Amazon: Consumers’ BFF, Publishers’ SPITA*


*SPITA: Severe Pain In The Ass

Amazon says it slashes prices and offers free shipping on big orders to offer consumers the best deal possible AND to increase profits for authors by driving up sales. Publishing houses say they’re having their operations hijacked. A couple of months ago, Hachette, #4 of the Big Five publishing houses, drew a line in the sand when Amazon demanded a higher cut of the company’s e-book sales. The behind-closed-doors disagreement has turned into an international media spectacle and, quite possibly, a defining moment for the coming years of publishing.

While the other four major publishing houses are not getting involved, not to mention the thousands of smaller presses that are just happy to be here for the ride (Thank you, Amazon, for a significant portion of our sales!), everyone in the industry is watching this cat-and-mouse game unfold and wondering where it will lead.

Should Amazon get to dictate how much publishing companies charge for physical copies and e-books? Should Amazon have the right to publish a book on its own when the publisher has failed to supply enough copies to the literary leviathan’s warehouse? Should Amazon be able to pull books at their own discretion, delay delivery to punish “bad publishers,” and remove certain books from promotions for the sake of retribution?

Interestingly, the French Senate recently passed a law (the anti-Amazon law) forbidding the American company from offering free shipping in an effort to get more people to buy their literature from local bookstores.

Read the entire New York Times article here.


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