Amazon-Hachette: War Over the Future of Books?

shutterstock_180584522The trade dispute that has captured the attention of the publishing industry for weeks has become a top business story. Why? Unlike other trade disputes, which are often about wonky, mundane business issues that likely bore even the negotiators themselves, this one is about books and, in a way, the future of ideas in America.

The issues in play in the Amazon-Hachette negotiations are discounting and “co-op,” or the money publishers pay for better placement in retail stores. For Amazon, winning means the ability to discount books further and a bigger piece of Hachette’s profit margin. Should Amazon win, it could give it more power in negotiations with other publishers to discount their books, which would give it the power to present even better prices to consumers, who would theoretically abandon Amazon’s competitors.

If Amazon can gain even more market share in book sales in the U.S., it can control the flow of ideas. This has people talking.

Much more.

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He Said, She Said: Amazon and Hachette Trade Statements (Forbes)
Following Amazon’s first public statement on its dispute with Hachette, the publisher responded with a public letter of its own.

Related: Amazon’s Statement | Hachette’s Statement

What Amazon Shoppers Actually Buy (
According to a recent consumer survey, mostly electronics.

DBW 2015 Speakers and Themes Announced (DBW)
Brian Murray, president & CEO of HarperCollins, Linda Zecher, president & CEO of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Walter Isaacson, also president & CEO of Aspen Institute and author of the upcoming book, The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, and Ken Auletta, media columnist for The New Yorker and author of Googled: The End of the World As We Know It lead off an all-star cast of speakers for Digital Book World 2015.

Themes at the conference will include:

  • — Publishing in a Global Economy
  • — Data-Driven Publishing
  • — Rethinking Marketing
  • — Developing Business Models
  • — Technology and Living on the Cutting Edge
  • — New Relationships in Education and Book Publishing

Learn more. Register.

Publishers Talking Innovation, Few New Ideas (DBW)
At the IDPF conference at BEA this year, publishers took the main stage to talk innovation, but mentioned few new ideas. More.

Self-Published Authors: Indies Rising (DBW)
A panel of self-published and “hybrid” authors speaking at the IDPF conference at BEA predicted more power accruing to self-publishing authors.

Related: DBW Author Report Collection

Simon & Schuster Acquires Wattpad Hit (PW)
Simon & Schuster will publish the After series by Anna Todd, which garnered 800 million views on Wattpad.

RR Kidz Launches Million Dollar Kickstarter (DBW)
LeVar Burton’s RR Kidz (read: Reading Rainbow but for the digital era) has launched a Kickstarter to raise $1 million.

Blurb Integrates Kindle (DBW)
Users of illustrated book self-publishing service Blurb can now build Kindle titles.

New Self-Publishing Services Platform From Lit Agent (DBW)
Lisa Weinert’s Archer is: “designed for debut titles, back-list titles, and organizations, companies, or institutions interested in building publishing programs using their own brand.”

New Enhanced Ebook Creation Platform (DBW)
<PubML> wants to help authors create beautiful enhanced ebooks for the Web.

Librify Partners With Target (DBW)
The digital book club start-up has made Target its exclusive retail partner for its summer launch.

How to Succeed at BEA (DBW)
Book Expo America is a huge show and you can easily get lost and even waste your time there. Read this short primer to get ready.

Ad Supported Ebooks a Reality (DBW)
WOWIO has launched an app with 350,000 titles for reading. The money? It comes from ads.

Turning Community Into Publishing (, which has nurtured and grown a sci-fi book fan community, will start to publish its own short-form and serialized books.


Header image credit: Alexander Supertramp /

One thought on “Amazon-Hachette: War Over the Future of Books?

  1. Leslie

    Sorry, this is ridiculous and completely over-the-top. Now we’re in Farenheit 451 and Amazon is the thought police? Let’s not get carried away, especially since Amazon is a vehicle for self-published authors and it could be argued that publishing is already a gatekeeper for ideas.

    These are two huge corporations negotiating terms. We might not like it, but that’s all it is.

    Hysterical articles like these make me lose respect for DBW’s journalism.



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