News in the book industry has pretty much been dominated by the latest round of Amazon versus the world. Remember when Amazon took away Macmillan’s books from their website? This time it’s the huge publisher Hachette that they’re fighting.
Amazon has a contract dispute with Hachette; as a result, the retailer has taken away pre-order buttons from Hachette authors’ books, screwing the writers in an effort to drive an ever-harder bargain. (Just to be clear, no one really knows what the trade terms are.) The New York Times takes a look at the man fighting Amazon as if he’s a war hero. James Patterson chimes in with “Amazon also, as you know, wants to control bookselling, book buying, and even book publishing, and that is a national tragedy” – especially so for Patterson, who is a book industry in his own right.
Some good things: Tor.com has announced that it is supporting those authors who are affected by the trade negotiations – a fine gesture of community spirit. Other booksellers have been announcing massive discounts on those affected titles, to tempt people away from Amazon. (From Amazon to Walmart!) But now, after a few weeks of all of this, Amazon is re-stocking certain titles, so maybe it will all end soon until it starts up with another publisher.
One wonders just how much Amazon have to do before people stop buying from them, but I guess it’s difficult when they’ve killed most of the competition. I think that’s what they call the free market, right?