Sunday, July 13, 2014

Amazon-Hachette dispute paranoia

Author Edan Lepucki may be feeling misplaced loyalty to Hachette in the company's dispute with Amazon.com:

"In recent weeks, hundreds of writers have signed petitions both for and against Amazon, and Amazon began directly courting Hachette writers, offering them 100 percent of digital book sales. The dispute, which has Amazon pushing for a greater share of e-book revenue and lower e-book prices, is being closely followed by Bay Area authors, editors and bookstore owners.  
"Amazon has gone too far this time," said Elaine Petrocelli, founder and president of Book Passage. "What we are seeing between Amazon and Hachette is a preview of what we will see if they get control of the entire market." Among other things, Amazon has created artificial delivery delays of up to five weeks for some Hachette books and prevented customers from preordering Hachette titles.  
Petrocelli added, "I think the average consumer should be alarmed. If Amazon can decide you can't read a book from Hachette, maybe next they will decide you can't read a political book they don't like. If they can do this, it says, 'We'll choose what you read.' "

And, of course, a maudlin attachment to corner bookstores that typically offer no consumer discounts and a very limited selection. (But you can, at some of them, buy an overpriced cup of coffee.):

"I've never bought books from Amazon because I've kind of seen them as a bully. But also, I love bookstores."
Most literary types are sheep; and a disproportionate number of them lean sheepishly to the left. They have no background in business, so they can't see the Hachette-Amazon dispute for what it is: a very normal dispute within a corporate supply chain. 

These authors weren't concerned that the Big Six publishers represented an oligopoly. However, they have, with scant deliberation, accepted the meme that "Amazon is a bully". 

Because that is what their literary friends--who are equally clueless about business and economics--are saying as well.

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