Hachette War Hurting Amazon?

shutterstock_166901315For a while, it seemed unlikely that negative press from Amazon’s feud with Hachette would translate into any serious harm to the e-tailer’s business.

Some now claim that’s exactly what’s beginning to happen.

Amazon reported even weaker third quarter finances than many anticipated last week, causing stock prices to tumble. One observer muses that Amazon’s protracted squabble with the publisher is finally “hurting the online retailer’s growth.”

It’s worth bearing in mind that correlation may not equal causation in this case, not least because book sales make up only a fraction of Amazon’s overall business. Still, the public relations dilemma shows no signs of going away, even if Simon & Schuster’s recent deal doesn’t make life any easier for Hachette.


Related: Kindle Head Russ Grandinetti Joins DBW15 to Talk Amazon and Publishing’s Future

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Why Publishers Matter (New Republic)
The debate over the economic and cultural value of publishers isn’t radically different now than it was toward the beginning of Amazon’s battle with Hachette earlier this year. So this latest salvo in defense of publishers as a breed of venture capitalists is somewhat familiar. Still, it’s an argument worth revisiting as the landscape shifts.

Austria Mandates Minimum Ebook Prices (Telecompaper)
A new law requires print and ebooks sold online in Austria to retail for a set minimum price. The provision will apply to Austrian as well as international booksellers distributing within the country.
Related: France Passes “Anti-Amazon” Law

Apple Plays Offense on iBooks (Good E Reader)
The tech company is aggressively pushing its ebook business by bundling iBooks with all devices running iOS 8. It’s working to systematically to corner competitors on the operating system. Here’s how.
Related: The Forecast for New iBooks Customers

Pearson and Penguin Random House Hold Steady (Pub Lunch)
Sales are up 1% at Pearson in the third quarter. The company reports Penguin Random House also “performed well” during “a period of change and in difficult markets.”

Authors Clear Hurdle in Harlequin Suit (Pub Lunch)
A judge certifies the class of authors currently in the process of suing Harlequin for allegedly shortchanging them of ebook royalties.

Of Politics and Publishing (NYT)
The often politically charged process by which school boards governing the largest populations of schoolchildren in the U.S. choose textbooks is nothing new for publishers. The latest major round, involving social studies materials in Texas, nears the finish line.
Related: Tactics for Publishers Adapting to the Common Core at DBW15

The Typewriter Goes Digital (Good E Reader)
Will the “Hemingwrite” word processor “redefine writing ebooks,” as one observer hints? It’s doubtful. The device, which (sort of) resembles a typewriter, doesn’t automatically produce a reflowable ebook, making its e-ink display a bit of a red herring for writers who want to get a feel for how their words will look in final ebook form.

Webcast Tomorrow: Building Ebooks for Web Browsers (DBW)
The humble web browser is emerging as a major platform for ebook reading. As e-reader sales decline and publishers look to maximize their control over digital content delivery, web developers and ebook designers have their work cut out for them. Learn how to get started.

One thought on “Hachette War Hurting Amazon?

  1. Richard Dean Starr

    I think, as you allude to in the article, that any decline has more to do with the overall bad publicity they are receiving coupled with their slowly-increasing prices. As you pointed out, books are a small part of their revenue: around 7% last time I checked.

    While Amazon’s mounting losses could very well result in massive long-term gains, it just seems as though they remain unfocused and are too often willing to throw money at solutions in search of problems–which has cost them hundreds of millions of dollars thus far.



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