Amazon, Hachette, and flaming bullshit

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Beautiful people, a moment of your time, if you will.

I won’t bang on at length about this (there are many who will), but there’s some important stuff you should be made aware of.

If you are a book lover, THIS SHIT AFFECTS YOU.

If you are a reader, THIS SHIT AFFECTS YOU.

I presume you’re one of these, because you’re on my blog. So please take 5 minutes of your day, and read on.

In short:

* There is a big French publisher called Hachette. They publish many amazing authors (not me, har har, ego joke) and many incredible books. If you look at your shelves, you’ll find books from Hachette or its imprints.

* Amazon.com is currently engaged in “business negotiations” with Hachette, and is seeking “more favourable terms” in their new contract. In short, Amazon want Hachette to lower their prices, so Amazon can buy Hachette books cheaper, and thus, make more money when they sell them to you (for the same price they were selling them beforeyou will not save a CENT from this).

* Hachette do not want to sell Amazon their books cheaper. They sell them plenty cheap already.

* As a result, Amazon have begun listing Hachette books as “unavailable” for order on Amazon.com. They have begun delaying the shipment of Hachette books, citing a 3-5 week delivery time (note, the books are IN Amazon’s warehouses, Amazon just aren’t shipping them).

So why should you give a shit?

Amazon sell a lot of books. They buy in bulk, and with less overheads, they can sell cheaper than brick and mortar stores. It’s natural you want to buy from them. You can do it with the click of a button, after all.

You work hard. You like books, but you’re not a fkn millionaire. If the option is between paying $20 at a store, or $15 at Amazon, you’ll likely buy from Amazon.

The result? Book stores go out of business. Borders has collapsed. Angus and Robertson are gone. More and more retail chains are folding under the constant financial pressure of competing with Amazon. The eventual result?

Amazon becomes the only store left in the market. In other words, it establishes a monopoly over the book retailing industry.

Monopolies are NEVER good for consumers. When Amazon is the only store left, they can charge what they want, and if you want a book, you’ll have to pay it. When Amazon is the only store left, they can demand whatever price they want from publishers, and publishers will have to pay it.

If you think Amazon will use its monopoly only for good, a glance at its current dealings with Hachette should give you a clue about how altruistic it is.

Amazon is a business. Aggressive and expanding and pursuing an agenda which will see it as the only power remaining in the book retailing industry. It does not give two shits about you. It is not out to save you money. It is not your friend. And when it’s able to, it WILL bend you over and grease you up, just like its bending Hachette over right now.

So what can you do?

The answer is simple. You let Amazon know its strongarm bullshit is unacceptable. Money is the only language these fuckers understand, so you talk in Money. You buy somewhere else. Order online at Barnes and Noble. Order online from an indie store. Better yet, go out to your local bookstore and buy from them. Yes, it might cost you a few bucks more. But it’s a hell of a lot less than you’ll eventually pay if Amazon becomes the last man standing.

I’m not a Hachette author (I’m published by MacMillan). I’m not some left-wing hipster twat decrying the notion of capitalism. I’m just a person who doesn’t like the idea of some big, bully corporation fucking me. I’m an author who doesn’t like the though of my author friends not be able to pay their mortgages or electricity bills because Amazon has listed their titles as “unavailable”. Moreover, it fucking infuriates me that Amazon aren’t even TRYING to hide this behavior. They have so little regard for publishers and so little fear of readers, they can literally swing their big old gorilla cock at anyone they feel like and fear NO REPRISALS WHATSOEVER.

In short, this is bullshit. But YOU HAVE THE POWER TO STOP IT.

If you’re a reader, if you’re a book lover, SHARE THIS POST. Spread the word. Vote with your conscience, and your wallet. Don’t be fooled into thinking the few bucks you save today by allowing these gorilla dicks to have their way will balance out the fortune you pay for your books tomorrow.

You are the people. You have the power. Open your eyes. Open your mouths. Close your fingers and make a fist.

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About Misterkristoff

Fantasy author of THE LOTUS WAR series, and master of drunken karaoke-fu. My debut novel, STORMDANCER is now on shelves. KINSLAYER arrives September 2013! View all posts by Misterkristoff

52 responses to “Amazon, Hachette, and flaming bullshit

  • Nick C. Piers

    Reblogged this on Nick C. Piers and commented:
    As an author myself, this is absolutely despicable. I hope Amazon changes their tune very soon.

  • michelletw

    I am glad the only thing I buy from them is secondhand stuff i can’t get anywhere else.
    Will be sharing.

  • michelle A - Novels On The Run

    So glad you brought this to my attention. Amazon can make a dystopian reading society…this is not good. Gahhh!!

    I myself love books. I am a bonafide book whore, without actually being a whore, But that is not good behavior by Amazon.

    * stomps foot *

    I buy books from Big W and Book Depository and K-Mart and off Indie Authors, cause it’s cheaper and Myers and Target. Sadly there is really no more independent books stores left in my neck of the woods.

    I do know of a cute one at Noosa and one in a plaza half hour away.

    I hope the little people can make a difference to this issue, or else they will sink the little man who is trying to make a buck and us readers are not millionaires.

    I shall pass on this information on my facebook page and hope it can spread forth into the reading sphere :D

    Mich

  • Optimus_Spime

    So when Uber puts taxi drivers out of business, it’s disruptive and great. When AirBnB gets poor people turfed out of their homes because the landlords can rent them at a much higher rate to the digerati, it’s disruptive and it’s great. When Hollywood and the Recording Industry get screwed over by pirates, they are told to “deal with it and find a new business model”.

    Some authors get inconvenienced? To the barricades!

    Remember that “I didn’t speak up when they came for …”

    Well all the cheerleading of internet companies has lead to this point. This is what the musicians, film producers, taxi drivers, and tenants were complaining about – and were told to “shut up because disruption is cool”

    • Misterkristoff

      1) I make it a point to pay for every piece of created content i consume, and I often argue with my friends when I see them downloading. I’m a pain in their asses.
      2) If you were blockaded from entering your place of business to earn a paycheck, you’d probably consider it being more than “inconvenienced”. When you’re paying $50 for a paperback, or there are no distributors or publishers (yes publishers) other than Amazon, you’ll consider that more than inconvenient too.
      3) You seem upset about the lack of action when incursion of digital industries had adverse effects on other industries in the past. Throwing your hands in the air and saying “they had to suck it, so do you and every industry after yours” isn’t going to do anything to alleviate that anger.

  • Figgy

    Michelle, just so you know, Book Depository is owned by Amazon now… Try http://www.fishpond.com.au/ which has the added benefit of being Aussie based.

    Also, within Australia, QBD stores and some others have discounts on huge new releases and remainders, and the money gets back to the author and the company if you buy through Kmart, Target, and so on.

    I for one am going to make a concerted effort to order some Hachette books through work (QBD) in the coming months.

  • seanthebookonaut

    Haven’t bought off Amazon in 4-5 years, for these kinds of reasons, would have thought what Amazon was doing was illegal, similar to what Coles has been taken to court for re muscling their suppliers.

  • Amazon, Hachette, and flaming bullshit | Jay Kristoff – Literary Giant | GNBraun

    […] READ MORE AT:  Amazon, Hachette, and flaming bullshit | Jay Kristoff – Literary Giant. […]

  • J.C.

    Gorillas don’t have large genetalia, actually. Their sexual competition takes the form of physical violence to exclude competitors rather than actually competing with them. The much smaller bonobo, by contrast, has enormous testicles and competes by, among other things, copulating more.
    Amazon just wants you to *think* it’s got a big gorilla cock, when in fact it’s got a regular 4cm gorilla cock but big teeth.

  • rlsharpe

    I have never bought from Amazon and I won’t in the future. I have bought from Book Depository only once. I prefer Booktopia because it is Australian, and I also love my local Dymocks store. I would hate if bookstores disappeared completely.
    Great post, thanks for sharing.

  • rlsharpe

    Reblogged this on Inside My Worlds: R.L.Sharpe and commented:
    A thoughtful post on Amazon and the fate of books. Warning, does contain swearing.

  • realbooks4ever

    I’ve been boycotting them and all their subsidiaries (zappos, audible, etc.) since 2006. They were a big factor in the closing of my bookstore. I would have people come in, look at books, and then say to their friends (in front of me!) “I’ll just buy it on Amazon”. I’m glad that more people are becoming aware of their tactics but it’s too late for my shop.

  • kristenmybookishfairytale

    This is despicable just like everything else when it comes to huge corporations. I am a blogger and an avid reader and I have purchased a book of amazon twice in my life. Books are wonderful and yes at this point Amazon is usually cheaper but I fully believe in promoting my local bookstore even if it costs me a little more. So you save $4-$5 dollars with amazon. Big Woop! Seriously people get your head out of your a$$es and please take a look at what Amazon is actually doing! I am so glad that this is out there and people are finally noticing

    • Glen Moody

      I don’t get the sense that most of the posters here understand the issue. They are simply “hoping” that Amz will reform their behavior. Sheeezzzh. They’re pissin in the wind. As though no one sells books but Amz.

      • Misterkristoff

        Um, I don’t get that impression? Almost everyone is suggesting alternative venues to shop?

        Money is the language corporations understand. Take away revenue they start to ask why

  • wordwoven

    Reblogged this on wordwoven and commented:
    As candid a call to arms as ever there was…have a read if you like a hit of honesty (with some honest cursing in the mix – be warned).

  • Angela

    I don’t disagree about Amazon – I definitely don’t want them (or anyone) to have as monopoly on anything. Competition is only good for the consumer. But it’s really hard to make me feel sorry for publishers that were all too happy to screw their precious readers with that Agency pricing crap.

    Also, this is business. Unfortunately, it’s not all that different from how a lot of big business is done. I work, every day, with negotiations between my company and other large and small companies. Everyone uses their “stick” to get what they want out of the deal.

    Not long ago the publishers used their stick when they renegotiated their contracts with Amazon. Some pulled their books (ebooks especially) and they weren’t available on Amazon. It’s a business tactic.

    • Glen Moody

      Angela, sadly you are misinformed about ‘who’ pulled their books from Amz during the ebook dispute. The agency model sold to all retailers at the same wholesale prices. That is what did not sit well with Amz; they wanted cheaper prices for themselves. They are the ones that pulled the ebooks. BTW, I’ve been a retail book and mortar store for over 30 years and sold online before Amz existed.

    • Misterkristoff

      The major difference being that those publishers are subject to US antitrust legislation. Amazon, for some baffling reason, aren’t.

  • J. Christina Henry

    I am one-click shopper, I just attempted to buy audio books that are no longer available for purchase. Yesterday they were available, where do I sign to protest.

  • J. Christina Henry

    Reblogged this on J.Christina Henry's Blog and commented:
    He said it better than I can. Please read if you haven’t already.

  • sawcat

    Since my indie bookstore opened a year and a half ago, I’ve rarely bought online. I pretty much stopped buying from amazon when they had their hissy fits about collecting sales tax.

    Anyone buying from Amazon because they think it is cheaper needs to do some price checks. Everything I recently price checked between Amazon and Barnes and Nobles recently was cheaper on Barnes and Nobles except one thing. If you got to go cheap, library sales are *awesome*, as long as you go with a wish list instead of a must have list.

  • pooks

    Reblogged this on planet pooks and commented:
    This is so worth reading, I am sharing it here.

  • Shannon LC Cate (@lilysea)

    My father was an independent bookstore owner throughout my childhood. Back in those days, Borders and B&N were the bad guys. And they won–and are now gone or in trouble because of Amazon improving on the business model they used to put the indies out of business.
    This has been going on for a long, long time and people have never understood it. All people care about is that extra couple of dollars they save if they buy from a corporation that doesn’t give a flying flip about books or readers or anything but their bottom line.
    So, you know, go ahead and preach. But plenty of people have been trying to do the same for years and years and here we are anyway.
    Me, I’ve got a date with my favorite indie bookstore today before it gasps its last dying breath.

    • Misterkristoff

      It’s true, this is an old business tactic. But the more people who are made aware of it, and spread the word about it, the more likely it is we can actually instigate some real change.

      Sorry about your dad’s store :(

  • Weekly Recap| May 18-24, 2014 | Oh, the Books!

    […] Jay Kristoff has a few choice words about the flaming bullshit surrounding Amazon & Hachette. […]

  • Rika Ashton

    Reblogged this on Rika's Musings and commented:
    I had to reblog this because the battle between Amazon and Hachette is still ongoing with no end date in sight. Plus, this article outlines why we, the readers and writers, should CARE!

  • Marta

    I have been ranting about this up and down at work, and I’m actually surprised at the number of people who agree that this is bullshit. I’ve managed to get a few of my fellow bookworms to agree to NOT purchase a single book from Amazon until this crap is over and done with… we don’t know how long that will take, but we don’t care. Chapters (equivalent to the US Barnes&Noble) has just closed several MASSIVE retail locations downtown here because people just aren’t buying from them anymore (and when they do, it’s online, but that’s a different debate).
    Amazon’s ego and power has grown just a bit too much. I get that they have ALL THE THINGS and you can buy and sell/publish book through them directly and that’s awesome and fantastic… until they start to pull shit like this.
    They are a business. I get that.
    The point of a business is to make money. I get that, too.
    The basic rule of business is to buy low and sell high. Got it.
    The easiest way to do business is to become a monopoly. I know.
    The problem is (as you have already stated) that they already buy low… VERY low… and sell high. Yes it’s cheaper than heading over to the local book shop (assuming it still exists) but if in the end, saving a few bucks here and there will ruin all other booksellers… well… it’s just not worth it.
    I’m still going to Amazon for other good finds, but I don’t think I’ll be buying a book from them again.

    That was supposed to be a lot less whiny….

  • Associated Geekery » Associated Geekery Episode #51

    […] SFWA has taken a turn for the better with their latest newsletter. The Amazon Vs. Hachette debacle escalates, and Amazon comes right out with their stance. Hachette has theirs. A call went out for […]

  • Finley Jayne

    Just found your blog through another blog’s link, and I wasn’t really up to speed on what’s happening. Not cool at all.
    I’m working on my first book right now and it will mostly likely be a self-published ebook. I’ll have to look into the pros and cons of listing with Amazon when the time comes to get my work out into the world. Great post!

  • sashwilson

    Reblogged this on Disappear Into Reading and commented:
    ATTN: Book Lovers! Read and be heard

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