Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Shark attack: Amazon is chewing up Hachette

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Yesterday I reblogged a post by novelist Cinthia Ritchie, in which she talks about the effect of the Amazon/Hachette feud on her career as a writer. To put it bluntly, it has put her book in sales limbo.

What’s that? You haven’t heard about the Amazon/Hachette feud? Well, read this NYT article, then this piece in the Washington Post (which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, by the by), and your dander will be up pronto. Basically, Amazon is shaking down Hachette for a better distribution deal by making its books more or less unavailable via Amazon.

The paperback of Cinthia’s novel, Dolls Behaving Badly, for instance, is currently listed at $52.75, with shipping in 3 to 5 weeks. You have to think that this is a complete glitch (the price at least), though other Hachette books are being handled in similarly odd ways, including unappealing discounts and suggestions of books you might prefer to read rather than Hachette’s. This, to me, is the equivalent of a grocer letting the products of companies he wants a better deal from rot on the shelves.

Cinthia is an innocent victim in this crazy cage fight, but her situation recapitulates how it is generally the author who gets the short end of the stick in such capitalistic duels. Let’s face it: there are a lot of books out there. If one particular book is no longer so easy to buy, a typical reader moves on to the next one — from an Amazon-approved publisher — in a blink. Moreover, the author is helpless to do anything about it.

It would be great if readers rose up as a group and told Amazon, “Cut out the bullshit, man!” And it would take a great many readers to be heard this way. Likewise, if we could organize a mass purchase of Hachette books via other vendors — enough to be noticed — maybe we could help put an end to Amazonian piracy.

So with that in mind, consider dropping over to Barnes & Noble and purchasing a paperback copy of Dolls Behaving Badly. It’s very reasonably priced at $13.99 there, and you won’t feel like you’re “feeding the beast,” as us Amazon customers are feeling more and more.

By the way, you can read my glowing review of Dolls Behaving Badly here.

9 comments on “Shark attack: Amazon is chewing up Hachette

  1. Green Embers
    May 19, 2014

    Hmm, this sounds like Amazon abusing a monopoly. Makes me very sad and why I was a Nook user for so long, gotta support the underdog, lol.

    • Kevin Brennan
      May 19, 2014

      It’s true, the bigger this dawg gets, the more inclined he is to bite! @_@

      I have a Nook too. I might have to dust it off and fire it up again…

  2. 1WriteWay
    May 19, 2014

    And I did exactly as you suggested 🙂

    • Kevin Brennan
      May 19, 2014

      Marie, how awesome! I hope Cinthia drops by to see this!

      • 1WriteWay
        May 20, 2014

        I did read her blog post and mentioned my purchase there as well. I’ve also been hearing from more writers that Amazon is still deleting reviews without explanation. It’s enough to make me want to buy a Nook!

      • Kevin Brennan
        May 20, 2014

        You’d think that Amazon would become aware of the negative consequences at some point. But again, it would take huge numbers to get their attention.

        You have a Kobo, don’t you? That might be a start!

      • 1WriteWay
        May 20, 2014

        Ha! I forgot I have a Kobo … 😉 Guess I’m still (and always will be) partial to printed books.

  3. John W. Howell
    May 19, 2014

    Good post.

    • Kevin Brennan
      May 19, 2014

      Thanks, John. A shame we all depend so much on Bezos and Co.

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This entry was posted on May 19, 2014 by in Publishing and tagged , , , , , , .
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