How Hachette Can Win Its Negotiation With Amazon

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Before you read any further, know that this opinion does not represent those of my employer, friends, family, anyone else in publishing, my doctor, my accountant or my lawyer. This opinion is mine alone — and it’s a little crazy.

Okay. Deep breath.

As many of you know, Amazon and Hachette are in the middle of contract negotiations. Part of the process has involved Amazon putting increasing pressure on the publisher in various ways, like encouraging customers to buy books from other publishers and ceasing discounting on some Hachette titles, to name a few. Here’s a better summary of the issue.

It seems from dueling statements from Amazon and Hachette that went public earlier this week that both sides are ready to dig in for a long struggle. If it’s a long struggle that ensues, I see the advantage going to Amazon. It’s a bigger company, one that has shown a willingness to lose money to get what it wants, and, ultimately, it needs Hachette less than Hachette needs it.

So, how can Hachette as David beat the Goliath of Amazon? (And, yes, I’m aware that Hachette is owned by Lagardere, a $10 billion media conglomerate and not some small, defenseless start-up; at the same time, Hachette is David in this instance because it has little in the way of weaponry it can deploy against Amazon whereas Amazon has much it can do to damage Hachette.)

The same way the real David beat Goliath: Do something unexpected and bold.

I think that if Hachette wants to have a shot at beating Amazon in this round of fighting, it has to pull its books and ebooks from the retailer. And it has to do so publicly, explaining to its authors, the industry and as many readers as possible why it’s doing what it’s doing.

And what would that “why” be?

Well, knowing little of the inner workings of the negotiation, maybe something like, “we have decided to discontinue selling our books through Amazon because the retailer will not agree to a deal with us that we believe allows us to continue publishing the books you love.” Simple, glossing over the details.

At the same time, Hachette should offer a deal to Barnes & Noble and Nook, giving the retailer slightly better terms than it had before but demand very special treatment in stores and on the Nook. Hachette would make Barnes & Noble its exclusive nationwide retailer.

The publisher would also have to have its authors go on an aggressive public relations campaign, urging readers to abandon Amazon and buy their books at Barnes & Noble and on Nook.

It’s possible, perhaps, for Hachette to survive without Amazon. One can imagine Hachette launching its own direct sales, or helping Barnes & Noble or other supercharge the sale of its books. But the “Everything Store” isn’t the “Everything Store” without thousands of titles from a major publishers.

It’s a crazy idea, but it might give Hachette the best chance to surprise and shock Amazon, and ultimately force it to terms Hachette can live with.

There are many obvious drawbacks to this negotiating tactic. Maybe I think it’s a good idea from my poker playing days, where risk, boldness and creativity were often rewarded. The stakes here are obviously much higher.

So, what do you think? Tell me why this is a terrible idea…but what would you do?

Related: How the Amazon-Hachette Fight Could Shape the Future of Ideas

Jeremy Greenfield

About Jeremy Greenfield

Jeremy Greenfield is the editorial director of Digital Book World. Opinions presented here are his own. Read more of his work here.

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41 thoughts on “How Hachette Can Win Its Negotiation With Amazon

  1. I think in addition to what you recommend, Hachette needs a sales outlet for Mobi formatted books. Amazon owns the mobipocket format, but if people want to read on their Kindles, they shouldn’t be left out. As far as I can tell from the things I’ve read, at least at this point, as long as you don’t want to do DRM, you don’t need to pay licensing to Amazon to use mobi formatting. Tor gave up DRM and did not suffer, so Hachette should follow suit. Let them sell mobi formatted books off their own servers or through some other outlet while at the same time aggressively showing other ways of reading their books if one has a Kindle (like downloading an app onto their Kindle Fire).

  2. Hachette will not get the better of Amazon for the same reason you will not succeed in any business negotiation.
    You ‘post’ is filled with words of conflict, the focus entirely on ‘winning’ ‘beating and ‘weapons’, and from what I have read about the current situation between Hachette and Amazon, it is their mindset as well.
    Conflict has no part to play in professional negotiation. It is counter productive and immature.

    \The publisher would also have to have its authors go on an aggressive public relations campaign, urging readers to abandon Amazon and buy their books at Barnes & Noble and on Nook.\ – good luck with that.

  3. This is the last battle before the Ancien Regime falls. Amazon will win. Hachette will knuckle under, eventually, heads will roll, and the legions of indie authors will continue their rise up the charts.

  4. I think this is a good second step. The first step should be to have all the Hachette authors remove the Amazon buttons from their websites.

  5. Amazon yields their supreme power & is in their King seat when it comes to distribution of content and how the negotiate from their position. Until companies actually align to make Amazon compete, then why would they yield, unless the government intervenes. I like your idea Jeremy.

  6. I think this can work, but I don’t know why B&N has to be the exclusive distributor. Why alienate independent bookstores? Why not also employ alternative ebook vendors like Zola, Apple, Kobo, etc? No one entity like Barnes & Noble is going to be able to resist Amazon. Authors will bail. Buyers will be skeptical of Nook’s contented existence. On the other hand, a strong alternative diverse ecology might just thrive without Amazon. I’m partial to Zola — I worked there for a few years and I’m a stock (option) holder — so obviously I hope they’re a big part of the alternative ecology. But I really do believe that it’s possible for this alliterative ecology to succeed. After all, consider: (1) books are only a tiny part of The Everything Store’s business model, but they’re everything to members of the alternative book selling ecology, (2) Amazon has 33% of the market. The other guys have 67%. I know they they can’t collude, especially with the DOJ working as Amazon’s house lawyer, but there’s nothing preventing them from adopting policies in their own interest & the shared interests of non-Amazon players.

  7. ‘It’s possible, perhaps, for Hachette to survive without Amazon.’

    This is an interesting strategy, no doubt – but I think that ‘perhaps’ is the reason Hachette will never try it. As a bricks-and-mortar bookseller, nothing would thrill me more than seeing a publisher have the bravery to turn its back on Amazon. But I somehow doubt that Lagardere’s shareholders would be pleased to see 50% (or more?) of Hachette’s revenues evaporate in service of a strategy that gives its probability of survival as an airy ‘perhaps’ – at best.

    (On another note, it’s also interesting to see the French revolution rhetoric that’s popping up in comments on the dispute, both here and elsewhere. I wonder whether this will become a trope of these indie authors vs. publishing giants debates.)

  8. If Hachette wants to sell me e-books, it has two choices: Continue to sell thru amazon or abandon device-dependent DRM so that I can buy its books elsewhere and convert them to be readable on my Kindle or Kindle reading apps. I have too much money invested in e-books locked to my Kindle to switch to another e-reader/proprietary e-format. It’s that simple. And I buy a LOT of books. All the big five/six publishers and many of the smaller ones made this mistake. Unless they correct it, they’re sunk.

  9. For physical books, a showy pull-out and embracing B&N and, even better, independent bookstores might make the point and maintain most of Hachette’s revenue stream.

    The Kindle is another matter. Until some other company figures out a one or two-touch method of loading new books to the millions of existing Kindle’s, Amazon remains in charge.

    • There is already such a provision. Anybody can send a file to your kindle if you provide them with the email address associated with this. Make a site where you can enter this piece of information and as soon as you hit send, the book will appear on your kindle.

  10. I take on board the various responses about Amazon.
    Here is another part of the story which the press has not covered in large part or touched on.
    Without selling more books many publishers are seeing an improvement in their bottom lines. Profits are up in and ebooks are driving that train. Amazon plays a key and central roll in this seismic shift. With fewer and fewer books being manufactured and returns less of an issue the horizon for publishers looks very good.
    Amazon recognizes where these profits are coming from and wants a bigger piece of the pie. They have the clout to push hard for more of the profits publishers are enjoying.
    However authors don’t have that power and clout that Amazon has and they are receiving a fraction of money earned on their ebooks by publishers. Publishers all together offer author 25% on net and won’t budge as a group in the U.S. and U.K. With prices continuing to rise for ebooks the issue is even more critical to authors. We have been in some cases able to move royalties up in the Foreign Market in translation. One the other hand Amazon gives authors a large percentage of the income derived from the sale of ebooks they put up on the Amazon sight as do most of the e-retailers.
    I and others have called on publishers to improve their royalty structures in ebooks for authors and not take the lion share for themselves. I hope that Amazon will support authors in this manner.
    Would I like to see a greater diversity in the retail space absolutely. That will come along as new retail players look to get into the book and ebook space.

    Robert Gottlieb
    Chairman
    Trident Media Group, LLC.
    Literary Agent
    http://www.tridentmediagroup.com
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    • “I and others have called on publishers to improve their royalty structures in ebooks for authors and not take the lion share for themselves. I hope that Amazon will support authors in this manner.”

      Are you proposing that if Amazon gets better rates from the publishers, they should pass those on to the authors? I don’t see that happening. Personally I think the publishers should have adjust the rates to authors long before this negotiation started …that way they wouldn’t have that big 52.5% piece of pie that looks so ripe for the picking from Amazon’s perspective.

      To me we should change the 30% / 52.5% / 17.5% shares into 33% across the board. That would increase Amazon by 3% an authors by almost double. That would be a fairer division…coming from an author’s perspective of course

  11. Great idea

    Unfortunately, Amazon will just buy the physical books from Ingram, Baker and Taylor or any number of distributors or third parties

    While ebooks are important it’s still only approximately 30%of the business

    But I love the idea!

    • Amazon’s physical book sales are not really the big issue. They are not the dominant print book seller. It’s eBooks where they control the market.

    • “While ebooks are important it’s still only approximately 30%of the business”

      It depends on genre. I’m a Hachette fantasy author and my sales are 65% ebook to 35% print. If the ebook royalties are cut I’ll lose a good sum of money.

  12. Not a bad plan if boldness and speed is the answer. But giving B&N exclusivity would be foolish. The fix for Amazon’s market dominance isn’t to give anyone else an exclusive, least of all B&N, which lacks innovation or risk-taking skills. It’s an open, free and competitive market.

    Actually, I think Hachette has scored a major win, in part due to its media ties. Back in the nineties Microsoft’s real troubles began with negative stories about it began to intrude upon all the media gushing. The same has begun to happen with Amazon. Reporters are not a very imaginative lot. Stories tend to fall into predictable patterns. The gush about Amazon is over. Amazon the corporate bully has now followed onto Amazon the lousy employer as an acceptable story. Next is likely to be Amazon as deceptive to customers, particularly in its customer search results.

    There is, of course, no answer for the publishers (or Apple) in a DOJ investigation. The DOJ is mirroring those who run it. It’s Chicago-machine politics at its worse and in this case the machine is tilting the playing field heavily in Amazon’s favor. All that remains to be determined is why. It the payoff in money or more covert technical-political benefits.

    What answers there are lie in Congressional legislation. I can think of some that’d be quite helpful.

    1. Suppose I release my over 500-page Chesterton on War and Peace in digital at about half the print price, or $13.99. It’d still be a great deal for the long labor I put into it. And if I do that, Apple will pay me 70% royalties or almost $10. But the Great Beast of Greed (Amazon) will only pay me 35% or under $5. Given that great discrepancy, why should I be forced by these vile ‘ most favored nation’ clause to make the retail at Amazon the same at that at Apple. Congress should ban such contract terms and allow authors to set their wholesale prices so they get the same return from Amazon as from Apple.

    2. There’s been no market in human history more rife with the potential for fraud than digital sales, whether music, apps or ebooks. Since the retailer is itself creating the copies it sells, it’s as easy as pie to sell 1,000 copies but claim to have only sold 500. The solution is to make selling more open. Require digital retailers to provide digital providers with detailed sales information lacking only the customers name and street address. That’d make it easy to create test sales that, if they do not appear in the sale data, become grounds for a full audit, to be paid for at the retailer’s expense. That would, at the same time, provide ebook publishers with much-needed sales data for marketing purposes.

    In short, use Amazon’s misbehavior or the potential for misbehavior to box the company it. Right now and taking into account the economies of scale and below-market royalties, Amazon probably averages twice as much profit per ebook sale as companies such as Apple. These measures would level the playing field. Authors paid half as much in royalties by Amazon, for instance, could make their Amazon wholesale prices twice as high, forcing Amazon to pay the market-standard royalties of 60-70% rather than 35%.

    One additional comment concerning this particular posting: \This is the last battle before the Ancien Regime falls. Amazon will win. Hachette will knuckle under, eventually, heads will roll, and the legions of indie authors will continue their rise up the charts.\

    One of the miseries of being an independent author is that I find myself surrounding by embittered fools like the above-quoted. Many are bitter because traditional publishers haven’t recognized what they think is their artistic genius. They want see companies such as Hachette die, under the strange delusion that means victory for \legions of indie authors,\ aided, of course, by their great champion Amazon.

    That won’t happen. Amazon’s actually has more of a history of abusing independent authors than of the industry giants. Years back, it yanked the buy buttons from POD publishers catering to indie authors. More recently its Audible affiliate slashed to royalties paid to indie authors.

    The reality is that whatever Amazon can get away with doing to the industry giants will be what it will do and more to utterly powerless indie authors. The wiser ones know that. The fools continue to be avid Amazon fanboys. One good aspect of this dispute is that it has brought to light the great gap between those two groups and forced at least some of the latter to begin thinking. That’s good.

  13. I second Rudy’s comment. I want to buy e-books in a way that doesn’t support Amazon, but I still want to be able to read them on my Kindle and keep them in my Kindle library. As a consumer, I’ve been using Amazon for years and I don’t want to manage two different reading devices or fragment my digital library.

    A couple of days ago, I spent 20 or 30 minutes trying to figure out how to buy an e-book I want from someone other than Amazon and still import it into my Kindle reader. I can do it with regular documents, like PDFs, but for a regular book, It seemed impossible. I ended up buying the print edition instead, but most consumers aren’t going to be so dedicated to ditching Amazon.

    One reason Amazon dominates is because they make everything so easy for consumers. If publishers want to compete, they need to do a better job in the digital realm.

    • Files can be transferred to your kindle either via the USB cable – then it’s just a drag and drop. Or you can email the file to the address associated with your kindle (which you can find through the settings.

      That’s assuming that the file you have is a .mobi and all books created these days are done in both .mobi and .epub format.

    • I buy e-books from Baen, Weightless, Book View Cafe, Phoenix Pick/Arc Manor, and various and sundry others (some authors sell direct); there’s also Dragonmount, which sells many, if not all, Tor books. I also acquire them from Project Gutenberg. Some of these stores (and PG) can e-mail direct to your Kindle, though I never do it this way. I just download the mobi file to my computer and transfer it via the USB cable to the Kindle. It’s quite simple. Most of these stores specialize in speculative fiction, a genre whose denizens seem to be several steps ahead of the rest of the publishing field. Heck, I’ve been buying books from Baen since long before the Kindle came into being. One advantage of buying through these non-amazon stores is that, in many cases, the books are cheaper and the authors get a bigger cut. I believe in the authors getting a big cut. They’re the geese laying the golden eggs.

  14. There is a precedent in another entertainment industry: Cable Television. Time Warner Cable’s blackout of CBS in that contract dispute badly hurt the cable operator. In that case, TWC (the distributor) dropped CBS (the content provider). \The wide-reaching consequences of the fee dispute pushed Time Warner’s profit down 34 percent, to $532 million, in the recent quarter. The company also lowered its revenue forecast for the year.\ http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-10-31/the-cbs-blackout-was-a-horror-show-for-time-warner-cable

    In this case, the suggestion is that Hachette (content provider) pull out from Amazon (distributor). Hachette may want to consider the effect of possible customer blow-back if they choose to discontinue sales on Amazon. It’s not likely that Amazon will experience what Time Warner went through. Customers have choice with multiple distribution channels for books, but customers used to buying through Amazon may simply buy other publishers’ books which would hurt Hachette. It’s not likely that Amazon would be hurt in any significant way. Hachette might simply be cutting off its nose to spite its face.

    Another facet to this discussion is whether or not the increasing number of distribution channels and disruptions in the traditional publishing value chain may offer some leeway for leaving a major distributor like Amazon in a contract dispute. That may not be so much the case for print, but for digital new technologies and market forces open up new possibilities.

  15. Exactly. If Hachette stops selling eBooks at Amazon.com but sells them elsewhere without DRM as .mobi files that can be opened on any dedicated Kindle reader or app, the damage to Hachette’s bottom line and to its authors will be less than if those of us committed to the Kindle platform cannot buy and read Hachette titles without illegally stripping the DRM and then converting. O’Reilly Media and Tor seem to be doing very well selling books without DRM. But even by making this bold and unlikely move, Hachette and its authors would no doubt see staggering losses of book sales by not having books listed at Amazon.com .

  16. God as a concept was a frequent topic of discussion in a college philosophy class I took years ago. I don’t remember the exact text, but it went something like… God ceases to be God if we stop recognizing him/her as God. I mean no offense to anyone’s spiritual/religious sensibilities; I’m merely trying to make a metaphorical point in terms of Amazon’s retail domination, particularly as it relates to books.

    Not only do I agree with Jeremy’s bold idea, I think all publishers and indie authors should consider alternative distribution strategies. Get creative, folks… you’re in the business of books, for heaven’s sake. Writers often describe a feeling of \being in the flow\ while they write. If ever there was a time for publishers to find their flow, it’s now.

    I, for one, am working toward offering books and downloads directly from my WordPress author website, which doesn’t require an expensive shopping cart (I use PayPal) or licensing specialty plugins. Yes, there is a learning curve in this process, but once it’s done, I get to spend my marketing efforts driving traffic to me rather than to Amazon.

    Why in this digital age aren’t publishers selling their e-book titles directly from their own online retail portal, aka websites? The publishing community can’t have it both ways. If they took the time to develop direct and new sales channels, I doubt this would be an issue.

    Hachette is no victim, though. This is all about control. Of course it makes sense they want an agency model. They’re an agent who wants to control the price of their products. But it also makes sense that Amazon wants a wholesale pricing relationship as the middle man. The solution is a weaning process away from their dependency on Amazon. Take your power back! Start investing in your online infrastructure. Endure the pain that comes with transforming your business model. Stop recognizing Amazon as Amazon and it will cease to be Amazon.

    I like the idea of offering an exclusive distribution agreement with Barnes & Noble. It could be a win-win for both companies if executed properly. My only hesitation is there seems to be a serious lack of vision within the BN ranks these days, but the idea is on the right track. How about Target? Isn’t that what some music publishers are doing? I seem to recall some pretty slick advertising for Justin Timberlake’s latest offering \The 20/20 Experience.\ Come on, guys… think outside the box.

    Then there is the DRM issue. Why does it always come back to DRM? Hachette and other publishers don’t want to alienate existing Kindle users. Damn those Amazon bastards — they thought of everything… or did they?

    Why not align with other tablet vendors? Perhaps offer incentives to your customers to lure them away from a Kindle-centric way of thinking or at least propose a shared custody arrangement. Go ahead, keep that old Kindle, but look at this shiny new tablet that can do lots of other things. Educate your readers away from Amazon. Publishers are not powerless. They ultimately have what readers want — books from their favorite authors.

    Steve Jobs wasn’t wrong, but one bully trying to outdo another bully was a formula for disaster.

    I always advise my clients to purchase tablets over Kindles or a Kindle Fire tablet. Did we learn nothing from AOL? You never want to be part of a closed-end system. You don’t have to buy an iPad or any overpriced Apple product either, although that’s my preference. There are lots of great affordable tablets now… Google Nexus among others that give readers freedom to purchase books from a variety of retailers… or use the Overdrive Media Library and get your books for free through your local library (although you’ll have to get on a waiting list for the popular books).

    Hachette can prevail in this standoff if it can overcome the same problem Amazon has: greed. Jeff Bezos’ well documented attitude of \Your margin is my opportunity\ is only good for Amazon. If Hachette backs down, that’s bad news for the entire industry, including independent authors. Don’t think Mr. Bezos won’t start cutting indie margins, too, once he has his way with publishers.

    My hope is that all publishing houses will come to their senses and creatively work toward new methods of distribution. I’m planning on pulling my books off Amazon once I fully launch my new
    author website. It’s a risk, but one I’m willing to take because I’m tired of having my bottom line go through Amazon.

  17. I’m sure as more publishers start to have terms come up for negotiation with various online retailers we are going to see more and more conflict happening. And if you don’t think there’s going to be conflict eventually with indie authors, think again. Eventually that 70% commission is going to go away.

  18. Jeremy, I’ve been thinking of a similar plan, but more targeted. What if Hachette windowed its titles? It could withhold them from Amazon for the first month or two of publication. This would be something that other big publishers might actually be inspired to emulate, and if so, it would end Amazon’s bookselling dominance. Let Amazon continue selling backlist, which is its strength, but shift the big profits to other booksellers.

  19. If Hachette will give in to Amazon, it will be the first step to destroy American as well as European Publishing.

    All other smaller publishers will have to follow suit and profitability in the book market will be lost.

    Years later even for Amazon it will not be worth while to deal with books because when the customer price sinks even 80% discount will not be enough to make books profitable enough for Amazon.

    One should not accept Amazon’s claim that \it works for the benefit of its customers\. This is a sheer demagogy because when books will lose their value the customers may stop to appreciate them and move to buy other things.

    If you will take tiny Israeli book market as a test case to what goes on now between Amazon and Hachette, you will see the proof to what I have written above.

    In Israel there are two book chains that control approx. 75% of the market.

    The pressure to give more and more discounts to the chains \for the benefit of the book buyers\ destroyed the publishing business in Israel. People stopped buying books as presents to their friends because the price is too low and the friend may think that the giver is stingy.

    The price of books went down so much that it is not economic for publishers to invest in Coffee table books, in Albums, in highly invested non fiction titles.

    The royalty payments to authors went down to almost zero because of these highly discounted books.

    Within several years of heavy discounts not only all the publishers are losing money but now one of the two major chains is on the brink of bankruptcy because its income went down so much that it cannot cover its own costs with publishers discounts of 80 %. Because when the customer price is so low, they failed to multiply sales enough in order to cover its own costs of doing business.

    If Hachette wants to continue and thrive it has to say one big no to Amazon and lead its buyers to buy elsewhere. The same should be done by any other Publisher.

    I totally agree with The article above, and even more so because of our market harsh and painful experience.

  20. “People stopped buying books because the price is too low”

    Wow. You might want to make a better argument next time. It would make 100 times more sense if you wrote “People stopped buying books because the price is too high.”

  21. There may be something sillier than referring to Hachette, an international corporation owned by the huge Lagardere Unlimited, as a David in a David vs. Goliath contest but I would be hard pressed to think of what. Is it a matter of ignorance or pure hatred of Amazon? I honestly don’t know but Digital Book World needs to do better than this nonsense.

    • Thanks for the comment, Tom. EDC has a very different biz model than most trade publishers and a dedicated sales force. Amazon was undercutting that sales force and that both prompted the move and helped galvanize the sales force once it was made.

  22. The publishers screwed up when they made a strategic decision not to look at the reader as “their customer.” Instead, they focus on the large retailers and the distribution channel as the people they need to serve. This opened the door for Amazon to step in and fill that void, now they own the relationship with the readers…and it is this that gives them their power.

    When I saw just how much sales were going through Amazon I saw this as a huge threat and several years ago I recommended that they should all have their own sites for direct selling to consumers AND to pull their books from Amazon. So I don’t think it is a crazy idea, I just don’t have confidence that Hachette (or the other publishers) could pull it off.

    They have failed miserably with their feeble first attempt…Bookish.com was incredibly late, has a terrible user experience, and should be offering substantial discounts to entice consumers. It also should remove DRM, offer free bundled ebooks with purchase of print books, and announce loudly and clearly that any books from their site will provide a higher royalty rate to authors so that if readers want to show their support for their favorite author, they should buy from them.

    You’re idea makes sense…but only if they had their own site that they could direct people to. Without it, I don’t think they have a chance. This is probably one of those situations that they will have to take a near-term defeat…work at getting a real direct-to-consumer site established…THEN they can do as you suggest.

    After all, look at what J.K. Rowling did with Pottermore. She took 100% control of her ebooks and the reading public flocked, Hachette has some of the most popular authors in the world, they just need to tap that demand.

  23. I see so many hatchets being ground here: publishers, consumers, self-publishers, etc., and none seems to have everyone’s intersts at heart. This is business and my 35 years in this industry tells me that everyone needs to win for commerce to flourish. I’m an indie publisher and any of my trading partners will tell you I work my butt off to make my deals good for THEM. That’s my only assurance that, in the end, my business will be good for me. I want Amazon and Hatchette each to get reasonable income, because I want them both to thrive. I want publishers of all sizes to thrive, because as a reader, I am constantly thrilled with the works publishers deliver, generally much superior to the works self-publishing authors deliver. And as a reader, I want a good deal. But I don’t want to kill the goose in order to to enjoy a flash-in-the-pan delight. This industry needs to think organically. That’s first, before we decide–as a marketplace–whether any component of our industry is taking too much of the pie.

  24. This is the very same suggestion I have been making for years. Apart from wholesaling to Amazon through my distributor, which is Ingram, I have pulled all my ebooks from the retailing giant. My books were not being read in the first place, thanks to a \glitch\ in the system which brought an immediate halt to ebook sales, and after that I could never trust Amazon to report sales to me as the publisher of my own books. I set my prices low in the first place, but that did not seem to help in the matter. As far as Amazon was concerned, I was a minnow in a very big pond, and was not important to achieve its success. Well, now I do not consider Amazon in my business strategy and it is not important to my success. Jeff Bezos admitted on 60 minutes that books were just widgets. He was never interested in selling books as a bookseller. He built Amazon up using books to attract customers, then used that success to begin luring in the big fish, which supply everything from lawnmowers to anything. That’s all he was interested in.

    It is a matter of record that I always sold more books through Barnes & Noble than Amazon. That said, I do not agree with granting BN exclusivity. Through my ebook distributor, I reach Kobo, Apple, Sony, and Baker & Taylor, and Barnes & Noble. I never keep my eggs in one basket. Through Ingram I am able to reach all the independent book stores, and Books-a-Million. Why on Earth would any reputable publisher try to work with a retailer that dictates the terms, and engages in tactics that would shame any other business and lose the trust of both customers and suppliers.

    Cut the cord and pull the books. Continue to dictate wholesale terms as is the industry standard. And stop being so afraid of Amazon.

  25. Maybe you should take up the issues with the publishers. They are not printing, stocking and delivering actual books, so maybe you should get a higher percentage from them.

  26. Jeremy, your idea, leaving Amazon for B&N is what I believe that Hatchett should have already done. Holding on and playing the game with Amazon gives Amazon the belief that Hatchett can’t survive without them. Clearly, Amazon needs more competition. Competition is good for business; monopolies are bad for business. Granted, Amazon does not have the Monopoly, its darn close- too close for successfull negotiations between Amazon and publishers. Hatchett should definitely go to B&N, give them a bit of an advantage for awhile. In the meantime, Hatchett should work on building up a strong website that can do its own book sales and leave both of them eventually.

  27. Ahhh once again, the US only thinks of the US. Yes it is large, powerful with a large population but there is also a world pass your borders Oh dear neighbors of mine. A land where Nook or Barnes & Noble does not do business with Canadians. But you know which retailer does business with the rest of the world? Yes that’s right ots Amazon with its domains such as .CA, .FR, .IT and on and on.
    But I suppose if your books sell in the USA, an author has no need for anybody or anywhere else.

    Pity I say hey!!!

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