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Authors to rebuke Amazon over Hachette dispute with full-page NYT ad

post #1 of 84
Thread Starter 
Nearly 1,000 authors affected by the onging e-book spat between Amazon and Hachette have signed their names to a letter -- set to run as a full-page advertisement in the Sunday New York Times later this week -- imploring the online retailer to settle the dispute and calling on readers to voice their displeasure directly to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.


An Amazon warehouse, via The Dallas Morning News.


Composed by techno-thriller author Douglas Preston, the missive counts best-selling writers including John Grisham, Stephen King, Malcolm Gladwell, and Nora Roberts as signatories. Its appearance in the New York Times was first reported by that publication.

"As writers--most of us not published by Hachette--we feel strongly that no bookseller should block the sale of books or otherwise prevent or discourage customers from ordering or receiving the books they want," the letter reads. "It is not right for Amazon to single out a group of authors, who are not involved in the dispute, for selective retaliation."

Amazon stopped accepting pre-orders for new Hachette releases in May, after the publisher refused to grant Amazon more favorable terms for the sale of e-books. The retail giant then began to draw down inventory of print editions, increasing the tiff's impact on authors' income and sparking a contentious public battle.

Facing growing backlash, Amazon extended an olive branch to authors last month. The company proposed a temporary arrangement in which sales would resume, but profits would be given directly to the writers, cutting Hachette out of the loop until a new agreement was reached.

That proposal was roundly criticized by authors, including Preston, who said that such a deal would only serve to weaken Hachette.

Amazon is embroiled in similar battles with a number of smaller publishers, where it is said to be "increasingly ruthless" as it renegotiates terms. The company has seemingly been emboldened by last year's U.S. court decision that saw Apple, Amazon's only major rival in the e-books market, found guilty of antitrust violations over its own agreements with publishers.
post #2 of 84
Not exactly a match made in heaven, but I sure do hope that this takes off, and gives publishers and authors alike some ammo against Amazon.

http://nytimes.com/2014/08/07/business/media/google-and-barnes-noble-unite-to-take-on-amazon.html?referrer=
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #3 of 84
Amazon's sole purpose is to destroy as many companies/people as possible by undercutting them.

A total amoral company
No wonder Wall St loves them so much
post #4 of 84
I generally use the Kindle app for book reading on my iPad and iPhone. I'm all about Apple, but was already using Kindle when iBooks came out. I've thought about switching over over the years, but didn't want to orphan the dozens (hundreds now?) books I already bought...

Guess I'll have to think about it again.
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post #5 of 84
Boycott Amazon. Don't buy anything from them. The Monopoly is Amazon, not Apple. They are proving it with this kind of behavior.
post #6 of 84
Apple's proposal, eventually shot down by US courts, looks better with each passing day. Walmart-ification race to the bottom tactics always hurt everyone but the few at top in the end.
post #7 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

I generally use the Kindle app for book reading on my iPad and iPhone. I'm all about Apple, but was already using Kindle when iBooks came out. I've thought about switching over over the years, but didn't want to orphan the dozens (hundreds now?) books I already bought...

Guess I'll have to think about it again.

You already bought them, so you might as well read them. If you want to make a statement to Amazon then buy your future ebooks from Apple, B&N, or any other ebook retailer.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #8 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

I generally use the Kindle app for book reading on my iPad and iPhone. I'm all about Apple, but was already using Kindle when iBooks came out. I've thought about switching over over the years, but didn't want to orphan the dozens (hundreds now?) books I already bought...

Guess I'll have to think about it again.

There are many options for removing the DRM from Amazon ebooks.
post #9 of 84

Where is the court ordered representative on-site at Amazon that is monitoring their monopolistic practices? Oh, that's right, no one has brought suite against them like they did to Apple. It probably won't happen because everybody likes cheap stuff, the publishers actually need them no matter how dirty they are, Apple has no case against them, and the DOJ is afraid of going after one of the largest retailers in the country in fear of damaging the economy. If it was actually investigated Bezos would make Bill Gates in the early years of Microsoft look like a kitten.

post #10 of 84
DOJ: nothing to see here, folks. move along.

Maybe Amazon could get the DOJ to investigate the authors for forming a conspiracy.
post #11 of 84
Quote: "[Amazon] proposed a temporary arrangement in which sales would resume, but profits would be given directly to the writers, cutting Hachette out of the loop until a new agreement was reached."

There's perhaps no better illustration of the narcism that reigns supreme at Amazon than that proposal. Amazon's investment in the books it sells are microscopic. Even for a well-detailed bestseller, they likely to be no more than $100 or so to create that book's webpage. In contrast, Hachette has typically invested hundreds of thousands in advances, editorial work, and advertising to ready those books for the market.

Amazon's willingness to forgo its profits means nothing. It's costs are minuscule, so its loses would be equally small. In contrast, Hachette isn't being asked to forgo profits, but money it needs simply to cover already-made expenses.

Oh how I loathe Amazon! At times I wonder if there's anyone above an assistant VP who has any ability to see any POV but Amazon's. Even their PR moves in this dispute look bad to anyone who understands publishing.
post #12 of 84
Is there a legal expert around who can explain the difference between this issue and the Apple suit?
Will Amazon's behaviour have any impact on the Apple case? And, if not, why not?
post #13 of 84
Originally Posted by Lulu139 View Post
…a legal expert… 

 

No; just prefacing.

 
Will Amazon's behaviour have any impact on the Apple case?

 

WHEN Amazon is found to be illegally abusing their monopoly standing, Apple’s case could be overturned and Amazon could very well pay a huge fine.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #14 of 84

I've just informed our purchasing department that we are not doing anymore orders through Amazon. This needs to stop. I thought the whole lawsuit against Apple was ridiculous and still do. Amazon and Walmart need to be stopped.

post #15 of 84
Obviously lots of under table $$$ been waxed between them while law abiding Apple got sued!
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post #16 of 84
You know, up until recently, I wasn't particularly impressed with Amazon either.

Until I read this:

http://www.amazon.com/forum/kindle/ref=cm_cd_tfp_ef_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx1D7SY3BVSESG&cdThread=Tx3J0JKSSUIRCMT

This sounds reasonable to me.
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post #17 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

DOJ: nothing to see here, folks. move along.

Maybe Amazon could get the DOJ to investigate the authors for forming a conspiracy.

Not an ice cube's chance in Hell. Amazon is untouchable as long as they don't collude with publishers to set pricing.

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #18 of 84
Could Apple legally forgo its 30% cut to drop the price of books to land a kick to Bozo's goolies? Or would that be considered illegal competition? Or how about just returning the 30% back to the customer, right after purchase, the book seller getting its full return.
Or does this just refer to hardcover books?
Whatever it takes, something has to be done to this goon of a company.

When I find time to rewrite the laws of Physics, there'll Finally be some changes made round here!

I am not crazy! Three out of five court appointed psychiatrists said so.

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When I find time to rewrite the laws of Physics, there'll Finally be some changes made round here!

I am not crazy! Three out of five court appointed psychiatrists said so.

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post #19 of 84
Originally Posted by mhikl View Post
…illegal competition?

 

If we live in a world in which this exists, is there a point in living anymore?

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #20 of 84
Amazon is obviously trying to strong arm publishers in the same way that WalMart strong arms product manufacturers and distributors. This is only effective when the retailer has huge market share. How they get that huge market share is often by crushing as many of the little guys as they can so nobody wants to compete with them with so little remaining potential at stake. While we lament the plight of the oppressed this is market driven economics and capitalism at its best. This is all fueled by massive individual self interest that ignores the true cost of products and services that are bought and sold. We don't really care why we are able to buy TVs for $50 and laptops for $200. We just want to buy them at low cost to us. The system ain't perfect, so at the end of the day it always comes down to people making individual choices. If you don't like bullies then take your business elsewhere. But don't expect someone like the government to step in. Based on what we've seen time and again getting the government engaged is usually the best way to turn a small problem into a much bigger problem and guarantee that everyone loses.
post #21 of 84

Tell the US Government and the White House to stop Amazon.com from punishing authors and harming choice here. http://wh.gov/luWX7

 

I just made that petition; and hopefully we get 100,000 sigs.

post #22 of 84
Hmm. Is Amazon the only place you can buy books? Is Amazon the only place Hachette can sell books? The fact that Hachette can't get people to go somewhere else to buy their products says a lot about this dispute. Hachette isn't really interested in getting books sold, which their numbers over the last few years seems to indicate.

It should also tell Hachette's authors that they are not very good at messaging or marketing to book-buying customers. Why are they paying Hachette to not provide alternative markets? It would be simple to have popular titles advertised as being available anywhere but Amazon.

Amazon certainly isn't spotless in this, but at the end of the day it's a pissing contest between two Wall Street plutocrats.
post #23 of 84
The monopolist flexes.
The justice department gets a total crush on their BFF.
post #24 of 84
Is there anything Apple can do to please Authors and make themselves even more attractive at this point? I wanna see some hard backlash. I wanna see books being pulled. I wanna see whole publishers boycotting this company.

I see Giggle is getting in on the action but we all know it's just selfish revenge (android tampering).
post #25 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

You know, up until recently, I wasn't particularly impressed with Amazon either.

Until I read this:

http://www.amazon.com/forum/kindle/ref=cm_cd_tfp_ef_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx1D7SY3BVSESG&cdThread=Tx3J0JKSSUIRCMT

This sounds reasonable to me.


I have to admit, the way they put up the stats and work out the numbers on why this is better for everyone does make it seem reasonable. Until I read this line: "In fact, the 30% share of total revenue is what Hachette forced us to take in 2010 when they illegally colluded with their competitors to raise e-book prices." That's just unnecessarily venomous wording, and seems purposefully written to make the reader hate Hachette no matter what the true facts are. There's no reason to use phrases like "forced us" and "illegally colluded" - even if they did. Even if it were true and Hachette were the bad guy here, why not take the high road and simply say "they asked us to take a 30% cut, although we still weren't happy with how much they share with the authors"? When they write in such a manner to try to evoke negative emotions, it makes me trust them less. I don't know how others, who may not realize they're being written to in a very specific manner, will respond.

 

What I also question is, if it's so cut-and-dried, why *wouldn't* Hachette agree? They obviously want to make more money, both for themselves and their authors - that's their job. So if Amazon can guarantee that 33% price cuts lead to 16% more revenue, that would be the end of it. Since it hasn't been the end of it so far, there must be more to the story than what Amazon is revealing in that post.

post #26 of 84

Personally I kind of surprise the authors are backing the publishers. In today world they can self publish and promote themselves. I see that the publishers do a lot for the authors, but what they are do is becoming less and less important and capital intensive. You can write a book on your computer, install DRM in file and sell it online to anyone who wants to buy it and do not need all these middle men.

 

I guess most writes can only write so they do not know anything else so they are so dependent on the publishers taking more than half of their profits.

 

I found it funny also that musician back the record companies when in fact that made little to no money from a song being sold, they all made the big money doing concerts. Just go to show you people are easily lead by big companies.

post #27 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

You know, up until recently, I wasn't particularly impressed with Amazon either.

Until I read this:

http://www.amazon.com/forum/kindle/ref=cm_cd_tfp_ef_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx1D7SY3BVSESG&cdThread=Tx3J0JKSSUIRCMT

This sounds reasonable to me.

This is not an accurate statement made by Amazon

 

 

Quote:
and there is no secondary market -- e-books cannot be resold as used books. E-books can be and should be less expensive.

 

 

My wife buys books from Amazon and then loans them to all her sisters which is 5 of them. They all do it, No different than what they did in the past, they use to pass books around but it would take years before we saw the book back. Today they pass around a book in months time.

 

Amazon allows user to load books out to friends and families and allows it to be install in multiple devices at once. Because of this Amazon has made it easier for people not to buy books and just loan them to each other. Before my wife like having book selves filled with books, today she can care less.

 

This is some economist talking

 

Quote:
It's also important to understand that e-books are highly price-elastic. This means that when the price goes up, customers buy much less. We've quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000.

 

There is the real truth though, it all about moving more volume in Amazon's world, they need higher volumes to make their business model work, The author most like can care less their pay check is going to be about the same, 

 

I do not believe the following to be 100% true, most people who read books especially Novels do so because this is what they enjoy, Amazon is attempting to say the book readers make purchase trade off decision between all these things. I doubt this very much. People buy books because they like the story the author is telling, playing a game is not the same thing.

 

Quote:
Keep in mind that books don't just compete against books. Books compete against mobile games, television, movies, Facebook, blogs, free news sites and more. If we want a healthy reading culture, we have to work hard to be sure books actually are competitive against these other media types, and a big part of that is working hard to make books less expensive.

Edited by Maestro64 - 8/8/14 at 10:37am
post #28 of 84
I stopped buying stuff from Amazon when their free shipping slipped from 4-5 day deliver to 10-14 days because of Prime. I buy a lot of pro photo gear and have found the prices the same and the free shipping to be 2 or 3 times faster at other online stores. In the end of the day it comes down to service and why would anyone delay shipping product just to push a service I don't want. Good bye Amazon!
post #29 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by MidwestAppleFan View Post

I stopped buying stuff from Amazon when their free shipping slipped from 4-5 day deliver to 10-14 days because of Prime. I buy a lot of pro photo gear and have found the prices the same and the free shipping to be 2 or 3 times faster at other online stores. In the end of the day it comes down to service and why would anyone delay shipping product just to push a service I don't want. Good bye Amazon!

My Prime experience is quite different from yours. It's rare not to get an order within 2 days and I've even recently had Amazon arrange for free Saturday delivery when their product didn't ship until Friday when it was supposed to go out Thursday. In fact isn't free 2 day shipping one of Primes' perks? I know I've saved hundreds on shipping so far.
Edited by Gatorguy - 8/8/14 at 12:13pm
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post #30 of 84

I pretty much stopped buying anything from Amazon months ago.  I make a (small) effort to buy from the more local retailers since the prices for many of the items I look for are about the same.  At the same time, I don't want to support a company like Amazon with their predatory business practices.  I have about as much respect for Amazon as I do for Samsung, which is zilch.

 

post #31 of 84

My point is I don't have Prime.  I use Netflix and other services that are less expensive and usually better so have zero need for Prime.  Why would I pay a $99 a year fee when faster shipping is the one and only benefit to me?  I can order almost anywhere else with free shipping and get what is essentially 2-4 day shipping for zero extra cost.  Good online stores now ship the same day you order and UPS or FedEx can deliver to most of the country in 2-4 days.   You can call it Prime, but everyone else just calls it good customers service.....and does not charge you extra for it.

post #32 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

I pretty much stopped buying anything from Amazon months ago.  I make a (small) effort to buy from the more local retailers since the prices for many of the items I look for are about the same.  At the same time, I don't want to support a company like Amazon with their predatory business practices.  I have about as much respect for Amazon as I do for Samsung, which is zilch.


 

I've limited my purchasing on Amazon to products I can't find locally. Stores change the brands, and merchandise that they carry, and many times I've looked to replace a item I purchased previously only to find out that they no longer sell that product, and that's when I turn to Amazon.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
post #33 of 84
Wonder if the Washington Post, owned by Bezos, would ever allow something like this to print in their paper.
post #34 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbolander View Post

Wonder if the Washington Post, owned by Bezos, would ever allow something like this to print in their paper.

It's basically the same target audience, but now how do we let Republicans know? lol.gif
Edited by dasanman69 - 8/8/14 at 12:54pm
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #35 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

You know, up until recently, I wasn't particularly impressed with Amazon either.

Until I read this:

http://www.amazon.com/forum/kindle/ref=cm_cd_tfp_ef_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx1D7SY3BVSESG&cdThread=Tx3J0JKSSUIRCMT

This sounds reasonable to me.
Amazon has little cost and almost no risk invested in the E-books they sell. Most of their 30% will go to profit.

Meanwhile, Hatchett spends money on author development, editing, book and cover design, preparation for a variety of e-book formats other than Amazons, for administrative cost. Very little of that 30% will go to profit, if there is any.

The amount for the author is probably insufficient at low sales volumes and ok at moderate volumes.

What Amazon proposes is not fair, particularly to Hatchett. And by undercutting what would be a reasonable price (8 to 13 or $14 as seen in iBooks,) that puts additional pressure on authors, Hatchett and others to drive the price down to commodity levels.

Good writing is not or should not be a commodity. It should reward all parties fairly. What Amazon is trying to do may look good to the consumer but it isn't. This world will be gar poorer if it loses quality authors and writing. In expletive, look at what has happened to quality journalism.
post #36 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

You know, up until recently, I wasn't particularly impressed with Amazon either.

Until I read this:

http://www.amazon.com/forum/kindle/ref=cm_cd_tfp_ef_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx1D7SY3BVSESG&cdThread=Tx3J0JKSSUIRCMT

This sounds reasonable to me.

It isn't reasonable for two reasons. First, Amazon is using its monopoly status in traditional online book sales to force concessions in an entirely different market: Ebooks. That is anti-trust 101. Second, why should Amazon, a retailer, get to determine how much a book is worth? The authors and publishers put the real work in. Moreover, Amazons math is fuzzy. It starts from two numbers 14.99 and 9.99 and concludes 9.99 is better. It, however, leaves out the in between numbers like 12.99, 11.99, or even 10.99. Who's to say just as many books would sell at 10.99 as 9.99, which would net an even larger profit?

The bottom line is publishers should dictate price as it is their product. Apple dictates price at its resellers.
post #37 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


My Prime experience is quite different from yours. It's rare not to get an order within 2 days and I've even recently had Amazon arrange for free Saturday delivery when their product didn't ship until Friday when it was supposed to go out Thursday. In fact isn't free 2 day shipping one of Primes' perks? I know I've saved hundreds on shipping so far.

I think MidwestAppleFan is referring to 'free' shipping in general - meaning, free shipping outside of being a Prime subscriber.  There are items you can purchase on Amazon that give you the option of 'Free' shipping, but that comes at the the price of having your item shipped S-L-O-W-est ground delivery possible.  I believe he meant that the 'free' choice now takes even longer than it once did since Prime become an option.

post #38 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

WHEN Amazon is found to be illegally abusing their monopoly standing, Apple’s case could be overturned and Amazon could very well pay a huge fine.

 

Hahaha, you left off the sarcasm tag.

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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #39 of 84
Amazon wants to be the sole publisher for the authors. They'll roll out a publishing platform suite as one tier with distribution another tier.
post #40 of 84
There is also a Kindle app for iPad and iPhone, so you do not loose the books you already have.
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