Author Topic: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette  (Read 35779 times)  

Online Jena H

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Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
« Reply #250 on: August 09, 2014, 11:01:39 am »
I'm "uppity" about this because it's gross. It's gross to send a letter called "Important Kindle Request" that asks people with no stake in a business negotiation
flood another company's inboxes with emails for their own cause. If you don't think it's gross, well, okay. I hope they never send an Important Kindle Request to flood your inbox.

Why do you keep using the word gross?  Many things can be gross--a poorly-cooked meal. for example, or what results when one eats a poorly-cooked meal--but a business dispute is not one of them.   :-\

 
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    Offline Zelah Meyer

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #251 on: August 09, 2014, 11:05:32 am »
    Also, "...and there is no secondary market -- e-books cannot be resold as used books."  That might sound better if Amazon hadn't patented er... a marketplace for reselling ebooks!  http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/apr/24/ebook-publishing-amazon

    I should add, I'm generally pro-Amazon, even though I do what is right for my business, as I know they wouldn't hesitate to ditch my books from their system if it was good for their business!  However, this e-mail was just crazily out of character for them & ill thought out on so many levels.
    « Last Edit: August 09, 2014, 11:07:25 am by Zelah Meyer »
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    Online Jena H

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #252 on: August 09, 2014, 11:06:23 am »
    Thought the letter was right on, except for this Amazon lie:

    "With an e-book, there's . . . no returns . . ."

    My interpretation was that there was no physical effect of returned books.  No need to pay for return postage, no need to house or restock or destroy returned books (for e-books, that is).  Possibly just a 'mis-speak' or poorly-worded phrase.
    Jena

    Offline Gentleman Zombie

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #253 on: August 09, 2014, 11:09:16 am »
    This. I think it is against self publishers' best interests to encourage trade publishers to lower their prices.

    I agree as well. Three years ago my sales were fantastic. Right now.. not so great. The romance and light erotica markets are FLOODED with mainstream big published books. I'm just now starting to see a newer pen name gain slow and steady traction. Why in the world would I jeopardize that by encouraging big publishers to price compete with me?

    When competing with other indies it's pretty much an evenly matched race. Heck most of the time we are cheering one another on. Most of us however cannot compete with the name recognition and advertising budgets of a company like Hatchette. We have a nice little niche here and it's working for many of us. Why in the world would Amazon ask us to put that in danger? I have no grudge against Amazon. But they are not our friends - no corporation is. So I will not be throwing my hat in the ring for them.
    « Last Edit: August 09, 2014, 11:10:55 am by Vicky Foxx »

    Offline ToriWritesWords

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #254 on: August 09, 2014, 11:09:20 am »
    Why do you keep using the word gross?  Many things can be gross--a poorly-cooked meal. for example, or what results when one eats a poorly-cooked meal--but a business dispute is not one of them.   :-\

    Because that's how it makes me feel.

    Offline Ardin

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #255 on: August 09, 2014, 11:10:13 am »
    KDP are giving me $250,000 this year. Hell yes, I'll send their email.

    Hachette has hundreds of authors who want to preserve ebook prices over $15.
    Amazon has tens of thousands who say the times have changed.

    Offline ToriWritesWords

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #256 on: August 09, 2014, 11:11:11 am »
    KDP are giving me $250,000 this year. Hell yes, I'll send their email.

    Hachette has hundreds of authors who want to preserve ebook prices over $15.
    Amazon has tens of thousands who say the times have changed.

    Amazon isn't giving you money like some benevolent god. Readers are buying your books. They're giving you THEIR money.

    Offline Error404

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #257 on: August 09, 2014, 11:11:51 am »
    Thought the letter was right on, except for this Amazon lie:

    "With an e-book, there's . . . no returns . . ."

    I had to re-read the email to see if they really wrote that, and found this in the same sentence:

    Quote
    With an e-book, theres no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out of stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation costs, and there is no secondary market

    What do they call the delivery fee?

    Offline FictionalWriter

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #258 on: August 09, 2014, 11:12:53 am »
    I want Amazon healthy, strong AND profitable. That's good for me, and I'll even go as far as to say, it's good for them.

    I would also like the publishers to remain healthly and strong too. That's good for Amazon too.

    An Amazon or publisher on steroids is not as appealing.

    Offline Silly Writer

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #259 on: August 09, 2014, 11:13:40 am »

    Yes, we may be indies, but we're NOT independent as I understand the term. I don't believe in biting the hand that (literally) feeds me by enabling me to put food in the fridge and freezer. If I was to rely on the other retailers I would be certain to starve in the gutter in the best tradition of most of those in the past who pursued the creative life.

    The way I see it is that I owe Amazon some loyalty (even if they're unlikely to reciprocate).  They've changed my life for the better and I'm grateful. I couldn't have done it without them and I know it. I'm surprised that others here don't adopt this basic, common-sense viewpoint.

    ^^This. When I first saw it, I said to myself, "WIIFM?"
    I don't have big numbers, but I do okay with the little effort I've put in so far (due to personal constricting reasons). I tried the other platforms for 6 months. Gave up and went directly to Amazon. It was only then, my books got into readers hands. It was only then I began to build a healthy mailing list. I have full belief that when I'm able to consistently write again, if I achieve success, it will be mostly through Amazon.

    They've helped me. Now they're asking for my help. Maybe I don't yet see the big picture of how this will affect me on a positive note yet, actually I see the opposite from where I stand, should Amazon win. But the 'Zon is famous for not telling us the big picture, and in the end, it usually works out all right.

    I'll dance with the one who brought me.

    Offline Hugh Howey

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #260 on: August 09, 2014, 11:15:19 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.

    Agreed. I wish the letter had gone out to Amazon's customers instead of to KDP accounts. I mean, a lot of KDP authors are rooting for Hachette and high ebook prices. I'm not one of those people. I feel bad for Hachette authors who are being harmed by this scuffle. I'm more interested in this kerfuffle as a reader, because this will set precedents with other publishers. I agree with Amazon that the current ebook pricing measures are bad for literature overall, and books are kinda my thang.

    I also think Amazon is doing everything it can NOT to pull Hachette's links, the way they did with Macmillan's links a few years ago. The Macmillan move backfired on them. I think the slow effort here to force Hachette to the negotiating table has also backfired on them. At some point, they are going to have to pull Hachette's links to get them talking. Maybe it'll help to have this history of efforts and public statements; I don't know. I certainly wouldn't blame them for turning off the spigot for Hachette and putting out a press release explaining the inability to come to terms. They probably should have done this over a month ago. If Preston et al are going to call it a boycott, you might as well be really boycotting them.

    Three things that I don't understand:

    1. Anyone saying "Amazon is not your friend. Hachette is not your friend." Who is claiming they are? Whole Foods isn't my friend, but I like their selection better than Winn Dixie. I go around saying positive things about Whole Foods. I also complain about Winn Dixie's long lines and horrible customer service (in my neighborhood. The stores vary from locale to locale). There are vast differences between these places. They don't have to be my "friend" for that to be true. There are also vast differences between the way Amazon treats readers and writers and the way Hachette treats readers and writers. I don't see how that can even be argued. It's not about friendship, it's about varying levels of jerktitude.

    2. People saying "Hachette should be able to price their books wherever they like. Let the market decide." But read the complaint from Preston et al. They are accusing Amazon of raising the prices of their ebooks! They don't want the prices that their publisher is setting any more than Amazon does. They just don't understand who to blame (or they understand that there could be trouble if they blame the offending party). To say Hachette should be allowed to price their ebooks to protect their legacy print relationships is to leave Hachette authors high and dry.

    3. Even $9.99 is too expensive for most ebooks. Some authors are arguing that Amazon is wrong to aim for a $9.99 price point. They aren't aiming for that price; they're claiming that the price maximum (aside from a handful of exceptions) should be $9.99. Look at their pricing tool and the prices of their imprint titles. Amazon knows publishers should be using the $4.99 - $7.99 price points for a LOT of their ebooks. So when people point to $10.99 ebooks or the paucity of new releases at $14.99, they are missing the point. And if Hachette comes to the table, agrees to terms, and simply prices all of their new releases at the upper end of this range, that will be just as harmful to their authors. I spoke to a Hachette author at RWA who is going indie because Hachette won't lower their ebook price FROM $9.99.
     
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    Offline 75845

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #261 on: August 09, 2014, 11:16:49 am »
    KDP are giving me $250,000 this year. Hell yes, I'll send their email.

    Hachette has hundreds of authors who want to preserve ebook prices over $15.
    Amazon has tens of thousands who say the times have changed.

    I trust you did notice the point at the end of Amazon's letter. That eBooks only account for 1% of Hachette revenues so other than disrupting the email account of a 99% print publisher's CEO you have achieved nothing. At least you did not have to fork out on a postage stamp.

    Offline FictionalWriter

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #262 on: August 09, 2014, 11:17:32 am »
    Amazon isn't giving you money like some benevolent god. Readers are buying your books. They're giving you THEIR money.

    I'm going to agree with you there. Neither Amazon, Apple, or B&N have given me any money. They have enabled me to sell my books -- which have made them lots of money, btw -- through their retail site. I'm the one who slaved over those novels and paid thousands of dollars to have them edited, cover made and marketed.

    And I've worked harder at this than any corporate job I've ever had. I don't regret the hard work it takes because I love what I do. But make no bones about it, it's my work that brings in the money I earn.

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #263 on: August 09, 2014, 11:18:38 am »
    I spoke to a Hachette author at RWA who is going indie because Hachette won't lower their ebook price FROM $9.99.

    Yeah, this would  p*ss  me off too. 

    And I don't care WHO you are, I'm not paying $9.99 for your eBook.  No way.

    Thanks, Hugh, for your insight.

    Offline Monique

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #264 on: August 09, 2014, 11:22:02 am »
    Even if Hatchette caved completely, wouldn't their deal still be better than mine?
    « Last Edit: August 09, 2014, 11:25:11 am by Monique »

    Offline Gentleman Zombie

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #265 on: August 09, 2014, 11:23:26 am »
    Amazon isn't giving you money like some benevolent god. Readers are buying your books. They're giving you THEIR money.

    And Amazon is taking their cut. Paying you what you've rightfully earned is not an altruistic act - they would drop you in seconds if they needed to. What happens when the last man standing is Amazon? Will the royalty percentage stay as generous? Or will they start to demand exclusivity and mandatory KDP enrollment for self-publishers?

    As a self-publisher you have more in common with Hatchette than you do Amazon. You are both publishers and Amazon is your distributor. Your distributor is seeking to control what prices publishers are allowed to charge. Think about that .. because at the end of the day you are a publisher. What happens when they want to dictate your price?
    « Last Edit: August 09, 2014, 12:25:13 pm by Vicky Foxx »

    Offline ToriWritesWords

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #266 on: August 09, 2014, 11:25:47 am »
    And Amazon is taking their cut. Paying you what you've rightfully earned is not an altruistic act - they would drop you in seconds if they needed to. What happens when the last man standing is Amazon? Will the royalty percentage stay as generous? Or will they start to demand exclusivity and mandatory KDP enrollment for self-publishers?

    And that terrifies me. I hope to self-publish in the next few years. I don't mind paying Amazon 30% for acting as my vendor. I wish it was a little lower, but I'll take it. But what if they decide they want 50% when they're not helping me produce the book?

    Quote
    As a self-publisher you have more in common with Hatchette than you do Amazon. You are both publishers and Amazon is your distributor. Your distributor is seeking to control what prices publishers are allowed to charge. Think about that .. because at the end of the day you too are a publisher. What happens when they want to dictate your price?

    Yes, exactly.

    Offline JRTomlin

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #267 on: August 09, 2014, 11:25:59 am »
    I had to re-read the email to see if they really wrote that, and found this in the same sentence:

    What do they call the delivery fee?
    They weren't talking about consumer returns. The entire 'return system' by which bookstores 'return' unsold copies (although they are actually destroyed) and given credit for them on their account is a huge cost to publishing companies. I also am reasonably sure that large publishing companies do not pay delivery fees, hence they are not a cost to the publisher and even for those of us who do, compared to traditional shipping costs they are extremely minor.

    ETA: And the 'benevolent god' comments are a strawman and offensive. No one said or thinks such a thing that I know of. But I have absolutely no reason to support Hachette's intransigence in this dispute and agree with Amazon's position on pricing. Hachette does not seem to be negotiating and turned down flat offers from Amazon that would have benefited the authors in order for the publisher to continue to use authors as leverage in negotiations.  Authors like King who should know better allowing this appalls me. I have done and will continue to do what I can to support Amazon. Admittedly that is also the side where my bread is buttered.

    Another ETA: What Hugh said. Sorry I stopped reading before I got to it to respond to a post. :)
    « Last Edit: August 09, 2014, 11:45:52 am by JRTomlin »
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    Offline heidi_g

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #268 on: August 09, 2014, 11:26:32 am »
    Maybe my response to the email I got this morning, before I got on these boards... although I knew there would a super-duper thread on it!  Anyway, maybe my response to the email has more to do with how my relationship with Amazon formed. Back in the day when they were the start up and everyone was like WTF? Ordering books online I was ordering all the weird/fringe/outlier books that my beloved bookstores WOULD NOT stock!!!!! For this reason, I have always LOVED and appreciated Amazon. That was back in the late 90s so it's been a long relationship. Honestly, I was late to the self-publishing, Kindle revolution... much to my chagrin, but I was one of those: You will pry my print books from my dead fingers:D Obviously, much different story today!

    Anywho, I never suspected the email wasn't legit. I'd also never try to tell you I'm not gullible. But I kind of love Amazon so I have no qualms, as a reader first, and author second, supporting them. No they are not coddling along my writing career. But on my last release, which I confess hasn't rocked with sales, I did sell two books in Canada and one in the UK in the first twelve hours, I know for many dismal numbers, but for me thrilling. I'm selling books all over the world! Yes, Amazon puts the onus of advertising, getting the word out on me, but come on... is it just my business degree that allows me to grasp the structure they've provided me to utilize to the best of my talents and abilities. Uhm... I don't see anyone else doing that. I also had a B&N card for many years. Gosh, talk about sending the indie authors to the basement, I was so disappointed with B&N when I began to publish. I'd even bought an original Nook as my first ereader. What a bummer.  I've always kind of been Apple averse until my husband dragged me kicking and screaming into the Mac world. Now I'm kind of okay with it all.

    But Amazon has been the one bookseller on the planet who has never let me down when I was trying to find that book that I could not find anywhere else. That's the root of my loyalty as a reader. So I wrote the damn letter! :D And then I was appalled when I re-read it again, after I sent it, and found a couple of typos! GAH!!!!!

    Dear Michael,

    I write this email with the utmost respect for stories and the written word. I am disappointed in the stance Hachette has taken in the ebook pricing despute. Because of the low fixed expenses of producing an ebook, it seems unreasonable to insist on charging prices that are in line with print editions. I  also disagree with that the boom in self-published titles will destroy the quality of literature. As an avid reader, I stopped reading for many years because the fiction books being traditionally published were not to my taste. It has been the creativity, risk-taking, and freshness of the indie author that has got me reading at least two books a week again on my ereader. These days I read a pretty good mix of indie and traditionally published books. Why not just take on the challenge of the new reading environment and embrace the opportunity to publish better more exciting books? That would seem like it would be much more productive than attacking Amazon, which, correct me if Im wrong has not banned Hachettes books from their distribution site.

    I sympathize with the difficulties the sea change of ereaders and indie authors have caused traditional publishing concerns, but you might win more readers if you took a proactive stance, i.e. publish better books at better prices.

    As an indie author, I dont sell a ton of books at this point. However, I am grateful for the opportunity to publish and to connect with the readers that I have. I also dont have the opportunity to offer my books for pre-order. I feel like my stories are of high quality. However, I do not have the opportunity to go to many conferences and meet agents, etc. to go the traditional route. The point being that the arguments you are making in your fight against Amazon might appeal to a swathe of the literary community, but are quite off-putting to the broader community of readers, as is your stance that ebooks must be priced higher.

    Best,
    Heidi Garrett


    Then I came straight to the boards and was like wow! Should I have been more suspect? Well, whatever, if that's truly the guy's email address, I guess him or one of his minions will get it!

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    Offline Lehane

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #269 on: August 09, 2014, 11:31:01 am »
    I had to re-read the email to see if they really wrote that, and found this in the same sentence:

    What do they call the delivery fee?
    Aren't returns a bit different with print books? They take up room, and I know other products can be returned to the manufacturer if they don't sell properly or break, which would cost more money than just reversing an e-book sale...

    The electronic delivery fee isn't a transportation cost. I assume it pays for bandwidth. Which is no joke, don't get me wrong, but I wonder what server and bandwidth activity costs compared to fuel, trucks, and warehouses? Honest curiosity, not trying to be snarky. But I would be surprised if it cost less to transport a book than to pay for internet resources. ETA: And as JRTomlin said above, the delivery fee isn't paid directly by the publisher, I suspect.
    « Last Edit: August 09, 2014, 11:33:10 am by Lehane »

    Offline Moist_Tissue

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #270 on: August 09, 2014, 11:44:44 am »
    I support Amazon's position. Not because of the pricing issue. I simply want to see this gate-keeping trade publisher lose. For too long, those gate-keepers have held a tight-fisted hold on determining which authors were permitted to share their stories with readers. Those gate-keepers established the cost and length of an author's contract. Those gate-keepers established the cost of an author's work and how much profit that author would receive. Those gate-keepers have also kept out authors who they felt would not make them a profit. As an individual author wanting to share your story, you had to toe their line. That individual author did not have power in the relationship even though it was the author who provided the talent. It was the gate-keeper that established the standard.

    Now this old, big, and bad gatekeeper has met a young, big, and bad gatekeeper that is willing to take on the establishment. I'm cool with Amazon battling with trade publishers to force their adaption to the new world. It's no longer the trade publishers' way or no way (and yes, I am aware that self-published authors existed before Amazon). I like to think of Amazon as a consignment shop. An international consignment shop that has allowed me to offer my unique products in their massive store in exchange for a fee once that item has been sold. I get to sell my products to customers who would never have found my little website on the internet and Amazon gets a sweet little percentage for allowing me access to their customer base.

    Hachette--specifically through Mr. Patterson--is continuing to argue that if not for their gate-keeping, the market would be flooded with less quality works. Amazon--by permitting self-publishers to use their customer base and platform--has proven Hachette wrong in this regard. Opening up the flood gates doesn't truly destroy the production of quality works; instead, it has permitted non-conforming, non-mainstream, and non-traditional authors to have an equal opportunity to share their work with readers.

    I know that I'm way out there in left field with my opinion, but I just want to see Hachette lose.
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    Offline Colin

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #271 on: August 09, 2014, 11:45:57 am »
    KDP are giving me $250,000 this year. Hell yes, I'll send their email.

    Hachette has hundreds of authors who want to preserve ebook prices over $15.
    Amazon has tens of thousands who say the times have changed.

    How come they are giving you that much money when your three titles are ranked so low on Amazon? Is there a secret Amazon fund that we don't know about? Or is this just a wildly optimistic financial projection of yours? :o

    Offline Silly Writer

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #272 on: August 09, 2014, 11:50:55 am »
    How come they are giving you that much money when your three titles are ranked so low on Amazon? Is there a secret Amazon fund that we don't know about? Or is this just a wildly optimistic financial projection of yours? :o

    You're only seeing the books he chooses to share in his sig. There's LOTS of Kboards authors that have multiple pen names.  ::)

    Offline Colin

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #273 on: August 09, 2014, 11:51:57 am »
    You're only seeing the books he chooses to share in his sig. There's LOTS of Kboards authors that have multiple pen names.  ::)

    Fair point, Lisa.

    Offline 75845

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    Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
    « Reply #274 on: August 09, 2014, 11:54:56 am »
    Remember when you wish Hachette to be forced into lower eBook pricing that mid-list Hachette authors are going to take longer to earn out the advances on their non-compete contracts.

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