette have not.