Amazon vs. Hachette

Friday, May 30, 2014

Transcript

Amazon, the largest bookseller in the world, is locked in a struggle with Hachette, one of the biggest publishers. Amazon has prolonged shipping time, taken away the option to “pre-order” new releases, and eliminated the one-click option for purchasing Hachette books. And the feud has no end in sight. Bob talks to Brad Stone, author of The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, about what it all means.

Guests:

Brad Stone

Hosted by:

Bob Garfield

Comments [6]

Rick K. from Midwest US

A publisher that is part of Hachette, Yen Press, is being affected by this. Their not-yet-published books are listed as "unavailable", their already-published books are listed at full price, rather than discounted. This means my collecting of manga is negatively affected, which makes me personally unhappy, because of the extra work I have to do to obtain books I want from Yen Press.

Amazon looks ham-handed and very much like a bully, while Hachette appears greedy and wheedling. Neither company will come out well from this.

Jun. 10 2014 02:06 AM
Phosphor

Since production, distribution, return, and tax costs are orders of magnitude lower for e-books, it's much easier to justify taking a risk on publishing an ebook and also lowering the price enough to spur consumption. So you're going to see a lot more of them.
The problem is that the publishing industry sees "tiny costs!" and therefore assumes "we can do a huge profit margin to save our industry!!!" No, you can't; that's the lack of business savvy that the whole industry exemplifies. Amazon wants most thrillers and other fun but non-lasting books to be $3-5, which will dramatically increase sales of each title and, ironically, both keep them "in print" (a now meaningless concept) and pay authors much more fairly and promptly (and transparently). When the traditional publishers cave and adopt this model, they'll find themselves to be much happier (and richer).

Jun. 03 2014 04:21 PM
Terry McKenna from Dover NJ

Amazon has market power of such extent that it dominates. Thus there is NO free market for books. Sorry, if you disagree, ask your economics professor. Sadly, the MEDIA including OTM missed this concern when Apple and a group of publishers were stopped from colluding for better prices. At least with Apple vs Amazon we would have 2 relative equals.

Oh well. By the way for miami sid - sorry the value of being able to sell any piece of junk via amazon really does not make it better for authors, who need a viable way to make a living.

Jun. 03 2014 08:06 AM
miami-sid

I am outraged: I have just heard about a new thing where publishers actually vet works before they agree to publish the material. In essence act as gatekeepers between the author and the reader. Oh, wait, I just heard that is the old system. Someone told me that Amazon allows authors to publish and sell directly to the reader. I guess maybe I should be outraged with Amazon for making it easier for an author to publish and bringing about more unemployed editors. Or for making more esoteric works available. My bad.

Jun. 03 2014 07:32 AM
Douglas from El Paso

I'm glad there's still competition in the book-selling business, http://www.powells.com.

May. 31 2014 11:57 AM
Thatwood B. Telling from The VIllage

Stone's right about Amazon having abandoned one of their core values-- serving their customers-- with this ham-handed move. I don't know if they are still doing it today, but until recently they were lying to customers about why Hachette books' deliveries would be delayed or why they were "unavailable." I and many other Amazon customers won't soon forget this. I'll be looking elsewhere for *all* the products I've been buying from Amazon, not just this publisher's books as Bezos suggested earlier in the week.

May. 30 2014 10:36 PM

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