Report: Amazon Attacking Hachette?

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Hachette claims that Amazon is delaying delivery of some of its most popular print titles from its biggest authors, according to a story in the New York Times:

The Internet retailer, which controls more than a third of the book trade in the United States, is marking many books published by Hachette Book Group as not available for at least two or three weeks.

A Hachette spokeswoman said on Thursday that the publisher was striving to keep Amazon supplied but that the Internet giant was delaying shipments “for reasons of their own.”

A quick search of Amazon confirms that some of the authors and titles mentioned in the New York Times article are not listed by Amazon as “In Stock” and therefore may take longer to arrive at customers’ doors.

Neither Hachette nor Amazon has yet returned request for comment. Whatever may or may not be going on with Hachette’s titles on Amazon, it doesn’t seem to be isn’t affecting ebooks, according to a Hachette spokesperson, who confirmed that “stock issues are affecting print books only.” The spokesperson would not comment on Hachette’s negotiation with Amazon or the effect of Amazon’s move on book sales.

According to the New York Times article and Brad Stone’s The Everything Store book, Amazon uses aggressive tactics to force trading partners into tough negotiating positions to squeeze out more favorable deals. In 2010, Amazon removed buy buttons from Macmillan’s Kindle books. After a tense few days and customer complaints, the buy buttons were returned and Amazon and Macmillan struck a deal.

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3 thoughts on “Report: Amazon Attacking Hachette?

  1. As a Hachette author I can tell you a few things related to this. First, Amazon removed virutally all the discounts from Hachette titles starting on Feb 7, 2014. Books in pre-orders or VERY recently released books, still have discounts, but all the other books (both print and ebook) are being sold at full price.

    For my own books, I noticed the “usually ships in 2 – 3 weeks” starting around early March. At first I thought it was some glitch with just my books, then looking at other titles from the imprint I saw that it went much deeper than that.

    Obviously the two are in some contract negotiation and pricing and stocking is being used as leverage in this dispute…the sad thing is, that as these titans clash – it is the authors and the readers who are bloodied the most.

  2. Do we need still more evidence that Amazon is using its market dominance to force special treatment from publishers? I think not.

    Where is the Obama administration’s DOJ on this? Probably in conference plotting yet another attack on Apple, which has never engaged in this sort of behavior, on Hachette, for the crime of wanting to make a profit, or on some other major publisher, for not bending to the will of Amazon. The DOJ has yet to launch even an investigation of Amazon’s misbehavior.

    The reason is obvious. The Obama administration DOJ isn’t going after Amazon because the very essence of Chicago Machine politics is using the legal system to protect certain businesses and to punish their competitors. And no one need be surprised by this. Obama came to Chicago to work for a law firm that protected slum lords with rat-infested apartments. He spent 20 years in the city without inconveniencing a single crooked meter maid. Obama is being what Obama has always been. The problem is that the press in this country has never show us the real Obama or those under him.

    \Hope and change\ means hope for the crony capitalists who’ve gotten billions in federal subsidies and for corporations such as Amazon who abuse their market dominance. It means change for the worse for the rest of us, often out of work and seeing the price of medical care skyrocket with Obamacare.

    And have you heard the recent news? For the first time in our nation’s history since data began to be collected, we have more business failures in this country that new startups. That’s bad news for authors. It’s bad news for bookstores. It’s bad news for publishers whatever their size.

    –Michael W. Perry, Lily’s Ride: Rescuing her Father from the Ku Klux Klan (historic fiction set in 1870s North Carolina)

  3. This article reflects something of what I have been saying all along. My own experience with Amazon is that the giant retailer disregards the cardinal rule of business: you don’t diss your customers. Amazon has always claimed that it is customer-focused, when it does the exact opposite of its claims. Keeping books stocked has always been the way Amazon gains market share. Now, the corporation does not appear to care how it is seen by the customers. I agree with the previous commenter’s assertion that the DoJ and the FTC should be looking into the marketing and selling practices of Amazon. I refused to work with such a badly run business, and I urge others to do the same. Amazon is not above the law.

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