Author Topic: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette  (Read 35293 times)  

Offline FictionalWriter

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Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
« Reply #100 on: August 09, 2014, 03:35:15 am »
The irony here is it's not the authors whose books are above $9.99 who are getting hurt the most in all this. It's the midlist or new Hachette authors whose genre fiction books are at $7.99 who are hurting the most because the books in direct competition to theirs are selling for $2.00 cheaper.


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    Offline jamielakenovels

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    Re: Readers United
    « Reply #101 on: August 09, 2014, 03:36:22 am »
    If they get the actual readers involved quickly (not just indie authors and before the 900 authors reach out to their fan bases), it could make an impact. 
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    Offline Kia Zi Shiru

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #102 on: August 09, 2014, 03:37:22 am »
    I felt upset when I saw that I got the email in my inbox. And for a moment I had to step back and think about why.

    Do I care that I got the email? Not negatively, no.
    Do I feel like I shouldn't have been asked? No, of course they can ask.
    Do I feel like I should have been involved in this discussion? Also, I don't mind.

    Then, what was my problem with the email? The answer is twofold.
    1. It felt like a mashup of posts Howey, Konrad and other authors have written in the past few months, nothing new. Like most authors aren't aware of the issues by now...
    2. It felt unprofessional. The layout, the language, the title even. It didn't feel like something Amazon would send out.

    I don't agree that Hachette put their authors in the middle of the fight, I even think it's a low blow just to sway the popular opinion about Amazon in the negative by putting pressure on authors to who the general public looks up to. To me, that's dirty.
    The huge support that Amazon is getting from their authors, I understand that. I also have no problem that they try to involve more authors now Hachette has stepped up their game. It's understandable.

    My problem is that the email doesn't feel right. I was confused about it until I got to the "email their CEO about these topics" part. I (personally) don't feel like it's something Amazon would do, a company that is so strict about their PR, that tries to keep their PR positive all of the time. I don't feel this is something that would come from their department.
    Until now their way to deal with it is by giving some new information and then jab at Hachette in some way (the Hachette turning down the author compensation fund and the note about how much Hachette should pay their authors come to mind). I even felt it was somewhat playful, for a big company to another big company.

    This email didn't feel like any of those earlier messages.
    It felt written by someone within the company (helpdesk or anything like that) who thought he might be helping Amazon with this email.
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    Offline Mark E. Cooper

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #103 on: August 09, 2014, 03:42:51 am »
    I felt upset when I saw that I got the email in my inbox. And for a moment I had to step back and think about why.

    Do I care that I got the email? Not negatively, no.
    Do I feel like I shouldn't have been asked? No, of course they can ask.
    Do I feel like I should have been involved in this discussion? Also, I don't mind.

    Then, what was my problem with the email? The answer is twofold.
    1. It felt like a mashup of posts Howey, Konrad and other authors have written in the past few months, nothing new. Like most authors aren't aware of the issues by now...
    2. It felt unprofessional. The layout, the language, the title even. It didn't feel like something Amazon would send out.

    I don't agree that Hachette put their authors in the middle of the fight, I even think it's a low blow just to sway the popular opinion about Amazon in the negative by putting pressure on authors to who the general public looks up to. To me, that's dirty.
    The huge support that Amazon is getting from their authors, I understand that. I also have no problem that they try to involve more authors now Hachette has stepped up their game. It's understandable.

    My problem is that the email doesn't feel right. I was confused about it until I got to the "email their CEO about these topics" part. I (personally) don't feel like it's something Amazon would do, a company that is so strict about their PR, that tries to keep their PR positive all of the time. I don't feel this is something that would come from their department.
    Until now their way to deal with it is by giving some new information and then jab at Hachette in some way (the Hachette turning down the author compensation fund and the note about how much Hachette should pay their authors come to mind). I even felt it was somewhat playful, for a big company to another big company.

    This email didn't feel like any of those earlier messages.
    It felt written by someone within the company (helpdesk or anything like that) who thought he might be helping Amazon with this email.

    I think the latest 900 author broadside and this weekends huge advert in the NY Times by Patterson (think it was NYT) has a lot to do with it. Amazon tried to non responses and had its head handed to it when Hachette more or less went to war in the media. I think Amazon now feel they have to at least try to keep up with the media war. After a while, silence makes them look guilty of something. Its just the way things work.

    Offline 3rotic

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #104 on: August 09, 2014, 03:44:09 am »
    Lmao. Leave it to a forum of writers to critique the quality of the writing.

    Offline 75845

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #105 on: August 09, 2014, 03:53:08 am »
    I think the latest 900 author broadside and this weekends huge advert in the NY Times by Patterson (think it was NYT) has a lot to do with it. Amazon tried to non responses and had its head handed to it when Hachette more or less went to war in the media. I think Amazon now feel they have to at least try to keep up with the media war. After a while, silence makes them look guilty of something. Its just the way things work.

    I would take the opposite view that silence was dignified that email if it was authorised from the top will make Amazon's institutional shareholders very nervous. Losing money is one thing (and one thing that Amazon are very good at) but losing the plot so much that you allow yourself to be dragged into a publicity war - that is bad news. Amazon had a clear reason for removing pre-order buttons in the lack of a contract and assurance that Hachette would stick around long enough for them to fulfil the orders. Amazon's too letters appealing to readers and writers' wallets is very poor PR. It is made worse coming from a company that built a reputation of being too big to need to be public about contract details.

    Offline 41419

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #106 on: August 09, 2014, 04:14:05 am »
    I'm neither shocked, nor annoyed, nor elated, nor anything really.

    Amazon has outlined its position on the same day the NYT ad from the Preston camp is going out (and a day after a hilarious puff piece on Preston in the NYT). One PR move countered by another, as has been the case for a few weeks. Don't see the big deal.

    Offline JumpingShip

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #107 on: August 09, 2014, 04:14:07 am »
    I WAS a bit surprised, I must admit, but the header seems to be from amazon. I haven't done anything with this and may just watch this thread for someone important like Hugh or Elle to chip in. I am interested in everyone's opinion, but we need someone more likely to be in the know I think.

    I got one too and skimmed it. It's signed Amazon books team, not by an individual. What gives me pause is the outside link. Amazon has only ever posted on their own forum so why is a copy of the letter on an external website? I mean sure, an author might post it there, but I can't see Amazon acknowledging it.

    Offline Lady Vine

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #108 on: August 09, 2014, 04:16:17 am »
    Just feels a bit tacky to me, to be honest.

    I personally don't want anyone to be able to control ebook prices. Everyone should be able to price as they wish without certain retailers lower the royalty rate on costlier books, especially when said retailers won't allow publishers to do deals on books in their series. Some books need to be priced higher. I'm talking about bundles, here. Amazon ought to really think about letting us do those buy these three books and save X amount of money deals before they start coercing everyone to lower their prices.

    Offline Zelah Meyer

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #109 on: August 09, 2014, 04:27:35 am »
    I've received it via the e-mail address I use for KDP, which I don't use openly online.  I've checked the e-mail address that I use for my writing and website, and the one I use for most of my online stuff - and they don't have it.  So, I'm guessing it's legit.

    I must say, I'm vaguely insulted by it, because it's an attempt to drag me into an argument and support Amazon, when, if they get their way, any effect on my own bottom line is likely to be negative.  They are a business.  I expect them to do what is best for them.  However, I'm running a business too.  If you want to petition for lower ebook prices, petition my Amazon customer account - where it's logical to assume that we want the same thing.  If you send it only to me as an author - that's crazy!

    It's like a big supermarket mailing their little suppliers and asking them to petition Big Food Corp to sell the supermarket their food for less.  Seriously!  It's that insane, and it's an insult to my common sense.

    They've messed up PR-wise with this in my opinion.  It makes them look petty.  Up until now they've done a good job of taking the high road.  But, trying to round up people who need you to help make a living and asking them to do something that might make it harder for them to make a living in the long term... Not cool.  It's none of our business, so don't send it to our business accounts.  Send it to readers/customers.  If they didn't send it to the better target audience, then maybe they should ask themselves why they didn't - and why they thought it was a good idea to send it to their authors.

    Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if it was the idea of a passionate employee somewhere in the management chain, who thought this would be a good idea & signed it off, and is now answering uncomfortable questions from their manager!
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    Offline miadrey

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #110 on: August 09, 2014, 04:42:14 am »
    Just so you all know, I received it to the email I use for online shopping and personal correspondence. This email has NEVER been used to publish.

    Offline D-C

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #111 on: August 09, 2014, 04:43:26 am »
    Just so you all know, I received it to the email I use for online shopping and personal correspondence. This email has NEVER been used to publish.

    Yes, I suspect it's going out to ALL Amazon customers... not just authors.

    Offline Zelah Meyer

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #112 on: August 09, 2014, 04:51:28 am »
    I only have it once so far, though, addressed to 'Dear KDP Author'.
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    Offline Betsy the Quilter

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #113 on: August 09, 2014, 04:53:29 am »
    I got it, but I have a KDP account though I've not published anything...

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    Offline VEwoodlake

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #114 on: August 09, 2014, 04:54:26 am »
    My eyes glazed over from the block text. Now I know how not to format my books.

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #115 on: August 09, 2014, 04:56:40 am »
    I've not seen it. Only have one account -- as a shopper/reader.
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    Offline Dor North

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #116 on: August 09, 2014, 05:06:19 am »
    Yeah, but... Authors also pay Hachette for publishing their books. By the above logic, Hachette-published authors are not "Hachette authors," either. The publishers provide a service to their authors, and they take their cut. Amazon provides a different service to its author-publishers, and takes it's cut. In that sense, big pub has authors, and so does Amazon. OR neither entity has authors - they have business associates. Sure, Hachette is more selective, and sure, Amazon authors can also be Apple/kobo/BN authors, but I don't get how there's such a huge difference, practically.


    You've got this back to front.

    We self-publishers pay Amazon to sell our books - they take a commission on every copy sold. We do the heavy lifting to get it out there. I get paid as an author AND as a publisher, hence I get 70% of the cover price.

    If I had a contract with Hachette, they pay ME to publish my work. The contract is for the right to print my words. They do the physical lifting to get it out there, I get a percentage of copies sold, hence I get dependent-on-format% of cover price.




    The irony of Amazon talking about respect over prices makes my head explode. They paid 0.1% tax in the UK last year and pay the minimum wage to warehouse workers.

    And, as has been pointed out, Orwell has been misquoted. Badly. He's saying the cheap paperbacks are so good publishers need to quash them.

    And the paperback was invented in the 19th Century. AND selling them at drugstores etc was the business model.





    Offline josielitton

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #117 on: August 09, 2014, 05:10:27 am »

    I'm not a KDP author (until Jan) but reading the letter on the link it seems addressed to readers, which makes more sense than the "herding cats" exercise of sending it to authors, a rather notoriously independent and ornery bunch. :-* 

    That said, I'm concerned that Amazon can be thrown off stride by something as quaint as an elitist broadside printed on a dead tree.  Sure, put this in front of readers and state your position.  But suggesting that anyone reach out to Hachette on Amazon's behalf is febrile.  Come September and the start of the fall publishing season, pull the buy buttons.  At the same time, to make up for this silly e-mail exercise, send a packet of microwavable popcorn to every KDP author.   

    Hachette will get no support from the other Big 5, who can't risk another colluding charge and must surely sense Hachette's overall weakness indicated most recently by the collapsed Perseus deal.  As for the French owners, I wouldn't be surprised to see Hachette go on the block so that they can wash their hands of a market where the government won't mandate high fixed prices for books and competition--*gasp*--reigns.


    Offline CaraS.

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #118 on: August 09, 2014, 05:11:41 am »
    At the risk of being put in stocks, I for one support what they're doing. Yes, I know, Amazon is not my friend, but they have a point.

    Same here. No suspicion whatsoever. Just another move by Amazon. And honestly, since I have only recently started selling my past work via Kindle ebooks (only), I am totally on-board with what Amazon is doing. And too, I'm an avid reader and think they have a valid point on the pricing of ebooks; I would not pay what Hatchett is asking when for a few bucks more I'd have a print book.


    Offline ElleT

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #119 on: August 09, 2014, 05:13:11 am »
    They should have only sent that email to the writers that they are giving full royalties for KU loans. If a writer wasn't important enough to contact before they decided to put KU into effect, then why does that writer matter now?

    Amended to add:

    Timing is interesting. This comes out about a week before the statements.
    This Texas girl doesn't belong in that battle.

    « Last Edit: August 09, 2014, 05:29:04 am by ElleT »

    Offline 75845

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #120 on: August 09, 2014, 05:14:26 am »
    Wall Street Journal seem to be one of the first media outlets to pick this up

    http://online.wsj.com/articles/amazon-aims-at-publisher-hachettes-ceo-in-contract-dispute-1407576530

    Offline 75814

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #121 on: August 09, 2014, 05:22:58 am »
    They should have only sent that email to the writers that they are giving full royalties for KU loans. If a writer wasn't important enough to contact before they decided to put KU into effect, then why does that writer matter now?

    Exactly. Just last month, Amazon told us we were second-class citizens. Now we're oh-so-important?

    Offline Christa Wick

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #122 on: August 09, 2014, 05:23:24 am »
    Guess I'm not one of the lucky ones. I didn't get it.

    Did you claim your pen name via authorcentral? I think they were using all the authorcentral author emails rather than publisher emails.

    Offline Alondo

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #123 on: August 09, 2014, 05:23:52 am »
    Is anyone going to respond to this by writing to Hachette, as the message suggests? I haven't heard anyone say they intend to do that.

    If you do, do you seriously believe Hachette will take a blind bit of notice?   
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    Offline Redacted1111

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #124 on: August 09, 2014, 05:24:23 am »
    What a weird thing to find in my inbox at 7 a.m.. I'm honestly too lazy to do what they are apparently asking because I was also too lazy to read the whole thing. All I saw was -- Hachette, prices, blablah, money, authors aren't united, blah blah, write Hachette...

    Then I checked the from address because I couldn't believe this came from Amazon. After that I came here and my next thought was, "Okay, how about 70% commission for my 99c novellas... (And...) Why do I want transitionally published books to be cheaper. That's my whole marketing angle. Sure Amazon sells my books but they don't give a crap if my books sell."

    Am I missing something?

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