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Saturday, 7 June 2014

Amazon V Hatchette - Another Point of View

"I'm bewildered by the anti-Amazon animus among various establishment writers. James Patterson pays for full-page ads in the New York Times and Publishers Weekly, demanding that the US government intervene and do something (it's never clear what) about Amazon. Richard Russo tries to frighten authors over Amazon's "scorched-earth capitalism". Scott Turow conjures images of the "nightmarish" future that Amazon, "the Darth Vader of the literary world", has in store for us all. And "Authors Guild" president Roxana Robinson says Amazon is like "Tony Soprano" and "thuggish". Wrote author, Barry Eisler in a piece for the Guardian Newspaper.

Eisler made an interesting point when he wrote - "These are strange things to say about a company that sells more books than anyone. That singlehandedly created a market for digital books, now the greatest source of the legacy publishing industry's profitability (though of course legacy publishers are sharing little of that newfound wealth with their authors). That built the world's first viable mass-market self-publishing platform, a platform that has enabled thousands of new authors to make a living from their writing for the first time in their lives. And that pays self-published authors something like five times as much in digital royalties as legacy publishers do."

Eisler's article, the full text of which can be read HERE, makes a very good argument in Amazon's favour. Likewise the always outspoken Joe Konrath has leapt to Amazon's defense (no surprise there) with several pieces on his own blog, The Newbies Guide to Publishing. Again Konrath makes some good points but personally I find Konrath a bit too vitriolic - he comes across as having an axe to grind with traditional publishing. I mean don't get me wrong because I think Amazon is a fine company who have delivered many positives for writers but you do get the feeling that if Amazon did suddenly turn into vile inhuman baby killers then Konrath would still defend them.  Though I do agree with Mr Konrath's point that author, James Patterson is merely attacking Amazon because he makes oodles of money from traditional publishing and wants to maintain the status quo. Though in fairness the same can be said for Konrath's defence of Amazon since he has made a pretty good sum from his own self published Amazon titles....Mr Konrath tells us this often enough.

The dispute is set to continue for some time yet, but I can't help feeling that if Amazon are indeed evil then traditional publishers are not exactly whiter than white.

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