Those of you know pay attention to news in the book world are well aware that Amazon has been seen as a bully to book publishers and booksellers in the U.S. Now the bully is becoming a tyrant. Amazon’s much publicized standoff in negotiations involving e-book prices with Hachette continues to gain steam.
The New York Times broke the news about a month and a half ago saying that Amazon has been discouraging customers from buying books published by Hachette. The Internet retailer is marking many books published by Hachette as not available for two to five weeks. Sophie Cottrell, a Hachette spokeswoman, said “Amazon is holding minimal stock” and restocking some of Hachette’s books “slowly, causing ‘available 2-4 weeks’ messages.”
The New York Times later revealed that Amazon has been demanding payment for a pre-order button, personalized recommendations and a committed employee at Amazon for Hachette books. Some books by Hachette authors are being sold at list price instead of the typical discounted price that most other publishers enjoy.
Hachette’s authors, whose sales have gone down, reacted negatively to the delays. Comedian Stephen Colbert went after Amazon by literally giving them the finger. Twice. The comedian is now selling stickers customers can download from his site which say “I didn’t buy it on Amazon.”
The American Booksellers Association have started a campaign to put up signs in independent bookstores saying “Thanks Amazon! The indies will take it from here. Independent bookstores sell books from all publishers. Always.”
I’m curious to see where this fight will end up and who will eventually cave. Let’s support independent booksellers instead of big retailers.