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Authors' Forum => Writers' Cafe => Topic started by: Mark E. Cooper on August 08, 2014, 11:09:22 pm

Title: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Mark E. Cooper on August 08, 2014, 11:09:22 pm
I cannot believe it! Anyone else seen this yet?

Quote
Dear KDP Author,

Just ahead of World War II, there was a radical invention that shook the foundations of book publishing. It was the paperback book. This was a time when movie tickets cost 10 or 20 cents, and books cost $2.50. The new paperback cost 25 cents – it was ten times cheaper. Readers loved the paperback and millions of copies were sold in just the first year.

With it being so inexpensive and with so many more people able to afford to buy and read books, you would think the literary establishment of the day would have celebrated the invention of the paperback, yes? Nope. Instead, they dug in and circled the wagons. They believed low cost paperbacks would destroy literary culture and harm the industry (not to mention their own bank accounts). Many bookstores refused to stock them, and the early paperback publishers had to use unconventional methods of distribution – places like newsstands and drugstores. The famous author George Orwell came out publicly and said about the new paperback format, if “publishers had any sense, they would combine against them and suppress them.” Yes, George Orwell was suggesting collusion.

Well… history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

Fast forward to today, and it’s the e-book’s turn to be opposed by the literary establishment. Amazon and Hachette – a big US publisher and part of a $10 billion media conglomerate – are in the middle of a business dispute about e-books. We want lower e-book prices. Hachette does not. Many e-books are being released at $14.99 and even $19.99. That is unjustifiably high for an e-book. With an e-book, there’s 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 – e-books cannot be resold as used books. E-books can and should be less expensive.

Perhaps channeling Orwell’s decades old suggestion, Hachette has already been caught illegally colluding with its competitors to raise e-book prices. So far those parties have paid $166 million in penalties and restitution. Colluding with its competitors to raise prices wasn’t only illegal, it was also highly disrespectful to Hachette’s readers.

The fact is many established incumbents in the industry have taken the position that lower e-book prices will “devalue books” and hurt “Arts and Letters.” They’re wrong. Just as paperbacks did not destroy book culture despite being ten times cheaper, neither will e-books. On the contrary, paperbacks ended up rejuvenating the book industry and making it stronger. The same will happen with e-books.

Many inside the echo-chamber of the industry often draw the box too small. They think books only compete against books. But in reality, books compete against mobile games, television, movies, Facebook, blogs, free news sites and more. If we want a healthy reading culture, we have to work hard to be sure books actually are competitive against these other media types, and a big part of that is working hard to make books less expensive.

Moreover, e-books are highly price elastic. This means that when the price goes down, customers buy much more. We've quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000. The important thing to note here is that the lower price is good for all parties involved: the customer is paying 33% less and the author is getting a royalty check 16% larger and being read by an audience that’s 74% larger. The pie is simply bigger.

But when a thing has been done a certain way for a long time, resisting change can be a reflexive instinct, and the powerful interests of the status quo are hard to move. It was never in George Orwell’s interest to suppress paperback books – he was wrong about that.

And despite what some would have you believe, authors are not united on this issue. When the Authors Guild recently wrote on this, they titled their post: “Amazon-Hachette Debate Yields Diverse Opinions Among Authors” (the comments to this post are worth a read).  A petition started by another group of authors and aimed at Hachette, titled “Stop Fighting Low Prices and Fair Wages,” garnered over 7,600 signatures.  And there are myriad articles and posts, by authors and readers alike, supporting us in our effort to keep prices low and build a healthy reading culture. Author David Gaughran’s recent interview is another piece worth reading.

We recognize that writers reasonably want to be left out of a dispute between large companies. Some have suggested that we “just talk.” We tried that. Hachette spent three months stonewalling and only grudgingly began to even acknowledge our concerns when we took action to reduce sales of their titles in our store. Since then Amazon has made three separate offers to Hachette to take authors out of the middle. We first suggested that we (Amazon and Hachette) jointly make author royalties whole during the term of the dispute. Then we suggested that authors receive 100% of all sales of their titles until this dispute is resolved. Then we suggested that we would return to normal business operations if Amazon and Hachette’s normal share of revenue went to a literacy charity. But Hachette, and their parent company Lagardere, have quickly and repeatedly dismissed these offers even though e-books represent 1% of their revenues and they could easily agree to do so. They believe they get leverage from keeping their authors in the middle.

We will never give up our fight for reasonable e-book prices. We know making books more affordable is good for book culture. We’d like your help. Please email Hachette and copy us.

Hachette CEO, Michael Pietsch: [email protected]

Copy us at: [email protected]

Please consider including these points:

- We have noted your illegal collusion. Please stop working so hard to overcharge for ebooks. They can and should be less expensive.
- Lowering e-book prices will help – not hurt – the reading culture, just like paperbacks did.
- Stop using your authors as leverage and accept one of Amazon’s offers to take them out of the middle.
- Especially if you’re an author yourself: Remind them that authors are not united on this issue.

Thanks for your support.
 
The Amazon Books Team

P.S. You can also find this letter at www.readersunited.com

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Arrington Flynn on August 08, 2014, 11:10:40 pm
I know some others have received this email. Seen it on another board.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Mark E. Cooper on August 08, 2014, 11:12:00 pm
I know some others have received this email. Seen it on another board.

It's from a legit email addy, but I found the readersunited link broken. Maybe overwhelmed. I'll try again later then.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lehane on August 08, 2014, 11:14:49 pm
This is just getting too delicious. My, I enjoy watching this unfold (or explode, depending on your outlook...)
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: MJWare on August 08, 2014, 11:22:10 pm
I got it too. Not sure how I feel about it. Amazon has put me through the wringer--though I'm making money with them (and only them). I see them as something of a doubled-edged blade. They are a corporation, yes one that is making me money, but it's not they are not a non-profit selling books at cost & battling the evil big publishers.

Oh and the letter is too long-winded. Economy of words, we're authors.  ;D
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vera Nazarian on August 08, 2014, 11:23:47 pm
I just received the letter a few seconds ago....
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Amanda M. Lee on August 08, 2014, 11:27:44 pm
Guess I'm not one of the lucky ones. I didn't get it.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: D-C on August 08, 2014, 11:31:03 pm
Just woke up to this in my inbox too...
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Patty Jansen on August 08, 2014, 11:37:38 pm
I smell a fairly large rodent.

Delete it, sez I. This is a fight of companies. Enlisting authors to do this makes me feel sick and I can't believe that Amazon itself would OK this.

Hachette is not your friend.
Amazon is not your friend.

They are large companies. NOBODY understands precisely what this spat is about and all the things that are involved in this dispute. It looks silly to ape some company's slogans without the insider story. Come on people, grow a brain.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JeanneM on August 08, 2014, 11:39:59 pm
I just got one too and something doesn't feel right about this. I just can't imagine Mr. Bezos authorizing an email asking self-pubbers to take sides. I'm not touching this thing.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Mark E. Cooper on August 08, 2014, 11:43:13 pm
I just got one too and something doesn't feel right about this. I just can't imagine Mr. Bezos authorizing an email asking self-pubbers to take sides. I'm not touching this thing.

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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: dianasg on August 08, 2014, 11:45:04 pm
Yep, I got it too.

I could have sworn I read that bit about "healthy reading culture" here on KB somewhere... But where? Was it in the Hachette mega thread?

Broadly speaking, though - This whole dispute is seriously fascinating. I don't pretend that Amazon's slate is ever squeaky clean, or even that they're not out for global domination... But seriously, the smell of BS is much stronger from the Hachette side of all of this.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: D-C on August 08, 2014, 11:46:56 pm
The link is www.readers-united.com
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JeanneM on August 08, 2014, 11:49:01 pm
I agree. I'm not very important in the scheme of things. Gee, I hope someone really important expresses an opinion soon.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: CristinaRayne on August 08, 2014, 11:49:19 pm
What I find interesting is that there aren't any links in the body of the email going back to Amazon. That's one of the easiest ways to check for scammers.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Andrzej Tucholski on August 08, 2014, 11:50:05 pm
I got it too. It bothers me that the sentence "Remind them that authors are not united on this issue." is followed by the link to the Amazon side of the story: ReadersUnited.com.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: RaeC on August 08, 2014, 11:52:49 pm
Not sure what to make of this at all. If I were to guess, I'd say the KDP Team's been hacked.

The 'Further Reading' from the linked page includes a couple of Hugh articles, among others:

Quote
Further Reading

The Industry View - Amazon vs Hachette (If you read just one piece, we recommend this one)
JJ Marsh/David Gaughran | July 30, 2014

Amazon-Hachette Debate Yields Diverse Opinions Among Authors (We recommend reading the comments on this one)
Authors Guild | July 23, 2014

Change.org: Petitioning Hachette: Stop fighting low prices and fair wages
Writers and Readers | July 3, 2014

Authors United? I Wish it Were So.
Hugh Howey | July 23, 2014

The Seattle Times: The publishers, not Amazon, keep authors down
Frank Schaeffer | July 21, 2014

The Heart of the Matter
Barry Eisler | July 30, 2014

Let's Get Visible: Amazon v Hachette: Don't Believe The Spin
David Gaughran | May 26, 2014

Winning at Monopoly
Hugh Howey | May 31, 2014

The Huffington Post: Sympathy for the Devil: In Defense of Amazon
Mishka Shubaly | June 5, 2014

GigaOm: If you love books then you should be rooting for Amazon, not Hachette or the Big Five
Matthew Ingram | July 2, 2014

Could it Be any Clearer
Hugh Howey | July 30, 2014

The Cockeyed Pessimist: Who's afraid of Amazon.com
Martin Shepard | May 27, 2014

The way all of this is presented lacks the type of polish and professionalism I'd expect from Amazon correspondence. But then again, maybe this is Bezos' way of getting down and dirty, speaking to 'the people'.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: EC Sheedy on August 08, 2014, 11:54:53 pm
I believe ebook prices should be on the low side. I am more in agreement with Amazon's position than Hachette's. I wrote Mr. Pietsch. Not that he'll give a rip what I think, but as I can't afford an ad in the NYT an email has to do. It being digital and all...
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: portiadacosta on August 08, 2014, 11:56:07 pm
I got two copies of the letter. One appearing to be from Amazon.com and one from Kindle Direct Publishing. Very curious.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Writerly Writer on August 08, 2014, 11:57:10 pm
This can't be from Amazon, surely. I'm irritated they would send me an email like this. It isn't what I signed up for.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: S. Elliot Brandis on August 09, 2014, 12:02:45 am
I got the email when I was halfway through reading the first post.

The PR war seems to be escalating.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: MJWare on August 09, 2014, 12:05:14 am
Maybe it is fake, but many of us are getting it, so it would probably have to be a hack involved. Doesn't have to be Amazon, though. Could be one of the sites we all advertise with, even kBoards itself.

A hack seems unlikely though. Who knows---but I'm sure we'll find out soon enough.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: tknite on August 09, 2014, 12:06:00 am
I got it, too. And either Amazon's been hacked or it's actually from them because it came through my PERSONAL email, the one I use for my Amazon log in, and NOT my author email.

Weird. And somewhat disconcerting.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Diane Patterson on August 09, 2014, 12:09:28 am
Definitely seems to be from Amazon.

The letter also misquotes Orwell. There's a word for that.

Between this and the Fire Phone, I'm wondering what's going on in Seattle.
Title: Readers United
Post by: Dom on August 09, 2014, 12:09:28 am
In preparation of the pro-Hachette NYT piece, Amazon is taking the gloves off.

http://www.readersunited.com/

This is the letter Amazon sent to authors, with added links at the end. What do you think?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: portiadacosta on August 09, 2014, 12:15:26 am
Just checked the headers and one of my copies came to the address I use for KDP and my Author Central at Amazon.com, and the other came to the address I use at Amazon.co.uk, as a customer and for my AC there.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: KOwrites on August 09, 2014, 12:17:04 am
I just saw this.

And truly, it's beyond disturbing.

My first thought if it's legitimate is if it's such a hardship for the Zon and Hachette to work this contract out, pull Hachette's books because you don't have a contract.

I don't care.


Secondly, this is ugly business. Ruthless and unseemly and this communique makes me think long and hard about the Zon on a number of levels, and it isn't pretty. (I was already beginning to feel this way from the previous press releases on this front). The thing is I worked with large global accounts for years in Seattle, so I'm aware of how they do business and treat vendors, but whoever is running their communications department (if this is for real) is not being professional on any level whatsoever. I used to do public relations and marketing as well, so I KNOW how it's done.

Wow. Just wow.


And if they've been hacked...bigger problems. Huge implications and we should all be concerned.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vidya on August 09, 2014, 12:22:57 am
I got it. It seems kind of undignified to me, involving us, their readers and writers in their fight. I dunno, maybe it's just me reacting this way. What do you guys think? I haven’t read all the responses in this thread yet; will start now.

It's definitely interesting…
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Kalen ODonnell on August 09, 2014, 12:24:27 am
I just got it, and the email address it went to is an address I ONLY used to register with KDP - literally the only time that email address is used is for interacting with KDP, and there are no possible links between it and any of my actual pen names. 

So there are only two possibilities as I see it:

1) This email is fake, which means someone has gained access to Amazon's central KDP database, as that's the only way they could be mass emailing all of us to our KDP registered email accounts.

2) This email is legitimate and Amazon is actually asking self-published authors to email blast Hachette as part of their ongoing negotiation tactics.

Quite honestly, I'm not sure which possibility disturbs me more.  That our info is that vulnerable to an outside hacker or that Amazon actually thinks petitioning authors to email their competitor on their behalf is a worthwhile strategy.

If the latter, good lord this has gotten ridiculous.  As Patty said earlier in the thread, Amazon is not our friend.  They are not negotiating with Hachette on our behalf.  Its entirely possible that Amazon emerging victorious from these negotiations will be the better for authors than if Hachette 'wins', but even so, that is entirely incidental to their true goal in these negotiations - aka protecting their bottom line.  They are not crusading for a better future for literature, the arts and authors everywhere, and quite frankly I find recruiting authors into their negotiation tactics under that guise to be actually kinda insulting.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: S. Elliot Brandis on August 09, 2014, 12:25:03 am
Got my popcorn with extra (vegan) butter this time! :)
Vegan butter?

Now I'm disturbed. :p
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Christine Kersey on August 09, 2014, 12:25:44 am
I got it too, then came straight here to see what everyone thought.  :o
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: RaeC on August 09, 2014, 12:26:05 am
Judging by the way the email's written and the heavy-handed way it's trying to get its point across, are we sure James Patterson didn't secretly hack Amazon in an attempt to make Amazon look bad?

Or, more likely, pay a team to ghosthack Amazon?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Patty Jansen on August 09, 2014, 12:27:35 am
I suggest that anyone who gets it (not me, so far, but I have some really tight spam filters) writes to KDP expressing concern.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: vlmain on August 09, 2014, 12:28:56 am
I just received it, too.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Leanne King on August 09, 2014, 12:29:17 am
Wow, what a suspicious lot! Never even crossed my mind that it wasn't legitimate when I opened it this morning. Although the more I think about it, the more I hope I'm proven wrong. But it does seem exactly the sort of thing amazon would do.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lydniz on August 09, 2014, 12:30:50 am
I've just got it too. I don't give a toss about a fight between Godzilla and King Kong. They can leave me out of it.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: S. Elliot Brandis on August 09, 2014, 12:31:12 am
Judging by the way the email's written and the heavy-handed way it's trying to get its point across, are we sure James Patterson didn't secretly hack Amazon in an attempt to make Amazon look like bad?
That's ridiculous. Patterson doesn't even write his *own* stuff.

;)
Title: Re: Readers United
Post by: RaeC on August 09, 2014, 12:31:44 am
Readers United. Heh. If this is legit, I think Amazon and Hachette are both overestimating how much readers actually care about not being able to pre-order a few books.

Maybe this is an important fight for writers and other industry pros, but readers will keep on reading no matter what.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Patty Jansen on August 09, 2014, 12:34:58 am
We are not partners in this dispute and it's got fairly little to do with us. Nor does it make any sense to let a bunch of self-publishers willy-nilly fire off emails to a company. And anyway, isn't the personal email address of Hachette's CEO a private thing?

So? Amazon bombs the Hachette CEO's email, so that when he reads his email on Monday, he'll have thousands of stupidly uniformed complaints?

What good would they think that does in the negotiation.

No, I still think it's a scam, or a disgruntled employee, and if I were KDP I'd fire this person on the spot. If this really is from KDP and sanctioned by Amazon (which I doubt), then it's a move that's stupid beyond belief.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin Taber on August 09, 2014, 12:37:27 am
Out of curiosity, for those posting saying that they find this disturbing, how is this move wildly different to Hachette enlisting their authors to blog, tweet, email, write newspaper pieces or drop anti-Amazon bombs on TV shows?

Is it just the request that you consider getting involved disturbing?

Amazon should just pull the buy buttons for Hachette and be done with it. I imagine negotiations would restart pretty quick if that happened.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: vlmain on August 09, 2014, 12:39:00 am
That's ridiculous. Patterson doesn't even write his *own* stuff.

;)


That's the funniest thing I've read all week.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: D-C on August 09, 2014, 12:40:00 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Patty Jansen on August 09, 2014, 12:41:26 am
Out of curiosity, for those posting saying that they find this disturbing, how is this move wildly different to Hachette enlisting their authors to blog, tweet, email, write newspaper pieces or drop anti-Amazon bombs on TV shows?

Is it just the request that you consider getting involved disturbing?

Amazon should just pull the buy buttons for Hachette and be done with it. I imagine negotiations would restart pretty quick if that happened.

Because Hachette asks THEIR authors. The authors they invested in, whose book launches they paid for, whose book tours they organised.

The only thing Amazon does for us is proved a service (a handy one, to be sure), but we pay Amazon a commission for selling our books. We are not Amazon's authors.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Kalen ODonnell on August 09, 2014, 12:42:03 am
Out of curiosity, for those posting saying that they find this disturbing, how is this move wildly different to Hachette enlisting their authors to blog, tweet, email, write newspaper pieces or drop anti-Amazon bombs on TV shows?

Is it just the request that you consider getting involved disturbing?

Amazon should just pull the buy buttons for Hachette and be done with it. I imagine negotiations would restart pretty quick if that happened.

Because the degree to which Hachette is a business partner to their authors is wildly different to the degree to which Amazon is a business partner to self-published authors.  Its not even apples and oranges, its canned pears and Cheetos.  The whole point of self-publishing is its an entirely different ball game to how traditional publishing works, that's literally THE WHOLE POINT.  So acting like we're directly comparable to authors published through a New York publisher is just completely invalid because we're self-published specifically so as NOT to be like them.

Hachette authors have an extremely vested interest in these negotiations, since they have contracts with Hachette which will be directly affected by whatever contract Hachette signs with Amazon.  We on the other hand, have no contract with anyone.  We have Terms and Conditions.  Not remotely the same thing.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin Taber on August 09, 2014, 12:45:33 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.

+1

I don't think this is a hack or a conspiracy, it is just another move in a chess game.

I'm guessing Amazon thought they would have had this whole thing all sorted out by now, but the fact that it is dragging on towards the Christmas buying season has them concerned. I'm sure they also don't like all the mud that's being thrown their way.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Alondo on August 09, 2014, 12:48:11 am
I cannot believe it! Anyone else seen this yet?



Hasn't anyone spotted the inherent contradiction? The email urges authors to write to Hachette, saying, "Stop using your authors as leverage." Wha...?

This kind of rant is far from the usual Amazon fare, which makes me think it can't be genuine. If it is, then Amazon has seriously lost the plot.

On pricing, my view is that Authors should have the freedom to price their own books. End of story.

 
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: portiadacosta on August 09, 2014, 12:49:30 am
On further inspection:

The first copy of the message I received came to the email address I use for my UK login as a customer and for UK Author Central and came from [email protected] with the title 'An Important Kindle Request'.

The second copy of the message I received came to the address I use for KDP and as a US customer and for US Author Central and came from [email protected] with the title 'Important Kindle Request'.

If Amazon has been infiltrated, both the UK customer service system and and the KDP system must have been affected.

Worrying... :(

Edited to add... both messages addressed me as 'Dear KDP Author'.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lucas Bale on August 09, 2014, 12:52:39 am
+1

I don't think this is a hack or a conspiracy, it is just another move in a chess game.

I'm guessing Amazon thought they would have had this whole thing all sorted out by now, but the fact that it is dragging on towards the Christmas buying season has them concerned. I'm sure they also don't like all the mud that's being thrown their way.

I'm neither disturbed by it, nor angered at receiving it. How else are they going to contact you? You're in a business relationship with them and they want to make a point to you. Whether you agree with it or not, they've contacted you legitimately. It's your right to disagree of course, but I see nothing wrong with them putting their point across. Nor do I find it particularly heavy-handed - it's direct and doesn't waste your valuable time. How else could they have written it?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: nobody_important on August 09, 2014, 12:54:52 am
On further inspection:

The first copy of the message I received came to the email address I use for my UK login as a customer and for UK Author Central and came from [email protected] with the title 'An Important Kindle Request'.

The second copy of the message I received came to the address I use for KDP and as a US customer and for US Author Central and came from [email protected] with the title 'Important Kindle Request'.

If Amazon has been infiltrated, both the UK customer service system and and the KDP system must have been affected.

Worrying... :(

Edited to add... both messages addressed me as 'Dear KDP Author'.

A hacker can disguise his mailing address. It's crazy simple.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin Taber on August 09, 2014, 12:56:53 am
I'm neither disturbed by it, nor angered at receiving it. How else are they going to contact you? You're in a business relationship with them and they want to make a point to you. Whether you agree with it or not, they've contacted you legitimately. It's your right to disagree of course, but I see nothing wrong with them putting their point across. Nor do I find it particularly heavy-handed - it's direct and doesn't waste your valuable time. How else could they have written it?

I agree with you entirely. I'm surprised at the hostility and shock some people are expressing that they have been contacted.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: vlmain on August 09, 2014, 12:57:02 am
Because Hachette asks THEIR authors. The authors they invested in, whose book launches they paid for, whose book tours they organised.

The only thing Amazon does for us is proved a service (a handy one, to be sure), but we pay Amazon a commission for selling our books. We are not Amazon's authors.

They provide us a tremendous service, all the tools we need to publish and promote our work, a storefront on the largest retail site in the world, and traffic we could never afford to generate on our own. They do the lion's share of the heavy marketing for us, process payments for us on what is probably the most secure website on the planet, deliver the goods so we don't have to. It costs them a huge amount of money to provide us with those tools. They may not have us under contract, or pay us an advance, but they invest in us just the same.

I see nothing wrong with their asking for our support. Suggesting we email Hachette is no different than the people who ask us to write to our Congressmen about a particular issue. They are trying to rally us and I see nothing wrong with that.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 on August 09, 2014, 12:57:21 am
Amazon are not going to be pulling Hachette buy buttons. With no contract Amazon could have walked if they wanted but they cannot. Hachette are pushing the boundaries and Amazon's buttons. Clearly the cheer-leading from Konrath, Howey, and Eisler is not enough, KDP need to recruit us. I see this as conclusive proof that Amazon is backed into a corner. They need to have all the Big Five on their shelves and Hachette are proving just how much the Everything Store needs them. Amazon the box with a frown.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Alondo on August 09, 2014, 01:01:09 am
Why would I write to Hachette and ask their authors to lower their prices to a level where they compete with my books?

I say, the higher their prices, the better!     
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Alondo on August 09, 2014, 01:02:52 am
I got the email also. I don't feel like their dispute directly involves self-pubbed authors. Besides, why would a self-pubbed author care about what trad pub sets their prices at? Sell your ebooks for $19.99 for all I care. More readers for those of us who charge $9.99 and under.   ;)

Amazon should just pull Hachette's books. That will bring Hachette running to the negotiating table.

Amen, brother! (Sorry, I meant, sister!)
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lucas Bale on August 09, 2014, 01:05:23 am
They provide us a tremendous service, all the tools we need to publish and promote our work, a storefront on the largest retail site in the world, and traffic we could never afford to generate on our own. They do the lion's share of the heavy marketing for us, process payments for us on what is probably the most secure website on the planet, deliver the goods so we don't have to. It costs them a huge amount of money to provide us with those tools. They may not have us under contract, or pay us an advance, but they invest in us just the same.

I see nothing wrong with their asking for our support. Suggesting we email Hachette is no different than the people who ask us to write to our Congressmen about a particular issue. They are trying to rally us and I see nothing wrong with that.

+1

That's what has surprised me about the response here. They asked us for our support. Sure, they have done exactly what Hachette have done by placing authors bang in the middle of this, but they are asking us to say we are not all united here. Yes, there are always ulterior motives, but in business there always are. The question is whether this stance is one you agree with or don't. Some of the points made are weak ones and posturing, but some are very sensible and I agree with the sentiment.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: portiadacosta on August 09, 2014, 01:05:48 am
A hacker can disguise his mailing address. It's crazy simple.

Oh yes, I know all kinds of chicanery is possible. I'm just curious as to why I should receive the message from two different systems, one that's not even linked to KDP, as far as I know.

I do use my pen name for both though, because I needed to for the UK Author Central.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Mark E. Cooper on August 09, 2014, 01:09:37 am
I agree. I'm not very important in the scheme of things. Gee, I hope someone really important expresses an opinion soon.

Aww I'm sorry. I didn't mean it to sound THAT way! I meant that I won't make a decision MYSELF until I get a good cross section of opinion in this thread. I'M not important. I don't know you. You could be REALLY important for all I know ;) Seriously, PLEASE don't take offense at my bad wording?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Tim_A on August 09, 2014, 01:11:10 am
So Godzilla suggests to all the little people on the ground that we get our pea shooters out and spit peas up at King Kong. Hmm...

My recommendation: RUN!!!!

They're using us as pawns in a fight that simply isn't ours.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75814 on August 09, 2014, 01:11:52 am
A month ago, Amazon told me I wasn't worthy enough to get the same KU deal they've given traditional authors and select indies. Now they want me stand up for them? Sorry, but Bezos can go have carnal relations with himself.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Alondo on August 09, 2014, 01:12:12 am
They want self pubs. to campaign for lower prices for traditionally published books so they will compete with self pubbed books?

Just how stupid do they think we are?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: AngryGames on August 09, 2014, 01:13:49 am
Quote
I see this as conclusive proof that Amazon is backed into a corner.

Funny, I see it as the exact opposite. It's Amazon doing a mirror image of what Hachette did by asking the AG and Patterson and Colbert to shill for big publishing. I think it's meant to say "hey, you got like... 600 authors to sign your little petition to us, yet self-pub authors got 7500+ to sign theirs, so let's see what happens when we copy something else you've done."

I'm interested in seeing what happens. I have no idea why any author would be shocked or angered at receiving this email. You sell your books through Amazon. This concerns authors. Maybe not you, since you don't have a trad-pub contract. But it affects authors, regardless. Hence, you get an email when something concerns authors.

Why the surprise and dismay? Delete it and move on with your life, or write to Amazon and complain, or write to Hachette and complain, but don't pretend to be shocked and outraged that the company you sell your books through thinks since you are an author, you might have an interest in this situation. No one is that naive. Are they?

Also, this email came to me at the email address that is solely for receiving KDP communications. Looks legit, but I think I'll wait for Konrath to say something (or Howey, or someone who might have an inside contact within KDP to verify this is a legit email to us.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Mark E. Cooper on August 09, 2014, 01:17:31 am
This letter must be a response to that massive broadside Hachette and its 900 authors fired at Amazon yesterday don't you think? I saw it on Passive Guy.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lexi Revellian on August 09, 2014, 01:18:10 am
Yes, Amazon is a big business out to make money. But it's the big business that enabled me to sell over 68,000 books, when all trad pub did for me was waste my time.

When Amazon asks me for help, I'm likely to say yes.
Title: Re: Readers United
Post by: Mark E. Cooper on August 09, 2014, 01:18:43 am
It could get ugly https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,192128.0.html
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Writerly Writer on August 09, 2014, 01:18:44 am
Okay, got two emails... one from KDP Support and one from Amazon.

So, one of the emails is the one I subscribe to KDP with, the other is not.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: T.P. Grish on August 09, 2014, 01:20:34 am
I got it as well, very curious that a letter lacking the normal formality would be sent.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: psychotick on August 09, 2014, 01:24:09 am
Hi,

Just got the email myself and it looks genuine - at least as far as the mailing address goes. Funny thing is that I recall seeing the same stats (16% increased profits by lowering prices etc) about a week ago somewhere else.

My view, keep your head down. This debate doesn't really concern us indies. We're just fodder in the big boys battle.

Cheers, Greg.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: kpaul on August 09, 2014, 01:25:59 am
Would've been nice to have gotten an email about KU before they launched it, but very interesting to see this one in my Inbox.

Back to writing...
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: AngryGames on August 09, 2014, 01:30:54 am
Interesting conspiracy theory re: the whole whether or not Amazon/KDP authored that letter...

Here's what I've heard:

Hachette has purchased a time machine wholesale off Amazon and has sent James Patterson back through time to 1974 to hunt down Jeff Bezos as a child (played by Edward Furlong - of course!)

Readers unite and send back our own champion to stop the evil Patterson from undoing the revolution! I nominate Hugh Howey to be our Kyle Reese! 8)

Let's send this idea off to Patterson for him to hire out a ghost writer to pen. I get a cut because I write time machine stories, and you get a cut because you wrote this post. Everyone else owes us a licensing fee when they steal our idea.

I looked for a time machine at other retailers, by the way. So Amazon must be a monopoly, since if they shut down tonight, I'd not be able to buy a time machine from anyone else. I did see that I could buy plutonium from three different Iranian terrorist cells, but without a DeLorean from Amazon... all we'd have is enough for a bomb. I'd rather ride plutonium through time than watch my fingernails fall off and blood to seep into my pants from radiation poisoning.

I think I'll go spread some more rumors that Amazon wants to eat babies directly from the womb after they bake everyone to death in their slave warehouses.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JRTomlin on August 09, 2014, 01:32:24 am
Out of curiosity, for those posting saying that they find this disturbing, how is this move wildly different to Hachette enlisting their authors to blog, tweet, email, write newspaper pieces or drop anti-Amazon bombs on TV shows?

Is it just the request that you consider getting involved disturbing?

Amazon should just pull the buy buttons for Hachette and be done with it. I imagine negotiations would restart pretty quick if that happened.
This is pretty much my reaction.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: rosclarke on August 09, 2014, 01:34:25 am
Well, it made me VERY angry.
 
Amazon's negotiations with Hachette are none of my business.  Using their mailing list for that kind of campaigning is spamming of the worst kind. Trying to drag us in to take sides makes me feel used. Why the hell would I write to the CEO of Hachette and why the hell would he care? I have NO business relationship with him at all. 

It makes me want to pull my books from kdp and stop buying at Amazon, if they think they can use their customers in this sort of manipulative way. Ugh, ugh, ugh.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: dianasg on August 09, 2014, 01:35:20 am
Because Hachette asks THEIR authors. The authors they invested in, whose book launches they paid for, whose book tours they organised.

The only thing Amazon does for us is proved a service (a handy one, to be sure), but we pay Amazon a commission for selling our books. We are not Amazon's authors.

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.

So say what you (general you) will about the tactic, but I don't see much of a difference between what Amazon and Hachette have done to drag authors into this dispute. The only difference I see is that Hachette started it, which is largely irrelevant.

I'm honestly surprised by the vehement responses here... After all, it's just a request. Nothing stopping any annoyed prawn from deleting the email without another wasted thought. But maybe I'm in the minority?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: TobiasRoote on August 09, 2014, 01:36:51 am
I'm neither disturbed by it, nor angered at receiving it. How else are they going to contact you? You're in a business relationship with them and they want to make a point to you. Whether you agree with it or not, they've contacted you legitimately. It's your right to disagree of course, but I see nothing wrong with them putting their point across. Nor do I find it particularly heavy-handed - it's direct and doesn't waste your valuable time. How else could they have written it?

^^Agreed.  In addition, I don't think it is anything for people to get aired about. It IS relevant that Amazon clarify their position directly with their customers. I appreciate the fact they took the trouble even though I'm not remotely interested in the battle between them and Hachette.

Oh! and despite people saying anything to the contrary I think we ARE mostly Amazon authors, or are at least perceived to be by the reading public, especially if we are in KDP Select.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75814 on August 09, 2014, 01:41:41 am
Out of curiosity, for those posting saying that they find this disturbing, how is this move wildly different to Hachette enlisting their authors to blog, tweet, email, write newspaper pieces or drop anti-Amazon bombs on TV shows?

Is it just the request that you consider getting involved disturbing?

Amazon should just pull the buy buttons for Hachette and be done with it. I imagine negotiations would restart pretty quick if that happened.

Well first off, I don't think Hachette should enlist their authors to join the fight.

Second, Amazon is not my publisher, they're my distributor. Just like B&N, Smashwords, DriveThruDigital, Kobo, and iBooks are also my distributors. I'm not an Amazon author.

Third, if Amazon wants to prove they truly care about indies, then give us the same deals they've given trads. That means the ability to join KU without exclusivity, 60% of list price for KU borrows, and the ability to utilize pre-order buttons. If they're not willing to give me the same deal they're willing to offer trads (and the same deals that Amazon competitors offer), I'm not willing to take sides in their measuring contest.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: dianasg on August 09, 2014, 01:42:09 am
Why the hell would I write to the CEO of Hachette and why the hell would he care? I have NO business relationship with him at all. 

Anyone who has ever bought a book published by Hachette, or who publishes in the same marketplace as Hachette, has some kind of interest in the way Hachette prices books. Maybe no direct business relationship, but some kind of interest.

The Hachette thread at KB alone is up to 23 pages. Hugh and Joe's petition garnered over 7000 signatures. So it's not totally unreasonable to think that many authors would and do care about the Amazon-Hachette shenanigans.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin on August 09, 2014, 01:46:57 am
Now, if Amazon had offered an enhanced royalty percentage in return for helping them slay the mighty Hachette, that might have stirred my interest!

Anyhow, the only thing I'm predicting for sure is that this thread is going to break all KB length records.

 :o
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 on August 09, 2014, 01:51:42 am
Sensible response on the other side of the argument from one of the world's all-time best-selling authors

Paulo Coelho on Twitter

I don't understand this petition against @amazon . Shall writers start protesting against every bookstore that doesn't sell their books?

@EunuchJellyDnut @amazon is a bookstore , not a "cause"

https://twitter.com/paulocoelho/status/497919717835673601 (https://twitter.com/paulocoelho/status/497919717835673601)
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lydniz on August 09, 2014, 01:53:21 am
I'm not shocked or angered at all. I just don't particularly have a horse in this race. If I worked in the mailroom at Unilever and they were in a hostile takeover battle with Procter & Gamble I wouldn't write to P&G asking them to go easy, whatever perks I got from Unilever. It's the same in this case. None of my business.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin on August 09, 2014, 01:55:29 am
I'm not shocked or angered at all. I just don't particularly have a horse in this race. If I worked in the mailroom at Unilever and they were in a hostile takeover battle with Procter & Gamble I wouldn't write to P&G asking them to go easy, whatever perks I got from Unilever. It's the same in this case. None of my business.

Quite right, Lydniz. It could have turned into a soap opera.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: katherinef on August 09, 2014, 01:56:20 am
I received the ridiculous email too. Amazon has never done anything for me. Sure, they sell my books, but other retailers do too, and it's not like they're not getting paid for it. But why should I want other people's books to be cheaper? So I can be even more invisible? So Amazon can tell me to price my books even lower? Amazon clearly believes in their worshipers who think they owe Amazon everything and who will jump to help without thinking.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Katherine Roberts on August 09, 2014, 02:00:16 am
I just got this too.

Is it just me, or does it sound like something Hugh wrote? Maybe he's moonlighting as a ghostwriter for Amazon now. :P

I thought I recognised some of Hugh in there too! Haven't checked my email yet but I've already found the link on Twitter and Facebook, and shared it on my Facebook timeline with my thoughts. (Incidentally, I have a children's series published in French by Hachette... though they haven't mentioned this dispute to me.)

My feeling is authors are pawns in this game.
Title: Re: Readers United
Post by: Dora313 on August 09, 2014, 02:01:46 am
As far as I'm concerned, it's already ugly. I can't believe Amazon has the gall to ask Hachette authors to shut up out of one side of their figurative mouth and to ask us to storm Big Publishing from the other. IMO, it's time for them to start polishing up their concession letter and settle this aspect of the negotiations (I'm sure there are other issues we aren't hearing about; if they give on this, maybe they can get something equally juicy in return).

I also agree that readers will keep reading; they'll buy paperbacks if the ebooks are too expensive.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Harry Manners on August 09, 2014, 02:07:06 am
Just woke up to it. Already spat out a retweet about it.

I'm on the fence. I don't agree with dragging authors into the debate at all, but Hachette's already done that, and Amazon has a whole army of head-strong, businessmen and businesswomen publishing through their platform, and at least some of them have enough weight to add some pressure to the issue -- meanwhile, I get the feeling that Hachette's super-giant bestselling authors are just screaming in the dark, bound and gagged by contracts.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Dora313 on August 09, 2014, 02:24:33 am
Well first off, I don't think Hachette should enlist their authors to join the fight.

Second, Amazon is not my publisher, they're my distributor. Just like B&N, Smashwords, DriveThruDigital, Kobo, and iBooks are also my distributors. I'm not an Amazon author.

Third, if Amazon wants to prove they truly care about indies, then give us the same deals they've given trads. That means the ability to join KU without exclusivity, 60% of list price for KU borrows, and the ability to utilize pre-order buttons. If they're not willing to give me the same deal they're willing to offer trads (and the same deals that Amazon competitors offer), I'm not willing to take sides in their measuring contest.

^^ All of this.

And it did irritate me; just a little while ago, Amazon was asking Hachette authors to stop with the complaining although their tactics are directly affecting those authors' bottom lines now, not in some possible future time when a handful of $19.99 ebooks have caused the entire world to burn their Kindles and resurrected print to the point Border's is back. Now they want us - a group that's making them money hand over fist, a group they couldn't bother to notify before taking KU live - to start pestering Hachette. They even have the nerve to dress it up like they think we're actually relevant to this discussion. I mean, most of us have no relationship with Hachette.

No, thank you.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: legion on August 09, 2014, 02:32:07 am
I'm not shocked or angered at all. I just don't particularly have a horse in this race... None of my business.

^^This.

Meanwhile, I am way too amused by this whole thing. Guess I'm one of few who smiled at the Amazon letter!
I agree with Amazon about keeping the price of e-books somewhat low (under $12), but what do I care if some publishing company decides to price sky high?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Chinese Writer on August 09, 2014, 02:50:44 am
Looks like I won the lottery too. I hit the delete button. As a reader, there are plenty of low cost books to choose from already from indies that just as good as trad pub. As a writer, no way do I want trad pub lowering the prices of their books and competing with me. Nope, they can keep their prices sky high. I have no skin in this game.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin on August 09, 2014, 02:52:18 am
Many of the reactions on this thread are laughably over the top.   Ninety-nine percent of the people on this thread would not be pubbing if it wasn't for Zon.  Then they type things like  "what have they ever done for me."

 - except create a device and market that allowed me top fulfill my dream of being a full-time writer.

- except hammer out millions of emails daily promoting books by indies.

- except offer a royalty payment at 35% (when it started) which blew away the rate paid by anyone that was lucky enough to get past the trad pub gatekeepers.

Shall I go on? - I think not., eh?

Amazon have presented their point of view to authors that use their platform - either react, or don't.  They haven't given any of us any type of ultimatum. Save the faux outrage for something that really matters, eh?   

I'm not seeing faux outrage or genuine outrage in this thread - just a general unwillingness to take sides in a battle of the giants.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: David Wisehart on August 09, 2014, 03:00:46 am
Amazon has done a lot for indie authors.

Hachette won't even glance at a manuscript unless you first hire a literary pimp (for 15% commission) to hook you up.

Hachette is a dying relic.

Let them die.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: cahocking on August 09, 2014, 03:03:41 am
BEWARE! I also received the email, regarded it with suspicion, got onto Kindleboards and was following this thread when my husband came into the room and told he'd also received the email. He is NOT AN AUTHOR and has NEVER BOUGHT A BOOK from Amazon. The email went to an email address he uses exclusively for purchasing IT products from Amazon. He has been an IT professional for over forty years and is of the opinion that Amazon have been hacked big time and that the email should be ignored and deleted. I've done both.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: FictionalWriter on August 09, 2014, 03:05:12 am
I'd have really thought they'd have removed Hachette's books from their site before coming to this...

I worked over 20 years in corporate America, and the only time I've ever seen anything remotely close to what's going on between Hachette and Amazon is in politics.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin on August 09, 2014, 03:12:14 am
BEWARE! I also received the email, regarded it with suspicion, got onto Kindleboards and was following this thread when my husband came into the room and told he'd also received the email. He is NOT AN AUTHOR and has NEVER BOUGHT A BOOK from Amazon. The email went to an email address he uses exclusively for purchasing IT products from Amazon. He has been an IT professional for over forty years and is of the opinion that Amazon have been hacked big time and that the email should be ignored and deleted. I've done both.

To my semi-trained eye, the email message source (header) info looks genuine.

Edited to add: But to my semi-trained brain, this just doesn't seem typical of any KDP mail-out I've read before. Weird!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin Taber on August 09, 2014, 03:14:40 am
Sensible response on the other side of the argument from one of the world's all-time best-selling authors

Paulo Coelho on Twitter

I don't understand this petition against @amazon . Shall writers start protesting against every bookstore that doesn't sell their books?

@EunuchJellyDnut @amazon is a bookstore , not a "cause"

https://twitter.com/paulocoelho/status/497919717835673601 (https://twitter.com/paulocoelho/status/497919717835673601)

This is superb.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: D-C on August 09, 2014, 03:15:30 am
If I was a hacker and I'd hacked amazon the last thing I'd want to get involved in would be the Hachette dispute! ;)
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Writerly Writer on August 09, 2014, 03:18:46 am
No, you'd send out an email promoting your new book for 99cents as being "One of the best books of our time". :P
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: D-C on August 09, 2014, 03:20:56 am
No, you'd send out an email promoting your new book for 99cents as being "One of the best books of our time". :P

^This!^ lol
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin Taber on August 09, 2014, 03:21:45 am
No, you'd send out an email promoting your new book for 99cents as being "One of the best books of our time". :P

An email?

Maybe, but that email would be going out every few hours!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: CfaE on August 09, 2014, 03:27:34 am
I was a little bit surprised when I opened the email, but I wasn't upset by it. The main points in the email are all accurate as far as I know. It seemed to me that Amazon were keeping their authors informed. Which, with all the spin in the media, I can see being a necessary report to send out to people. How many support emails did Amazon receive after Colbert slammed them with some BS? I'm not surprised that Amazon are emailing people to keep them informed about the reality of it all. Companies often send out media blasts to their suppliers, customers and share holders about changes in their company or industry.

It was a little bit unusual because it seemed very personal, like a friend emailing me, but I kind of liked the reference about eBooks being the new paperbacks. In my opinion, they should have brought up the book men of old too, since they're reappearing in the digital world now, and selling independently again.

My only frown moment was the request at the end. I am happy to show some support to Amazon on this because I agree on their pricing structure. I want all readers, even the poor kids, to be able to afford my books, and I have been thoroughly unimpressed by Hachette's spin on the subject for a while now. When it all boils down to the end user, the reader, I want all my readers to be able to afford my books. High prices will make books into elitist items. Since the internet was invented in the 70's so that a kid in Africa could read a book in a library in the UK for free, which still hasn't happened yet, I'm strongly on the side of keeping literature affordable for everyone.

My problem is the kind of support that Amazon is asking for. I'd happily email Amazon and let them know why I appreciate their services and why I'd like to keep ebooks at a price everyone can afford. I'm not comfortable with emailing Hachette, a company who are strangers to me, to tell them off. Personally, I'd rather leave Amazon a public 5 star review than privately email a 1-star to Hachette.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Gentleman Zombie on August 09, 2014, 03:28:13 am
Well pretty much every author board I'm a member of is talking about this. So I don't think it's a hack at all. That letter is much too well written and focused to be the work of some random hacker. It's more than likely in retaliation to Hatchette's move to get their authors to blog and petition against Amazon.

Personally, I don't like it.  As writers we are  not the pawns of either Amazon or Hatchette. Also why in the world would indie writers want Hatchette to lower their prices in order to compete with us on our playing field?

I see no benefit for writers participating in this - none at all.
Title: Re: Readers United
Post by: D-C on August 09, 2014, 03:29:39 am
Readers do care. It directly involves them. This is already on GoodReads forums.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Accord64 on August 09, 2014, 03:33:51 am
I think this email is not typically how Amazon behaves. Until I get confirmation, I'm treating it as spam (and a disturbing hack of their system).
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: FictionalWriter 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.

Title: Re: Readers United
Post by: jamielakenovels 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. 
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Kia Zi Shiru 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Mark E. Cooper 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 3rotic on August 09, 2014, 03:44:09 am
Lmao. Leave it to a forum of writers to critique the quality of the writing.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 41419 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JumpingShip 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lady Vine 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Zelah Meyer 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!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: miadrey 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: D-C 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Zelah Meyer on August 09, 2014, 04:51:28 am
I only have it once so far, though, addressed to 'Dear KDP Author'.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on August 09, 2014, 04:53:29 am
I got it, but I have a KDP account though I've not published anything...

Betsy
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: VEwoodlake 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Ann in Arlington on August 09, 2014, 04:56:40 am
I've not seen it. Only have one account -- as a shopper/reader.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Dor North 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.




Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: josielitton 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.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: CaraS. 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: ElleT 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.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 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 (http://online.wsj.com/articles/amazon-aims-at-publisher-hachettes-ceo-in-contract-dispute-1407576530)
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75814 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?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Christa Wick 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Alondo 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?   
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Redacted1111 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?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Quiss on August 09, 2014, 05:26:59 am
I'm on Amazon's side on this dispute but I'm going to wait to see what KU does to my sales/revenue before leaping to Amazon's defense. I'm not sure if I'm as important to them as they claim.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Christa Wick on August 09, 2014, 05:27:24 am
What I find interesting is that there aren't any links in the body of the email going back to Amazon. That's one of the easiest ways to check for scammers.

the godaddy who.is - http://who.godaddy.com/whoisstd.aspx?domain=readers-united.com&prog_id=GoDaddy has Amazon Technologies as the owner.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Rick Gualtieri on August 09, 2014, 05:29:43 am
I made my thoughts on Amazon and Hachette clear in another thread.  Bottom line, though, is I decided to do as the letter requested. I shot off an email to Hachette's CEO expressing my thoughts as both a reader and an author.  It has nothing to do with being Amazon's friend or pawn.  I simply agree with what they're saying and , quite frankly, am also extremely annoyed at the one-sided press the big names on the other side are getting. 

Of course, I'm also glad I did so *before* coming to Kboards this morning as I'm sure reading this thread would have talked me out of it.  :D
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75814 on August 09, 2014, 05:30:06 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?

No, I sent an email both to KDP and to the readers-united address and told Amazon if they want my help, they need to offer me the same deal they offer traditional publishers—which means pre-order buttons and KU enrollment without exclusivity and 60% of list price per borrow. Until they do that, they can fight their own battles.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lexi Revellian on August 09, 2014, 05:30:25 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?

I have, because Amazon asked me to and I owe Amazon big time.

I'm sure Michael Pietsch will read it, if my email is the only one. ;D If it's not, then it'll be counted, no doubt.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: valeriec80 on August 09, 2014, 05:31:20 am
If it is from Amazon, I think they've vastly misjudged indie authors as a group. They don't call us indies for nothing, you know? We're independent. I think we all value that sense of freedom and autonomy. (Of course, we do all our our souls to the Amazon store, but none of us want to be reminded of that.) This email makes me feel icky because the casual way Amazon asks me to fight its battle makes me realize that they they think I should be grateful to them. (And, okay, I guess I should. Selling books on their site has changed my life.) It reminds me how much power Amazon has over me, and I don't actually like that feeling. I resent it. I want not to need them, not to be grateful to them, not to be asked to help them out. I want to be doing this on my own.

Heck, I am doing this on my own. (It would just be impossible without Amazon. Gah.)

Anyway, the overbearing smugness of the request, the offhand way they're trying to leverage me as if I'm one of their pawns.... well, I really don't like that.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: LynPerry on August 09, 2014, 05:31:41 am
At least is doesn't say, "All your ebook are belong to us."
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Quiss on August 09, 2014, 05:35:33 am
Why do I want [trad] 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."

Like   :D
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JeanetteRaleigh on August 09, 2014, 05:36:56 am
I love Amazon because they've given me an opportunity that I am incredibly grateful for. So, yes, I support them wholeheartedly (and my purchases reflect that).  That said, I still can't help but hope that Hachette and the rest get to price their books at an outrageous amount clearing the way for our books.  The last thing an indie author needs is a price war where traditional books are cheap.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Alondo on August 09, 2014, 05:44:55 am
No, I sent an email both to KDP and to the readers-united address and told Amazon if they want my help, they need to offer me the same deal they offer traditional publishers--which means pre-order buttons and KU enrollment without exclusivity and 60% of list price per borrow. Until they do that, they can fight their own battles.

Good for you!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: derekailes2014 on August 09, 2014, 05:45:21 am
I just read the email a couple minutes ago.  I wouldn't want authors like Stephen King and Dean Koontz selling their kindle versions for the same price as mine.  People would obvious choose the bigger name or a indie author.  9.99 does sound like a fair price.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: m.a. petterson on August 09, 2014, 05:47:14 am
Dear Mr. Bezos - thanks.

I own your stock in my IRA.

I sell my books via Kindle.

I've made money and saved money through Amazon.

I have no opinion on your mass email but you seem like a pretty smart fella so carry on.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JumpingShip on August 09, 2014, 05:47:40 am
I'm on Amazon's side on this dispute but I'm going to wait to see what KU does to my sales/revenue before leaping to Amazon's defense. I'm not sure if I'm as important to them as they claim.

Good idea. Maybe we should use their request for our own leverage.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Alondo on August 09, 2014, 05:48:10 am
I love Amazon because they've given me an opportunity that I am incredibly grateful for. So, yes, I support them wholeheartedly (and my purchases reflect that).  That said, I still can't help but hope that Hachette and the rest get to price their books at an outrageous amount clearing the way for our books.  The last thing an indie author needs is a price war where traditional books are cheap.

To me. this is the key point. Why would Indies cut their own throats?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Joe_Nobody on August 09, 2014, 05:51:30 am
I too received the email. If anyone's interested, here's my take:

One of Paterson's rants asked people to email Bezos and gave his email address. I'm sure several thousand did. I'm also sure it was annoying. I've noted several folks on this thread who were offended at receiving one email. Imagine receiving tens of thousands.

So this letter asks those that support Amazon to return the favor. I'd do the same thing if I were in Amazon's shoes. I hope the prez at Hachette receives a gadzillion of them. I imagine readers will be brought into this as well. I'd do that too.

My bottom line is that Amazon has the right to charge, and pay, whatever they want for the product they resell. They act no differently than any reseller on the planet. Big suppliers that deliver in volume get better terms (pre-order buttons and KU exclusions). Mom and pops (read us indies) get different terms. No one has to list their product on Amazon. No one has to accept their deal.

If you don't think Amazon is worthy of your support, then that's cool. Don't help them.
If you think Hachette is in the right, then delete the email. Don't shop on Amazon. Delist your books. Vote with your dollar (or BPS or Euro).

I've already sent off my email to Hachette because I don't agree with their position. 
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Rick Gualtieri on August 09, 2014, 05:51:49 am
Maybe I'm alone here, but I'm not afraid of a price war on Amazon.  The whole reason I work as hard as I do is to put out a professional quality product.  I don't pretend that I'm going to go toe to toe with the big names in my genre and win, but I am prepared to fight to hold my own and let readers be the judge.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Alondo on August 09, 2014, 05:51:56 am
I have, because Amazon asked me to and I owe Amazon big time.

I'm sure Michael Pietsch will read it, if my email is the only one. ;D If it's not, then it'll be counted, no doubt.

Well done. No doubt you're looking forward to your reduced sales, when traditionally publishers reduce prices to your level. 
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Brandon Shire on August 09, 2014, 05:53:32 am
Got it and I'm pretty angry. This is total BS. I do NOT support Amazon's tactics, at all. I see it as another form of price manipulation which benefits them and no one else. They claim readers, but as a reader I WILL pay premium prices for some authors and do so gladly. That's my determination to make, not theirs.
Can you imagine any other industry, perhaps the one you work in, where the distributor determines your company's profit margin?

I don't care for big pub in general, but this is ridiculous and disgraceful.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: komura 420 on August 09, 2014, 05:57:57 am
One corporation fighting another corporation.  Yawn. 

Too busy writing to pay attention to the greedbots.
 
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Brandon Shire on August 09, 2014, 06:01:38 am
Clearly you have never tried to distribute your product through Walmart.

I don't even shop at walmart, much less try to sell through it.  But thanks. And you made my point. Walmart costs local tax payers almost one million dollars a year b/c of the substandard wages they pay, and put ten of thousands of small biz owners out of work so they could import cheap poorly made products.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: My_Txxxx_a$$_Left_Too on August 09, 2014, 06:02:49 am
Content removed due to TOS Change of 2018. I do not agree to the terms.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Patty Jansen on August 09, 2014, 06:03:08 am
I don't even shop at walmart, much less try to sell through it.  But thanks.

Or you've never been a dairy farmer (or any kind of farmer, really).
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Caddy on August 09, 2014, 06:03:18 am
I got it and I'm ignoring it. Neither company has my best interest in mind. Amazon is a corporation. I appreciate that, I'm not disparaging them, but they certainly don't feel loyalty to any author. Hachette has its head up its a*s, like most publishing companies nowadays. I just write books and paint pictures.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: josielitton on August 09, 2014, 06:03:43 am
Maybe I'm alone here, but I'm not afraid of a price war on Amazon.  The whole reason I work as hard as I do is to put out a professional quality product.  I don't pretend that I'm going to go toe to toe with the big names in my genre and win, but I am prepared to fight to hold my own and let readers be the judge.

I totally agree.  I've had years of experience being traditionally published and while I've met some good people, I have no illusions about the overall competency of these companies when it comes to everything from editing to cover design to marketing.  From what I've seen of many indy authors, we more than hold our own.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 on August 09, 2014, 06:06:45 am
Well done. No doubt you're looking forward to your reduced sales, when traditionally publishers reduce prices to your level.

A bit late to worry about that and not just at Amazon. My bargain buy yesterday was £0.51 for Will Self's Umbrella (Bloomsbury 2012) on Nook. This was shortlisted for the Man Booker. Big Pub is already using indie pricing tactics, but not in the first year of publication.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: ABBradley on August 09, 2014, 06:09:20 am
Just putting on my thoughts but I think amazon is getting ancy. Google and Apple are both investing in competing with them in ebooks and more. Right now, amazon is the dominant player in both markets. Apple is sitting on the worlds largest pile of cash and googles not far behind. If they don't push publisher prices down now, Apple and Google could feasibly begin capturing some serious market share in the ebook industry. Plus, google and Apple have hands down the two dominant mobile and table operating systems. iBooks is already a native app, meaning it comes preinstalled in all apple devices. Android may have something similar as well. Plus Samsung has announced a partnership with Barnes and noble, and Samsung is as big as apple in the mobile/tablet industry.

Forcing hatchette to have lower prices on amazon is about them having lower prices on amazon and not elsewhere. They're trying to ensure they have the greatest discount possible so they can ensure most consumers go to amazon for their books and not other retailers.

When I read the email, my immediate reaction was, "wow is amazon getting worried about this or what?"
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Quiss on August 09, 2014, 06:09:51 am
Is time yet to start with the conspiracy theories?

Mine: This letter was penned by a Hachette supporter who's looking to rile up the pro-Amazon authors.

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0703/quiss/memes/tinfoil_zpsb09a3edf.jpg)
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Caddy on August 09, 2014, 06:13:34 am
Is time yet to start with the conspiracy theories?

Mine: This letter was penned by a Hachette supporter who's looking to rile up the pro-Amazon authors.

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0703/quiss/memes/tinfoil_zpsb09a3edf.jpg)

Mine: Both sides have been taken over by aliens from another galaxy who want to destroy all of our work and only allow theirs to be purchased. It's a slow, evil destruction of civilization as we know it. Pretty soon leading ladies and men at the movies will all have three eyes and tentacles...and tentacle port will become cozy romance.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Joe_Nobody on August 09, 2014, 06:15:22 am
If we're afraid of competition, then why do so many of us offer help on this forum? Indie books are competition as well.
Why do we support free books? Why do we help each other? Why do some of us enter our books in Select and KU?

If Hachette is allowed to earn 70% of books above $9.99, what do you think they're going to do with that extra profit? If I were them, I'd use it to promote my books. I would take the extra money and avalanche a marketing campaign like no other. Do any of us want to compete against that?

Hachette wants high ebook prices (while still maintaining 70%) to protect their hardback (not paperback) business. It is their highest profit line and the only one where Amazon and indies can't compete. They want that for a reason, and I don't think it's good for me.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: ElHawk on August 09, 2014, 06:16:29 am
Hell, if Hachette wants to shoot itself in the foot by charging $14.99, let it. It's their funeral.

Obviously Amazon wants lower ebook prices because it will also make 16% more if it sells 1.74 times more books. But of course, by now I don't want Hachette to win even if I think they ought to go nuts with their pricing if they want to, because then Douglas Preston and James Patterson will spend $104,000 on a NYT ad to talk about how they won and they're revolutionaries and YAY THE 1%!!! and frankly, I effing hate those guys and I want to see egg all over their faces.

Anyway. Whoever wins or loses, I'm still selling books.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Brandon Shire on August 09, 2014, 06:16:40 am
Or you've never been a dairy farmer (or any kind of farmer, really).
Actually, dairy was my very first job. Great respect for them. But those farms are all gone now. Replaced by big corps.
I haven't thought of them in years. Thanks for that. :) Simpler times back then.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: dkgould on August 09, 2014, 06:22:26 am
I too received the email. If anyone's interested, here's my take:

One of Paterson's rants asked people to email Bezos and gave his email address. I'm sure several thousand did. I'm also sure it was annoying. I've noted several folks on this thread who were offended at receiving one email. Imagine receiving tens of thousands.

So this letter asks those that support Amazon to return the favor. I'd do the same thing if I were in Amazon's shoes. I hope the prez at Hachette receives a gadzillion of them. I imagine readers will be brought into this as well. I'd do that too.

My bottom line is that Amazon has the right to charge, and pay, whatever they want for the product they resell. They act no differently than any reseller on the planet. Big suppliers that deliver in volume get better terms (pre-order buttons and KU exclusions). Mom and pops (read us indies) get different terms. No one has to list their product on Amazon. No one has to accept their deal.

If you don't think Amazon is worthy of your support, then that's cool. Don't help them.
If you think Hachette is in the right, then delete the email. Don't shop on Amazon. Delist your books. Vote with your dollar (or BPS or Euro).

I've already sent off my email to Hachette because I don't agree with their position. 
See, that's the thing.  Why should I participate in an insult war between two people that I don't know? (or anyone for that matter) This reads like a personal war that's pulling other people in, not even two companies fighting any longer.  So Patterson got a bunch of people to write some hate mail to Jeff Bezos.  Why should I send hate mail back to Michael Pietsch?  It's messed up (in stronger verbage).  If Amazon really wants us to do something, they should be emailing us as customers and laying out their message.  Then they should stop carrying the Hachette books and in addition ask customers not to purchase them (and the reasons for that). 

I DO support lower prices for ebooks.  And just in case there's anyone left who isn't mad at me, I hope someday that indie prices rise and trad pub prices lower until there's no longer any distinction between them.  I don't want people reading my books just because they are cheaper, I want people to read my books because they are BETTER.  And if they aren't, if they can't compete, then I don't belong in this job.  Period.  So I DO support what Amazon is trying to do, but I don't understand how using authors as a personal army in a flame war is going to help them achieve it.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: AngryGames on August 09, 2014, 06:26:54 am
Listen, let's put a stop to this "Amazon is feeling pressure" or "Amazon is losing the upper hand" bs right now.

Amazon has every single card in this dispute. EVERY. SINGLE. CARD. Don't believe me? Let's take a look at the most important aspect of this question:

1. Hachette, at the instant I hit post on this reply, pulls ALL of their books from Amazon. Instantly. Does this affect Amazon? No. Sure, they'll lose some revenue, but that's not the same as losing money. A product that they were simply a storefront/distributor for is gone from their virtual and warehouse shelves. Ho-hum. They'll make it up in other areas. And to be realistic, Hachette's book sales account for very little of Amazon's overall sales (no, I don't have actual sales audit figures, but I've seen the millions of products Amazon has for sale, and there's no way Hachette books make up more than a single percentage point of sales).

2. Amazon decides, at the time of this post, to stop carrying all Hachette books. Period. None. Does this affect Hachette (and more importantly, Hachette authors)?
You %#@$#@-A right it does. It would be a very serious financial hit on both the company, and the authors. Hachette relies heavily on the volume of sales they do at Amazon. Amazon can easily survive without Hachette books being sold. Hachette would have a very hard time surviving without Amazon's storefront and customer base.

Advantage: Amazon. Completely. Amazon knows this.

I mean, I don't even have to carry the argument any further. Hachette is in a fight for its life, and the other publishers know that what happens with Hachette will likely happen with them. Only Randy Penguin has any real clout, and even they can't force Amazon's hand, because again, Amazon can survive just fine without them. And other publishers, they all know they need Amazon a lot more than the Zon needs them.  WHEN Hachette fails and has to eat whatever Amazon feeds them, the rest of the publishers will see the truth of the matter.

Now, don't go telling me I've got my tongue so far up Amazon's butthole that I taste sunlight. It doesn't matter how I feel about Amazon. Look at the imbalance in power between Amazon and any of these publishers. Again, Amazon holds all the cards. They are not worried. They are not paranoid. They are not afraid of negative PR. Because no one gives a [crap] about this other than authors, publishers, Amazon, and some media outlets (and only when it's a slow news day).

Oh, Amazon isn't carrying some publisher's (because who the %#@$ knows the names of publishers other than those of us in the industry?) books? I'll just go ahead and order my case of Brawny paper towels, a new fishing pole, one truck tire (don't ask why I only need one truck tire), and a box of thin mints. I'll also, just like my neighbors and everyone else that shops on Amazon, keep buying the books that Amazon DOES carry. If we really want a Hachette book, we'll buy it from B&N or some other website or retail store.

Because Amazon KNOWS that customers are not going to stop shopping at their website simply because they are in a spat with a publisher (again, who the [expletive] knows the names of publishers other than us? No one). Again, advantage: Amazon. Completely.

If you want, I can go into why pre-order buttons don't hurt authors, and other rants I left at TPV.

Better yet, I'll just repeat what I said earlier, because I'm still unable to grasp exactly why the shock and outrage that authors are feeling about this:

Quote
Funny, I see it (Amazon's letter to authors) as the exact opposite. It's Amazon doing a mirror image of what Hachette did by asking the AG and Patterson and Colbert to shill for big publishing. I think it's meant to say "hey, you got like... 600 authors to sign your little petition to us, yet self-pub authors got 7500+ to sign theirs, so let's see what happens when we copy something else you've done."

I'm interested in seeing what happens. I have no idea why any author would be shocked or angered at receiving this email. You sell your books through Amazon. This concerns authors. Maybe not you, since you don't have a trad-pub contract. But it affects authors, regardless. Hence, you get an email when something concerns authors.

Why the surprise and dismay? Delete it and move on with your life, or write to Amazon and complain, or write to Hachette and complain, but don't pretend to be shocked and outraged that the company you sell your books through thinks since you are an author, you might have an interest in this situation. No one is that naive. Are they?

Also, this email came to me at the email address that is solely for receiving KDP communications. Looks legit, but I think I'll wait for Konrath to say something (or Howey, or someone who might have an inside contact within KDP to verify this is a legit email to us.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Cherise on August 09, 2014, 06:27:45 am
Why would I write to Hachette and ask them to lower their ebook prices to a level where they compete with my books?

I say, the higher their prices, the better!   



This is how I see it, too.


I was one of the 7600 who signed the original petition. I signed it to let the public know Amazon was not some big bad meanie and in hopes of keeping our overzealous government from stepping in and shutting Amazon down.

I am not in the least inclined to write to some big 5 publisher and beg them to lower their ebook prices. That is against my self interest.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Daizie on August 09, 2014, 06:27:53 am
Out of curiosity, for those posting saying that they find this disturbing, how is this move wildly different to Hachette enlisting their authors to blog, tweet, email, write newspaper pieces or drop anti-Amazon bombs on TV shows?

Is it just the request that you consider getting involved disturbing?

Amazon should just pull the buy buttons for Hachette and be done with it. I imagine negotiations would restart pretty quick if that happened.

Because Hachette asks THEIR authors. The authors they invested in, whose book launches they paid for, whose book tours they organised.

The only thing Amazon does for us is proved a service (a handy one, to be sure), but we pay Amazon a commission for selling our books. We are not Amazon's authors.

Exactly. We have nothing to do with the negotiations or either company's stance. Why would some CEO care what a bunch of indie authors think?

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: beccaprice on August 09, 2014, 06:39:03 am
I intend to write Hachette, but I'm not sure how many of Amazon's talking points I'm going to use.

I'm going to say something like, go ahead. Sell your ebooks for $19.95, and your hardbacks for $40. Double - no, tripple - the price of all your books (especially your children's books, please). Because the more people can't afford your books, the more likely they will be to look at my independently published books.

and please, while you're at it, lower your already unconscionably low rate that you pay your midlist and other authors who aren't in the gilded 1%. Because, as Princess Leia said, The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin Hachette, the more star systems authors will slip through your fingers and join the indy world. Can you survive on just the top 1% of authors who claim to be "authors united" (although they don't speak for me), as more and more strong but not top selling authors realize how much more money they can make by going indy? You can keep your Prestons and Pattersons. I"ll stay with Courtney Milan and other favorite indy writers.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Andrew Ashling on August 09, 2014, 06:47:22 am
At least is doesn't say, "All your ebook are belong to us."

Bu they do say, "The Hachette is a lie."
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Error404 on August 09, 2014, 06:49:46 am
After reading the email and this thread, my initial reaction of anger towards the email remains.  I didn't give them that email so they could mail me propaganda, and I don't believe we should put the control of prices for ebooks into the hands of the one who distributes them.  If that's the way it's done win other sectors of distribution, fine, but not in a sector where I'd like to set my own prices.

And as others have said, if they cared about every author they wouldn't be giving perks to the honored few or forcing us into exclusivity contracts to get into their programs.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: BillSmithBooksDotCom on August 09, 2014, 06:50:50 am
Here is the letter I sent to the Amazon address on readersunited.com:

# # #

Dear Amazon:

I read the "readersunited.com" page and noticed the comment thread about your letter on both ThePassiveVoice.com and Kboards.com. While I am not sure if this is truly an Amazon effort or just a spoof, my comment assumes (for the sake of argument) that this is a legit letter on Amazon's behalf.

Please, please give in to Hachette and give them what they think they want. Allow them to price their books at outrageous prices. Let the rest of the Big 6 follow suit. Adopt a standard wholesale model where you pay them their wholesale cost and sell books at the retail price they want. Don't discount them. In fact, refuse to discount them.

And simply allow the magic of the "you might also like" and "customers also bought" algorithms to direct readers to books by other authors that are more reasonably priced.

There are an incredible number of independent authors who write exceptional books and who are much more reasonably priced. They will gladly fill the vacuum created by the foolishness of the traditional publishers.

Give Hachette what it wants and allow them to be hoist on their own petard as their sales plummet. And then you can simply say, "We gave them what they wanted. It's not our fault that they choose not to be competitive."

# # #

Now, as for Amazon having ALL of the cards -- not entirely true IMHO

1) The Big 6 could all pull out of the Amazon store. Then the Amazon stores looks pretty sparse and Amazon is likely to lose a ton of momentum, especially if the major publishers stay in B&N, Apple & Kobo.

All it takes is for one publisher to do it on their own and the others can follow suit over the course of a couple of days or weeks. It would be hard to prove a case for collusion -- all the companies have to do is publicly state that they will not do business with a company that bullies them. You can't be forced to sell your product to anyone you don't want to -- you have the right to refuse to sell if you can't come to terms.

(Of course, that means the Big 6 need to have a backup plan for selling their books...which I doubt they have. And even if they did have one, I am absolutely certain that they would bungle any direct sale effort in amazing and profound ways.)

2) Remember that most of the Big 6 are owned by Big Media companies -- Time-Warner, Disney, Fox, etc. We are talking not just books, but DVDs, ondemand video, music, basically any form of media in the world -- if the parent companies decided to strong arm Amazon or pull their products from Amazon, it would be a BIG problem for Amazon.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: unkownwriter on August 09, 2014, 06:52:44 am
An Open Letter to Jeff Bezos and Amazon:

Got your email. Won't do anything you've asked. I have no dog in this fight. I don't expect you to ask Hachette to interfere with us when you update the TOS I sign to have you distribute my books, so why should I interfere in this? Please do not include me in any future negotiations in contract disputes with your suppliers.

Thanks.

Ta,

Indie Author

I appreciate the role Amazon has played in the ebook revolution, but it would have happened at some point anyway. I don't dislike Amazon. I'm sorry traditionally published authors are getting screwed, but they signed the contracts. They can get lawyers to negotiate those contracts. I either sign Amazon's TOS or I don't. That's it.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Joe_Nobody on August 09, 2014, 06:53:53 am
See, that's the thing.  Why should I participate in an insult war between two people that I don't know? (or anyone for that matter)

A valid, understandable point. My logic for taking sides is that I do business with Amazon, I don't with Hachette. For better or worse, Amazon is my partner. Like Mrs. Nobody (another partner), we don't always agree. But it works, and now my partner is asking for my help.

Even at that, I agree with Amazon's position more-so than Hachette's. If I didn't, I wouldn't have sent the email. Neither corporation is a saint by any means. Neither cares about me. My bottom line is that I could be impacted if Amazon looses and the result is a significant change in their business model. If Hachette looses, then I could care less.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Catchy on August 09, 2014, 06:55:17 am
I got one too. I have never published an e-book on Amazon (I had a publisher who did years and years ago), and I've never purchased a Kindle product. Not sure how I made that list.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 on August 09, 2014, 06:56:42 am
Amazon has been losing the PR war from the day they broke their silence and informed us that Hachette were not even negotiating and were out of contract. No amount of fan fervour can spin that into Hachette needs Amazon.

 It is not economics that makes Amazon need Hachette it is Bezos' compulsive drive for market share over profits. If he lets Hachette go the institutional shareholders will want to know why they have foregone dividends for the promise of worldwide domination by the Everything Store.

Listen, let's put a stop to this "Amazon is feeling pressure" or "Amazon is losing the upper hand" bs right now.

Amazon has every single card in this dispute. EVERY. SINGLE. CARD. Don't believe me? Let's take a look at the most important aspect of this question:

Amazon can easily survive without Hachette books being sold. Hachette would have a very hard time surviving without Amazon's storefront and customer base.

Advantage: Amazon. Completely. Amazon knows this.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Cherise on August 09, 2014, 06:58:55 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.


Amazon mentions YOU in the email!

That has to feel like a big deal on at least some level, David.  ;)
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Rick Gualtieri on August 09, 2014, 07:15:04 am
A valid, understandable point. My logic for taking sides is that I do business with Amazon, I don't with Hachette. For better or worse, Amazon is my partner. Like Mrs. Nobody (another partner), we don't always agree. But it works, and now my partner is asking for my help.

Even at that, I agree with Amazon's position more-so than Hachette's. If I didn't, I wouldn't have sent the email. Neither corporation is a saint by any means. Neither cares about me. My bottom line is that I could be impacted if Amazon looses and the result is a significant change in their business model. If Hachette looses, then I could care less.

Pretty much sums up my thoughts as well.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Cherise on August 09, 2014, 07:20:49 am
I blame the Russian hackers. They stole 1.2 billion passwords and 500 million e-mail addresses. Since there has been no widespread looting of bank accounts it's now clear what their target was all along.


Good one!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Alondo on August 09, 2014, 07:26:10 am
Here is the letter I sent to the Amazon address on readersunited.com:

# # #

Dear Amazon:

I read the "readersunited.com" page and noticed the comment thread about your letter on both ThePassiveVoice.com and Kboards.com. While I am not sure if this is truly an Amazon effort or just a spoof, my comment assumes (for the sake of argument) that this is a legit letter on Amazon's behalf.

Please, please give in to Hachette and give them what they think they want. Allow them to price their books at outrageous prices. Let the rest of the Big 6 follow suit. Adopt a standard wholesale model where you pay them their wholesale cost and sell books at the retail price they want. Don't discount them. In fact, refuse to discount them.

And simply allow the magic of the "you might also like" and "customers also bought" algorithms to direct readers to books by other authors that are more reasonably priced.

There are an incredible number of independent authors who write exceptional books and who are much more reasonably priced. They will gladly fill the vacuum created by the foolishness of the traditional publishers.

Give Hachette what it wants and allow them to be hoist on their own petard as their sales plummet. And then you can simply say, "We gave them what they wanted. It's not our fault that they choose not to be competitive."

# # #

Now, as for Amazon having ALL of the cards -- not entirely true IMHO

1) The Big 6 could all pull out of the Amazon store. Then the Amazon stores looks pretty sparse and Amazon is likely to lose a ton of momentum, especially if the major publishers stay in B&N, Apple & Kobo.

All it takes is for one publisher to do it on their own and the others can follow suit over the course of a couple of days or weeks. It would be hard to prove a case for collusion -- all the companies have to do is publicly state that they will not do business with a company that bullies them. You can't be forced to sell your product to anyone you don't want to -- you have the right to refuse to sell if you can't come to terms.

(Of course, that means the Big 6 need to have a backup plan for selling their books...which I doubt they have. And even if they did have one, I am absolutely certain that they would bungle any direct sale effort in amazing and profound ways.)

2) Remember that most of the Big 6 are owned by Big Media companies -- Time-Warner, Disney, Fox, etc. We are talking not just books, but DVDs, ondemand video, music, basically any form of media in the world -- if the parent companies decided to strong arm Amazon or pull their products from Amazon, it would be a BIG problem for Amazon.

Kudos to you, bro!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Josh St. John on August 09, 2014, 07:27:22 am
So... just to make sure I'm understanding this correctly.

Amazon wants me to email a huge publishing company that I: hate the values of (hence, being indie and all), and that I'm going to be competing against in an already over-saturated marketplace, to tell them that I want them to LOWER the prices of their eBooks?

I am at a total loss of why this was sent to SELF-publishers. I think what Amazon has done for indies has been an amazingly awesome thing. We're SELF-publishers because we DON'T want to deal with this BS.

Sorry Amazon, I'm not grabbing my broadsword to fight in a battle that'll most likely end up in me accidentally chopping my own head off.

This should have been sent to... uh... I dunno... maybe... customers? Yeah... customers.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: SunHi Mistwalker on August 09, 2014, 07:37:21 am
Uhm, yeah I got the letter. And if it is in fact legit, I am VERY annoyed to say the least. I did not signup for KDP to be sent letters like this. I don't want to be involved with their disputes. And I'm furious that the letter is so long, that's MY time. When I receive a letter from KDP I expect that it is official business not them trying to make me a pawn in their war. I'm just hoping this letter is not legit. Who would come up with an idea like this?  >:(
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: btsc99 on August 09, 2014, 07:42:44 am
I have replied to the Email as follows :-

Dear Sir/Madam,

As a "KDP Author" I am requesting a copy of my employment contract.

Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Al Dente on August 09, 2014, 07:43:28 am
I also just got the letter. I don't stick my nose into anything other than a good book these days, so I'm staying out of this particular war.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lucas on August 09, 2014, 07:47:28 am
I don't know what to think about this. There are various parts of my brain and each one of them are shouting something (I think they're my conscience).
1st part: Let writers write. I'm a fracking writer, not a business man. SHEESH!
2nd part: Yes you're a writer but you never heard of Hachette because its name hasn't reached your country until this corporation wars. You've only heard of Amazon.
3rd part: Let Hachette do their thing, you know the sayings: 'adapt or die' & 'survival of the fittest'
4th part: Most of your income comes from Amazon. And you never heard of Hachette, right? (until this... this dispute) Stand for amazon, have some balls and do what they requested you to do!
5th part: Let the readers decide, like what 3rd's said: survival of the fittest.
6th part: But do readers care about this? I mean... do they? If I'm a reader I don't care if they shoot themselves on the foot.
7th part: Remember Henry Ford who proved his cars are better against the company who had patented automobiles. Stand for something, I don't care what something, just stand.

I think I'm on amazon on this...
History does repeats itself, maybe in another form and in another way, but it does repeat itself. Remember the Dark ages and the printing press.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: abishop on August 09, 2014, 07:57:11 am
Hachette could not care less what KDP authors think about their dispute.  They care primarily about shareholders and to a lesser degree their own authors.  Your e-mail to Hachette will not bring the dispute any closer to being resolved, and Amazon has to know that.  They're basically asking parties unrelated to the dispute to try to annoy the other party.  That's incredibly unprofessional.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Wolfpack on August 09, 2014, 08:00:42 am
I wonder how many in this forum would have never had their voice heard if not for Amazon.

Here' my letter to Pietsch

Dear Mr. Pietsch:  Having been involved in publishing in one way or another for 30 years I've seen lots of changes in the industry.  Having written for both legacy publishers and self-publishing I'm more than only slightly aware of the problems faced by both approaches.  I'm also aware of the dangers of any one company having a monopoly or even a majority share of the market place in any industry.  That said, as a former mid-list author in a genre, westerns, I can testify that both the author and the genre were shuttled aside--and not due to a disinterest from buyers of western fiction.  Part of the problem as I see it was the fact legacy publishers went with the flow, moved into the easy markets, such as romance.  And I don't mean easy from a writer's craft standpoint, but easy as a huge market is probably more easily penetrated than a small market is dominated.  I formed a company a year or so ago because I saw a void left by legacy publishers, such as yourself and your company, and am pleased to report that we're selling lots of books...so, thanks for leaving mid-list writers such as myself an opportunity to again work in an industry that many of us are driven to follow.  I'm sending four figure monthly checks to authors who found themselves out of the market for many recent years.  A market that many of us were driven out of due to legacy publisher disinterest.  Then again, my thanks should be directed to Amazon as they are the ones who offered the opportunity to pierce the iron curtain that was formerly cost of participation.  I understand that there is a lot of inferior product now available to readers, but when in a free enterprise system has there not been, be it widgets or books?  One of the wonderful things about our system is freedom of choice, and, now, more than ever before, readers have that freedom.  I personally love the opportunity to make a living by offering my own work, and that of more than twenty other authors, at very low prices. So, ease up on Amazon.  Freedom of choice, remember?  If you don't like what they're doing, invest lots of capital and carve a notch out of their market.  L. J. Martin, Wolfpack Publishing LLC
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: valeriec80 on August 09, 2014, 08:11:55 am
A valid, understandable point. My logic for taking sides is that I do business with Amazon, I don't with Hachette. For better or worse, Amazon is my partner. Like Mrs. Nobody (another partner), we don't always agree. But it works, and now my partner is asking for my help.

Even at that, I agree with Amazon's position more-so than Hachette's. If I didn't, I wouldn't have sent the email. Neither corporation is a saint by any means. Neither cares about me. My bottom line is that I could be impacted if Amazon looses and the result is a significant change in their business model. If Hachette looses, then I could care less.

See, I don't see Amazon as my partner. Because things between Amazon and me are not equal. Amazon does not need me. Amazon would not even notice if I pulled all my books and stopped selling them. I need Amazon far more than it needs me. So, we're not partners. Not even close.

Logically, though, I should suck up to the hand that's feeding me. But, some stubborn, adolescent part of me wants to give Amazon the finger right now. I'm not totally sure why, I admit. The fact remains, the request rubs me the wrong way, it doesn't make me feel warm and fuzzy toward Amazon, and it seems like lots of other people had the same reaction as me. So, I'd say bad PR move, all told.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 77071 on August 09, 2014, 08:13:18 am
I just got this email and it concerned and unnerved me.  Bad vibes, man.   :-( 

If this was on Joe Konrath's blog, which it appeared to be at least partially cribbed from to me, I would be OK with it.  I still wouldn't email any company, though.  This seemed weirdly unprofessional and not like the Amazon I've come to rely on. 

They are my bread and butter, but I am not interested in this dispute except as a curiosity.  I do not want to be hauled into the fight or whatever this is.  I hope that Amazon resolves its issues without having to contact me again in such a seemingly-unprofessional manner.

I wish them well, and I want nothing but good for Amazon, a company I rely on and trust and that helps me earn a living.  But getting this email still concerns me.  It seems, well, un-Amazon-like.  :-(

And personally, 8 dollars is my TOP limit for fiction lately.  Very top.  Why would I want to get involved in a price dispute above what I'd pay or sell for?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: NoLongerPosting on August 09, 2014, 08:14:52 am
Removed due to site owner's change of TOS.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Carradee on August 09, 2014, 08:16:44 am
Let's assume the e-mail's legit. I see the e-mail as Amazon giving Hachette the benefit of the doubt. Oh, there's the PR part of it, and the countering what Hachette's done. But look at the talking points they suggest.

Quote
Please consider including these points:

- We have noted your illegal collusion. Please stop working so hard to overcharge for ebooks. They can and should be less expensive.
- Lowering e-book prices will help – not hurt – the reading culture, just like paperbacks did.
- Stop using your authors as leverage and accept one of Amazon’s offers to take them out of the middle.
- Especially if you’re an author yourself: Remind them that authors are not united on this issue.

The specific talking points are direct disproof to misinformation/disinformation that Hachette & co. are spreading. They're even phrased politely, without being nearly as harsh or pointed as they could've been. It reads as someone graciously attempting to give a pointed reminder to save someone from themselves. It rarely works. But sometimes…

The e-mail doesn't say "Tell Hachette to roll over and accept all our terms!" It explicitly sticks to historic precedent and fact, except for the "Stop using your authors as leverage"—which, if you read the entire sentence, is referring to Hachette's repeated refusal to let the authors keep making money as if the dispute isn't happen. Amazon's made 3 different offers, on that front. They aren't stupid. They know how those authors' careers are being affected.

Amazon might even be operating with a hope that Hachette will respond to the tactics it itself uses, since classic professionalism isn't working. (As far as the e-mail itself being unprofessional or not—there are different types of professionalism. The e-mail is a polite request and well within the realm of acceptable.)

While Amazon would've been well within its rights to kick Hachette from its system months ago, the PR backlash would've been horrific. With how loudly Hachette (and media) started yelling "Bully" over the loss of the pre-order buttons, how much worse would it have been if they were kicked from the system? I wouldn't be surprised if Amazon's working up to kicking Hachette from its system just as holiday sales would start up.

I'm still deciding if I'll e-mail Hachette or not, but if I do, it'll be pointing out their own hypocrisy on details like their calls to have their authors pulled out of the middle while refusing to accept anything that would pull their authors out of the middle. I may even mention that it's a red flag of intentionally manipulative and toxic behavior. My goal there would be reminding Hachette that not all authors support them and that their actions disprove their words.

If Hachette wants to commit suicide, fine. I honestly don't care which company wins in the pricing debate. The market always changes. That's life. I'm not going to go grasping to keep the status quo. (My personality probably affects this—I thrive on change.)
Title: Re: Readers United
Post by: cinisajoy on August 09, 2014, 08:21:21 am
Reader opinion.
I don't worry who publishes the book.  I don't care about pre-orders.   (How can I be sure the book will be out when promised?)   And as long as I have something to read I will be happy.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lisa Grace on August 09, 2014, 08:28:24 am
I like trade publishers keeping their prices sky high on ebooks. I don't think Amazon should be dictating prices to them. However, I don't think publishers should collude on pricing, or lie about Amazon not selling their books when in actuality all they did was take away pre-order buttons. When my books hit bestseller lists it's because people actually did buy the books on that day, and did not have 4-6 months of orders all fall in on one day, so I'm not upset because they lost this perk from not re-signing their contract.
Also, on taking 2-3 weeks for delivery of books: Again, it's not Amazon's fault Hachette is not set up for real-time delivery. This is a perk they get from having a signed contract.

I hope they do keep their prices high. Amazon can keep featuring us lower priced indies, and charge the big boys more for add placement on their high priced stuff. I think this could be a win-win if Amazon would just leave price points be.
OR
Amazon could offer those trade authors much higher *royalties* (compensation) and "buy" them away from the publishers.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: kyokominamino on August 09, 2014, 08:28:31 am
I got my Amazon-Hachette letter today. Ooh, I feel so important now! Too bad I'm not gonna do squat about it.

I'm not paying this war any mind because I'm still a nobody, but from what I skimmed, I'm of the opinion that you can't force someone to lower the price of their merchandise. It's a free market. If they want to make ludicrously expensive books, then let them. If there are people who will buy those books at those prices, then let them. If that pricing starts to tank their company, then they'll lower prices themselves. If they don't, then they'll go the way of Blockbuster for not adapting to the times.

I dunno. Maybe I should care more, or would care more if I actually made money off my books, but right now I'm still grinding my way past the first year published checkpoint. The last thing on my mind is a clash of the titans remake in the online publishing world.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: kyokominamino on August 09, 2014, 08:30:12 am
So... just to make sure I'm understanding this correctly.

Amazon wants me to email a huge publishing company that I: hate the values of (hence, being indie and all), and that I'm going to be competing against in an already over-saturated marketplace, to tell them that I want them to LOWER the prices of their eBooks?

I am at a total loss of why this was sent to SELF-publishers. I think what Amazon has done for indies has been an amazingly awesome thing. We're SELF-publishers because we DON'T want to deal with this BS.

Sorry Amazon, I'm not grabbing my broadsword to fight in a battle that'll most likely end up in me accidentally chopping my own head off.

This should have been sent to... uh... I dunno... maybe... customers? Yeah... customers.

^^ THIS.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: SarahCarter on August 09, 2014, 08:31:05 am
I can kind of see Amazon's point of view here. After all, Hatchette is being supported by all these big authors who are signing petitions and making a fuss on their behalf. So of course Amazon wants some author support of its own. Heck, for all we know Hachette is sending similar emails to its authors, asking them to be vocal in their support.

But...I think it just comes off as kind of desperate for them to email EVERYONE. And I think it's a bit naff to ask us to email them. The Hatchette people are probably going to fall off their chairs laughing if small-fry authors like myself start emailing them with suggestions for how they run their company. I think Amazon should have simply requested support in the form of petitions and media awareness.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Mike McIntyre on August 09, 2014, 08:31:16 am
Anyone else creeped out by Amazon's request to c.c. them your emails to Hachette? Reminded me of Santa making a list and checking it twice to find out who's naughty or nice.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Jan Strnad on August 09, 2014, 08:32:53 am
Here is the letter I sent to the Amazon address on readersunited.com:

# # #

Dear Amazon:

Please, please give in to Hachette and give them what they think they want. Allow them to price their books at outrageous prices. Let the rest of the Big 6 follow suit. Adopt a standard wholesale model where you pay them their wholesale cost and sell books at the retail price they want. Don't discount them. In fact, refuse to discount them.

And simply allow the magic of the "you might also like" and "customers also bought" algorithms to direct readers to books by other authors that are more reasonably priced.

There are an incredible number of independent authors who write exceptional books and who are much more reasonably priced. They will gladly fill the vacuum created by the foolishness of the traditional publishers.

Give Hachette what it wants and allow them to be hoist on their own petard as their sales plummet. And then you can simply say, "We gave them what they wanted. It's not our fault that they choose not to be competitive."


I feel as if I've suddenly wandered onto the Isle of Sanity. How did I get here? Is this place real or an illusion? Will it last, or will it vanish like Brigadoon?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: SarahCarter on August 09, 2014, 08:34:44 am
Anyone else creeped out by Amazon's request to c.c. them your emails to Hachette? Reminded me of Santa making a list and checking it twice to find out who's naughty or nice.

Yeah, I found that part a bit weird. I think maybe they're after good quotes.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Duane Gundrum on August 09, 2014, 08:35:18 am
Yeah, like many others, I got two copies of this letter today. My only response was to come here to see what others had to say about the issue. Other than that, I really don't care. I'm not involved in their dispute in any way. Hatchett would NEVER have anything to do with me, so an email from me would be like asking out Shania Twain for a date. I could do it, but it's never going to result in any positive response.

My only gripe in this whole fight is that I'm sort of annoyed that Amazon is trying to use me as some kind of leverage when I'm such an unimportant cog in a wheel that hasn't ever turned.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Victoria J on August 09, 2014, 08:35:29 am
The email looks legit to me. I agree with Amazon's side of things. I don't see the big deal in all of this. I'm not emailing the Hachette CEO (I've got better things to do) but I certainly don't find the letter nefarious or disturbing. If people don't agree with what's said in the letter, delete it and move on.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Rick Gualtieri on August 09, 2014, 08:38:57 am
Here's what I sent.  (apologies for any typos or grammar issues...<7AM is not my most coherent moments :).  I made it more about my points as a person than any boiler plates.

************************

Dear Mr. Pietsch,

I hope this email finds you well.  I am writing because one of your authors, Douglas Preston, has recently garnered a lot of press asking readers to email Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos regarding the availability of Hachette books on their website.  I am writing to you instead because, while I have been a great fan of Mr. Preston's for many years, I feel his efforts only capture half of the argument.  Books should be available to those who wish to read them, but they should be fairly priced.

I have been a reader of Mr. Preston (and his writing partner Lincoln Child) ever since their debut novel.  However, I have found myself shying away from their new releases for quite some time, well before your current negotiations with Amazon.com.  The reason for this is simple: as much of a fan of any author I might be, I find myself hesitant to invest over ten dollars for an ebook.

I have been a proponent of Amazon's Kindle since the beginning. I was an early adopter, purchasing a first generation Kindle reader for my wife on the heavy recommendation of a coworker. I'll admit, at the time it was a bit of a desperation purchase for me, not knowing what to get her that year, but that soon changed.  I found myself greatly enjoying both the experience of ebooks and the convenience of purchasing them from the comfort of wherever we might have been.  For a time, though, the Kindle remained a bit of an odd luxury because there simply weren't a great deal of authors available on it. Then things changed.  It seems that almost overnight I began finding more and more books available on the Kindle that were to my liking.  Slowly, I began to branch out my tastes - consuming novels by authors I had previously never heard of, such as JA Konrath and William Meikle.  Best yet was my joy in realizing that many of these books were priced very reasonably, under five dollars.  I remember purchasing five dollar paperbacks as a teen from such stores as B. Dalton and Walden books, but it had been quite some time since I had been able to enjoy a novel at a price where I didn't think twice about picking up another immediately.  Needless to say, since then, our number of Kindle purchases has been considerable.

Today, I am happy to still consider myself a fan of Amazon and their ebook technology.  In addition to that, these other - previously unknown to me - authors inspired me to rekindle an old love of my own - writing.  I wrote many stories back in college, stopping once life, family, and career got in the way.  Flash forward three years and I now find myself an independent author with nearly a dozen books and tens of thousands of sales under my belt - a dream come true, if you will.  Regardless, I have never forgotten my own early days as a Kindle owner and the subsequent joy of discovery I felt. As such, I've made it a point to always keep my novels reasonably priced so that I too might be able to bring a smile to a reader's face at a fair value.

As a reader, I can tell you I look forward to once again hungrily devouring Mr. Preston's new releases should they ever be priced competitively for the Kindle.  As an author, though,  I would ask you to think about the multitude of writers under your wing, specifically those who aren't as fortunate as Mr. Preston.  If there are any real victims in this struggle, it's them.  Mr. Preston has started a movement called Authors United, but I can assure you that is not the case.  That said, what many of us want is very simple: fairness - fair pricing for our dear readers, fair compensation for our hard work, and a fair chance to succeed in this already difficult profession. I don't think that's too much to hope for.

I ask you to consider these things as you move forward in your negotiations with Amazon.com.

Sincerely,
Rick Gualtieri - reader and author.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lisa Grace on August 09, 2014, 08:40:05 am
If we're afraid of competition, then why do so many of us offer help on this forum? Indie books are competition as well.
Why do we support free books? Why do we help each other? Why do some of us enter our books in Select and KU?

Because we're stupid or we are generally more interested in the greater good?

If Hachette is allowed to earn 70% of books above $9.99, what do you think they're going to do with that extra profit? If I were them, I'd use it to promote my books. I would take the extra money and avalanche a marketing campaign like no other. Do any of us want to compete against that?



They've made it clear what they will do with the extra money during their investors meeting. Pay higher payouts to their investors. It's all about the stock, baby.

Hachette wants high ebook prices (while still maintaining 70%) to protect their hardback (not paperback) business. It is their highest profit line and the only one where Amazon and indies can't compete. They want that for a reason, and I don't think it's good for me.

I disagree. Shipping costs are only going up. Hard copies will be too expensive to invest in shortly. This younger generation is migrating to reading on smartphones. Phablets are the new thing, the last thing kids want to do is lug around a hardback.  Amazon is correct when they say books are competing against all social media, not just books anymore.

Part of my reading time is now spent reading blog posts, not just "books."

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: FictionalWriter on August 09, 2014, 08:42:45 am
THE HEIST by Daniel Silva is currently #27 in the Kindle Store. It's selling for $13.99.

While avid readers may not buy ebooks priced at over a certain dollar amount, that is not true for everyone. And I think anyone who wants to pay $13.99 for Daniel's latest book should have every right to do so.

When we talk about these high priced ebooks, when it comes to fiction, we're talking predominantly about the bestsellers. The James Pattersons, Nora Roberts, John Grishams and J.K. Rowlings. Those are the authors whose books are priced that high. And they sell millions. And the gross of their sales are huge.

If these guys, who sell millions of copies of their books, can get readers to part with over $9.99 for their ebooks, I say good for them. How many of us wouldn't like to be in the situation where our books could not only command but GET that kind of money.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: beccaprice on August 09, 2014, 08:47:24 am
all the higher prices will do is drive up piracy.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: josielitton on August 09, 2014, 08:57:01 am
THE HEIST by Daniel Silva is currently #27 in the Kindle Store. It's selling for $13.99.

With apologies for the tangent, can someone help me understand why any publisher lists a book for more than 9.99 on Amazon given that the royalty percentage drops to half (35% rather than 70%).  Why not make $7.00 on a $9.99 book instead of $4.90 on a $14.00 book?  What am I missing?  Are the traditional publishers paid on a different royalty scale?  Or is this all about supporting the hardcover price?
Title: Re: Readers United
Post by: Jena H on August 09, 2014, 08:57:21 am
Readers United. Heh. If this is legit, I think Amazon and Hachette are both overestimating how much readers actually care about not being able to pre-order a few books.

Maybe this is an important fight for writers and other industry pros, but readers will keep on reading no matter what.

Totally agree.  Vast majority of average or casual readers don't care in the least (or are even aware) who publishes the books they read, how they're published, etc.  As long as the book appears on Amazon, and then gets in their hands when they hit the "buy" button, that's all that matters.  Yes, there are readers who are very active and aware and on Goodreads, etc., but even Goodreads readers are a minority in the ranks of all readers.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin on August 09, 2014, 09:01:48 am
.....Hatchett would NEVER have anything to do with me, so an email from me would be like asking out Shania Twain for a date. I could do it, but it's never going to result in any positive response.

You're right, Duane. I emailed her and she replied, 'That Don't Impress Me Much.'
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: dianasg on August 09, 2014, 09:02:00 am
If we're afraid of competition, then why do so many of us offer help on this forum? Indie books are competition as well.
Why do we support free books? Why do we help each other? Why do some of us enter our books in Select and KU?

If Hachette is allowed to earn 70% of books above $9.99, what do you think they're going to do with that extra profit? If I were them, I'd use it to promote my books. I would take the extra money and avalanche a marketing campaign like no other. Do any of us want to compete against that?

Hachette wants high ebook prices (while still maintaining 70%) to protect their hardback (not paperback) business. It is their highest profit line and the only one where Amazon and indies can't compete. They want that for a reason, and I don't think it's good for me.

This.

Speaking as a reader, I want readers to have affordable books. I want them not to feel like someone's taken them for a ride when they spend $14.99 on an ebook (because the physical paperback costs basically the same thing).

If that same book is $9.99, that's $5 extra dollars that could go to an affordable indie title.

Zon said it: The pie is simply bigger.

Regardless, I think it is inevitable that someday, yes, indies will have to compete on more than just price. But I also think there are many indies who are MORE than capable of doing so.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Mark E. Cooper on August 09, 2014, 09:03:08 am
Ebookbargainsuk really don't like Amazon's letter. Whoa! muhahahaah! I just saw it mentioned on Passive Guy's blog.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Desmond X. Torres on August 09, 2014, 09:06:49 am
Was surprised when I first read the letter because Amazon isn't exactly known for airing their laundry in public so to speak. But reading it again, I'm not sure why it's disturbing.

Amazon is simply presenting their position on the conflict to their business partners (us) and asking for their business partners' support. That seems reasonable given that Hachette's position has been all over the internet along with calls to email Bezos directly and give him what-for.

Actually, one of the things I often hear Amazon slammed for is their reticence to make their affairs public knowledge, so maybe they've heard those complaints and are trying to do better at letting their partners know what is going on?
^^^^
This.
I haven't formulated my thoughts yet for adding my two cents, but frankly, I think I'm being asked to pick a side and take a stand. And I'm cool with that. My relationship with Amazon has changed my life for the better, full stop. What Hachette does as a company... well, ya know.

Back to reading the rest of the 9 pgs of comments. I'm only on pg 2.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Desmond X. Torres on August 09, 2014, 09:11:42 am
I agree with you entirely. I'm surprised at the hostility and shock some people are expressing that they have been contacted.
That makes two of us.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: SA_Soule on August 09, 2014, 09:12:29 am
The letter was in my Inbox this morning. I have to say that I am on the fence about the issue. If Hachette wants to price their books at higher prices they should be able to. I'm not sure I understand why Amazon cares what price they set for their own titles.

And this may sound selfish, but with some eBooks listed at higher prices, it allows us self-pubbed/Indie authors that have our books listed at lower prices to gain more sales. If Hachette lowers the price, it means more competition. Does that make sense?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Donna White Glaser on August 09, 2014, 09:12:53 am
Dang it! I had this beautiful, well-thought out post and then accidentally deleted it. Argh!  Going to try to recreate but you know it's NEVER as good as what got deleted.
Okay.
I'm sooo conflicted by this. On the one hand, I really don't want to be dragged into the middle of this mess. I have this feeling of disdain because I don't feel like it's any of my business what Hachette and Amazon ultimately wrangle out. And that's an important word: business. Because it really is in my best business interests to let Hachette have its way. In fact, I really *like* that arrogant ignoramuses are busily hacking away at their own ankles with a dull knife. Go for it, guys! And then send all your readers my way.

If I do have a dog in this fight, it's as a reader, not a writer. I almost would have felt better if Amazon had put out an open letter to readers and asked them to send their opinions on price points to Hachette. As a reader, I'm really angry that the Big 5 are insisting on their rights to GOUGE their customers and CHEAT their authors, to use their own authors to misdirect the readers, and to break the law to get their own way.

But on the other other hand, I do feel a sort of... shall we say, tenderness? for Amazon. They made my lifelong dream possible. No, they didn't achieve that dream for me. I did that. But they *did* provide the tools to let me publish and reach a large number of readers and they continue to point readers to my work--although not as enthusiastically as I might like them to. :) Because of that and because I disagreed with Hachette's media tactics I signed as one of the 7600 authors in protest to the 900 Prescott/Patterson-ites.  But isn't that enough? I took my stand.

I'm still on the fence, but I'm leaning toward "I took my stand for Amazon" and I was happy to do it. I really don't mind that Amazon sent me an email. That, to me, is no big deal. The power of the delete button is mighty. But I keep coming back to 1) I did protest publicly already and 2) Hachette's stupidity is to my benefit as an author, if not as a writer. 
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: MJWare on August 09, 2014, 09:13:55 am
After sleeping on this, I see no incentive in trying to get any of the big publishers to lower their prices. Before the Big publishers realized people wanted to read ebooks, my sales were about 300% higher (this was a time when a lot of Kbords members like Amanda and David G made it big).
But when the big boys started making their catalogs available in ebook (it was Goosebumps and the Wimpy Kids books that did me in) my sales plummeted.

I really don't want them lowering their prices on those books. Price advantage is my last advantage at this point.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: wtvr on August 09, 2014, 09:16:10 am
That makes two of us.

Three! Man, there are some itchy trigger fingers around these parts!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: MatthewBallard on August 09, 2014, 09:18:01 am
I received the same message this morning.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: SA_Soule on August 09, 2014, 09:19:22 am

Amazon should just pull the buy buttons for Hachette and be done with it. I imagine negotiations would restart pretty quick if that happened.
[/quote]

Ha! I bet, you're right! LOL They would settle the dispute within 24 hours.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: MJWare on August 09, 2014, 09:24:56 am
I agree with you entirely. I'm surprised at the hostility and shock some people are expressing that they have been contacted.
I've only read 4 pages of the current 9 or 10, but I see lots of shock, and a little hostility. I'd agree many of us are surprised at this move, only a minority if the responses are hostile, IMO.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lisa Grace on August 09, 2014, 09:25:17 am
I do hope the trades keep prices high. This is a purely selfish thought on my part.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Desmond X. Torres on August 09, 2014, 09:28:36 am
Aww I'm sorry. I didn't mean it to sound THAT way! I meant that I won't make a decision MYSELF until I get a good cross section of opinion in this thread. I'M not important. I don't know you. You could be REALLY important for all I know ;) Seriously, PLEASE don't take offense at my bad wording?
Uhh... just so ya know Mark (and I'm being serious) I really am curious where you land on this one. I've been reading your posts here for a while, and you're pretty level headed, dude.


Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lehane on August 09, 2014, 09:31:18 am
Three! Man, there are some itchy trigger fingers around these parts!
Exactly how I feel. Amazon isn't forcing its authors to do anything. They aren't using us as leverage -- that's Hachette you're thinking of, who are holding their author's books hostage and telling them Amazon did it. Amazon is just reaching out to find willing voices. Some of us aren't up for putting a dog in this fight and that's *fine*. But as someone who is all for the progress and accessibility of tech in popular culture, I think it made some really fantastic points. These are the types of letters that went down during the days of the internet music revolution, and I sure am pleased with the result of that. Paying $15+ for an e-book where the publishing company still gets a larger piece of that pie than the author? Bullcrap.

On a more emotional level, I'm just all for telling trad publishers to get off their mountain top and letting their authors know they aren't the most important people on the block. How many self-pubbed authors are on the 'Authors United' thing, again? Yeah.

It's quite bold of Amazon, but when I tried to find articles for friends about this dispute, there was no shortage of people condemning Amazon. They needed to bite back. They did so with historical backing. Kudos to their PR department for having the cojones to send it.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Cherise on August 09, 2014, 09:32:33 am
Dang it! I had this beautiful, well-thought out post and then accidentally deleted it. Argh!  Going to try to recreate but you know it's NEVER as good as what got deleted.



IF you use the Firefox browser, then you can undo this from the 'edit' dropdown menu next time.  ;D
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Victorine on August 09, 2014, 09:34:33 am
If it really is all about being able to discount books, can't Amazon find some loophole somewhere? Instead of offering the books at a discount, can't they offer some kind of Amazon rebate or something, when people buy overpriced books?

At this point, I think Amazon needs to just say, "Hey, we tried to get ebook prices down. This high price is all Hachette's doing." And then do something that makes customers happy, like offering some kind of reward or rebate for buying books with them.

But what do I know? I'm just an author.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lisa Grace on August 09, 2014, 09:36:44 am
After sleeping on this, I see no incentive in trying to get any of the big publishers to lower their prices. Before the Big publishers realized people wanted to read ebooks, my sales were about 300% higher (this was a time when a lot of Kbords members like Amanda and David G made it big).
But when the big boys started making their catalogs available in ebook (it was Goosebumps and the Wimpy Kids books that did me in) my sales plummeted.

I really don't want them lowering their prices on those books. Price advantage is my last advantage at this point.

This. I think it is against self publishers' best interests to encourage trade publishers to lower their prices.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Ethan Jones on August 09, 2014, 09:38:14 am

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

I already sent an e-mail to Hachette and Amazon about how I feel about their dispute.

I hope everyone will do that too.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

Ethan
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 on August 09, 2014, 09:42:26 am
    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.

Then I sent an email to Hachette who did not have a contract with Amazon and did not know why I was speaking to them.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Cherise on August 09, 2014, 09:43:15 am
    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.

I already sent an e-mail to Hachette and Amazon about how I feel about their dispute.

I hope everyone will do that too.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

Ethan



Godwin's law...
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Griffin Hayes on August 09, 2014, 09:44:58 am
Maybe instead of colluding over book prices, the major trad publishers should have gotten together to create their own version of Amazon. Then pull all their books from A, leaving online shoppers with little choice but to migrate to the new website. Sure they'd lose some money in the short term, but readers will go where the books are.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Jan Strnad on August 09, 2014, 09:45:12 am
Following Bill Smith's lead, I sent this note back to Amazon:

Quote
Here's a better idea:

1.  Let Hachette price their ebooks however they like.
2.  Promote cheaper ebooks through also-boughts and featured recommendations
3.  Let readers decide for themselves what prices they're willing to pay for which authors.

Jan Strnad
KDP Author who prices his books at $5.99

Books are not commodities. They shouldn't be priced the same across the board because some are in more demand than others.

Amazon should know this since they track sales and adjust prices all the time on other items. The more people who buy an item, the higher the price goes.

If Hachette's authors are in demand and Hachette can charge more for their ebooks, fine. Let Hachette decide how much to charge... you know, just as we indies do.

Amazon's wanting me to take sides and now I've gotta say, I'm leaning toward Hachette's POV.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 09, 2014, 09:49:26 am
Godwin's law...

lol!



Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: TuckerAuthor on August 09, 2014, 09:52:16 am
I think anyone who wants to start up an Authors' Guild for, or that includes, Indies should be pointed to this thread to show why it will never work. Could there be a more diverse set of opinions created from a letter?

Getting us to agree on anything would be like herding a country full of cats with no access to catnip, tuna, or milk.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 09, 2014, 09:55:13 am
Maybe instead of colluding over book prices,

This has nothing to do with the contract negotiations and is a red herring. If Amazon is so concerned about Hachette's past "illegal" activities, maybe they should just not be trying to do business with them? Or maybe Hachette should get the unions involved and start dragging the nonsense about Amazon's wages to warehouse workers into the mix. Stuff that has nothing to do with the actual contract shouldn't even be a point of discussion.

This entire thing is just a train wreck of nonsense on both sides.

Maybe what we need is a "Sane-people-united" petition, telling BOTH sides to stop acting like drunk parents in the middle of a nasty divorce and get their acts together...
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: abishop on August 09, 2014, 09:55:47 am
I fully understand why many people here want lower priced e-books (I do too).  I don't understand why any self-published author believes they need to insert themselves into a business negotiation that they are not a party to.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JETaylor on August 09, 2014, 09:56:14 am
Did anyone send an inquiry to KDP to find out if the email is legitimate or is all this just speculation?

I just shot off an email because there is no way I am pressing links within the email until it is confirmed that they sent it.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: SA_Soule on August 09, 2014, 09:59:22 am
I'm on Amazon's side on this dispute but I'm going to wait to see what KU does to my sales/revenue before leaping to Amazon's defense. I'm not sure if I'm as important to them as they claim.


What is KU?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: ToriWritesWords on August 09, 2014, 10:02:57 am
I'm sorry but this is gross. It's just gross and I'm now officially boycotting Amazon. I wasn't before. Just bought a Kindle book yesterday. Today I'm pricing Nooks.

I saw a copy of the letter (a friend forwarded it to me) and it's disgusting. It opens with talk about World War 2. This isn't a war and writers--no matter how they publish--are not armies. Hachette authors have a horse in the race because Amazon's practices are actually affecting their sales. Self-publishers only have a horse in the long game and even then, wanting Amazon to put a ceiling on ebook prices doesn't seem like it's that awesome for small presses and self-pubbers either, but that's just my opinion.

Either way, this is going too far, rallying their troops. I bet far too many people are bombarding Hachette with ridiculous emails.

I'm putting my Kindle in a drawer and not buying from Amazon until this is over. Possibly not even then. I'm sending AMAZON an email telling this this too. Ugh. So gross.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Cherise on August 09, 2014, 10:05:17 am
What is KU?


Kindle Unlimited, Amazon's new subscription program
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: AgnesWebb on August 09, 2014, 10:06:15 am
I have to give Amazon props. This whole thing is very Sun Tzu; I'm digging it.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Anne Victory on August 09, 2014, 10:07:14 am
I just got this, too, and was, in fact, coming to post a thread about it. I see I've been beaten to the punch :-)

I found it to be well-written but distasteful. It reminded me of someone urging their followers to invade a message board or whatever. Just... no.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lisa Grace on August 09, 2014, 10:10:53 am
Why should we have an opinion on the topic? Because if Hachette is doing things to hurt Amazon's ebook sales, that will affect quite a few authors here.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Mark E. Cooper on August 09, 2014, 10:11:21 am
Uhh... just so ya know Mark (and I'm being serious) I really am curious where you land on this one. I've been reading your posts here for a while, and you're pretty level headed, dude.

I'm for Amazon and against Hachette, BUT I am also the type of person who likes to keep his head down. I understand why Amazon might decide to climb down to Hachette's level from the high ground they were maintaining before, because if I'm p*ssed off hearing from the Patterson and his 900 AND hearing about his itty bitty $100k NYT adverts, I can only imagine what Amazon is feeling.

I felt it was very low of Patterson to give out Bezos' email address that time and tell his sycophants to email him, and I'm disgusted that the loudest mouths in this seem to be winning the media war. PR propaganda is powerful. I totally see that Amazon needs to keep up with the runaway train Patterson is riding in.

By asking us and readers to email Hachette they are trying a tit4tat move. I understand it, but I don't necessarily like it. The problem is I don't know what else they can do but use the same tactics. Its all very well maintaining a moral high ground, but will that be a comfort when you lose the war? I don't think so.

Personally I don't think Amazon will lose. In the end they won't get what they want but neither will Hachette. There will be a compromise.

As for emailing Hachette. I wrote one but didn't click send yet. I wrote it when emotions were running high like one of those posts we sometimes write and later wish we hadn't. My cowardice is kicking in now and I feel I should wind my neck in and just not click send. I think Amazon have sent this to millions of readers not just writers. I have a feeling they have probably succeeded in blitzing Hachette email servers without little old me.

Edit: spelling sycophants!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: A Tiger on August 09, 2014, 10:13:03 am
With apologies for the tangent, can someone help me understand why any publisher lists a book for more than 9.99 on Amazon given that the royalty percentage drops to half (35% rather than 70%).  Why not make $7.00 on a $9.99 book instead of $4.90 on a $14.00 book?  What am I missing?  Are the traditional publishers paid on a different royalty scale?  Or is this all about supporting the hardcover price?

That's probably the problem being negotiated. If I'd guess, I'd say Hachette probably wants a higher royalty cut.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: ToriWritesWords on August 09, 2014, 10:13:08 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.

Sigh.

Hachette is a PUBLISHER. They publish work they think can sell. Before publishing it, they edit it, work through revisions with the author, line edit it, copyedit it, and make a cover and a marketing plan. They also PAY THE AUTHOR an advance against royalties. The author doesn't pay them anything.

Amazon IS NOT a publisher. They are a vendor. They are the same vendor Hachette uses. The same one you use.

Amazon wants you to conflate the two for some twisted sense of loyalty but it is not actually the same. If you do not want a publisher, that's fine. You can act as your own, which you're doing if you self-publish. But unless you're with an Amazon imprint, you are not an "Amazon" author. You are a self-published author who sells books on Amazon.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: hardnutt on August 09, 2014, 10:18:06 am
I have never quite understood the flippant attitude towards Amazon. I have given it a lot of thought and finally decided that people who feel Amazon is just another service provider (who is being more than generously compensated with their 30% commission) must do a lot better on other retailers than I do.

I may not like everything Amazon does. And I don't agree with all of their policies. But I can never ignore the fact that 96% of my income is a direct result of Amazon's self-publishing platform. It's one thing to say that we're all self-published and therefore not under contract to Amazon, but the fact that I've only made $7,400 from all the other platforms combined in the last year makes that a hollow statement for me.

I may not be an "Amazon author" so to speak, but the truth is that all those other platforms could disappear and it wouldn't bother me much at all. For me, Amazon is the only one that matters. So Amazon is my business partner. They aren't my friend. Or my mommy. But they are a huge part of my life, and I wouldn't be making a living publishing without them.

So if they actually deign to ask for my support, they're likely going to get it.

This. I'm only too aware who has made my indie life as a full-time author possible. And it sure ain't Hachette or any other big, medium or small traditional publisher.

I wrote an email to the Hachette CEO, as requested and was happy to do so. I don't understand why others on these boards are getting so uppity over it.

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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 on August 09, 2014, 10:20:34 am
I felt it was very low of Patterson to give out Bezos' email address that time and tell his sycophants to email him

But Patterson is always asking others to do his writing for him!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Jash on August 09, 2014, 10:21:59 am
I saw a copy of the letter (a friend forwarded it to me) and it's disgusting. It opens with talk about World War 2. This isn't a war and writers--no matter how they publish--are not armies.

It doesn't open with talk of World War 2. It opens with "Just ahead of World War II..." but it's only used to establish a time. They don't actually talk about World War II (or any war) .
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Joel Ansel on August 09, 2014, 10:22:49 am
One corporation fighting another corporation.  Yawn. 

Too busy writing to pay attention to the greedbots.
 

Yep
Too busy writing, working and paying bills.

BTW, I just couldn't pass up your brilliant covers. Thus proving that the right cover does promote sales:)
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Anne Victory on August 09, 2014, 10:23:00 am
I just e-mailed them back and CC'd Jeff Bezos. I'm not a fan of their tactic.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: ToriWritesWords on August 09, 2014, 10:23:25 am
I wrote an email to the Hachette CEO, as requested and was happy to do so. I don't understand why others on these boards are getting so uppity over it.

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.

Amazon is a business. You don't owe them loyalty in some made up war because they send a flowery email.

It's awesome that they helped you with your indie author career. But they aren't the only vendor in the world and they certainly aren't a general in some holy war you need to follow.

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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lucas on August 09, 2014, 10:23:39 am
Really, I'm on amazon with this but as I read the comments and some hostilities further, I'm starting to see all the views. I see where the authors of Hachette are coming from (as seen on YouTube), and they have a point. Amazon has a point. We all have points. This is making my head hurt. My only wish is that a big "gag order" from the heavens fall upon these two companies. It's getting immature, seriously.

Still with amazon BTW. 
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Jash on August 09, 2014, 10:24:00 am
An Open Letter to Jeff Bezos and Amazon:

Got your email. Won't do anything you've asked. I have no dog in this fight. I don't expect you to ask Hachette to interfere with us when you update the TOS I sign to have you distribute my books, so why should I interfere in this? Please do not include me in any future negotiations in contract disputes with your suppliers.

Thanks.

Ta,

Indie Author

I appreciate the role Amazon has played in the ebook revolution, but it would have happened at some point anyway. I don't dislike Amazon. I'm sorry traditionally published authors are getting screwed, but they signed the contracts. They can get lawyers to negotiate those contracts. I either sign Amazon's TOS or I don't. That's it.



Bravo. I like this one. I'll go with this.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 on August 09, 2014, 10:27:26 am
If I had a horse in this race it would say Neigh to any requests by one favourite to hobble the other favourite.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: AngelaQuarles on August 09, 2014, 10:29:39 am
I got it too, and am tempted to reply to them with this:

Quote
I’m not sure why I’m being brought into this? What Hachette does and how much they want to charge for their books has nothing to do with me and my books. They want to charge more? Fine. Let them. It’s their business and if they want to price themselves out of the market, that’s their problem. Let the marketplace decide how much they’re willing to pay for an e-book. There’s also more going into an e-book than paper, warehousing, etc. There’s professional services that need to be paid for: cover, first-class editing, plus the skill, imagination and education of the author as well.

But am worried they'd flag me somehow and my books will never see the light of day with their algorithms, LOL So I probably won't send it.

I'm happy that Amazon has allowed me to self-publish and potentially make money (haven't pressed 'publish' yet) but why should I care what someone else prices their ebook for? Hachette pricing their books higher doesn't hurt Amazon, no? There has to be more going on here than we know--Amazon is a business, they aren't in this dispute because they're trying to be champions of lower-priced ebooks.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Diane Patterson on August 09, 2014, 10:36:24 am

Godwin's law...

To be fair, Amazon pulled that trigger first, with the very first line of their letter.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Okey Dokey on August 09, 2014, 10:42:04 am
Thought the letter was right on, except for this Amazon lie:

"With an e-book, there’s . . . no returns . . ."
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Gerald Hartenhoff on August 09, 2014, 10:49:18 am
I sent the e-mail Amazon asked me to.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: vlmain on August 09, 2014, 10:55:00 am
Yes, Amazon is a big business out to make money. But it's the big business that enabled me to sell over 68,000 books, when all trad pub did for me was waste my time.

When Amazon asks me for help, I'm likely to say yes.

My sentiments, exactly.

And lets hope they continue to make big money, because if they don't, most of us are in trouble. This issue definitely can have an impact on Indies. 
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Jena H 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.   :-\

 
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Zelah Meyer 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Jena H 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Gentleman Zombie 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: ToriWritesWords 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Ardin 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: ToriWritesWords 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Error404 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, there’s 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?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: FictionalWriter 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Silly Writer 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Hugh Howey 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: FictionalWriter 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Joliedupre 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Monique on August 09, 2014, 11:22:02 am
Even if Hatchette caved completely, wouldn't their deal still be better than mine?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Gentleman Zombie 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?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: ToriWritesWords 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JRTomlin 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. :)
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: heidi_g 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 I’m wrong has not banned Hachette’s 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 don’t 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 don’t 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!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lehane 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Moist_Tissue 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin 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
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Silly Writer 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.  ::)
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 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.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Marcus Herzig on August 09, 2014, 11:59:32 am
I got the email, and I was fairly amused by it. This is like a good old schoolyard fight, and while I'm secretly rooting for one of the fighters (Amazon), I'm not gonna start shouting abuse at the other, because I ultimately don't really care all that much about the outcome. As a reader I want lower ebook prices, sure, but when I look at my Kindle, I see dozens and dozens of indie books and only maybe two or three Big 5 books. If those two or three weren't there anymore, my Kindle would still be full of - for the most part - pretty good stuff. If Hachette wants to price itself out of business, let them. It won't have a great effect on my reading habits as indie books priced at $2.99, $3.99, or even $5.99 are totally worth my while.  ;D
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: thesmallprint on August 09, 2014, 12:00:31 pm
The email is a rare mis-step  by Jeff Bezos imo, but at least he did it in style. 99 percent of the time, Amazon's response to its business matters is 'no comment'. From that to a 1,000 word letter...looks like the no comment dam burst.

As for the NYT ad, people who imprison themselves in publishing contracts shouldn't complain when their gaolers use them as hostages.

From a business viewpoint, I believe it would help indies if all trad publishers went bust. If every writer self-publishes, the only gatekeeper is the reader.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: wtvr on August 09, 2014, 12:02:57 pm
As for the NYT ad, people who imprison themselves in publishing contracts shouldn't complain when their gaolers use them as hostages.

HAHAHA! Well, I guess they don't mind too much though... seeing how their gilded cages are so damn comfy.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: hardnutt on August 09, 2014, 12:05:16 pm
Amazon is a business. You don't owe them loyalty in some made up war because they send a flowery email.

It's awesome that they helped you with your indie author career. But they aren't the only vendor in the world and they certainly aren't a general in some holy war you need to follow.

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.

Tori, I think you're over-reacting. It's 'gross' that some countries in this sad old world leave baby girls out in the countryside to die of cold or hunger.

I would class this email as 'mildly annoying', if I was inclined to feel any kind of negative emotion about it, which I don't. If I did, I would simply press delete and move on. My inbox is often filled with businesses or individuals asking me to 'do this' or 'do that'. Most of them are easily recognisable, so it's just 'delete', 'delete', delete', all the way. Or, if I'm feeling really gung-ho and efficient, I unsubscribe. Okay, you might not wish to unsubscribe from kdp, but you still have the delete option, as several people on this thread have said they took.

As far as I'm concerned, they ARE the only vendor. They're certainly the only vendor that consistently puts worthwhile money in my bank account.

I don't do Holy Wars. I was brought up Catholic and that's enough religion for anyone. It certainly was for me.

I've already had my email inbox flooded once (by spam). I simply sighed, abandoned it and started a new one. I try not to get over-excited by the many things in life that irritate, which is one reason I gave up buying newspapers. Life's too short and irritations many.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Mark E. Cooper on August 09, 2014, 12:08:16 pm
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.

Hopefully not. As it stands they don't ever earn out, or few do. With lower prices they "might" sell more volume and increase their chances. Who knows really_ I certainly don't know where all this is going. One thing I do know, is that fights like this really validate my decision to sell in all channels, formats, and direct from my own site (ASAP)
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vivi_Anna on August 09, 2014, 12:11:45 pm
I fully understand why many people here want lower priced e-books (I do too).  I don't understand why any self-published author believes they need to insert themselves into a business negotiation that they are not a party to.

I totally agree.

I understand why those big authors are speaking out, they are with Hachette, they have a pony in this race, but I don't.  And I'm pretty sure the lot of us indies don't. 

As a customer sure maybe, because I want lower prices on all ebooks, but as an author, I'm staying out of it. 
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Robert Bidinotto on August 09, 2014, 12:19:53 pm
As an indie author saved from financial ruin by KDP a few years back, I most certainly DO have a pony in this race.

I've just commented on this, along with my letter to the Hachette CEO, just sent. It's far too long to copy the whole thing in this thread; if you want to have a look, go here:

http://www.bidinotto.com/2014/08/amazon-vs-big-publishing/



Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: FictionalWriter on August 09, 2014, 12:27:01 pm
What happened before digital books became mainstream?

When I was happily reading print books, hardcover books would come out at, what I considered, outrageous prices. If I wanted one from of those authors, I'd simply wait until it came out in paperback. They always did. Yeah, I'd have to wait, but I wasn't about to pay upward of $20 for a book.

For the author who'd been releasing in mmpb for 20 years, that meant she'd finally arrived. Good for her. Not so much for me. But there were plenty of other books I could read while I waited for her book to come down in price.

To me, digital books isn't about equalizing authors due to its format. I'm sure as long as I write, Nora Roberts, John Grisham and JK Rowlings will always be able to demand and receive a higher ebook, mmpb and hardcover price than I ever will. And it's their millions of fans that make it so.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: FMH on August 09, 2014, 12:33:13 pm
I got the letter, and I'm writing to support Amazon.

Why I care about authors who are with Hachette when they could go self-publish, I don't know. But I do.

Maybe it's because of the principle of digital sales. I totally agree that a lower price point on ebooks helps us all. The proof is in the pudding with  Kindle Unlimited. Since it launched, my pen-name book sales have doubled---with all the people downloading them in KU, they've told their friends and that spread the word for me. Word spread = more sales = word spread = more sales and so on and so on and so on.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 09, 2014, 12:33:39 pm
Dear Amazon,

I don't think you get how this works. Despite the fact that I have to jump through your ridiculous hoops to do so, I am the one paying you to sell my books. Unlike some others, I am under no illusions that you are somehow a prerequisite for my career. I am willing to put the time and effort to build myself up on other platforms and curate a fanbase for me, not for you. I am not beholden to you beyond your terms of service, which you are well aware are not in my favor.

The general thrust of this is tha I am not your dog. I am not your soldier. If you want me to carry out your dirty work, you don't get to just ask nicely with lot of Orwell references like a 14 year old on their first political forum. If you want me to do something for you, there's going to need to be some equivalent exchange.

So here's the deal: I'll send you letter, which will then immediately be dumped to the spam folder anyway thanks to your spambomb tactic. But yeah, I'll send it--IF you start treating me like every other platform treats me. No more favored nation status on pricing. No more price floor or ceiling for my full percentage of what I earn. No more gymnastics to make a book free. No more piddling two categories--I want full BISAC control. No more  p*ss y little emails threatening to delete books for reasons not laid out clearly in the TOS. No more serial returns. And yeah, I want that goshdarnn pre-order button.

Tit for tat. I do something for you, you do something for me. That's how an actual partnership works. Savvy?

-----------------

PS: Seriously, Orwell? Did you even make it to college?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Cherise on August 09, 2014, 12:35:58 pm
To be fair, Amazon pulled that trigger first, with the very first line of their letter.


Touche.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: dianasg on August 09, 2014, 12:38:04 pm
Sigh.

Hachette is a PUBLISHER. They publish work they think can sell. Before publishing it, they edit it, work through revisions with the author, line edit it, copyedit it, and make a cover and a marketing plan. They also PAY THE AUTHOR an advance against royalties. The author doesn't pay them anything.

Amazon IS NOT a publisher. They are a vendor. They are the same vendor Hachette uses. The same one you use.

Amazon wants you to conflate the two for some twisted sense of loyalty but it is not actually the same. If you do not want a publisher, that's fine. You can act as your own, which you're doing if you self-publish. But unless you're with an Amazon imprint, you are not an "Amazon" author. You are a self-published author who sells books on Amazon.

LOL Amazon is not my publisher??? Whaaaat?? If you read the posts i was responding to (and do so with a level head), you'll see my point was that Hachette doesn't provide those services out of altruism... They take their cut, too. Amazon and Hachette provide different services to authors, but ultimately those authors are beholden only to themselves.

This is such a weird thing to quibble over. All I mean is that both sides are doing the same thing when they try to rally different groups of authors.

(I also wanted to mention that Amazon included WWII to describe the time period in which paperbacks were adopted - not, as you seemed to assume upthread, to make this dispute out to be a "war" with "armies" of authors.)

I want ALL authors, indie and trad, to sell more books on better terms. I want all readers to have access to affordable book prices and not feel like they're getting taken advantage of. I want reading to remain a viable form of entertainment in a world of TV and tweets. Right now, Amazon is the one making that happen - not Hachette.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Alan Petersen on August 09, 2014, 12:40:09 pm
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.

I'm on Amazon's side, but I do feel a bit uneasy at forcing price points. It should be a free market. If a company can charge $15 for an e-book and readers are willing to pay that price, is that wrong, unethical? I don't know, but as readers we have the right to say, no, I won't pay that much for an ebook.

I also love Whole Foods, but the price of their products is a lot more expensive than Safeway (that's our Winn Dixie). Should Whole Foods be forced to price their items at Winn Dixie prices? Sure, as a consumer I would love that, but is it fair? I choose to pay more to shop at Whole Foods. It's a more pleasant shopping experience and the food quality is better (meats, etc). If someone wants to pay $15 to read a Hatchette published book, that's their prerogative. I won't do it, but others do. Let the market (readers) decide.

Now if Amazon says we won't carry books over $9.99, fine, just remove those e-books, but they can't really do that because readers would be upset to not be able to buy those books.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lisa Grace on August 09, 2014, 01:07:24 pm
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.  ::)

This. It's naive to think everyone shares their whole stable of ponies.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 09, 2014, 01:08:10 pm
I want ALL authors, indie and trad, to sell more books on better terms. I want all readers to have access to affordable book prices and not feel like they're getting taken advantage of. I want reading to remain a viable form of entertainment in a world of TV and tweets. Right now, Amazon is the one making that happen - not Hachette.

Amazon gives the trad books better deals already. This fight is about giving them worse deals. Deals more like ours.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 77071 on August 09, 2014, 01:12:33 pm
I just sent this email--to [email protected]

I hope I haven't made a mistake, but Amazon has always treated me well, and I wanted them to know how I felt about being included in this (i.e. not good).



"Dear Amazon Books Team,

I am concerned by your email, and wondered if it could be Spam.  Either way, please do not include me in further emails on this subject.  As a reader, I have opinions on pricing, and am Pro-Amazon, and want you to succeed against Hatchette pricing models. 

As an author, I am not comfortable being put into the middle of these business negotiations.  I will vote with my (reader) dollars, as always: I am currently not buying fiction titles priced above 8 dollars.  I am extremely uncomfortable at being asked to intervene in your business negotiations by writing to the CEO of a company--any company--that you are negotiating with.

While I have many of my stories exclusively for sale on Amazon, and am very glad for the opportunity to do so, and tell people how much I appreciate the choices I have with Amazon, I also choose to publish some stories through multiple outlets or with small presses. 

I have not signed a contact with you to be a KDP only author.  I use the service, I support Amazon, I'm glad to sell here.  But I do not work for you and do not want to be put in the middle of negotiations.

I hope you can understand this isn't personal.  But please leave me off future mailings asking for action about this or any negotiations I am not a part of.  It's the classy thing to do."
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lisa Grace on August 09, 2014, 01:13:13 pm
I'm not sure why Hugh is gung ho to have  trades lower their prices.

It's like asking Louis Vuitton to lower their purse prices because everyone knows you can pick up a purse at Wal Mart much cheaper, or even a good knock off at the flea market for $45.

If they perceive their value is higher, let them ask for it. The market will bear out what price it sells at or doesn't. All Amazon needs to do is honor their wishes. Let Hachette be in charge of its own sales.

I believe in capitalism, and if Hachette thinks they can $45 for an ebook, let them.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Robert Bidinotto on August 09, 2014, 01:19:29 pm
Alan, I agree with you that price points should not be FORCED. Which is why, contrarian as I am, I did and do NOT support antitrust (political) action against parties involved in market transactions, such as the pricing of ebooks. Hachette and Big Publishing should have the legal right to price wherever they want -- and to agree on pricing, if they wish. After all, it's THEIR books (by contract with authors) that they're pricing. If they want to charge $500 per ebook, well, it's their financial funeral. And if authors are willing to acquiesce to onerous terms with Big Publishing, then so be it. It's their financial funeral, too. In short: The antitrust case never should have been brought.

But that's history, now. Antitrust is not the issue at the moment. The issue is ebook pricing, and it is being NEGOTIATED by private parties in the free marketplace, as it should be. The salient question for all concerned is: What makes financial sense? What kind of pricing is in the long-term best interests of all concerned?

On this, I support Amazon's position. The math demonstrably makes sense. Attempts by Big Publishing (including its hangers-on in the Authors Guild, agencies, distributors, et al.) to suppress ebook sales in order to prop up print sales are doomed. These people are standing in front of the juggernaut of progress yelling "Stop!" -- and predictably, they are getting rolled over. Online selling, ebooks, and their step-child -- the Self-Publishing Revolution -- have added competitive forces to the book marketplace that publishing's dinosaurs won't be able to stop. Ganging up on Amazon, the avatar for these disruptive changes, and launching p.r. campaigns in captive media won't work. Customers will vote with their dollars, and they'll continue to vote for online distribution, more and more ebooks, supplied by more and more authors, including indies.

I applaud Amazon for encouraging indies and readers to speak out. After all, the voices of publishing's Luddites shouldn't be the only ones to be heard during this transition. And self-serving, deceptive arguments by prominent rich authors trying to stem the tide of competition (i.e., us) ought to be publicly challenged and refuted.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Susanne O on August 09, 2014, 01:24:46 pm
Here's someone's pov with a different take. Not saying I agree with all or even any of this. But it made me laugh.(apologies if it has been posted before)

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/08/09/in-which-amazon-calls-you-to-defend-the-realm/


Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Rachel E. Rice on August 09, 2014, 01:25:42 pm
I received the same e-mail this morning.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: ToriWritesWords on August 09, 2014, 01:26:51 pm
(I also wanted to mention that Amazon included WWII to describe the time period in which paperbacks were adopted - not, as you seemed to assume upthread, to make this dispute out to be a "war" with "armies" of authors.)

I don't think it was an accident that they invoked war imagery.

Quote
I want ALL authors, indie and trad, to sell more books on better terms. I want all readers to have access to affordable book prices and not feel like they're getting taken advantage of. I want reading to remain a viable form of entertainment in a world of TV and tweets. Right now, Amazon is the one making that happen - not Hachette.

I don't believe Amazon is actually doing that, though. Ask them what their imprints pay their authors. And I love their imprints. I met the gentlemen who run 47th North this year and they're fantastic book-loving guys! But they pay their authors about what Hachette does, though they may give them slightly more for ebooks. But most non-big 5 publishers do that. It's still not the terms they were trying--absurdly--to demand Hachette pay authors for ebooks.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Susanne O on August 09, 2014, 01:29:19 pm
I'm not sure why Hugh is gung ho to have  trades lower their prices.

It's like asking Louis Vuitton to lower their purse prices because everyone knows you can pick up a purse at Wal Mart much cheaper, or even a good knock off at the flea market for $45.

If they perceive their value is higher, let them ask for it. The market will bear out what price it sells at or doesn't. All Amazon needs to do is honor their wishes. Let Hachette be in charge of its own sales.

I believe in capitalism, and if Hachette thinks they can $45 for an ebook, let them.

So, are you saying trad published (or just Hachette) = Louis Vuitton? and Indie= Walmart? Hmmm...
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JRTomlin on August 09, 2014, 01:31:38 pm
Amazon gives the trad books better deals already. This fight is about giving them worse deals. Deals more like ours.
It is about continuing to function as a retailer with the right to discount products.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: ElleT on August 09, 2014, 01:33:30 pm
Here's someone's pov with a different take. Not saying I agree with all or even any of this. But it made me laugh.(apologies if it has been posted before)

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/08/09/in-which-amazon-calls-you-to-defend-the-realm/

That was a fun read! He's witty.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lilpenguin1972 on August 09, 2014, 01:36:41 pm
I got the email and I thought it was stupid. BTW, it said "Dear KDP Author". I'm not an author, I'm a customer. So, good job Amazon. 

I do have a question, because I keep seeing the 14.99 ebook price referenced. Do many mid-list authors have high priced ebooks?  I'm only asking because I buy a lot of books by traditionally published authors who are not bestsellers, and I rarely pay more than 7.99, even on release day.  I just bought Ilona Andrews newest release, which came out in hardcover, and I paid $11 for the ebook, not 14.99.  I just don't see that price very often, if ever.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JRTomlin on August 09, 2014, 01:38:28 pm
By the way, anyone who wants to see my letter to Hachette will find it copied onto my blog: Letter to Hachette (http://jeannetomlin.blogspot.com)
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 09, 2014, 01:45:43 pm
It is about continuing to function as a retailer with the right to discount products.

If that was true, they would discount the product and eat the cost like every other retailer. They wouldn't be forcing the publisher to discount one their end.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JumpingShip on August 09, 2014, 01:46:37 pm
I don't think it was an accident that they invoked war imagery.

I don't believe Amazon is actually doing that, though. Ask them what their imprints pay their authors. And I love their imprints. I met the gentlemen who run 47th North this year and they're fantastic book-loving guys! But they pay their authors about what Hachette does.

I thought they paid better? Like, about twice as much? But I'm only going by things I've read on the internet, not from an offer or anything. However, I know that they do push their books hard. Everyone I know who has been with an imprint has had their book as a KDD at one point. That's something I'll never get as an indie.

Anyway, I have been mulling over this letter all day. I have been interested in this dispute and have commented places, signed the petition, etc because I do think Amazon is right. Books do sell better at lower prices and I didn't like how the Hatchette big name authors weren't worried about their fellow mid-list authors. Also, didn't like the way they whined over not having pre-order buttons. Boo-hoo. I don't either. I am grateful for what Amazon has done to make self publishing easy, but we are still treated as second class citizens, so that tempers my enthusiasm quite a bit.

However, that doesn't mean I am Amazon's sock puppet and the fact that they want a copy of the letter just makes me think that those who don't sign could face repercussions. I know I'm probably blowing that out of proportion (hey, I write thrillers--I see a plot everywhere!), but I also think that Amazon has to even the playground a bit for us before I go to bat for them with Hatchette. They've never directly helped me do anything. But now I'm supposed to go help them? So that Hatchette will price books closer to mine? 

So, until Amazon gives me the same opportunities as traditionally published authors and those with their imprints, this is my response:

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v30/maryilee/06f4a03fb9c8a6060afea55e31e08d7b_zps5f93b70c.jpg) (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/maryilee/media/06f4a03fb9c8a6060afea55e31e08d7b_zps5f93b70c.jpg.html)
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Becca Fanning on August 09, 2014, 01:47:54 pm
If you make your living on Amazon, you want them to constantly be in conflict with other publishers/distributors.  You want them on their toes so they offer indie better terms.  You want there to be other opportunities to publish so they are fighting for you.  You are in a mutually beneficial relationship with Amazon, but they hold significantly more power than any indie author.

What happens when there's no more B&N, Scribd, Oyster, Kobo, whatever?  You think Amazon's terms with us, the indie authors, will ever get better from that point on?  They will only get worse.  Indie authors sending letters on behalf of Amazon is bonkers.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JRTomlin on August 09, 2014, 01:48:48 pm
If that was true, they would discount the product and eat the cost like every other retailer. They wouldn't be forcing the publisher to discount one their end.
They aren't 'forcing them to discount on their end'. They are refusing to accept reinstatement of the Agency Model.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JRTomlin on August 09, 2014, 01:50:17 pm
If you make your living on Amazon, you want them to constantly be in conflict with other publishers/distributors.  You want them on their toes so they offer indie better terms.  You want there to be other opportunities to publish so they are fighting for you.  You are in a mutually beneficial relationship with Amazon, but they hold significantly more power than any indie author.

What happens when there's no more B&N, Scribd, Oyster, Kobo, whatever?  You think Amazon's terms with us, the indie authors, will ever get better from that point on?  They will only get worse.  Indie authors sending letters on behalf of Amazon is bonkers.
I make a living publishing with Amazon. My supporting them is hardly 'bonkers'.

Amazon is not in a contract dispute with B&N, Scribd, Oyster, or Kobo but with a publisher and a contract with Hachette isn't going endanger other retailers.



Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Perro Callejero on August 09, 2014, 01:52:54 pm
So I just read this whole thread and figured I'd offer my two cents before stepping away from the internet and trying to focus on something more productive.

I got Amazon's email this morning, and I thought it was a bit of a PR misstep.  It felt like they were trying to run with the theme and tone that has been common to their supporters--and it did seem like they were cribbing from blog posts by Hugh Howey, David Gaughran, and Joe Konrath.  A colloquial/emotive tone is fine when it's being employed by an individual stating his opinion, but it felt inappropriate in the context of an official message from a large company.  I think that Amazon would have done better to release a more formal statement.

That said, I'm still surprised by the level of outrage shown in this thread.  People seem genuinely upset.  I don't know if they feel offended by the colloquial tone coming from a corporation, or if they're upset because they think the email is manipulative, or if they're just ticked off at Amazon in general and see this as another opportunity to complain.  In any case, lots of people seem to be taking this personally.  And personally, I'm not.

I get lots of impersonal (i.e. junk) email every day.  Every single one of those emails is trying to get me to do something.  I just delete them.  They don't influence my mood.

Maybe this email is a little different, because Amazon sells my books and my books are something I feel passionately about.  But still, I didn't feel like this email was directly aimed at me.  It's just more junk.

For me, that's the end of this story.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin on August 09, 2014, 01:55:29 pm
This. It's naive to think everyone shares their whole stable of ponies.

If the guy made $250,000 in a year on Amazon, I'm very happy for him. I would think he'd wan't to put his best-selling books in is signature. Maybe he's too modest to do so. But what do I know.... :)
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 on August 09, 2014, 01:56:49 pm
On this, I support Amazon's position. The math demonstrably makes sense. Attempts by Big Publishing (including its hangers-on in the Authors Guild, agencies, distributors, et al.) to suppress ebook sales in order to prop up print sales are doomed.

The mathematics do not make sense as Amazon have not revealed any details behind their therefore meaningless statistic that $9.99 eBooks sell 174% more than $14.99 eBooks. Amazon has not revealed what factors they are taking into consideration and whether they are comparing like with like. To elaborate: they do not tell us if they are comparing all $9.99 books with all $14.99 books or properly factoring in that $14.99 tend to be best-sellers in their first 12 months of sale.

There is also the question of this $9.99 issue being a red herring. E.g., I am Malala from Hachette's Little Brown is $19 for hardback and $9.40 for Kindle. That is one of the books currently being promoted on the front page of Hatchette US's website, so it is quite literally front list. James Patterson/Michael White's Private Down Under due out on 26th August is $28 hardback $6 Kindle. Hachette are not pricing to kill eBooks and protect print, they are maintaining the freedom to price some front of front list books above $9.99. The next Alex Cross novel by James Patterson Hope to Die (due November 2014) is on Kindle at $13.51 (without a pre-order button), but if you wait a few months it will probably be available for under $9 and in a year's time for $6.

Big Pub treat eBook pricing in the way they treat the print cycle of hardback then trade paperback then mass market paperback. If you want it sooner you pay a premium, but soon enough you can get that eBook for a price that is below some indie novels.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JumpingShip on August 09, 2014, 01:57:38 pm
I make a living publishing with Amazon. My supporting them is hardly 'bonkers'.

Amazon is not in a contract dispute with B&N, Scribd, Oyster, or Kobo but with a publisher and a contract with Hachette is hardly going endanger other retailers.

I support them, but I think this would be a great time for them to offer us something. Maybe dropping exclusivity for Select? I just think it takes a lot of chutzpah for them to ask us to do this, meanwhile we are forced to choose between better visibility on Amazon with KU, or less visibility but wider reach by not choosing Select. Why can't we have both? The traditionally published books have both.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Rick Gualtieri on August 09, 2014, 02:00:14 pm
If the guy made $250,000 in a year on Amazon, I'm very happy for him. I would think he'd wan't to put his best-selling books in is signature. Maybe he's too modest to do so. But what do I know.... :)

I could understand why someone would choose not to.  As great as these boards are, there are always going to be petty individuals who will one star (or worse) anyone who disagrees with them or they're simply jealous of.  Has happened here before, hence why a few posters who used to be regulars have since moved on.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: books_mb on August 09, 2014, 02:02:58 pm
Gotta say, when I got the email from KDP opening with "something something World War II" I got a little worried. Hehe ...
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 09, 2014, 02:12:36 pm
Dear Mr. Hechette,

You don't know me and I don't even know your name even though Amazon told me while sending me off to spambomb you like the lamest of all suicide bombers.

I just waned to tell you that if you don't have a reply to Amazon's clowncar of a letter campaign by Monday, full of mockery and outright laughter, I will lose all respect for you. Well first, I will have to gain some respect for you. And before that, I will have to find out who the hell you are. But after that, I will lose all respect for you.

I expect comedy gold. Get Colbert on this thing. Wendig was already really funny commenting on it, so you're going to need the big guns.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: drno on August 09, 2014, 02:14:58 pm
I have sent the email. Selling my books on Amazon has given me an income which has made it possible for me to spend one week a month writing. That was until Kindle Unlimited. Since Amazon set up this new library system, my income has increased and now I am able to write 10 days out of every month. At the end of the month I will publish my 11th book. I know I probably need 30 books to be able to make a living as a writer. This will probably take me three more years. I don't mind. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Something we indie writers never had when the New York publishing monopoly was doing its best to keep us out the bookshops and out of the libraries.

Amazon, keep supporting indie writers! Keep increasing the number of indie writers being able to make a living doing something they passionately love! And we will keep supporting you!

BOOM TIMES FOR INDIES!!!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JRTomlin on August 09, 2014, 02:15:43 pm
I support them, but I think this would be a great time for them to offer us something. Maybe dropping exclusivity for Select? I just think it takes a lot of chutzpah for them to ask us to do this, meanwhile we are forced to choose between better visibility on Amazon with KU, or less visibility but wider reach by not choosing Select. Why can't we have both? The traditionally published books have both.
I agree that it would be a good time to offer us a nice bonus. :)

ETA: I will say that I have recently been in an Amazon beta which I cannot discuss, so they are thinking about additions. (Probably shouldn't even say that much) I don't think the beta has gone well but that's from a single author's perspective... *clamps mouth shut*
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 09, 2014, 02:18:42 pm
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.

The issue with the entire "$9.99 is too expensive for ebooks" argument is that it is not based in an reality other than the Amazon ecosystem. Amazon promotes itself as a place to buy items cheap. So they attract people looking for cheap books. And that is all well and good. But $500 is expensive for a pair of frigging sneakers, too (http://www.amazon.com/Jordan-Basketball-Sneakers-Infrared-384664-123/dp/B00HI7EDLK/ref=sr_1_1?s=apparel&ie=UTF8&qid=1407618843&sr=1-1&keywords=sneakers), and I don't see Amazon going to bat against Nike for their predatory pricing tactics.

EVERY single one of Amazon's points about why ebooks should be so cheap also applies to video games, and yet I don't see them slapping around Bioware or EA or Sony about the price of a digital download of a game sometimes being more than the physical copy.

This has nothing to do with protecting readers. Readers are not helpless infants. They are more than smart enough to decide what prices they will and won't pay for a book. If someone doesn't want to pay $10.99 for a book, there are a million indie titles on Amazon for half that price or less. Maybe Amazon should start promoting us instead?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Gennita Low on August 09, 2014, 02:27:48 pm
After reading 14 pages in seven hours (with work and chores) and reaching the end of the thread, I'm going to go drink now.

And oh, you ARE the dogs in this fight, all of you. Heh. #offToVodka #AmazonDog
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: books_mb on August 09, 2014, 02:36:28 pm
In the open letter the Hatchette authors say they are not taking sides, then condemn Amazon in the harshest manner. They say Amazon hurts authors, when in reality they are giving us a pretty good deal. They say Amazon is betraying its customer focus, when it actually tries to lower ebook prices. I don't know how you feel about that, but to me the open letter sounds like it came right from Press TV. If you watch it, you know what I mean.

Considering this, I don't mind Amazon trying to get some support from the people they've been treating well. I know Amazon is not my friend. They are a business partner, but one that does a spectacular job in bringing my books to a larger audience and handling the payment. That does count for something. Lower prices seem reasonable. It's not the ebook's job to save the paperback market.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 on August 09, 2014, 02:41:13 pm
Dear Jeff,

Apparently you were expecting me at a negotiation today. Sorry missed the email because the network bods were auto-deleting so many.

Maybe see you sometime,

Michael
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin on August 09, 2014, 02:45:03 pm
I could understand why someone would choose not to.  As great as these boards are, there are always going to be petty individuals who will one star (or worse) anyone who disagrees with them or they're simply jealous of.  Has happened here before, hence why a few posters who used to be regulars have since moved on.

A very fair point, Rick.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 09, 2014, 02:51:01 pm
Quote
But Hachette, and their parent company Lagardere, have quickly and repeatedly dismissed these offers even though e-books represent 1% of their revenues and they could easily agree to do so.

I would like to remind everyone that while Amazon is attacking Lagardere for not using their resources to boost up Hachette, that in the very recent past ACX (owned by Amazon) cut everyone's royalties on audiobooks from 50% to 40%. In light of the fact that Amazon expects Lagardere to foot the bill for the Hachette dispute, I am curious why Amazon couldn't foot the bill for all of the...um...improvements the reduced ACX royalty was supposed to bring?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin on August 09, 2014, 02:53:34 pm
Dear Mr. Hechette,

.... Well first, I will have to gain some respect for you. And before that, I will have to find out who the hell you are. But after that, I will lose all respect for you....

Classic Vaalingrade.  Thanks for the comedy bomb.  So much better than Amo-zones unintentional fizz-banger!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Cherise on August 09, 2014, 02:57:34 pm

I applaud Amazon for encouraging indies and readers to speak out. After all, the voices of publishing's Luddites shouldn't be the only ones to be heard during this transition. And self-serving, deceptive arguments by prominent rich authors trying to stem the tide of competition (i.e., us) ought to be publicly challenged and refuted.

Agreed,  except, Amazon is not asking us as readers to publicly speak out against the name-calling. I would have done that in a heartbeat. I'd be all over a social media campaign to refute the lies being spread by Patterson et al. Lies about Amazon refusing to sell books, etc.

What I am not willing to do is email a corporate executive and tell him how to mind his business. That is what Amazon asked all of us "KDP Authors" to do. Pointless and in bad taste.




Amazon,

Email your customers. Tell them about all the lies being spread about you by Hachette. Ask them to support you in social media. Provide graphics they can post in order to support you. Most of us "KDP Authors" will jump right on that, as we are your customers, too.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: BellaStreet on August 09, 2014, 03:00:52 pm
I got 3...one to my bona fide KDP email, and 2 to other emails I've used only to purchase Amazon products. So, technically, one was to a KDP author, the other two, to readers.

So does that make it from Amazon? Did anyone with an Amazon (not KDP) acct get one?

I don't know. I haven't done anything yet. Wanting to see what shakes loose first.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: ruecole on August 09, 2014, 03:04:15 pm
Yes, the email went out to more than just KDP authors.

Rue
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Patty Jansen on August 09, 2014, 03:09:39 pm
I protested, telling KDP that I supplied my email address for business purposes, not for political means.

KDP's canned response:

Quote
Hello,

Thanks for contacting us with your views about our ongoing negotiation with Hachette. We take seriously the impact it has when, however infrequently, such a business interruption affects authors. I have forwarded your feedback to our Business team for review.

Thanks for using KDP.

I just reflected that I hadn't considered taking all my books off Amazon for at least a year. I'm now considering doing so again.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin on August 09, 2014, 03:10:51 pm
Yes, the email went out to more than just KDP authors.

Rue

I wonder if they were all addressed, 'Dear KDP Author.' 

That would only add to the jollity.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Writerly Writer on August 09, 2014, 03:10:59 pm
Here's a semi-amusing response expressed with Gifs.

http://www.starlahuchton.com/amazons-letter-my-response-in-gifs/ (http://www.starlahuchton.com/amazons-letter-my-response-in-gifs/)
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lilpenguin1972 on August 09, 2014, 03:11:22 pm
Agreed,  except, Amazon is not asking us as readers to publicly speak out against the name-calling. I would have done that in a heartbeat. I'd be all over a social media campaign to refute the lies being spread by Patterson et al. Lies about Amazon refusing to sell books, etc.

What I am not willing to do is email a corporate executive and tell him how to mind his business. That is what Amazon asked all of us "KDP Authors" to do. Pointless and in bad taste.




Amazon,

Email your customers. Tell them about all the lies being spread about you by Hachette. Ask them to support you in social media. Provide graphics they can post in order to support you. Most of us "KDP Authors" will jump right on that, as we are your customers, too.

Not a good idea. As stated, I am an Amazon customer and I received this email. It ticked me off and I found it offensive. I don't expect emails from Amazon, other than daily deals or verification of my purchases. In fact, I checked the option in my email notifications NOT to receive spam, and yet Amazon sent this stupid email, that read like a manifesto. I found it condescending and I guarantee about 99% of Amazon customers don't give a flip about Amazon's fight with Hachette.  Plus, it was so long, most people wouldn't even bother to read it.

If Amazon did actually send this email. I still hold out hope that Amazon isn't that stupid.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Writerly Writer on August 09, 2014, 03:11:54 pm
I have two accounts, one of which is an author account.

Yes, they address the non-author account with 'Dear KDP Author'

Wooopsy!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lilpenguin1972 on August 09, 2014, 03:13:49 pm
I wonder if they were all addressed, 'Dear KDP Author.' 

That would only add to the jollity.

Mine was addressed "Dear KDP Author". 
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin on August 09, 2014, 03:14:19 pm
I have two accounts, one of which is an author account.

Yes, they address the non-author account with 'Dear KDP Author'

Wooopsy!

Ha ha!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Ty Johnston on August 09, 2014, 03:15:19 pm
I could understand why someone would choose not to.

I make nowhere near $250,000 a year from my writing, but my full income is from my writing. I do not divulge my finances publicly and I do not make known other names under which I write. Whenever money comes up on kboards, there is always too much grief. Whether someone believes me or not is besides the point; I simply don't need the headaches. I can fully understand why someone would not divulge such information, but then again, I think it rather silly if one is normally so close-lipped to throw around a figure like $250,000.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Ty Johnston on August 09, 2014, 03:24:50 pm
Here's a semi-amusing response expressed with Gifs.

http://www.starlahuchton.com/amazons-letter-my-response-in-gifs/ (http://www.starlahuchton.com/amazons-letter-my-response-in-gifs/)

Though meant to be funny, the text below the images express my own opinion. I have no love for Hachette, but if you want me to join the Amazon joyfest, there's going to have to be some better terms, especially as I'm being asked to jump into a fight which is not my own and in which I see no benefit to myself. Killing exclusivity alone would be a huge start. I got out of one petty corporate world with the express goal of not entering another.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: m.a. petterson on August 09, 2014, 03:27:20 pm
I just received this reply back from Michael Pietsch at Hachette:

“Dear m petterson,

Thank you for your erudite, perfectly punctuated, and exceedingly cerebral email. But let me open your eyes a little about Jeff Bezos.

He does not bathe. He clips his toenails on the living room carpet. He once snuck up behind a sleeping kitten and popped a balloon. He never fails to undertip.

As for his company, their one and only goal is world domination and the destruction of literature as we know it. At this very moment, Amazon scientists are hard at work developing robots that can write! In an adjoining laboratory other Amazon scientists are creating robots that can read!

Can you write as fast as a robot? Or read as fast as a robot? How about ten million to the billion squared robots?

I’m sure you see the peril. Please join with me, James Patterson, Scott Turow, and tens of other gifted writers with no clue as we march boldly forward to defend justice, save American jobs, honor tradition, treat kittens kindly, and save this glorious country for our beloved children.”
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Jan Strnad on August 09, 2014, 03:47:03 pm
Hugh Howey wrote:

Quote
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.

Preston and company signed the right and responsibility of setting cover prices over to Hachette, not to Amazon. Maybe Hachette makes the right choices, maybe not, but it's their business decision to make.

Amazon's looking at books as commodities when they say that books sell 1.74 times as many copies at $9.99. Which books, by whom? Hachette is taking a more nuanced approach.

I still say: If Amazon wants to influence ebook prices downwards, they should promote lower-priced ebooks over higher-priced ones. Instead, they sell preferential ad placement to the large publishers, who naturally charge more for their product, a practice that has the opposite effect, encouraging ebook prices to rise.

Besides, if publishers are going to pay Amazon for ad placement, why wouldn't Amazon expect higher ebook prices to cover the cost?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: SunHi Mistwalker on August 09, 2014, 03:49:07 pm
I just received this reply back from Michael Pietsch at Hachette:

"Dear m petterson,

Thank you for your erudite, perfectly punctuated, and exceedingly cerebral email. But let me open your eyes a little about Jeff Bezos.

He does not bathe. He clips his toenails on the living room carpet. He once snuck up behind a sleeping kitten and popped a balloon. He never fails to undertip.

As for his company, their one and only goal is world domination and the destruction of literature as we know it. At this very moment, Amazon scientists are hard at work developing robots that can write! In an adjoining laboratory other Amazon scientists are creating robots that can read!

Can you write as fast as a robot? Or read as fast as a robot? How about ten million to the billion squared robots?

I'm sure you see the peril. Please join with me, James Patterson, Scott Turow, and tens of other gifted writers with no clue as we march boldly forward to defend justice, save American jobs, honor tradition, treat kittens kindly, and save this glorious country for our beloved children."

Omg! This is freaking hilarious!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JRTomlin on August 09, 2014, 03:51:45 pm
In the open letter the Hatchette authors say they are not taking sides, then condemn Amazon in the harshest manner. They say Amazon hurts authors, when in reality they are giving us a pretty good deal. They say Amazon is betraying its customer focus, when it actually tries to lower ebook prices. I don't know how you feel about that, but to me the open letter sounds like it came right from Press TV. If you watch it, you know what I mean.

Considering this, I don't mind Amazon trying to get some support from the people they've been treating well. I know Amazon is not my friend. They are a business partner, but one that does a spectacular job in bringing my books to a larger audience and handling the payment. That does count for something. Lower prices seem reasonable. It's not the ebook's job to save the paperback market.
Well put.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: vlmain on August 09, 2014, 03:53:55 pm
I just received this reply back from Michael Pietsch at Hachette:

"Dear m petterson,

Thank you for your erudite, perfectly punctuated, and exceedingly cerebral email. But let me open your eyes a little about Jeff Bezos.

He does not bathe. He clips his toenails on the living room carpet. He once snuck up behind a sleeping kitten and popped a balloon. He never fails to undertip.

As for his company, their one and only goal is world domination and the destruction of literature as we know it. At this very moment, Amazon scientists are hard at work developing robots that can write! In an adjoining laboratory other Amazon scientists are creating robots that can read!

Can you write as fast as a robot? Or read as fast as a robot? How about ten million to the billion squared robots?

I'm sure you see the peril. Please join with me, James Patterson, Scott Turow, and tens of other gifted writers with no clue as we march boldly forward to defend justice, save American jobs, honor tradition, treat kittens kindly, and save this glorious country for our beloved children."

I needed a good laugh. Thanks.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Silly Writer on August 09, 2014, 03:55:27 pm

BOOM TIMES FOR INDIES!!!

Oh no... Not this again. Can you keep it to one BOOM per thread this time so I don't throw my iPad against the wall?

 ;D
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JumpingShip on August 09, 2014, 04:04:09 pm
In the open letter the Hatchette authors say they are not taking sides, then condemn Amazon in the harshest manner. They say Amazon hurts authors, when in reality they are giving us a pretty good deal. They say Amazon is betraying its customer focus, when it actually tries to lower ebook prices. I don't know how you feel about that, but to me the open letter sounds like it came right from Press TV. If you watch it, you know what I mean.

Considering this, I don't mind Amazon trying to get some support from the people they've been treating well. I know Amazon is not my friend. They are a business partner, but one that does a spectacular job in bringing my books to a larger audience and handling the payment. That does count for something. Lower prices seem reasonable. It's not the ebook's job to save the paperback market.

That's true. I can see why they would want to fight fire with fire--although I'm a mere spark. lol
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin on August 09, 2014, 04:09:35 pm
I just received this reply back from Michael Pietsch at Hachette:

"Dear m petterson,

Thank you for your erudite, perfectly punctuated, and exceedingly cerebral email. But let me open your eyes a little about Jeff Bezos.

He does not bathe. He clips his toenails on the living room carpet. He once snuck up behind a sleeping kitten and popped a balloon. He never fails to undertip.

As for his company, their one and only goal is world domination and the destruction of literature as we know it. At this very moment, Amazon scientists are hard at work developing robots that can write! In an adjoining laboratory other Amazon scientists are creating robots that can read!

Can you write as fast as a robot? Or read as fast as a robot? How about ten million to the billion squared robots?

I'm sure you see the peril. Please join with me, James Patterson, Scott Turow, and tens of other gifted writers with no clue as we march boldly forward to defend justice, save American jobs, honor tradition, treat kittens kindly, and save this glorious country for our beloved children."

Fantastic.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 09, 2014, 04:09:58 pm
Seriously, Amazon asking KDP authors to write to Hachette regarding their contract dispute is like WalMart asking Colgate to write to P&G.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin on August 09, 2014, 04:13:49 pm
Oh no... Not this again. Can you keep it to one BOOM per thread this time so I don't throw my iPad against the wall?

 ;D

I don't like iPads - so sorry, it's BOOM TIMES FOR INDIES!!! AND BUST TIMES FOR IPADS!!!

 ;D
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Silly Writer on August 09, 2014, 04:22:38 pm
I don't like iPads - so sorry, it's BOOM TIMES FOR INDIES!!! AND BUST TIMES FOR IPADS!!!

 ;D

Maybe you two could trend it on Twitter? #BOOMtimesFORindies

Dang it, now you made me type it  :-\
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Andrew Ashling on August 09, 2014, 04:23:28 pm
Oh no... Not this again. Can you keep it to one BOOM per thread this time so I don't throw my iPad against the wall?

 ;D

Spring - time... for Bezos... and Ama - zon...  ;D

*waves at Godwin*
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lilpenguin1972 on August 09, 2014, 04:24:07 pm
Omg! This is freaking hilarious!

Yes, it's always hilarious to see authors insulting other authors.

Nothing in what Patterson said insulted authors, self published or traditionally published.  He took the side of his publisher.  Right or wrong, I have yet to see him exhibit the vitriol toward authors that some authors in this thread have shown toward him. 
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Monique on August 09, 2014, 04:24:21 pm
Hashbrown WinForIndiesEverywhere!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin on August 09, 2014, 04:31:42 pm
Maybe you two could trend it on Twitter? #BOOMtimesFORindies

Dang it, now you made me type it  :-\

Type what?

 :P
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin on August 09, 2014, 04:35:03 pm
Hashbrown WinForIndiesEverywhere!

#brown?

 :D
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: SunHi Mistwalker on August 09, 2014, 04:38:30 pm
Yes, it's always hilarious to see authors insulting other authors.

Nothing in what Patterson said insulted authors, self published or traditionally published.  He took the side of his publisher.  Right or wrong, I have yet to see him exhibit the vitriol toward authors that some authors in this thread have shown toward him. 


Hmm, well that's interesting. I really have no idea what you're talking about. Anyway, I think the post I was responding to was satire/comedy. I didn't see any insults to authors, so uh...okay.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 on August 09, 2014, 04:42:53 pm
Yes, but why place yourself in an ebook ghetto needlessly. You'd be capitulating in a competition that you could potentially win before you've even started. Lowering trad pub authors' books means no more delineating in the minds of readers about what's a "real" book and what's "self-published".

The higher priced books bring with them a perception of professionalism and quality in the minds of consumers - but with prices on an even playing field you get rid of that distinction and then you CAN compete with the big names on your own merits and you can win over a great many readers who'd otherwise never give you a fair shot because your low priced ebook "appears" lesser than.

Go to Amazon.com and check the Kindle prices for Hachette imprints (Little Brown/Grand Central) and even on their frontlist they mostly do what Amazon wants and price below $9.99. Patterson's next Alex Cross is $14 but that is a premium for those who want it in the first month or so. That price will quickly drop below $10 and in a year's time you should be able to grab it for $6. These high initial prices are the equivalent of hardback first print publication. I waited two years on Bloomsbury and yesterday I bought Will Self's Man Booker nominated Umbrella for 70 cents.

BOOM TIME FOR BLOOMSBURY!!!!!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Huldra on August 09, 2014, 04:51:21 pm
Here's a semi-amusing response expressed with Gifs.

http://www.starlahuchton.com/amazons-letter-my-response-in-gifs/ (http://www.starlahuchton.com/amazons-letter-my-response-in-gifs/)

That author-lady rocks the wisdom gifs.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Cherise on August 09, 2014, 05:04:09 pm
Yes and while the trad pubs are raising the prices of their books they're taking an entire sector of your potential readership with them who look at the higher priced books as being of much better quality. Plenty of customers will pay higher prices for items just based on the idea that the higher price signifies higher quality. Supporting trad pub high prices means shutting yourself off from potential customers - why do that?


Because realistically, how big a sector of the reading market is willing to pay twice as much as the rest of us? I'm betting less than 10% of the reading market falls into this category.

Trade publishing can have the customers who are willing to shell out $50 for a hardcover book of fiction. I'll cheerfully give them that 10% of the market if they will quit all the name-calling.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lilpenguin1972 on August 09, 2014, 05:11:34 pm
Hmm, well that's interesting. I really have no idea what you're talking about. Anyway, I think the post I was responding to was satire/comedy. I didn't see any insults to authors, so uh...okay.

I was referring to this:

"I'm sure you see the peril. Please join with me, James Patterson, Scott Turow, and tens of other gifted writers with no clue as we march boldly forward to defend justice, save American jobs, honor tradition, treat kittens kindly, and save this glorious country for our beloved children."

I'm not sure how that isn't insulting. Best selling seasoned authors have no clue? It felt like a cheap shot. 

Had the same "satire" been made about self published authors, would you find it funny? Lets see...

"I'm sure you see the peril. Please join with me, Hugh Howey, JA Konrath, and tens of other gifted writers with no clue as we march boldly forward to defend justice, save American jobs, honor tradition, treat kittens kindly, and save this glorious country for our beloved children."

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: SunHi Mistwalker on August 09, 2014, 05:31:46 pm
I was referring to this:

"I'm sure you see the peril. Please join with me, James Patterson, Scott Turow, and tens of other gifted writers with no clue as we march boldly forward to defend justice, save American jobs, honor tradition, treat kittens kindly, and save this glorious country for our beloved children."

I'm not sure how that isn't insulting. Best selling seasoned authors have no clue? It felt like a cheap shot. 

Had the same "satire" been made about self published authors, would you find it funny? Lets see...

"I'm sure you see the peril. Please join with me, Hugh Howey, JA Konrath, and tens of other gifted writers with no clue as we march boldly forward to defend justice, save American jobs, honor tradition, treat kittens kindly, and save this glorious country for our beloved children."



I can't speak to the intentions of the poster, but I read the piece as a satirical take on authors fighting on behalf of powerful men and corporations without really knowing what they're fighting for, hence the phrase 'with no clue.' I mean were these authors at the negotiation table with Amazon and Hachette? If not, there's really no way they can have first-hand knowledge about the details of the dispute.  (That goes for both sides.) That's how I read it, not as an insult. If you didn't see it that way, we'll just have to agree to disagree.  And to be fair, I also laugh at the jokes about how over-enthusiastic self-published writers get about Amazon as I use to be just like that. So, I guess I can laugh at myself too.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin on August 09, 2014, 05:33:59 pm
Quote
sat-ire
noun
the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

Not to be confused with Saltire.

Quote
sal-tire
noun HERALDRY
another term for St. Andrew's Cross.
(of a design) incorporating a motif based on a saltire cross.
modifier noun: saltire

Unless one is making satirical comments about the Scottish flag....which I would never dream of doing.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JohnHindmarsh on August 09, 2014, 05:45:26 pm
I really really want to know if any kittens were harmed in the production of this stirring email. Or is it the responses here that are stirring? - people want to know.

If we sell kittens at $5.99 will anyone notice there are some at $14.99? Or $99.99?

Ew - it's so gross. Or something. Someone should do something. Maybe send an email. Maybe send a kitten to a traditionally published author - a live one that is - both the kitten and the author.

 ;D

[I've just read through 16 pages of postings and I think my brain is stewed as a result.]
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75814 on August 09, 2014, 05:47:35 pm
Wouldn't being a big household name type author be a pre-requisite to receiving such benefits? If you're unhappy with Amazon's service, pull your books and stick with other channels - or maybe you already are doing this?

Why should being a household name be a pre-requisite to receiving fair treatment? Especially when Kobo and iBooks already offer these things Amazon says are only for special people. The point here isn't hard to grasp--why should I stand up for Amazon when they won't give me the same treatment they give traditional publishers? Not one person in the Cult of Amazon has been able to answer that very simple question—instead, I just get "well take your ball and go home."
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: SunHi Mistwalker on August 09, 2014, 05:48:05 pm
I really really want to know if any kittens were harmed in the production of this stirring email. Or is it the responses here that are stirring? - people want to know.

If we sell kittens at $5.99 will anyone notice there are some at $14.99? Or $99.99?

Ew - it's so gross. Or something. Someone should do something. Maybe send an email. Maybe send a kitten to a traditionally published author - a live one that is - both the kitten and the author.

 ;D

[I've just read through 16 pages of postings and I think my brain is stewed as a result.]

Hehe Hey I wouldn't dare buy kittens for less than $99.99, that's just asking for problems. Everyone knows kittens priced at $5.99 got cooties and that's just gross...ewww.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lisa Grace on August 09, 2014, 05:58:20 pm
Yes and while the trad pubs are raising the prices of their books they're taking an entire sector of your potential readership with them who look at the higher priced books as being of much better quality. Plenty of customers will pay higher prices for items just based on the idea that the higher price signifies higher quality. Supporting trad pub high prices means shutting yourself off from potential customers - why do that?

No, you can just raise your prices too. Like to 9.99. Several indies do all ready.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: katrina46 on August 09, 2014, 06:03:15 pm
I got it and thought it was surely some spammer posing as Amazon. No way would they be so unprofessional as to drag me into their war, right? I'm all for healthy competition. Let the strongest dog win.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Joe_Nobody on August 09, 2014, 06:05:50 pm
Why should being a household name be a pre-requisite to receiving fair treatment? Especially when Kobo and iBooks already offer these things Amazon says are only for special people. The point here isn't hard to grasp--why should I stand up for Amazon when they won't give me the same treatment they give traditional publishers? Not one person in the Cult of Amazon has been able to answer that very simple question--instead, I just get "well take your ball and go home."

Because of volume. And I don't believe these "special" features are only for traditional publishers. I believe there are indie authors who sell huge volumes of books and receive these options.

Put yourself in Amazon's shoes for just a moment. To enable a pre-order option takes extra work, perhaps a manual process, and exposes Amazon to a liability. What if the book doesn't ship by the promised date? What if the title is incomplete, or terribly formatted? Not only has Amazon executed extra steps, they now may have to return a bunch of money to unhappy customers. So, if I were them, I wouldn't offer this option to just any old Joe Nobody.

I'll go even further - most indies don't have a "Amazon Rep." I don't, and I sell pretty well. But I know of a few members of this very forum who do. As far as I can tell, that distinction is earned by the sheer volume of books sold. And I'm fine with that.

Is it so unusual for a reseller to offer special terms/features to the largest suppliers? Doesn't just about every company in the world offer volume discounts, special terms for volume purchases and similar programs? I've read that the big publishers via for the aisle end caps at book stores. I've heard they offer special incentives for stores that provide "cover-facing" displays.

Isn't that the way most businesses work? So if you and I want these "special" features, we've got to earn them. We've got to sell "special" volumes of books in order to qualify. Everyone else did - why should we be any different?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: katrina46 on August 09, 2014, 06:09:25 pm
Amazon are not going to be pulling Hachette buy buttons. With no contract Amazon could have walked if they wanted but they cannot. Hachette are pushing the boundaries and Amazon's buttons. Clearly the cheer-leading from Konrath, Howey, and Eisler is not enough, KDP need to recruit us. I see this as conclusive proof that Amazon is backed into a corner. They need to have all the Big Five on their shelves and Hachette are proving just how much the Everything Store needs them. Amazon the box with a frown.
I would drive to the Barnes and Nobles to buy Patterson  and a lot of other big names I love to read. I did it for twenty years before the kindle and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Yeah, the big five are still needed if they want my money.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Robert Bidinotto on August 09, 2014, 06:11:50 pm
To kward:

Oh, come now! Brands established as "essential"? Really? You mean that these items are such necessities that customers couldn't do without them?

And a "captive audience"? Really? You mean that the Big 5 put customers in handcuffs, marched them at gunpoint to the point of sale, and compelled them to buy their wares at inflated prices, under penalty of death?

I love how metaphorical inflation transforms voluntary decisions taken by individuals in a marketplace into a virtual tooth-and-claw battle for mere subsistence. These are novels we're talking about, not water or medicines.

Let me pose a thought experiment. Suppose I write what is, by unanimous acclaim, the greatest novel in the history of the Known Universe. Everyone wants it. So, I price this item at $500 per copy.

Is your argument that I have a "monopoly" on something that is "essential" to the happiness of the world; that I am using "predatory (another absurd metaphor) pricing" against a "captive audience," and that thus I am being "detrimental to consumers and manipulative and should have been stopped" by "legal proceedings" -- i.e., by laws ultimately enforced by cops with badges and guns?

I use the extreme to establish the point in principle. Just because you really, really, REALLY want a book by James Patterson or Lee Child or Ms. Whomever, does not give you the right to set the terms of the transaction. If those worthies decide to withhold their works unless you pay them $10,000 per item, stand on your head at noon, and salute them, you are, as an American, perfectly free to walk away laughing at them. You are NOT a "captive audience," unless you're living in some totalitarian dictatorship. But it is THEIR works, and THEY (or their agents, the publishers) have the absolute moral right to set whatever conditions of sale they want. You have the absolute moral right to agree, or to walk away.

It's called freedom, and respect for the rights of others. Unless you care to have the government (i.e., politicians) setting the terms of sale for YOUR work, you'd jolly well better respect the terms of the publishers.

I think their prices for ebooks, their business strategies, and their publishing contracts with authors are ridiculous. That's why I support Amazon and indie publishing. But "ridiculous" is not the same thing as "unfair," not if you have the freedom to say "no." What would be "unfair" is being forced to accept their terms. Yet you are demanding that they, the publishers, accept YOUR terms, enforced by "legal proceedings." And that IS unfair.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: vlmain on August 09, 2014, 06:15:52 pm
Because of volume. And I don't believe these "special" features are only for traditional publishers. I believe there are indie authors who sell huge volumes of books and receive these options.

Put yourself in Amazon's shoes for just a moment. To enable a pre-order option takes extra work, perhaps a manual process, and exposes Amazon to a liability. What if the book doesn't ship by the promised date? What if the title is incomplete, or terribly formatted? Not only has Amazon executed extra steps, they now may have to return a bunch of money to unhappy customers. So, if I were them, I wouldn't offer this option to just any old Joe Nobody.

I'll go even further - most indies don't have a "Amazon Rep." I don't, and I sell pretty well. But I know of a few members of this very forum who do. As far as I can tell, that distinction is earned by the sheer volume of books sold. And I'm fine with that.

Is it so unusual for a reseller to offer special terms/features to the largest suppliers? Doesn't just about every company in the world offer volume discounts, special terms for volume purchases and similar programs? I've read that the big publishers via for the aisle end caps at book stores. I've heard they offer special incentives for stores that provide "cover-facing" displays.

Isn't that the way most businesses work? So if you and I want these "special" features, we've got to earn them. We've got to sell "special" volumes of books in order to qualify. Everyone else did - why should we be any different?

Exactly! Thank you.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: katrina46 on August 09, 2014, 06:16:27 pm
Because Hachette asks THEIR authors. The authors they invested in, whose book launches they paid for, whose book tours they organised.

The only thing Amazon does for us is proved a service (a handy one, to be sure), but we pay Amazon a commission for selling our books. We are not Amazon's authors.
Amazon has blocked some of my erotica and wouldn't even tell me why so I could fix the problem. If I have a question they send me a vague response, talking in circles so as not to commit to a concrete answer. Add to how I feel about KU and it's a bad time to ask for my help.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 09, 2014, 06:19:45 pm
Because of volume. And I don't believe these "special" features are only for traditional publishers. I believe there are indie authors who sell huge volumes of books and receive these options.

Put yourself in Amazon's shoes for just a moment. To enable a pre-order option takes extra work, perhaps a manual process, and exposes Amazon to a liability. What if the book doesn't ship by the promised date? What if the title is incomplete, or terribly formatted? Not only has Amazon executed extra steps, they now may have to return a bunch of money to unhappy customers. So, if I were them, I wouldn't offer this option to just any old Joe Nobody.

As Perry points out in his post, Kobo and Apple manage to do this without collapsing into a brilliant hellfire of failure.

Like native free, we don't get these things because Amazon doens't feel like giving them to us. We're not worthy in their eyes.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: katrina46 on August 09, 2014, 06:20:10 pm
To kward:

Oh, come now! Brands established as "essential"? Really? You mean that these items are such necessities that customers couldn't do without them?

And a "captive audience"? Really? You mean that the Big 5 put customers in handcuffs, marched them at gunpoint to the point of sale, and compelled them to buy their wares at inflated prices, under penalty of death?

I love how metaphorical inflation transforms voluntary decisions taken by individuals in a marketplace into a virtual tooth-and-claw battle for mere subsistence. These are novels we're talking about, not water or medicines.

Let me pose a thought experiment. Suppose I write what is, by unanimous acclaim, the greatest novel in the history of the Known Universe. Everyone wants it. So, I price this item at $500 per copy.

Is your argument that I have a "monopoly" on something that is "essential" to the happiness of the world; that I am using "predatory (another absurd metaphor) pricing" against a "captive audience," and that thus I am being "detrimental to consumers and manipulative and should have been stopped" by "legal proceedings" -- i.e., by laws ultimately enforced by cops with badges and guns?

I use the extreme to establish the point in principle. Just because you really, really, REALLY want a book by James Patterson or Lee Child or Ms. Whomever, does not give you the right to set the terms of the transaction. If those worthies decide to withhold their works unless you pay them $10,000 per item, stand on your head at noon, and salute them, you are, as an American, perfectly free to walk away laughing at them. You are NOT a "captive audience," unless you're living in some totalitarian dictatorship. But it is THEIR works, and THEY (or their agents, the publishers) have the absolute moral right to set whatever conditions of sale they want. You have the absolute moral right to agree, or to walk away.

It's called freedom, and respect for the rights of others. Unless you care to have the government (i.e., politicians) setting the terms of sale for YOUR work, you'd jolly well better respect the terms of the publishers.

I think their prices for ebooks, their business strategies, and their publishing contracts with authors are ridiculous. That's why I support Amazon and indie publishing. But "ridiculous" is not the same thing as "unfair," not if you have the freedom to say "no." What would be "unfair" is being forced to accept their terms. Yet you are demanding that they, the publishers, accept YOUR terms, enforced by "legal proceedings." And that IS unfair.
It's called capitalism and I'm all for it. If I don't want to pay a high price I won't buy. It's that simple.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Jan Strnad on August 09, 2014, 06:20:31 pm
Because of volume. And I don't believe these "special" features are only for traditional publishers. I believe there are indie authors who sell huge volumes of books and receive these options.

Put yourself in Amazon's shoes for just a moment. To enable a pre-order option takes extra work, perhaps a manual process, and exposes Amazon to a liability. What if the book doesn't ship by the promised date? What if the title is incomplete, or terribly formatted? Not only has Amazon executed extra steps, they now may have to return a bunch of money to unhappy customers. So, if I were them, I wouldn't offer this option to just any old Joe Nobody.

I'll go even further - most indies don't have a "Amazon Rep." I don't, and I sell pretty well. But I know of a few members of this very forum who do. As far as I can tell, that distinction is earned by the sheer volume of books sold. And I'm fine with that.

Is it so unusual for a reseller to offer special terms/features to the largest suppliers? Doesn't just about every company in the world offer volume discounts, special terms for volume purchases and similar programs? I've read that the big publishers via for the aisle end caps at book stores. I've heard they offer special incentives for stores that provide "cover-facing" displays.

Isn't that the way most businesses work? So if you and I want these "special" features, we've got to earn them. We've got to sell "special" volumes of books in order to qualify. Everyone else did - why should we be any different?

This makes sense because the treatment is based on volume, not on categories such as "self-published" vs. "trad published." I don't have any problem at all with Amazon treating best-selling authors differently from the Joe Nobodies and the Less-than-Nobodies like me.

I don't bear any animosity toward trad authors or trad publishers or any booksellers. We're all trying to get by in a tough business, and if we can't get by, we want to get a little slice. Some of us are vested in the way things have been done in the past. Others are vested in a new paradigm.

I admire the heck out of Hugh Howey and I signed his petition in the early stages of this brouhaha. As things have developed, we disagree on the issue of who should set ebook prices which has emerged as the main point of contention between Amazon and Hachette. I disagree with my wife on a whole host of issues and we've been married for 37 years. You don't have to agree with someone to like and respect them.

I think that, as internet debates go, this one has been pretty darned respectful even as passions have run high.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Robert Bidinotto on August 09, 2014, 06:25:21 pm
Because of volume. And I don't believe these "special" features are only for traditional publishers. I believe there are indie authors who sell huge volumes of books and receive these options.

Put yourself in Amazon's shoes for just a moment. To enable a pre-order option takes extra work, perhaps a manual process, and exposes Amazon to a liability. What if the book doesn't ship by the promised date? What if the title is incomplete, or terribly formatted? Not only has Amazon executed extra steps, they now may have to return a bunch of money to unhappy customers. So, if I were them, I wouldn't offer this option to just any old Joe Nobody.

I'll go even further - most indies don't have a "Amazon Rep." I don't, and I sell pretty well. But I know of a few members of this very forum who do. As far as I can tell, that distinction is earned by the sheer volume of books sold. And I'm fine with that.

Is it so unusual for a reseller to offer special terms/features to the largest suppliers? Doesn't just about every company in the world offer volume discounts, special terms for volume purchases and similar programs? I've read that the big publishers via for the aisle end caps at book stores. I've heard they offer special incentives for stores that provide "cover-facing" displays.

Isn't that the way most businesses work? So if you and I want these "special" features, we've got to earn them. We've got to sell "special" volumes of books in order to qualify. Everyone else did - why should we be any different?

^^^
Amen. What Joe said.

There is nothing "unfair" about giving better treatment to more productive business partners. It's called "incentives." It happens with profit-sharing arrangements, with employee bonuses, and with promotions. What would be "unfair" is forcing Amazon to treat everyone exactly the same, simply because a bunch of modest-selling authors resent the success of big-selling authors and don't want them to enjoy the extra benefits that success brings.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Gennita Low on August 09, 2014, 06:31:18 pm
Why should being a household name be a pre-requisite to receiving fair treatment? Especially when Kobo and iBooks already offer these things Amazon says are only for special people. The point here isn't hard to grasp--why should I stand up for Amazon when they won't give me the same treatment they give traditional publishers? Not one person in the Cult of Amazon has been able to answer that very simple question--instead, I just get "well take your ball and go home."

You signed the agreement they offered you. Now you think it's unfair.

That's not wrong, but just wanted to point out that at one point in your business, you didn't mind those terms. Sure, for some, things have changed now*, but those were the agreed-upon conditions back then that many self-pubs thought were fantastic.

As for having the same treatment as trad-pubs, some self-pubs have sold enough and shown enough media savvy (I'm sure Amazon takes notes of those authors building their fan bases, Goodread presence, keeping up with KDP algos, etc.) that KDP has decided to invest in them. Those self-pubs are given more incentives, such as reps, pre-order buttons, ACX startups, even KD deals. Why? Because KDP knows investing in authors whose books are popular will make Amazon more money. But investment is a two-way street. If you want to see Amazon as a just one way to publish your books and nothing more, that's your right, but other authors have a different take on what Amazon does for their business models.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: wtvr on August 09, 2014, 06:46:15 pm
As for having the same treatment as trad-pubs, some self-pubs have sold enough and shown enough media savvy (I'm sure Amazon takes notes of those authors building their fan bases, Goodread presence, keeping up with KDP algos, etc.) that KDP has decided to invest in them. Those self-pubs are given more incentives, such as reps, pre-order buttons, ACX startups, even KD deals. Why? Because KDP knows investing in authors whose books are popular will make Amazon more money. But investment is a two-way street. If you want to see Amazon as a just one way to publish your books and nothing more, that's your right, but other authors have a different take on what Amazon does for their business models.

^^ yes. Those aren't just insider freebies either, right? Wasn't Hachette griping about paying $10K for preferred placement for each title? Something like that? (My memory fails me, sorry.)
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lionel's Mom on August 09, 2014, 06:57:43 pm
You'll be crushed by the kitten sellers who put their kittens in Kittens Unlimited, where people can borrow kittens for free.

I'd sign up that KU straight away.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: katrina46 on August 09, 2014, 07:06:44 pm
Hehe Hey I wouldn't dare buy kittens for less than $99.99, that's just asking for problems. Everyone knows kittens priced at $5.99 got cooties and that's just gross...ewww.
They will notice if Garfield is for sale at $99. I'm the kitten that was found on the street all dirty and flea ridden. I'm only 99 cents.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Pamela on August 09, 2014, 07:09:03 pm
From an article in NYTimes Aug 7th.

This may be why Amazon sent the letter to authors:  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/08/business/media/plot-thickens-as-900-writers-battle-amazon.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0

If it's already been posted, excuse me please.  Interesting read, anyway.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 09, 2014, 07:09:34 pm
The idea that we should 'earn' basic publishing tools from the people we're paying to perform a service for usby selling lots is like if you went to a restaurant and the waiter refused to give you a knife until you proved you could eat half your steak without one.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 09, 2014, 07:18:53 pm
For those sports fans just tuning in, between Kward and Joe Nobody, we know the following:

Indies suck way too much to be trusted with pre-orders or full categories.

But they're more than good enough to compete directly with actual household names.

Translation: We're awful when it would benefit us. We're amazing when it would benefit Amazon.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: wtvr on August 09, 2014, 07:24:01 pm
The idea that we should 'earn' basic publishing tools from the people we're paying to perform a service for usby selling lots is like if you went to a restaurant and the waiter refused to give you a knife until you proved you could eat half your steak without one.

No, it's not. How about: it's sorta like Carmax letting you park your fresh-off-the-production-line car in the choicest spot by the Interstate off-ramp right next to the flailing tube man thing and the cheerleader carwash signs, only after you've shown you can move a lot of inventory.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on August 09, 2014, 07:25:29 pm
Vaal, less hyperbole.  I've not seen anyone say what you're attributing to kward and Joe.

Let's keep the conversation respectful, please.

And everyone, lets remember that among our membership are indies, trad pubbed authors and hybrids.

Thanks

Betsy
KB Mod
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Joe_Nobody on August 09, 2014, 07:29:44 pm
As Perry points out in his post, Kobo and Apple manage to do this without collapsing into a brilliant hellfire of failure.

Like native free, we don't get these things because Amazon doens't feel like giving them to us. We're not worthy in their eyes.

B&N only pays 65% royalty. I think that sucks. Their support is terrible (as compared), their sales reporting is about as dependable as a fart in a whirlwind, and their upload process is often the slowest, most difficult. Yet, I bet 90% of us list our tomes on that site. Aren't yours, Vaal?
I've never noticed a pre-order button available on B&N.   

I've had months where I've earned $8,000 in royalties on B&N. I've been in their top 100 I don't know how many times. Yet, they absolutely refuse to put my titles in their stores. I bet your books aren't there either. I guess we aren't "worthy?"

B&N is the largest physical book store in the world. They have over 600 stores, and my titles aren't welcome in any of them. I bet the vast majority of the people on this forum would say the same. I don't see anyone calling them unfair, evil, or a monopoly because they won't stock our books.

They don't carry many indie books because of return policies, distribution channels and agency pricing. Those are just their terms... how they do business. Amazon's no different. I just can't see why Amazon is wrong because they establish terms, but no other business is guilty of such crimes when they do the exact same thing.

Where is the outrage... the petitions, NY Times ads, letters and blogs calling for B&N's head on a pike? Seems like out and out discrimination to me. Seems like the NY Houses have a monopoly to me.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 09, 2014, 07:29:50 pm
I would argue I'm not being hyperbolic. Joe is saying that we haven't 'earned' these 'perks' while Kward is saying we should be able to go toe-to-toe with the big names on open ground.

What is the more moderate interpretation of that besides we aren't good enough for one, but more than good enough for the other?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Robert Bidinotto on August 09, 2014, 07:37:27 pm
Before Amazon MANY indie authors had little to no chance of making a living following their dream - and we all know the big trad pubs weren't making it easy for anyone to get a book published - which is not to say they should've - but is it really so hard to see why many indie authors feel grateful that Amazon exists? Calling that easily recognized gratitude a "cult" seems purposely provocative, and to what end?

I'm not here to say you SHOULD stand up for Amazon but my my there does seem to be a lot of folks around here taking KDP's existence for granted as though Amazon's retail platform and the riches it has brought to many indies lives is somehow their birthright - to the point where some folks are posting that they're downright angry at Amazon for sending them an email (seriously?) asking for their support in a fight that whether they like it or not DOES involve them and WILL effect them in the end.

Of course you are well within your right to say nothing on Amazon's behalf - even given the fact that many of your peers make their full time living from writing and were able to cast off the chains of a day job because of Amazon's platform and tools therein.

You are well within your right to tell Amazon to stuff it since they're only providing a platform that makes the dream of being a full-time writer that much more possible but they're not giving you the moon and the stars too - just like I am well within my right to speak from behind the gilded veil of the 'Cult of Amazon' and tell you thou doth protest too much.

^^^
YES!

Having disagreed with you strongly on another point, kward, I am delighted to agree wholeheartedly with this. I marvel at those expressing a sense of entitlement to a company's various services, and indignation when they aren't provided to one and all upon demand. Let me add a stem sentence, which any author ought to complete with as much honesty as he or she can muster:

"Before/but for the existence of Amazon, I . . ."
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 09, 2014, 07:38:26 pm
Where is the outrage... the petitions, NY Times ads, letters and blogs calling for B&N's head on a pike? Seems like out and out discrimination to me. Seems like the NY Houses have a monopoly to me.

Where have you been? I mock B&N whenever they come up. NookPress is run off a server that is Skynet if AIs could go senile. They do the same stupid thing with not letting you go free without figuring out the cheat code.

The difference is that no one is running around acting like BN is anything more than another sales channel or suggesting that they're 'owed' something more than what I'm already paying them. And no one is trying to defend thier awful site by saying I might deserve a better one if only I sold better.

And in this case, BN isn't asking me to go spambomb some dude I don't know because that guy isn't capitulating to their demands. Hell, they don't say boo to me. They shut up and do their job just as poorly as Amazon. I'm the guy doing all the work while both of them sit on their fat butts and collect a cut of my money to be a middleman. Why should I kowtow to either one?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 09, 2014, 07:45:32 pm
To The Venerable Hubert H Barnes and Mr Eustace W Noble, Esq,

First of all, I would like to thank you for being imaginary stand-ins for whoever is in charge of Barnes and Noble. I hope this letter finds you well in imagination land. Do you know Captain Planet? That guy has a killer mullet.

Anyway, as is the style of the time, someone has yet again demanded I send a letter to faceless entities who don't even know I exist and won't care if they did. So yup, this is a letter. Umm... hire some It guys and stuff. There is honestly no reason the javascript on your site fails to load as often as it does or as slowly. Seriously, PHP 5.4 has been around a while now and is unlikely to be a passing fad.

Well, that's probably enough. Um... I know your sins and stuff. Because I am the Internet Shadow. *wiggles fingers* woooo. Are you scared into doing what an random email tells you yet?

Eh, I don' really care anyway. I just like writing meaningless emails and doing what people tell me in the most reticent manner possible.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Gennita Low on August 09, 2014, 07:45:52 pm
Where have you been? I mock B&N whenever they come up. NookPress is run off a server that is Skynet if AIs could go senile. They do the same stupid thing with not letting you go free without figuring out the cheat code.

....I'm the guy doing all the work while both of them sit on their fat butts and collect a cut of my money to be a middleman. Why should I kowtow to either one?

Nobody is asking you to kowtow to them. Nobody is asking you to do business through or with them at all.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Talicalicia on August 09, 2014, 07:52:19 pm
A a reader   I think Amazon is sending their message to the wrong people.   At the end of the day Hachette and Amazon can fight it out all they like and the authors can argue it out as well, but in the end its the readers that will decide on whether on not they are going to click 'buy' or not on the ebook.   So in that Amazons made a large mistake in that they've asked the wrong crowd for support.  Asking the authors is a bit of a pointless exercise because the authors are only after one thing, the money that sits in my account that could be going to their accounts. You want to create a swell movement to lower prices, you have to talk to the people that actually want lower prices.  Buts that is my 2 cents worth as a reader of both indie and trad published authors.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Robert Bidinotto on August 09, 2014, 07:54:23 pm
B&N only pays 65% royalty. I think that sucks. Their support is terrible (as compared), their sales reporting is about as dependable as a fart in a whirlwind, and their upload process is often the slowest, most difficult. Yet, I bet 90% of us list our tomes on that site. Aren't yours, Vaal?
I've never noticed a pre-order button available on B&N.   

I've had months where I've earned $8,000 in royalties on B&N. I've been in their top 100 I don't know how many times. Yet, they absolutely refuse to put my titles in their stores. I bet your books aren't there either. I guess we aren't "worthy?"

B&N is the largest physical book store in the world. They have over 600 stores, and my titles aren't welcome in any of them. I bet the vast majority of the people on this forum would say the same. I don't see anyone calling them unfair, evil, or a monopoly because they won't stock our books.

They don't carry many indie books because of return policies, distribution channels and agency pricing. Those are just their terms... how they do business. Amazon's no different. I just can't see why Amazon is wrong because they establish terms, but no other business is guilty of such crimes when they do the exact same thing.

Where is the outrage... the petitions, NY Times ads, letters and blogs calling for B&N's head on a pike? Seems like out and out discrimination to me. Seems like the NY Houses have a monopoly to me.


Joe, what you criticize above is pretty much an ostensive definition of Amazon Derangement Syndrome. Amazon is singled out for denunciation and criticism for behavior that is ignored when anyone else engages in it, or for failing to do desirable things that no one else is doing.

And, of course, if they get any more successful by giving customers what they want, they will eventually take over the Known Universe, transform it into the Matrix, and turn us into batteries to power Jeff Bezos's slave-shop warehouses.

I think some here forget that the "spambomb" requests began with James Patterson & Co., when they publicly encouraged folks to email Bezos for his grossly "unfair" treatment of Big Publishing's millionaires. Few complained about that tactic then, nor pointed out that this was a shameless effort to control the national media Narrative about these negotiations, for their own benefit. Few complained when, with breathtaking chutpah, they labeled their elite protest site "Authors United."

Now, as further evidence of the ADS disease, though, Amazon is attacked for simply responding in kind: inviting ITS supporters to email the CEO of Hachette, and posting on a web page called "Readers United."

Double standards, anyone? Please explain why Amazon should engage in unilateral disarmament in the battle for public opinion -- a battle that IT did not start?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 09, 2014, 07:54:48 pm
Dear Kobo,

Amazon told me to email Hechette, then I emailed Amazon, then Joe wanted to know why I didn't email B&N. Plus earlier this week I wrote and angry letter to Amazon. I just don't want you to feel left out or anything.

I mean, I know you panic at the slightest hint of movement and shake books off like a bad case of fleas at the drop of a hat, so I wanted to warn you about all the activity going on so no loud noises spook you. I'm pretty sure Amazon will tell me to tell yout hat Hechette said you were fat in a of couple weeks, so... you're fat. Fatty.

Actually, I don't mean that. You're more 'pleasingly plump', and you haven't screwed up in any major way since February, so I'm not mad enough at you to hurt your feelings. Basically, just the standard 'Why can't you be more like DriveThruFiciton?' because seriously, you should be. I don't get why competence is so hard for ebook stores.

not that you're incom--actually yeah, you're still incompetent. Just quiet as of late so you come out better than the other Big 4. I'm sure it won't last so... 'doing good for now?'.

Please don't take this as an excuse to screw up again.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JRTomlin on August 09, 2014, 07:55:23 pm
B&N only pays 65% royalty. I think that sucks. Their support is terrible (as compared), their sales reporting is about as dependable as a fart in a whirlwind, and their upload process is often the slowest, most difficult. Yet, I bet 90% of us list our tomes on that site. Aren't yours, Vaal?
I've never noticed a pre-order button available on B&N.   

I've had months where I've earned $8,000 in royalties on B&N. I've been in their top 100 I don't know how many times. Yet, they absolutely refuse to put my titles in their stores. I bet your books aren't there either. I guess we aren't "worthy?"

B&N is the largest physical book store in the world. They have over 600 stores, and my titles aren't welcome in any of them. I bet the vast majority of the people on this forum would say the same. I don't see anyone calling them unfair, evil, or a monopoly because they won't stock our books.

They don't carry many indie books because of return policies, distribution channels and agency pricing. Those are just their terms... how they do business. Amazon's no different. I just can't see why Amazon is wrong because they establish terms, but no other business is guilty of such crimes when they do the exact same thing.

Where is the outrage... the petitions, NY Times ads, letters and blogs calling for B&N's head on a pike? Seems like out and out discrimination to me. Seems like the NY Houses have a monopoly to me.

This.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: FictionalWriter on August 09, 2014, 08:13:15 pm
As an author and the producer of books, I would love to get as much as the market will bear for my book. If I had 20,000 readers willing to pay $14.99 for my ebook, I sure as h*ll wouldn't turn them away. And then as demand drops, so would the price of my book.

Whatever happened to supply and demand?

As a reader, I'd love it if ALL the books I wanted to buy weren't priced higher than--ideally--$5.99. As a consumer, I don't always get what I want. There's a whole bunch of things I love to see priced lower than they currently are. I have an 11 year old son who LOVES very expensive video games. Boy don't I wish the price of those were a little lower.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Alan Petersen on August 09, 2014, 08:24:15 pm
The idea that we should 'earn' basic publishing tools from the people we're paying to perform a service for usby selling lots is like if you went to a restaurant and the waiter refused to give you a knife until you proved you could eat half your steak without one.
We all have access to the same basic publishing tools. Anyone can publish on KDP. It's the pre-order buttons, the dedicated rep, etc that are earned, but those aren't "basic publishing tools" you don't need them to publish. You have your streak knife. Once we become top sellers maybe we get a fancier knife, but we all have the basics to publish and sell our books.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: FictionalWriter on August 09, 2014, 08:36:17 pm
Please help me understand why we as authors should be fighting for LOWER ebook prices.

Do artists want to cap how much one of their paintings should sell for?

Do actors want to cap how much they can make for one of their movies?

Do salaried employees want to cap how much they earn in their position?

I'm mystified that any of us would want this as authors.

Are we thinking of this issue in terms of consumers?

I absolutely don't want to cap my earning potential as an author. And whether that's selling books at $3.99, $7.99 or $12.99, I'll charge what I believe readers will be willing to pay.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: katrina46 on August 09, 2014, 08:38:38 pm
It's called unfettered capitalism and I am whole-heartedly against it. It's great that you don't fall for manipulative and harmful business practices but that's not everyone.
Hey, I'd like to drive a sports car, but they're too expensive for me. So they should lower their prices for me? A big name can charge whatever they want for their product. You don't like it, don't buy. You can't compete against them, then don't compete. Also, Amazon gets accused of unfettered capitalism bordering on monopoly all the time.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: wtvr on August 09, 2014, 08:41:48 pm
Do artists want to cap how much one of their paintings should sell for?
As a professional artist - yeah, totally. Those Jeff Koons dickheads totally undermine/skew the public's perception of the value of art and artists.

(Sorry, OT I guess.)
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Joe_Nobody on August 09, 2014, 08:46:24 pm
Joe is saying that we haven't 'earned' these 'perks' while Kward is saying we should be able to go toe-to-toe with the big names on open ground.

What is the more moderate interpretation of that besides we aren't good enough for one, but more than good enough for the other?

I agree. I haven't earned those perks. I am not good enough.

Let's say that Joe Nobody and H.M. Ward both emailed a writer at the same time - both of us wanting to co-author a book with said author. There's only time to work with one or the other. Resources are limited. A deadline looms.

I'm willing to wager a significant lunch that 99% of us would go with Holly. It would be crazy not too.

Holly is multi-NY Times bestseller. She has a marketing machine, fan base, and proven track record of financial success. She's earned that position over and over again. She is good enough.

So if you were the up-and-coming writer, wouldn't you go with Holly? I sure would. Anyone's chances of success would be exponentially greater co-authoring a book with her as opposed to me. She is clearly the better investment.

And that's what Amazon does. Even the mighty Zon has limited resources. They apply those resources to the suppliers that have proven themselves. Those that are "good enough" receive their investment because time has proven they will get a return. I bet the vast majority of us would do the same, and go with Holly.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: FictionalWriter on August 09, 2014, 08:48:24 pm
As a professional artist - yeah, totally. Those Jeff Koons dickheads totally undermine/skew the public's perception of the value of art and artists.

(Sorry, OT I guess.)

So you're telling me that Koons rejected the 58.4 million dollars his painting sold for? I'm not exactly sure what you're saying.

I worked with an artist and if someone told him they were willing to pay $5000 for his landscape but someone else told him they'd give him $10,000, I think you know which offer he'd take.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Alan Petersen on August 09, 2014, 09:03:01 pm
As a professional artist - yeah, totally. Those Jeff Koons dickheads totally undermine/skew the public's perception of the value of art and artists.

(Sorry, OT I guess.)
And who decides the cap? You? An association of artists? An art gallery? And someone offers a million bucks the artist would say, oh, no, the cap is $500, here is $999,500 back.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: wtvr on August 09, 2014, 09:03:28 pm
So you're telling me that Koons rejected the 58.4 million dollars his painting sold for? I'm not exactly sure what you're saying.

I worked with an artist and if someone told him they were willing to pay $5000 for his landscape but someone else told him they'd give him $10,000, I think you know which offer he'd take.

The pricing structure of art is very different from what we're dealing with here. For many reasons - including the fact that art is collected usually as single pieces - it's just not the same.

Someone like Koons sells not because of the piece he made, but because the buyer is speculating on the value of the piece in the secondary market. The side effect is that all artists look like jerks, IMO, because nobody really realizes that most art sales are in the midlist. The media talks about Koons as representing the art world, and making a mockery of it by producing things with no objective value.

The midlist artist selling her landscape for 10K, btw - that's just a suggestion. The gallery regularly sells for 30% under that (moreso in the last 5 years). My usual 50% commission might be before or after the discount the gallery negotiates with the buyer. Depends on the gallery. Galleries as retail outlets encourage pricing to the market that exists. (As in - he's here! He wants to buy it! Let me sell it to him for about $50 over your cost please!)

But anyhow, this is OT. If you ever want to discuss pricing and art, feel free to PM me.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: katrina46 on August 09, 2014, 09:04:11 pm
Please help me understand why we as authors should be fighting for LOWER ebook prices.

Do artists want to cap how much one of their paintings should sell for?

Do actors want to cap how much they can make for one of their movies?

Do salaried employees want to cap how much they earn in their position?

I'm mystified that any of us would want this as authors.

Are we thinking of this issue in terms of consumers?

I absolutely don't want to cap my earning potential as an author. And whether that's selling books at $3.99, $7.99 or $12.99, I'll charge what I believe readers will be willing to pay.
Apparently if you build up your readership or sign with a trad pub and become a big name, you are supposed to keep your prices low so people who didn't accomplish what you have can have a piece of the pie you worked so hard for. Vladimir Putin might agree.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Joe_Nobody on August 09, 2014, 09:06:40 pm
Please help me understand why we as authors should be fighting for LOWER ebook prices.

Do artists want to cap how much one of their paintings should sell for?

Do actors want to cap how much they can make for one of their movies?

Do salaried employees want to cap how much they earn in their position?

I'm mystified that any of us would want this as authors.

Are we thinking of this issue in terms of consumers?

I absolutely don't want to cap my earning potential as an author. And whether that's selling books at $3.99, $7.99 or $12.99, I'll charge what I believe readers will be willing to pay.



My understanding is the dispute isn't about the price of ebooks, or the writer's income potential. It's about the royalty earned. Hachette wants to charge whatever they want and still receive 70%. Amazon wants to keep the 70% cap at $9.99. And really - that's what the entire issue is about.

Hachette wants to charge more for ebooks so people will buy their more-profitable hardbacks instead. That's where they make their serious money. Such a move would obviously take readers away from shopping at Amazon because they can't compete in that market.

In reality, neither of them are worried about the author's income potential. Yes, they have said some words, but that's just PR.

I've sided with Amazon on this because, IMHO, Hachette has mounted a completely dishonest campaign against a retailer that is my primary income source. Hachette is using it's writers as human shields, messengers (who sometimes get shot), and cannon fodder. Amazon left the writers out of it until today. They emailed each of us privately, gave us the option to speak up on their behalf, or not. I don't like that either, but it seems to be the lessor of two evils.

Anyway, back to the post - I don't think the outcome of this means squat to ebook prices. If Hachette wins, then we might see some future impact as the other publishers follow suite. If Amazon wins, then I see business as usual, and that's where I want to be.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: katrina46 on August 09, 2014, 09:12:29 pm
Has anyone considered emailing Amazon and asking if this really came from them? I'm going to do it, because I still find it hard to believe they'd drag us into this. It shows weakness on their part, which is unlike them.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 09, 2014, 09:17:04 pm
Is there anything about Amazon you actually like?

KindleWorlds, Matchbook, the spellchecker in the upload page code, the new dashboard, Createspace, the affiliate program, their publication turnaround and the new series thing... when it actually works.

Thing si though, they're not special. Just in general, the Big 4 sales channels... are like the Three Stooges plus Curly Joe. They get the job done but into without a lot of eye-poking.

I crack on Amazon more because they're the only one that people really try to defend as super-chocolatey awesome and that I or anyone else should owe them diddly squat after we've been paying them to do what they're doing.

Like if there was a cadre of people here dedicated to singing the praises of Apple and telling me that I can't upload to them with a PC because I somehow don't deserve it despite being a paying customer, then they would get it good too. In fact, when they do the 'durr, Apple invented tablets and MP3 players' thing, here, they do get it.

Basically, we've got a bunch of naked emperors, but only one who seems to get away with it all the time. By all means, Pm me when you see some Kobo worship going on. I'll grab my gauge and hop right on my horse, Kimsabe.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Robert Bidinotto on August 09, 2014, 09:18:09 pm
"Unfettered capitalism" is precisely what has permitted us to do what we're doing right here, folks.

If you really want "the law" to intervene into these market negotiations, understand that "the law" really means politicians. Politicians, as we all painfully know now, do not respond to High Moral Principles or feel themselves constrained by the Constitution. They are bought and paid for by special interests.

So, when you want "the law" to make things "fair," it really means: You want politicians, beholden to special interests, to DEFINE "fairness" -- then impose it on everyone by force.

Look at France. French politicians, in the hip pockets of the existing Book Industry, have decided that competition from Amazon is "unfair." In order to protect bookstores -- which, apparently, readers are not VOLUNTARILY willing to patronize in sufficient numbers for the stores to survive -- the government has imposed punitive laws against Amazon.

So, are these politicians responding to the "public good"? Well, the public decided its own "good" by voting with their francs, and they were voting for Amazon. That marketplace vote was democracy in action. But the politicians, beholden to the special interests and lobbies of the Book Industry Establishment, is using the force of law and the power to tax in order to PREVENT the public from pursuing their own chosen "good."

The "unfettered" marketplace is democracy in action. We indies here have all benefited from it. Many of us have careers as authors precisely because of it. If antitrust laws had been imposed against "monopolist" Amazon ten years ago, on behalf of the struggling Book Industry -- and if ebooks had been suppressed as a result, in the name of "protecting competition" (i.e., shielding Big Publishing and bookstore chains from Amazon) -- I ask you: Where would you be right now?

The LAST thing we need or should want is politicians and bureaucrats -- all in the hip pockets of vested interests -- using the power of laws and cops to define and impose "fairness." The only result historically, in any industry where government intrudes, is political cronyism and the entrenchment of powerful Establishments that wipe out competitors.

Unfettered markets -- markets unmanipulated by politics -- are the best friends that authors and readers have. Competition is not enhanced by political manipulation; it is killed, on behalf of the powerful and connected. The government should never have gone after Big Publishing with "antitrust" prosecutions; nor should it turn against Amazon, either. It's unnecessary. They are perfectly capable of going after each other in the free marketplace. Ultimately, consumers will cast their votes with their dollars to determine the winners and losers. And the winners will be those who best serve them.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: FictionalWriter on August 09, 2014, 09:21:08 pm
My understanding is the dispute isn't about the price of ebooks, or the writer's income potential. It's about the royalty earned. Hachette wants to charge whatever they want and still receive 70%. Amazon wants to keep the 70% cap at $9.99. And really - that's what the entire issue is about.


If the dispute isn't about the price of ebooks, Amazon is failing to get that point across in their communication because they repeatedly say it is.

But let's say it's about this 70% issue, what you're saying is they want to treat Hachette like self-published authors in this respect. Which is their prerogative. I still don't understand why they haven't walked away and why they've allowed it to devolve to this. They seemed to pull the plug on Macmillan easily enough back in 2010.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Moist_Tissue on August 09, 2014, 09:27:44 pm
Has anyone considered emailing Amazon and asking if this really came from them? I'm going to do it, because I still find it hard to believe they'd drag us into this. It shows weakness on their part, which is unlike them.

Amazon's PR machine would have been all over this within minutes of this being on HP, the Wall Street Journal, and the NYT. They aren't denying. There hasn't been a second email explaining a breach. This is legit.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: katrina46 on August 09, 2014, 09:31:26 pm
If the sports car is too expensive for you because the car companies banded together to keep the price of their products artificially high then yes, they should be stopped and the price should be lowered. And Amazon gets accused of a lot of things (see this entire thread) - how many of those "things" are on the mark? Well, that's another story.
What I think should be lowered is the cost of life saving medicines, chemo therapy. Sports cars and ebooks are like fine wine You can afford them or you can't. There was a time I wanted Misery in hardback SO much, but times were lean. I bought paperback. I lived.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Joe_Nobody on August 09, 2014, 09:42:44 pm
If the dispute isn't about the price of ebooks, Amazon is failing to get that point across in their communication because they repeatedly say it is.

But let's say it's about this 70% issue, what you're saying is they want to treat Hachette like self-published authors in this respect. Which is their prerogative. I still don't understand why they haven't walked away and why they've allowed it devolve to this. They seemed to pull the plug on Macmillan easily enough back in 2010.

I agree - they've not done a good job. Neither side.

But, the extrapolation of my opinion of the issue ends up at ebook prices.

Say you're a Hachette author, and you earn 25% of the royalty from the amount paid to your publisher. You know about Amazon's cap of 70% at $9.99. That's $6.99 to the publisher, and should be $1.74 to you.

But, Hachette is listing your ebook at $14.99 to keep selling their hardbacks. That means you're only getting $1.12 per copy sold, and you don't like that. It doesn't make business sense to you. You're selling fewer copies, according to common logic, and earning less on each sold. When you go to your publisher, they blame it all on Amazon.

Before ebooks began to take market share, nobody really cared. But all of us indies started spouting off about how much we were making. Other trade pub writers began going independent and making bank as well. Hachette can't have that. It harms their primary money-maker.

Sooooo... in reality it does come down to ebook prices in a twisted, round-about way. If the big guys can charge primo for their ebooks, less people will buy Kindles and shop in Amazon. Hachette makes bank on their hardbacks, all the while telling their stable of authors that the royalty from that line of business will more than make up the difference if Amazon, and their evil, low ebook prices, are eliminated from the pie.

Again, I could care less except for one thing. I want more people shopping in Amazon's sites, not less. I want more people embracing ebooks, not less. And I'm pretty sure that's why Amazon isn't telling Hachette to just shove it. They want the same thing as I do.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: katrina46 on August 09, 2014, 09:42:51 pm
"Unfettered capitalism" is precisely what has permitted us to do what we're doing right here, folks.

If you really want "the law" to intervene into these market negotiations, understand that "the law" really means politicians. Politicians, as we all painfully know now, do not respond to High Moral Principles or feel themselves constrainted by the Constitution. They are bought and paid for by special interests.

So, when you want "the law" to make things "fair," it really means: You want politicians, beholden to special interests, to DEFINE "fairness" -- then impose it on everyone by force.

Look at France. French politicians, in the hip pockets of the existing Book Industry, have decided that competition from Amazon is "unfair." In order to protect bookstores -- which, apparently, readers are not VOLUNTARILY willing to patronize in sufficient numbers for the stores to survive -- the government has imposed punitive laws against Amazon.

So, are these politicians responding to the "public good"? Well, the public decided its own "good" by voting with their francs, and they were voting for Amazon. That marketplace vote was democracy in action. But the politicians, beholden to the special interests and lobbies of the Book Industry Establishment, is using the force of law and the power to tax in order to PREVENT the public from pursuing their own chosen "good."

The "unfettered" marketplace is democracy in action. We indies here have all benefited from it. Many of us have careers as authors precisely because of it. If antitrust laws had been imposed against "monopolist" Amazon ten years ago, on behalf of the struggling Book Industry -- and if ebooks had been suppressed as a result, in the name of "protecting competition" (i.e., shielding Big Publishing and bookstore chains from Amazon) -- I ask you: Where would you be right now?

The LAST thing we need or should want is politicians and bureaucrats -- all in the hip pockets of vested interests -- using the power of laws and cops to define and impose "fairness." The only result historically, in any industry where government intrudes, is political cronyism and the entrenchment of powerful Establishments that wipe out competitors.

Unfettered markets -- markets unmanipulated by politics -- are the best friends that authors and readers have. Competition is not enhanced by political manipulation; it is killed, on behalf of the powerful and connected. The government should never have gone after Big Publishing with "antitrust" prosecutions; nor should it turn against Amazon, either. It's unnecessary. They are perfectly capable of going after each other in the free marketplace. Ultimately, consumers will cast their votes with their dollars to determine the winners and losers. And the winners will be those who best serve them.
Exactly. If you don't like the price don't buy. It's the American way. If the law gets involved, whose to say we won't all be selling for 99 cents the rest of our lives no matter how big we get? For that matter, some authors believe 99 cents is too low and shouldn't be allowed because it hurts authors who need higher royalties to earn a living. But does anyone have the right to tell them to raise their prices? No, that battle was already lost.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: katrina46 on August 09, 2014, 09:55:52 pm
I agree - they've not done a good job. Neither side.

But, the extrapolation of my opinion of the issue ends up at ebook prices.

Say you're a Hachette author, and you earn 25% of the royalty from the amount paid to your publisher. You know about Amazon's cap of 70% at $9.99. That's $6.99 to the publisher, and should be $1.74 to you.

But, Hachette is listing your ebook at $14.99 to keep selling their hardbacks. That means you're only getting $1.12 per copy sold, and you don't like that. It doesn't make business sense to you. You're selling fewer copies, according to common logic, and earning less on each sold. When you go to your publisher, they blame it all on Amazon.

Before ebooks began to take market share, nobody really cared. But all of us indies started spouting off about how much we were making. Other trade pub writers began going independent and making bank as well. Hachette can't have that. It harms their primary money-maker.

Sooooo... in reality it does come down to ebook prices in a twisted, round-about way. If the big guys can charge primo for their ebooks, less people will buy Kindles and shop in Amazon. Hachette makes bank on their hardbacks, all the while telling their stable of authors that the royalty from that line of business will more than make up the difference if Amazon, and their evil, low ebook prices, are eliminated from the pie.

Again, I could care less except for one thing. I want more people shopping in Amazon's sites, not less. I want more people embracing ebooks, not less. And I'm pretty sure that's why Amazon isn't telling Hachette to just shove it. They want the same thing as I do.
Yes, I'm pretty sure if Amazon told them to shove it Barnes and Nobles sales would soar. What gets me is two major corporations can't work it out without emailing me? Really?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Gennita Low on August 09, 2014, 10:13:32 pm
I agree - they've not done a good job. Neither side.

But, the extrapolation of my opinion of the issue ends up at ebook prices.

Say you're a Hachette author, and you earn 25% of the royalty from the amount paid to your publisher. You know about Amazon's cap of 70% at $9.99. That's $6.99 to the publisher, and should be $1.74 to you.

But, Hachette is listing your ebook at $14.99 to keep selling their hardbacks. That means you're only getting $1.12 per copy sold, and you don't like that. It doesn't make business sense to you. You're selling fewer copies, according to common logic, and earning less on each sold. When you go to your publisher, they blame it all on Amazon.

Before ebooks began to take market share, nobody really cared. But all of us indies started spouting off about how much we were making. Other trade pub writers began going independent and making bank as well. Hachette can't have that. It harms their primary money-maker.

Sooooo... in reality it does come down to ebook prices in a twisted, round-about way. If the big guys can charge primo for their ebooks, less people will buy Kindles and shop in Amazon. Hachette makes bank on their hardbacks, all the while telling their stable of authors that the royalty from that line of business will more than make up the difference if Amazon, and their evil, low ebook prices, are eliminated from the pie.

Again, I could care less except for one thing. I want more people shopping in Amazon's sites, not less. I want more people embracing ebooks, not less. And I'm pretty sure that's why Amazon isn't telling Hachette to just shove it. They want the same thing as I do.

WUT JOE SED! 

(and after a day of vodka, I bid y'all goodnight, and tomorrow, no starting to read the 10 new pages of this thread until AFTER I WRITE my 10 pages. Today's been shot to hell, yo)
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: vlmain on August 09, 2014, 10:32:33 pm
Joe says everything more eloquently than I ever could - so I will bow out of this massive discussion hoping that I haven't offended anyone (definitely not ever my intent) and truly wishing the best for everyone here - yes, Vaal, you too!  :P

I may lurk for the rest of this thread...MAY...haha...and if anyone replies to any of my previous post I'll leave you with my perma-auto-response:

WUT JOE SED!

Peace y'all! :)

Funny you should say that. I was just thinking earlier this evening that you and Joe both have stated my sentiments more eloquently than I ever could.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JB Rowley on August 09, 2014, 10:37:41 pm
Before Amazon MANY indie authors had little to no chance of making a living following their dream - and we all know the big trad pubs weren't making it easy for anyone to get a book published - which is not to say they should've - but is it really so hard to see why many indie authors feel grateful that Amazon exists? Calling that easily recognized gratitude a "cult" seems purposely provocative, and to what end?

I'm not here to say you SHOULD stand up for Amazon but my my there does seem to be a lot of folks around here taking KDP's existence for granted as though Amazon's retail platform and the riches it has brought to many indies lives is somehow their birthright - to the point where some folks are posting that they're downright angry at Amazon for sending them an email (seriously?) asking for their support in a fight that whether they like it or not DOES involve them and WILL effect them in the end.

Of course you are well within your right to say nothing on Amazon's behalf - even given the fact that many of your peers make their full time living from writing and were able to cast off the chains of a day job because of Amazon's platform and tools therein.

You are well within your right to tell Amazon to stuff it since they're only providing a platform that makes the dream of being a full-time writer that much more possible but they're not giving you the moon and the stars too - just like I am well within my right to speak from behind the gilded veil of the 'Cult of Amazon' and tell you thou doth protest too much.


Eloquent, elegant and effulgent!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 09, 2014, 11:00:10 pm
"Unfettered capitalism" is precisely what has permitted us to do what we're doing right here, folks.

Gonna get dinged for political discussion, but: You haven't seen unfettered capitalism. You don't want to see unfettered capitalism.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: katrina46 on August 09, 2014, 11:15:11 pm
Gonna get dinged for political discussion, but: You haven't seen unfettered capitalism. You don't want to see unfettered capitalism.
That's true.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 3rotic on August 09, 2014, 11:17:18 pm
You don't want to see unfettered capitalism.

Oh, please.

Statists gonna state.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: vlmain on August 09, 2014, 11:24:17 pm
Our local news in Seattle just covered this story. Seemed rather one sided, interviewing a local traditionally pubbed author who painted Amazon as a bully. They did read a statement Amazon had written, however. I'm a little surprised the story seemed to slant toward Hachette's side with so little said about Amazon's, considering they are a local company. Who knows, maybe they tried to get more info from Amazon but couldn't. I don't want to jump to conclusions--it just seemed a little odd.

Edited for typo
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 3rotic on August 09, 2014, 11:27:51 pm
I'm a little surprised the story seemed to slant toward Hachette's side with so little said about Amazon's, considering they are a local company. Who knows, maybe they tried to get more info from Amazon but couldn't. I don't want to jusmp to conclusions--it just seemed a little odd.

This isn't surprising to me. Beating up on Amazon is the fashionable thing to do nowadays. Don't you know they're a sinister monopoly? Don't you know about that Death Star Bezos is building? I mean, the guy feasts upon the lifeblood of indies! Feasts on it!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 3rotic on August 09, 2014, 11:36:14 pm
To be clear, though-- Amazon isn't some sainted institution, either. I think that if the public and press knew just how predatory the big pubs are, they'd be less likely to pick sides in something like this. But because non-writers don't understand how awfully publishers treat 98% of the writers on their payroll, well, OBVIOUSLY Amazon is the bad guy. I mean, why else would literary heroes like Patterson and Preston be speaking out about Amazon? Surely they aren't speaking out of self-interest, seeking to maintain a status quo that sees them grow richer than Croesus? Surely they're doing all of this with the interests of the other 98% of trad-pubbed authors, who are routinely abused by Hachette et al, in mind?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: vlmain on August 09, 2014, 11:40:38 pm
This isn't surprising to me. Beating up on Amazon is the fashionable thing to do nowadays. Don't you know they're a sinister monopoly? Don't you know about that Death Star Bezos is building? I mean, the guy feasts upon the lifeblood of indies! Feasts on it!

Death Star? I thought he was neck deep in drones!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: CfaE on August 10, 2014, 12:26:44 am
For those sports fans just tuning in, between Kward and Joe Nobody, we know the following:

Indies suck way too much to be trusted with pre-orders or full categories.

But they're more than good enough to compete directly with actual household names.

Translation: We're awful when it would benefit us. We're amazing when it would benefit Amazon.

I got pre-orders on my print edition of Deceased Dora on Amazon. It's gone now. It disappeared when Hachette's pre-orders did. It's an indie book, and I was pure indie when it happened. I'm not a bestseller or even a 'reasonable seller' of any kind. I just used a Nielsen ISBN. The opportunity to have them as an indie author was there. I don't know if it still works though.

I personally can't see why indies want pre-orders. Mine weren't very exciting (0 sales), but getting the button seems to be ISBN related rather than sales related in my experience.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lady Vine on August 10, 2014, 03:54:10 am
What I think should be lowered is the cost of life saving medicines, chemo therapy. Sports cars and ebooks are like fine wine You can afford them or you can't. There was a time I wanted Misery in hardback SO much, but times were lean. I bought paperback. I lived.

No, you're wrong! Apple has the best appstore, but I can't afford their hardware so I insist they lower the price. 'Cause that's fair.

Yep, I know, this concept is absurd.

I am also failing to see why I should take any sides in this. If it's about gratitude to Amazon, I show my gratitude to that corporation daily by allowing it to sell my books and take a percentage (a percentage that, on the higher end, is almost double that taken on every other item). But I am not loyal to them, just as they are not loyal to me. Just as I'm not loyal to any of the other retailers.

I am slightly concerned with the fear expressed over trad publishers being forced to lower their prices, though. If your whole marketing strategy is based on bargain-pricing, then you might want to rethink it. Books aren't interchangeable. If most of us agree that most readers don't know or care who publishers the books they love to read, why would people assume they couldn't attract the same amount of readers as before if trad pubbed books were cheaper? If you do your job as author and publisher right, you should be able to compete on quality instead of price. Because let me tell you, a raise to the bottom isn't sustainable or profitable (I've seen it on Ebay -- it's bloody and messy). Not against companies who have book shops and supermarkets at their disposal. (Also remember that just because fewer people are buying in these places, doesn't mean they're not seeing those titles and buying them elsewhere.)

In any case, I'm still waiting for someone to explain how a bundle like Game of Thrones would work with this price cap? Or do you think that a bundle with over 5000 pages should be priced at $9.99? From what I can see, Amazon is the only place not stocking those big ebook bundles. Doesn't look so great, does it? That could have been easily avoided. 
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: thesmallprint on August 10, 2014, 07:05:31 am
I wonder how this got so complicated ...

Hachette: 'We'd like to do business with you.'
Amazon:  'Good. Here are our terms.'
Hachette: 'We don't agree to your terms.'
Amazon:  'That's a shame. Goodbye.'

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Incognita on August 10, 2014, 07:23:18 am
Death Star? I thought he was neck deep in drones!

Well, he needs someplace to store all those drones.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: NS on August 10, 2014, 07:29:15 am
Yes, but why place yourself in an ebook ghetto needlessly. You'd be capitulating in a competition that you could potentially win before you've even started. Lowering trad pub authors' books means no more delineating in the minds of readers about what's a "real" book and what's "self-published".

The higher priced books bring with them a perception of professionalism and quality in the minds of consumers - but with prices on an even playing field you get rid of that distinction and then you CAN compete with the big names on your own merits and you can win over a great many readers who'd otherwise never give you a fair shot because your low priced ebook "appears" lesser than.

Ghetto? That's what you think? Well. I've been traditionally published in my country and one of my books became a bestseller, but when I came here I was nobody. When I decided to publish on Amazon there was no one behind my back to support me and tell my potential readers that I am a good author. So I (as other indie writers), first have to prove myself. That was why I gave my books for free and that is why I don't price them high. The readers will see my books in their search and maybe give them a try because it won't break their budget. Then my books crawl up the rank and more people see them. The ultimate goal is to have readers come back and buy my other books. And that's what happening now. I may raise the prices, maybe not. For now I'm pretty cool with my strategy. But if a reader see my book next to a big name author for about the same price, most likely I won't stand a chance. It's just reality. Reality sucks.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Cherise on August 10, 2014, 07:33:24 am
I wonder how this got so complicated ...

Hachette: 'We'd like to do business with you.'
Amazon:  'Good. Here are our terms.'
Hachette: 'We don't agree to your terms.'
Amazon:  'That's a shame. Goodbye.'

Word.

Both sides are greedy, can't take no for an answer, and have to drag their minions into it. Exactly like feudal warfare. As someone else said, in both Hachette and Amazon's eyes, we are their dogs in this fight.

Now I'm glad Bezos wasn't more reasonable in his request that we don our rusty chainmail and dig out our father's broadsword. As I said earlier, I would have been all over a social media campaign to convince the voting public not to sic their politicians on Amazon. It was the ridiculousness and pointlessness of his actual request--that I email his rival--that made me hit 'delete' without taking any action.

But after reading this thread and reflecting on this over the past 24 hours, I see that I would have been subtly doing the same thing if I had participated in a social media campaign: sticking it to Bezos's rival.

If I novelized this conflict, then Amazon's CEO and Hachette's CEO would be boyhood rivals. I would open with the two of them in a knock-down, drag out fight in the schoolyard, with all the other kids crowded around, urging them on. That is what this conflict boils down to.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 10, 2014, 08:23:00 am
Say you're a Hachette author, and you earn 25% of the royalty from the amount paid to your publisher. You know about Amazon's cap of 70% at $9.99. That's $6.99 to the publisher, and should be $1.74 to you.

But, Hachette is listing your ebook at $14.99 to keep selling their hardbacks.

The KDP terms of 35% on books over $9.99 don't apply to trade publishers. That is specific to KDP only. Trade publisher terms are flat with volume discounting.

No, I have not seen the Hachette contract [specifically. Yes, I do know this for a fact because I have spoken to reps from other publishers who don't use KDP to sell their ebooks.

Also, remember that with many of the large publishers, royalty terms for print are generally on list, not net. This is a fundamental difference that changes the math.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 10, 2014, 08:25:38 am
If I novelized this conflict, then Amazon's CEO and Hachette's CEO would be boyhood rivals. I would open with the two of them in a knock-down, drag out fight in the schoolyard, with all the other kids crowded around, urging them on. That is what this conflict boils down to.

If you novelized this conflict, you would get negative reviews saying the plot was unbelievable lol
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 on August 10, 2014, 10:08:24 am
I wonder how this got so complicated ...

Hachette: 'We'd like to do business with you.'
Amazon:  'Good. Here are our terms.'
Hachette: 'We don't agree to your terms.'
Amazon:  'That's a shame. Goodbye.'

Amazon: 'Your contract is nearly up, we need to talk.'
Hachette: 'Give us the terms that makes it worthwhile to sign.'
Amazon: 'But you need a contract to sell on our site."
Hachette: 'If you say so. Either send us a formal notification of when are books no longer appear on the Everything Store or send us those terms we asked for."

It got complicated because it is.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: ElleT on August 10, 2014, 10:32:32 am
If you novelized this conflict, you would get negative reviews saying the plot was unbelievable lol
So very true. And it's way played out. All the font spent on this topic ... I wonder how many books would have been completed. ;)
That said, and without further ado, I better get to work.
Have a great Sunday all. Happy writing or reading!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: PandorasParanormalBox on August 10, 2014, 10:44:19 am
So basically, I should just ignore this email with a tl;dr tag and move on?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Davout73 on August 10, 2014, 11:02:33 am
I would argue I'm not being hyperbolic. Joe is saying that we haven't 'earned' these 'perks' while Kward is saying we should be able to go toe-to-toe with the big names on open ground.

What is the more moderate interpretation of that besides we aren't good enough for one, but more than good enough for the other?

Amazon "Likes" you, but they just don't "Like Like" you, like they do some other authors?  :-)

Dav
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: RaeC on August 10, 2014, 11:06:48 am
Amazon "Likes" you, but they just don't "Like Like" you, like they do some other authors?  :-)

Dav

We're friends without the benefits.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Davout73 on August 10, 2014, 12:00:45 pm
Nah, it's more like this:

January
Amazon: Your contract is nearly up, we need to talk.
Hachette: ....

February
Amazon: Your contract is, we need to talk.
Hachette: ....

March
Amazon: Your contract is up, we need to talk.
Hachette: ....

April
Amazon:  We've removed your preorder buttons because you've been ignoring us, what gives?
Hachette:  Bullying!  Intimidation!  Punishment of Authors!
Amazon.  We need to talk, you contract is up.
Hachette:  Yes, we need to "talk"
Amazon:  Well, what do you want?
Hachette:  We want XYZ
Amazon:  Um, no, its not 2010 anymore...
Hachette:  Corporate Greed!  Bullying!  Intimidation!  Authors getting hurt!
Amazon:  True, lets help the authors.  Well, we'll put up half if you will.  We did the same with Macmillan in 2010 you know.
Hachette:  No (imagine this in a french accent)
Hachette Author:  Wait, what?

May:
Amazon:  We'll do this...ABC
Hachette:  Without XYZ  we're not doing anything.

June:
Doug Preston:  Dammit, sales are down.  Because of Amazon I can't buy the G5 I've been saving up for.  Muffy, we can't G5, we have to buy the G3!
James Patterson:  You, take this outline and write something!
Other Author:  Hrm, Amazon, bad, evil, literature, Libraries, save...OK.  Say, do I get credit for this too?
James Patterson:  Depends.  Who are you?
Amazon:  Look, authors are getting hurt, here's what we'll do.
Hachette:  No (imagine this in a french accent)
Hachette Author:  What?
Amazon:  Well, what do you suggest we do to help authors?
Hachette:  If you give us XYZ authors will be fine.

July
Amazon:  OK, there has to be a middle ground, whats yours.
Hachette:  XYZ
Amazon:  Our stance hasn't changed.  2010 is four years ago.  Authors are still being hurt, here's our offer to help them.
Hachette: No.  (Seriously, imagine this in a french accent)
Hachette Author:  Um....
Douglas Preston:  I asked Hachette for my sales numbers last week, and look, here they are!
Hachette midlist author:  I asked Hachette why my Royalty stament from January was borked, and I haven't heard anything....
Douglas Preston:  Bummer.  I flew my G3 over so they could them to me quicker, what did you do?  By the way, the G3 has 1600 miles less range than the G5, I had to stop in the Azores to refuel.  Bezos can suck it, do you know the price of avgas.  I didn't until I had to refuel....
Hachette midlist author:  I had my agent email them?
Preston:  Hah!
Best Selling Author looking for a new publisher:  Hey Hachette, I have this complete kickass new story idea.  Interested?
Hachette:  Sure, have your agent send it to us.
BSALFNP:  I don't have one.
Hachette: Not interested.
BSALFNP:  But I've been published for 25 years, I've negotiated my last five contracts with publishers.  These books will sell.
Hachette:  No Agent, No contract!

July
Doug Preston:  Dammit, sales are down, the price of Avgas is up.  James, we need to let the public know what Amazon is doing is hurting us as authors
Other Author:  I agree.
Doug:  Your not James....
Other Author:  Well, James gave me an outline that said that, I just wrote it.  He's in Florida, avoiding State Income Tax.  Sssshhh, thats a secret.
Doug:  What can we do to let the people know about this travesty.
James Patterson(On Phone):  An Ad.  I was in the advertising industry once, I know that works.
Doug:  Splendid!  Who do we call?
James:  So, we want to place an ad.
New York Times:  Sure, how big?
Doug:  Full Page!  Sorry, reception sucks here in the boonies, let me go to my shack and we can Skype!
James:  Full Page
New York Times:  Sure, that will be a lot of money.  What do you want the ad to say?
James:  Amazon is evil!
Doug:  Amazon is hurting authors.  No, seriously, those seats in the G3 do not have the lumbar support the seats in the G5 have, my chiropractor told me so!
New York Times:  True, we're doing an expose on that next week.  So, how many of your fellow authors agree with you?
Doug:  Almost a thousand!
New York Times:  Anybody disagree?
James:  Like, 7500 people
Doug:  But they aren't you know...real authors or readers.  They don't know what it's like when an evil corporate company takes away your money and you have to buy the G3 instead of the G5....
New York Times:  Heck, that whale petition got almost 200000 signatures....7500, meh.  OK, here's the ad, full page, here's what its going to say...
James:  Excellent!
Doug:  Bully!
New York Times:  That will be 104,000 dollars.
Doug:  Sure, just a sec.  Muffy, check the couch for loose change!.  No, the OTHER couch.  No. the Other OTHER couch.  Wait, let me go check those seats in the G3.  OK, got it!

August
Seattle:  Jeff, these Hachette negotiations are starting to get acrimonious.
Jeff:  Sorry, I couldn't hear you over the drones.  These are cool, try one!
Amazon Employee:  Jeff, Hachette-
Jeff:  Camping supplies, they go in camping supplies, and maybe hardware.  Look, I'll get a drone on your way with one!
Amazon Employee:  No, Jeff, Hachette the publisher, not Hatchet the implement-
Jeff:  Yes, were implementing drones on a trial basis.  No, spend 2 Billion in India.  Hey, look at my new phone, its very 2012!
Amazon Employee:  Look, these authors are taking an ad out in the Times.
Jeff:  Did they place one in the Post as well?
Amazon Employee:  Um...
Jeff:  Lowest Ad rates in the industry, you tell them that?
Amazon Employee:  Um...
Jeff:  These drones rule!  They spent 104K.  They would have saved 18K if they put it in the Post.
Amazon:  Look, we need to address this publicly...
Jeff: OK, OK, OK, don't worry, I'll put an email out...soon.  Give this drone a try!  Hey, I have an idea that will beat Google glass, I call it Amazons All Seeing Eye!  You buy it, get it surgically implanted, and then we use the Cloud to project stuff directly onto your eyes.  Cool, right? 
Amazon Employee:  That sounds....
Jeff:  Cool. you know you want to say cool!  Hey, you order it on your Fire phone, and we can get the drone to deliver it right to the operating table!  Ooh, Amazon Hospitals, customer friendly healthcare for less!  Where do I come up with these, its not even noon...hey, a Fire Watch that syncs with your phone!

 
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Davout73 on August 10, 2014, 12:01:37 pm
Well, theres always traditional publishing.  Don't worry, they love you long time!

;-)

We're friends without the benefits.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Cherise on August 10, 2014, 12:22:16 pm
Nah, it's more like this:

January
Amazon: Your contract is nearly up, we need to talk.
Hachette: ....

February
Amazon: Your contract is, we need to talk.
Hachette: ....

March
Amazon: Your contract is up, we need to talk.
Hachette: ....

April
Amazon:  We've removed your preorder buttons because you've been ignoring us, what gives?
Hachette:  Bullying!  Intimidation!  Punishment of Authors!
Amazon.  We need to talk, you contract is up.
Hachette:  Yes, we need to "talk"
Amazon:  Well, what do you want?
Hachette:  We want XYZ
Amazon:  Um, no, its not 2010 anymore...
Hachette:  Corporate Greed!  Bullying!  Intimidation!  Authors getting hurt!
Amazon:  True, lets help the authors.  Well, we'll put up half if you will.  We did the same with Macmillan in 2010 you know.
Hachette:  No (imagine this in a french accent)
Hachette Author:  Wait, what?

May:
Amazon:  We'll do this...ABC
Hachette:  Without XYZ  we're not doing anything.

June:
Doug Preston:  Dammit, sales are down.  Because of Amazon I can't buy the G5 I've been saving up for.  Muffy, we can't G5, we have to buy the G3!  James Patterson:  You, take this outline and write something!
Other Author:  Hrm, Amazon, bad, evil, literature, Libraries, save...OK.  Say, do I get credit for this too?
James Patterson:  Depends.  Who are you?
Amazon:  Look, authors are getting hurt, here's what we'll do.
Hachette:  No (imagine this in a french accent)
Hachette Author:  What?
Amazon:  Well, what do you suggest we do to help authors?
Hachette:  If you give us XYZ authors will be fine.

July
Amazon:  OK, there has to be a middle ground, whats yours.
Hachette:  XYZ
Amazon:  Our stance hasn't changed.  2010 is four years ago.  Authors are still being hurt, here's our offer to help them.
Hachette: No.  (Seriously, imagine this in a french accent)
Hachette Author:  Um....
Douglas Preston:  I asked Hachette for my sales numbers last week, and look, here they are!
Hachette midlist author:  I asked Hachette why my Royalty stament from January was borked, and I haven't heard anything....
Douglas Preston:  Bummer.  I flew my G3 over so they could them to me quicker, what did you do?  By the way, the G3 has 1600 miles less range than the G5, I had to stop in the Azores to refuel.  Bezos can suck it, do you know the price of avgas.  I didn't until I had to refuel....
Hachette midlist author:  I had my agent email them?
Preston:  Hah!
Best Selling Author looking for a new publisher:  Hey Hachette, I have this complete kickass new story idea.  Interested?
Hachette:  Sure, have your agent send it to us.
BSALFNP:  I don't have one.
Hachette: Not interested.
BSALFNP:  But I've been published for 25 years, I've negotiated my last five contracts with publishers.  These books will sell.
Hachette:  No Agent, No contract!

July
Doug Preston:  Dammit, sales are down, the price of Avgas is up.  James, we need to let the public know what Amazon is doing is hurting us as authors
Other Author:  I agree.
Doug:  Your not James....
Other Author:  Well, James gave me an outline that said that, I just wrote it.  He's in Florida, avoiding State Income Tax.  Sssshhh, thats a secret.
Doug:  What can we do to let the people know about this travesty.
James Patterson(On Phone):  An Ad.  I was in the advertising industry once, I know that works.
Doug:  Splendid!  Who do we call?
James:  So, we want to place an ad.
New York Times:  Sure, how big?
Doug:  Full Page!  Sorry, reception sucks here in the boonies, let me go to my shack and we can Skype!
James:  Full Page
New York Times:  Sure, that will be a lot of money.  What do you want the ad to say?
James:  Amazon is evil!
Doug:  Amazon is hurting authors.  No, seriously, those seats in the G3 do not have the lumbar support the seats in the G5 have, my chiropractor told me so!
New York Times:  True, we're doing an expose on that next week.  So, how many of your fellow authors agree with you?
Doug:  Almost a thousand!
New York Times:  Anybody disagree?
James:  Like, 7500 people
Doug:  But they aren't you know...real authors or readers.  They don't know what it's like when an evil corporate company takes away your money and you have to buy the G3 instead of the G5....
New York Times:  Heck, that whale petition got almost 200000 signatures....7500, meh.  OK, here's the ad, full page, here's what its going to say...
James:  Excellent!
Doug:  Bully!
New York Times:  That will be 104,000 dollars.
Doug:  Sure, just a sec.  Muffy, check the couch for loose change!.  No, the OTHER couch.  No. the Other OTHER couch.  Wait, let me go check those seats in the G3.  OK, got it!

August
Seattle:  Jeff, these Hachette negotiations are starting to get acrimonious.
Jeff:  Sorry, I couldn't hear you over the drones.  These are cool, try one!

Amazon Employee:  Jeff, Hachette-
Jeff:  Camping supplies, they go in camping supplies, and maybe hardware.  Look, I'll get a drone on your way with one!
Amazon Employee:  No, Jeff, Hachette the publisher, not Hatchet the implement-
Jeff:  Yes, were implementing drones on a trial basis.  No, spend 2 Billion in India.  Hey, look at my new phone, its very 2012!
Amazon Employee:  Look, these authors are taking an ad out in the Times.
Jeff:  Did they place one in the Post as well?
Amazon Employee:  Um...
Jeff:  Lowest Ad rates in the industry, you tell them that?
Amazon Employee:  Um...
Jeff:  These drones rule!  They spent 104K.  They would have saved 18K if they put it in the Post.
Amazon:  Look, we need to address this publicly...
Jeff: OK, OK, OK, don't worry, I'll put an email out...soon.  Give this drone a try!  Hey, I have an idea that will beat Google glass, I call it Amazons All Seeing Eye!  You buy it, get it surgically implanted, and then we use the Cloud to project stuff directly onto your eyes.  Cool, right? 
Amazon Employee:  That sounds....
Jeff:  Cool. you know you want to say cool!  Hey, you order it on your Fire phone, and we can get the drone to deliver it right to the operating table!  Ooh, Amazon Hospitals, customer friendly healthcare for less!  Where do I come up with these, its not even noon...hey, a Fire Watch that syncs with your phone!



LOL! Especially August.  ;D
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Gennita Low on August 10, 2014, 12:25:18 pm
HAHAHAHAHAHA!

I wish I have money to publish that whole drama written by Davout in the NYT as a full-page ad. Thanks for the Sunday laugh.

I have no idea how this mess will be resolved but it'll be an interesting Christmas season :D. #gettingReady
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin on August 10, 2014, 12:28:33 pm
Ha ha!

Brilliant!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: RaeC on August 10, 2014, 12:36:03 pm
LOL, that was great! Blog it, so I can reblog it.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Davout73 on August 10, 2014, 12:43:51 pm
I have no blog.  Yes, I am very much 1994 in that regard.

I bet my 5 year old can set me up with one though, when he wakes up from his nap I'll get him on that.  :D

Feel free to post it and link to it if you want. 

 :)

Dav
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: BRONZEAGE on August 10, 2014, 12:45:23 pm
Brilliant, Davout.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JB Rowley on August 10, 2014, 12:58:16 pm
I asked KDP Support if the email was genuine and received a prompt answer as follows:

'I can confirm that this email was sent from Amazon and with the knowledge and approval of the CEO.
We take seriously the impact it has when, however infrequently, such a business interruption affects authors.'


We don't hear much about the Hachette/Amazon dispute here in Australia so I really don't know the ins and outs of it but I don't have a problem with responding to Amazon's request for support. They've certainly supported me as an author.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Cherise on August 10, 2014, 02:24:07 pm
LOL, that was great! Blog it, so I can reblog it.



Copyright Issues When You Re-Blog Someone
http://info.legalzoom.com/copyright-issues-reblog-someone-tumblr-22603.html

Short version: reblogging is only OK on Tumblr
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: psychotick on August 10, 2014, 02:38:12 pm
Hi,

Odd copyright question. I just blogged about this and as part of my blog included the letter from Amazon. I can't see this as being a big issue since I don't expect the letter was copyrighted, just sent to me.

Any thoughts?

Cheers, Greg.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: vlmain on August 10, 2014, 02:38:48 pm
  Ooh, Amazon Hospitals, customer friendly healthcare for less! 

Love it! I can't wait to sign up for AHP - Amazon Healthcare Provider. I've always wanted to be a doctor! I may even retire from writing.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Marilyn Peake on August 10, 2014, 02:46:58 pm
I received the email. I was glad to see it mentioned here, to confirm it was really from Amazon. I haven't had time to catch up on this thread yet, but plan to do so. It's amazing to me that the big publishing houses feel that Amazon OWES them services, and services on their terms. I seem to remember a few years back when literary agents' blogs and the big publishing houses were telling authors that the publishing business didn't OWE them publication. Of course they didn't owe authors publication. But the same goes for sales: no one OWES the big publishing houses a sales outlet. They have billions of dollars. Why don't they just open their own online stores? If they don't want to innovate for the tech era, no one really owes them anything.   
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Cherise on August 10, 2014, 03:13:05 pm
Hi,

Odd copyright question. I just blogged about this and as part of my blog included the letter from Amazon. I can't see this as being a big issue since I don't expect the letter was copyrighted, just sent to me.

Any thoughts?

Cheers, Greg.



It is copyrighted as soon as it is written.

http://copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html#automatic
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Davout73 on August 10, 2014, 03:21:36 pm
Check out HarperCollins.com

They opened in May.

No, those prices are not a joke.


I received the email. I was glad to see it mentioned here, to confirm it was really from Amazon. I haven't had time to catch up on this thread yet, but plan to do so. It's amazing to me that the big publishing houses feel that Amazon OWES them services, and services on their terms. I seem to remember a few years back when literary agents' blogs and the big publishing houses were telling authors that the publishing business didn't OWE them publication. Of course they didn't owe authors publication. But the same goes for sales: no one OWES the big publishing houses a sales outlet. They have billions of dollars. Why don't they just open their own online stores? If they don't want to innovate for the tech era, no one really owes them anything.   
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Rick Gualtieri on August 10, 2014, 03:23:57 pm
Check out HarperCollins.com
They opened in May.
No, those prices are not a joke.

Oh I tend to disagree.  There's a lot to laugh at there.  :)
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: RhondaW on August 10, 2014, 03:59:41 pm
Didn't see anyone else post this yet:

Hachette CEO’s Response to Amazon Advocate Emails: Why We Price Books the Way We Do

http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2014/hachette-ceos-response-to-amazon-advocate-emails-why-we-price-books-the-way-we-do/
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Rick Gualtieri on August 10, 2014, 04:09:42 pm
Didn't see anyone else post this yet:

Hachette CEO's Response to Amazon Advocate Emails: Why We Price Books the Way We Do

http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2014/hachette-ceos-response-to-amazon-advocate-emails-why-we-price-books-the-way-we-do/

I shall keep my eye on my inbox for his canned response.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 10, 2014, 04:22:46 pm
Just like Amazon's $10 = more sales claims, I'd like to see his numbers saying 80% of their books are less than $10. I guess that includes backlist.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Marilyn Peake on August 10, 2014, 04:53:38 pm
Check out HarperCollins.com

They opened in May.

No, those prices are not a joke.



Wow. Those prices.  :o
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: FictionalWriter on August 10, 2014, 05:11:40 pm
Just like Amazon's $10 = more sales claims, I'd like to see his numbers saying 80% of their books are less than $10. I guess that includes backlist.

I run a review blog and I do get their catalog, so I don't doubt that 80% number he's throwing out. But I still say that when the producer of the product--and as we know, writing a book is no small feat--gets the smallest pie of the financial pie, there's something wrong with the system. Publishers can afford to give authors more, they just choose not to.

Perhaps if they didn't have all those expensive offices in NYC...

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: FictionalWriter on August 10, 2014, 05:14:51 pm
Check out HarperCollins.com

They opened in May.

No, those prices are not a joke.

Actually, when it comes to digital books, HarperCollins has the lowest of the Big 5. The numbers you're seeing include multiple books. And when you go to some of those with a $7.99 price, the check out price is considerable less ($3.00 less).
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 on August 10, 2014, 05:21:07 pm
Just like Amazon's $10 = more sales claims, I'd like to see his numbers saying 80% of their books are less than $10. I guess that includes backlist.

This is easily confirmed by going to Amazon and checking the prices of Little Brown and Grand Central. I would have thought it was higher than 80% but will take his word for it. It is not just backlist in fact it is so frontlist that it is on the front page carousel of their website. The main non-fiction book promoted on that front page is I am Malala, which is less than $10. Amazon could easily have provided their Dear KDP Authors with the statistics on how many Hachette books cost more than $9.99, but chose not to do so.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Davout73 on August 10, 2014, 05:33:51 pm
I read most anything, but I'm a sci-fi/fantasy reader first.  So, on Harper Collins, select Ebook, then under Imprint Select Harper Voyager.  Don't use Opera, Harpercollins does not like Opera.

Fish Tails, $14.99
Blood of Dragons, $14.99
Magicians End, $16.99 (and it came out in 2013)
The Witch with no Name, $16.99 (preorder!)

So, these are what Harpercollins is selling some of its ebooks for, direct to us, without a middleman. 

Now, I think they are also doing some good things.  Not all their prices are outlandish, some of their bundles, at first glance, look to be pretty good value, but really.  If they're going to compete with Amazon, those prices are not the way to do it.  But, give them credit, they're at least doing something.

Dav


Actually, when it comes to digital books, HarperCollins has the lowest of the Big 5. The numbers you're seeing include multiple books. And when you go to some of those with a $7.99 price, the check out price is considerable less ($3.00 less).
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: pauldude000 on August 10, 2014, 05:48:05 pm
I received the e-mail as well. It IS from Amazon, no doubt about that. I examined the full header and checked the owner of the sending IP address (54.240.13.6). The owner is Amazon Technologies in Seattle, Washington.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 10, 2014, 05:51:39 pm
I run a review blog and I do get their catalog, so I don't doubt that 80% number he's throwing out. But I still say that when the producer of the product--and as we know, writing a book is no small feat--gets the smallest pie of the financial pie, there's something wrong with the system. Publishers can afford to give authors more, they just choose not to.

The correct royalty for authors has nothing to do with the contract negotiations. I agree that authors should get a fair royalty. But that argument is unrelated to this contract dispute and Amazon is only repeating it to chum the water. In spite of Amazon's insistence that they are fighting "for authors" this contract dispute between Amazon and Hachette is not over the royalties Hachette pays to its authors. It is over money going into Amazon's pocket.

In fact, Amazon is fighting to REDUCE author profits with trade publishers. Authors are paid a percentage of the sale (either off the list or net, depending). If the sale price is lowered, the amount of money the author gets is lowered.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: FictionalWriter on August 10, 2014, 05:58:52 pm
The correct royalty for authors has nothing to do with the contract negotiations. I agree that authors should get a fair royalty. But that argument is unrelated to this contract dispute and Amazon is only repeating it to chum the water. In spite of Amazon's insistence that they are fighting "for authors" this contract dispute between Amazon and Hachette is not over the royalties Hachette pays to its authors. It is over money going into Amazon's pocket.

In fact, Amazon is fighting to REDUCE author profits with trade publishers. Authors are paid a percentage of the sale (either off the list or net, depending). If the sale price is lowered, the amount of money the author gets is lowered.

I understand that. I was just musing--a bit of wishful thinking on my part.

Personally, I don't want a cap on ebooks. Let the market determine the price. Readers will decide what they're willing to pay. I don't want amazon to treat all ebooks the same, because they're simply not.

I haven't been writing for 20-30 years like some and amassed millions of fans. If those authors can demand and get their fans to pay $25.00 for their ebook, good for them. I'd love to be in their position one day.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: FictionalWriter on August 10, 2014, 07:19:45 pm
This is incorrect. Amazon are not fighting to REDUCE author profits with trade publishers. As they say in their letter:

"For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000. The important thing to note here is that the lower price is good for all parties involved: the customer is paying 33% less and the author is getting a royalty check 16% larger and being read by an audience that's 74% larger."

If an author was getting 10% royalties then they earn $149,900 at $14.99 and $173,800 at $9.99.

It it true in a very strict sense that the royalty per unit drops but the volume increases.

I think the higher prices gets the fervid fans. They don't care about pricing, they just want their favourite authors' book. I'm like that. I know if I wait, in about a month or two it will probably go down, but I don't want to wait so I buy the book the minute it comes out.

Then one, two, three months later, the price drops because demand drops. The publisher/author announces the deal. Now you get all the other readers who refused to buy it at the higher price. And so on and so on until the paperback comes out and the digital prices goes way way down from the original offering. You can hit everyone at the price point they're willing to buy it at.

If it's still to high for some, well they probably didn't want it all that much.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 10, 2014, 09:34:39 pm
This is incorrect. Amazon are not fighting to REDUCE author profits with trade publishers. As they say in their letter:

"For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000. The important thing to note here is that the lower price is good for all parties involved: the customer is paying 33% less and the author is getting a royalty check 16% larger and being read by an audience that's 74% larger."

If an author was getting 10% royalties then they earn $149,900 at $14.99 and $173,800 at $9.99.

It it true in a very strict sense that the royalty per unit drops but the volume increases.

That really only comes into play if you believe their theory. Or even believe they believe it.

Really, they just want to put a banner on the sit that says at Amazon, all ebooks are under $10 to get people onto the site and buying other things.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 3rotic on August 10, 2014, 11:59:07 pm


Really, they just want to put a banner on the sit that says at Amazon, all ebooks are under $10 to get people onto the site and buying other things.

Citation needed.

This is baseless speculation, Vaal. Completely baseless.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Erin Satie on August 11, 2014, 12:10:21 am
Citation needed.

This is baseless speculation, Vaal. Completely baseless.

Well, that was what they did when the first kindles were introduced. I remember because that's how I justified buying a first-generation kindle, when they were still around $400. I calculated the amount of money I'd save buying $10 ebooks instead of hardcovers & realized that the savings would render the kindle effectively free within a year of purchase.

They did advertise the price cap heavily back then.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lady Vine on August 11, 2014, 01:37:32 am
Let's ignore the fact that many people have said in the past that lowering their price didn't increase their sales. Or, for some, even reduced their sales.

Let's also ignore the fact that all books are different and thus sell best at different price points. We've only been saying this on here since the advent of KDP. For some reason, though, it doesn't apply now that Amazon says differently.

Dios mío!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Leanne King on August 11, 2014, 02:21:22 am
Citation needed.

This is baseless speculation, Vaal. Completely baseless.

Not only baseless, but in direct contradiction to what Amazon have told us. They said some ebooks should be more than $9.99.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Zelah Meyer on August 11, 2014, 02:38:21 am
Just wanted to applaud Davout's efforts upthread!   ;D
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Ann in Arlington on August 11, 2014, 04:28:57 am
Y'all know, don't you, that there never was a 'price cap' on ebooks on Amazon?  From the very first days you could easily find ebooks priced higher than $9.99.

What they did advertise was that NYT bestseller titles would not be priced, by them, higher than $9.99 for the ebook. So when the book was released, it was at, say, $14.99. Soon as it made the list, it dropped to $9.99.  They could do this because, at that time, the ebook/pbook contracts were essentially the same.

Books that never made the NYT list may still have been marked down, but the Zon never promised to do that.  And they never promised to keep the price down, though, in practice, they usually did keep it down for a while after going off the list.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Frank Zubek on August 11, 2014, 04:48:36 am
A compromise might help....
When a new book is released- especially a big author- have the price be 14.99 for two weeks. The fans who HAVE to read the book right away can read it immediately and then the fans who can wait can get it for 9.99 after the first two weeks.

After all it IS a new release and the publisher wants to maximize their investment.

And yet a large number of readers are used to 9.99 ( and are aware there is no extra cost to downloading the book) and in fact the publishers are also well aware this e-book concept is an excellent source of extra revenue above and beyond the traditional hardcover ( then paperback 7 months later on) pipeline.

Hope they settle before the holidays. Literacy really doesn't need all this in fighting
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 11, 2014, 06:05:04 am
This is incorrect. Amazon are not fighting to REDUCE author profits with trade publishers. As they say in their letter:

This only makes sense if your books are ONLY sold on Amazon. If your books sell elsewhere, then you lose money. I'll just use one of my books as an example since I have numbers.

I have a title that has sold 100 copies on Amazon at $5.99 over the last 90 days. In that same time period, it has sold 347 copies between all other vendors at the $5.99 price.

$5.99 x 100=$599 or $419.30 net profit
$5.99 x 347=$2078.54 or $1247.12 net profit
Total revenue: $1666.42

Let's say Amazon says my book would sell better on their site if I dropped the price to $2.99, so I do.

And lets say, for the sake of argument, my sales triple to 300, or net profits of $627.90

Now I have to lower my price, however, at all other retailers, because I can't have a lower list price on Amazon and not give them the same price. So I lower my price across the board. Most of the outlets that I sell on do not have the same hyper price sensitivity as Amazon. Amazon IS a discount retailer, and attracts customers who are highly price-sensitive. But most of the other outlets don't have the same price sensitivity. I know this for a fact, because I have been self-publishing for ten years now and have ten years of sales data that shows only nominal differences between certain price points. In fact, at a couple of outlets, lower prices equal LOWER sales because the customers who shop their equal low prices with "cheap."

So if I get the same 347 sales over 90 days, I now only make $622.52 instead of $1247.12. That brings my grand total at the new lower price to only $1250.42. I just LOST money.

If I double my sales at all other outlets, I make $1245.04 (still less than I would have made selling 347 copies at $5.99). So now I've make $1872.04, just over $200 more...but I had to sell two to three times the books to do it.

This is what indies have to wrap their heads around. Amazon may in fact account for 40-50% of the ebook market for any given vendor. But 50% is still a lot less than 100%. It is very possible to LOSE money on a lower price even if you get higher volume at a single location. And none of this takes into account the people who would have happily paid the higher price regardless.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 11, 2014, 06:19:05 am
Citation needed.

This is baseless speculation, Vaal. Completely baseless.

I work in contract packaging. It is what I do at my day job. I WILL BE VAL'S CITATION. This is called a loss leader and it is a common tactic in retail. You offer a desirable commodity at a lower-than-average price in order to bring in customers, and then upsell them to other items. The retail industry revolves around this concept. It isn't baseless speculation. It is the reality of retail, particularly for a retail outlet that runs on a 1-2% profit margin like Amazon. You don't sell volume, YOU DIE.

This is how WalMart built their empire. But have you noticed that WalMart doesn't offer the same ridiculously low prices that they used to offer only a few years ago? Would you like to know WHY there isn't that much difference in pricing between WalMart and everyone else? Because manufacturers have stopped allowing it. WalMart pulled the same stunts for the last decade on manufacturers to the point where companies went bankrupt trying to meet WalMart's price demands. There are corporations that refuse to do business with WalMart now because of it.

I have told this story before on this forum but it bears repeating:

Several years ago, WalMart decided to 'clean up' their store by removing slow-selling products from the shelves and only focusing on those products that sold volume. It caused an uproar in the consumer commodities industries because at the time WalMart was the biggest seller of a lot of brands. WalMart simply stopped carrying thousands of items and only gave shelf space to those items that historically sold. It is speculated, however, that part of this purging was in retaliation to manufacturers who refused to give WalMart the preferred pricing they demanded, so they "punished" those manufactures by refusing to stock products (sound familiar?)

What happened next is pretty funny...

See, people don't want choices. They want the illusion of choice. Even if they are going to buy the same toothpaste every week, they still want to think they have choices insofar as what toothpaste they buy. So people went into WalMart to buy products and noticed that their choices were reduced significantly. They started to migrate to other stores. (Even if they would get to the other store and STILL buy the same thing!)

WalMart lost market share badly. They scrapped their project and invited back the products they had removed. But at this point, manufacturers were actually seeing increased sales at other outlets and realized they could survive without WalMart. WalMart lost negotiation leverage. Since then, you don't see the massive price breaks at WalMart you once did.

Anyone who thinks Amazon can survive without books from the big publishers is not paying attention to human behavior. They are ignoring the entire history of retail.




Edited to conform with forum decorum. --Betsy
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Gennita Low on August 11, 2014, 06:19:34 am
Since Amazon = Walmart, and Walmart boasts "cheaper prices," as a test, the publisher can price cheaper there and nowhere else?

I know, I know, there will be protests, but why aren't regular shoppers protesting when they buy a cheaper print book at Walmart than in Target? Walmart has stickers on the cover; Target sells at regular price. I've priced books at Walmart, Target and BN, noticing the price differences.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Davout73 on August 11, 2014, 10:21:59 am
Quote
If you don't see the correlation between this story and what is happening with Amazon, you're just not paying attention. Anyone who thinks Amazon can survive without books from the big publishers is not paying attention to human behavior. They are ignoring the entire history of retail because Amazon is some special snowflake that loves them.

Books account for about 7% of Amazons business.  Anyone here think thats a critical 7%?

Dav
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lisa Grace on August 11, 2014, 11:00:53 am
It runs deeper than name-calling.

Hachette endeavors to maintain a model that keeps them on a playing field a step above indies. This isn't only about the $50 hardcovers or 10% of the market; keeping prices higher for at any price point for trad pubs means creating a perceived quality gap in the minds of consumers (it's Starbucks entire business model) who don't have the time or inclination to learn the inside baseball of publishing.

There are many indie authors capable of competing with household name trad authors on an even playing field but they are not now and have not yet been given that opportunity. Hachette doesn't want those capable indies to have that opportunity either - they're fighting tooth and nail to avoid that kind of flattened landscape.

Lots of indies on this thread do themselves a disservice to say "I'm just a prawn I'll take the scraps leftover from those unwilling to pay more than $10/$20/$30 for so-and-so big name trad author's books" - what they don't see is the potential for an entirely changed landscape where the agency model dies and the big names are forced to the same playing field as the rest of us.

Instead of the status quo where the only customers we indies get are the cheap ones not willing to pay above $10 for books we could have it much better. Why not compete for and have a legitimate shot at attracting all those readers who'd previously passed you by based on pre-conceived notions? Yes, you can compete with the big names - many other indies here can too (and some do already) given the real chance.

No, not every indie is up to the challenge of taking on Patterson, King, Sparks, Roberts, et al - but many previously low selling indies are - and though sure, Amazon does not know you from Adam, they do endeavor to make that level competition happen. And really, who cares why if many among us stand to benefit?

The point is there are indies who have worked hard to hone their brands and just need a real fighting chance to get in there with the big names. Are we all that insecure in our own abilities to resist Amazon's efforts? If Amazon wins you win.

I disagree. Those who have read an author, and like them will continue to buy that author. When I was teen borrowing ten or more books a week from the library, I never gave a fig about who the publisher was. I've hung around trade published authors who make fun of other houses.  There is a pecking order even among the houses, but the only ones who know or care, are the authors and those who work for the publishers.
Edited to add: (Thank you Kward I had 3 kids distracting me) And as Joe or someone somewhere else in this thread previously pointed out:
Encouraging trade authors to lower prices is as ridiculous as making all kittens $30. The mutts are just as cute as the rare breeds, but there are some willing to pay much more for the rare purebreds. Let them.

There is enough downward pressure on prices because of the sheer quantity of books available. Trades with their houses throwing marketing and endless ARCS (one of my friends trade house is distributing 1,000 ARCS for her new YA), blogs, shipments to librarians, are on another level of getting discovered.

All things being equal, price is one of the few areas we can compete on.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 11, 2014, 11:07:39 am
Books account for about 7% of Amazons business.  Anyone here think thats a critical 7%?

Dav


You completely missed the entire point of the "loss leader" and "illusion of choice" discussion, didn't you?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Cherise on August 11, 2014, 11:15:51 am
Books account for about 7% of Amazons business.  Anyone here think thats a critical 7%?

Dav


Amazon itself admitted years ago that they started out as a bookstore in order to collect regular customers who would go on to buy bigger ticket items.

Books are Amazon's gateway drug.

Kindles are Amazon-branded crack pipes.

It remains to be seen if Amazon has collected enough customers yet to keep going without that gateway drug. Yahoo! seems to be doing OK, and it's been at least a decade since they lost their gateway drug, search, to Google.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JRTomlin on August 11, 2014, 11:22:39 am
I work in contract packaging. It is what I do at my day job. I WILL BE VAL'S CITATION. This is called a loss leader and it is a common tactic in retail. You offer a desirable commodity at a lower-than-average price in order to bring in customers, and then upsell them to other items. The retail industry revolves around this concept. It isn't baseless speculation. It is the reality of retail, particularly for a retail outlet that runs on a 1-2% profit margin like Amazon. You don't sell volume, YOU DIE.

This is how WalMart built their empire. But have you noticed that WalMart doesn't offer the same ridiculously low prices that they used to offer only a few years ago? Would you like to know WHY there isn't that much difference in pricing between WalMart and everyone else? Because manufacturers have stopped allowing it. WalMart pulled the same stunts for the last decade on manufacturers to the point where companies went bankrupt trying to meet WalMart's price demands. There are corporations that refuse to do business with WalMart now because of it.

I have told this story before on this forum but it bears repeating:

Several years ago, WalMart decided to 'clean up' their store by removing slow-selling products from the shelves and only focusing on those products that sold volume. It caused an uproar in the consumer commodities industries because at the time WalMart was the biggest seller of a lot of brands. WalMart simply stopped carrying thousands of items and only gave shelf space to those items that historically sold. It is speculated, however, that part of this purging was in retaliation to manufacturers who refused to give WalMart the preferred pricing they demanded, so they "punished" those manufactures by refusing to stock products (sound familiar?)

What happened next is pretty funny...

See, people don't want choices. They want the illusion of choice. Even if they are going to buy the same toothpaste every week, they still want to think they have choices insofar as what toothpaste they buy. So people went into WalMart to buy products and noticed that their choices were reduced significantly. They started to migrate to other stores. (Even if they would get to the other store and STILL buy the same thing!)

WalMart lost market share badly. They scrapped their project and invited back the products they had removed. But at this point, manufacturers were actually seeing increased sales at other outlets and realized they could survive without WalMart. WalMart lost negotiation leverage. Since then, you don't see the massive price breaks at WalMart you once did.

Anyone who thinks Amazon can survive without books from the big publishers is not paying attention to human behavior. They are ignoring the entire history of retail.
Of course there are loss leaders and Hachette wants to go back to Agency Pricing so that Amazon can't use Hachette novels AS loss leaders. *boggle*

As for your comment [about] anyone who doesn't agree that Amazon is doing exactly the same think that Walmart, the problem is that they are not doing the same thing. They have NOT culled their virtual bookshelves of slow moving novels or slow moving anything else. They ARE taking a hard line in negotiating with a single publisher. The same thing as what Walmart did? Even close to the same thing? Nope. So I guess maybe one of us was paying attention and it was me.



Edited to remove references to deleted comments and to conform with Forum Decorum. --Betsy
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 11, 2014, 11:30:12 am
Of course there are loss leaders and Hachette wants to go back to Agency Pricing so that Amazon can't use Hachette novels AS loss leaders. *boggle*

OK, for point of reference:

OK, just so everyone is on the same page:

This is what Val said:

Quote
Really, they just want to put a banner on the sit that says at Amazon, all ebooks are under $10 to get people onto the site and buying other things.

I.E. Amazon uses books as a loss leader.

3rotic then quoted Val and said:

Quote
Citation needed.

Quote
This is baseless speculation, Vaal. Completely baseless.

i.e. Clearly disagreeing that Amazon uses books as loss leaders.

My post then specifically says that books are loss leaders. You are apparently agreeing with me on the point that Amazon uses books for loss leaders.

We're writers. Context matters. I think my post makes sense in relation to the person I was quoting, he was arguing the opposite of what I "think" you are agreeing with me on?



Edited to correct quotation format. --Betsy
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Monique on August 11, 2014, 11:35:03 am
Vaal said something specific and was asked upon what that claim is based. You went on to talk in generalities (and some things that leave me scratching my head) that do not address the specific. So, it's a little.. uhm, ok.

Loss leaders does not = all books under $9.99.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 11, 2014, 11:35:52 am
They have NOT culled their virtual bookshelves of slow moving novels or slow moving anything else.

Most people in the industry believe WalMart's culling was a result of retaliation against manufacturers who refused to give them what they want, due to the number of products that remained on shelves from manufacturers who gave WalMart what it wanted.

My comments are also relevant to everyone who keeps cheering and hoping all the big publishers leave Amazon so it will be this indie paradise.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Rick Gualtieri on August 11, 2014, 11:38:36 am
My comments are also relevant to everyone who keeps cheering and hoping all the big publishers leave Amazon so it will be this indie paradise.

Feh! The only indie paradise I want is one that serves banana daiquiris :D

I'm all for competition.  Also, as a reader who is heavily invested in the Kindle format, I would find it a PiTA to have to shop elsewhere for the trad-pubs I read.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 11, 2014, 11:39:42 am
Loss leaders does not = all books under $9.99.

Amazon was losing money when it first launched the kindle by pricing trade books at $9.99. One of the things that triggered agency pricing was the fear that Amazon, by deliberately selling ebooks below cost (Amazon's cost) that it would condition the marketplace to think that should be the normal price. Now here we are all these years later, and Amazon is saying everyone agrees $9.99 and less should be the normal price.

I realize sometimes by comments don't appear to be in context, but I'm commenting based on the entire history of the Kindle, not just the most recent incident. If you look at the current situation in comparison to the early years of the Kindle when Amazon was selling ebooks for less than they were paying the publishers, it creates a bigger picture.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on August 11, 2014, 11:50:19 am
Folks,

things seem to have taken a turn in the thread.  Locking it to give everyone a chance to chill a bit and to give me a chance to review the thread.

EDIT:  I've edited a few posts that crossed the line into name calling and posts that responded to them.

Folks--when you allow your rhetoric to turn to sarcasm and name calling, you lessen the impact of the point you are trying to make.  Let's keep it civil.   Unlocking thread, but we're keeping an eye on it.  Don't make me start putting people on post approval, please.  /EDIT

Thanks,

Betsy
KB mod
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Davout73 on August 11, 2014, 12:33:15 pm
You completely missed the entire point of the "loss leader" and "illusion of choice" discussion, didn't you?

If your local grocery store stops selling books, you going to stop buying your groceries there as well?  Yes, books can be and are a loss leader for Amazon, but if they lose/give up book sales, they aren't going to be left high and dry.  If anything, they'd switch their loss leaders over to items on AmazonSupply.com and reap the rewards/money there.

Quote
Amazon itself admitted years ago that they started out as a bookstore in order to collect regular customers who would go on to buy bigger ticket items
And its worked, really well.

Quote
It remains to be seen if Amazon has collected enough customers yet to keep going without that gateway drug. Yahoo! seems to be doing OK, and it's been at least a decade since they lost their gateway drug, search, to Google.
  I think the money they are making off their web and cloud services will dwarf the rest of divisions for awhile, and their recent foray into B2B wholesale sales is going to be sizable as well in the long run, they have almost no sizable competition there. The fact they have so many fingers in so many pies is what gives them staying power.  Amazon made a  bet on a phone, and it looks like that bet isn't going to pay off.  Amazon can take that hit and keep moving.  Barnes and Noble made a bet on the Nook, and now can't afford the results of it not paying off.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: CraigInOregon on August 11, 2014, 12:45:04 pm
Most people in the industry believe...

Yeah, and "four out of five dentists surveyed recommend sugarless gum for their patients who chew gum." Something Trident made up as an ad slogan. Do you really believe that?

"Four out of five" says nothing about the actual sample size. Which could be as few as... five.

"dentists surveyed" = true only of those Trident allegedly "surveyed."

"for their patients who chew gum" = further reduces and fuzzies the specifics. Ask a dentist and often they will recommend avoiding gum entirely, esp. if you wear braces. Also, the phrase curiously makes chewing gum sound like an addiction that some people can't deny or forsake.

Your opening phrase is similarly vague and misleading.

"Most people" = vague

"in the industry" = exclusionary in its phrasing, potentially weeding out disagreement

"believe" = not the same thing as proof or actual evidence.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: CraigInOregon on August 11, 2014, 12:55:18 pm
What's wrong with that?

Exactly, kward.

Even if it's true that Amazon takes a loss on books it sells at $9.99 instead of the publisher's recommended retail price... isn't that Amazon's business? Why should ANY publisher even care?

I mean, even in paper, cover prices are not exactly sacrosanct.

How many times did I buy a hardcover book at Target or Wal-Mart or Barnes and Noble, over the past 20 years, where the price was reduced by 30 percent or more... and sometimes an extra 10 percent on top of that with a "membership," ... because that's the best way to keep "bestselling hardcovers" moving off the shelves at a steady enough clip to keep them bestsellers.

Truth: just about every hardcover I've ever bought has been "on sale" at a discount like that.

Publishers ... the Big 5 ... want to rob Amazon of the ability to do exactly what all major paper-book retailers have done for decades: discount books to create sales volume.

Only one possible motivation for that: protecting print books by keeping eBook prices artificially inflated.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 11, 2014, 12:59:14 pm
If books are only 7% of Amazon's business...

And Hachette is only a percentage of that percentage of Amazon's business...

And that percentage is not critical to Amazon's business...

Then Amazon's behavior during this entire thing makes even less sense. If, as folks here continue to claim, Amazon doesn't need Hachette and those sales are merely the equivalent of a rounding error (which as a percentage of 7% of their overall business, it would be) then someone explain the logic behind Amazon just not cutting Hachette loose? This whole thing should have been over MONTHS ago if the prevailing theme of this thread is correct.

January: "Hey Hachette, we need to talk about your contract."

February: "Hey, guys, haven't heard back. Give us a call. We need to talk."

March: "Look, you guys haven't responded for three months, so we assume you don't want to renew the contract. So we're going to delist all of your books. Let us know if you want us to list again."

April-May: Amazon goes about its business, not missing Hachette at all and making up the difference by promoting the indies it loves.

June: Hachette returns with hat in hand, begging to be allowed back into the fold after seeing the error of its ways.

BOOM! Problem resolved, right?

If we assume Amazon is run by smart people and we assume that the prevailing theory that Amazon doesn't need Hachette is true (and at only 7% of its business, doesn't even need books apparently), then something is missing in the translation. None of Amazon's recent behavior makes sense in a world where Amazon doesn't need those sales. Hachette's behavior makes sense insofar as it fits with their business model (we can argue whether or not that business model itself is a good one, but their behavior does in fact fit their business model). I don't have to agree with their position to see a pattern of logic behind it. But Amazon's behavior doesn't follow a pattern of logic based on a company that doesn't need that 7% of its business and can just as easily make up the difference by promoting indies.

Something does not compute.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 11, 2014, 01:02:07 pm
Exactly, kward.

Even if it's true that Amazon takes a loss on books it sells at $9.99 instead of the publisher's recommended retail price... isn't that Amazon's business? Why should ANY publisher even care?

Because the entire root of this current contract dispute is that Amazon wants the publisher to start eating the loss Amazon has been taking all of these years now that Amazon has conditioned its customers to expect that price? Behind all of the rhetoric, the root of the contract dispute is that Amazon wants to pay less for books now so they can continue to sell books at the same price they have always done but instead of taking a loss now make a profit.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: CraigInOregon on August 11, 2014, 01:03:54 pm
Something does not compute.

You're right that something doesn't compute.

What doesn't compute are all these people who claim to be neutral, but would only tell Amazon what THEY have done wrong.

Never any criticism of Hachette for refusing to negotiate at all, and crying the moment Amazon does anything to get their attention and bring them to the negotiating table for a talk.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 11, 2014, 01:09:04 pm
Never any criticism of Hachette for refusing to negotiate at all, and crying the moment Amazon does anything to get their attention and bring them to the negotiating table for a talk.

The only person who has said Hachette refused to negotiate at all is Amazon. I can't condemn Hachette for something I don't know is true. I DO know it is true Amazon sent me not one, but two copies of their WW II inspired battle cry (one two my actual email address with them, and one to my "non-publishing" account that I only use at work for ordering supplies for my employer).  I do know Amazon yanked the pre-order button off Hachette print books. I do know Amazon put a two to three week delay on shipping print books. So I can only condemn the things I know as true. Whether or not Hachette refused to negotiate is a he said/she said scenario that I can't condemn or support because I was not in the room. If I knew for a fact Hachette wasn't returning Bezos' phone calls, I would condemn that. But all I have to go on is Amazon, and they can't even quote Orwell right when trying to convince me to take up the pitchforks to storm the castle.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on August 11, 2014, 01:11:23 pm
I don't think that anyone in this thread has full knowledge of what has gone on behind the closed doors of the negotiations, only what both sides want us to know/believe.  I'm reading a lot of speculation and opinion on both sides of the divide in this thread.

Betsy
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Rick Gualtieri on August 11, 2014, 01:13:43 pm
The funny thing here is that I think we all know that, no matter how the negotiations end up, both sides will somehow claim victory. 
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 11, 2014, 01:23:09 pm
Speaking as a consumer - why should we cheerlead for higher ebook prices to keep a non-evolving old world business afloat?

Movie theatre popcorn has a markup of over 1200%. Fountain soda at a family restaurant? Markup of 300-400%. The last birthday card you bought for a loved one? 200% markup. Bottled water? An astonishing 4000% markup! Let me tell you, if Amazon wants to do a real service for the world, they should go after the bottled water people!

But if you are really speaking "as a consumer" you have the power to vote with your wallet. Don't want to pay $10.99 for an ebook? Don't. There are tens of thousands of other options for you. Guess what? If people weren't buying those titles at those prices, publishers wouldn't sell at those prices! It's basic capitalism. But Amazon really has no more business telling publishers what to sell ebooks for than they do telling Mike they can't sell $500 sneakers. Nobody is asking consumers to cheerlead anything. Just don't buy the stuff if you don't see the value in it.

For the record, I think Apple products are overpriced and overrated, but you don't see me protesting or starting petitions to force them to change their pricing.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 11, 2014, 01:30:16 pm
Emails are easily ignored and/or deleted.

If you are not a Hachette author why worry about Hachette's pre-order buttons or the shipping of Hachette's print books?

Because I'm a publisher. So are you. So are most of the people in this thread. We aren't "Amazon authors." We are publishers. And there but for the grace of the gods go us. There is this belief that Amazon would never do anything to "hurt" indies. Yet I remember very much feeling hurt when Amazon slashed the royalty on ACX titles from 50% to 40% under the guise of offering "better service." Seriously, there are people in this thread who have said they were "afraid" to email Amazon back about the email they sent for fear of retaliation. Think long and hard about that for a minute. There are indies publishing with Amazon who are afraid to tell Amazon they found something inappropriate because of the risk of losing their accounts. Go read Selena Kitt's blog about what Amazon has done to erotica authors. As publishers, we should pay attention to how Amazon treats its largest publishing partners. Because if THIS is how they treat one of the big five, what are you or I going to do if they decide to do something to us?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Rick Gualtieri on August 11, 2014, 01:34:14 pm
But if you are really speaking "as a consumer" you have the power to vote with your wallet. Don't want to pay $10.99 for an ebook? Don't. There are tens of thousands of other options for you. Guess what? If people weren't buying those titles at those prices, publishers wouldn't sell at those prices! It's basic capitalism. But Amazon really has no more business telling publishers what to sell ebooks for than they do telling Mike they can't sell $500 sneakers. Nobody is asking consumers to cheerlead anything. Just don't buy the stuff if you don't see the value in it.

Businesses condition people to pay the prices they want. Never discount the psychological warfare that goes into it, gradually nudging people in the direction they want them to go.  Go too quickly and people will scream.  Make it gradual and eventually you wear them down...that is, until someone else comes along and cries BS.  Sometimes these town criers are consumer advocates.  Most of the time they're other businesses trying to shake up the mix to gain market share. 

Right now Amazon is acting that part, telling us what we probably already know - high priced ebooks are a ripoff (and yes it is entirely self-serving).  Hachette is doing the reverse, telling us to ignore the man behind the curtain and keep paying what they want us to.  The question right now is whose voice will be heard the loudest in the end?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Davout73 on August 11, 2014, 01:45:55 pm
Because the entire root of this current contract dispute is that Amazon wants the publisher to start eating the loss Amazon has been taking all of these years now that Amazon has conditioned its customers to expect that price? Behind all of the rhetoric, the root of the contract dispute is that Amazon wants to pay less for books now so they can continue to sell books at the same price they have always done but instead of taking a loss now make a profit.

I would bet unless Amazon was lying earlier when it said it was happy with a 30% cut, the sticking point is Hachette wants to raise ebook prices.  Amazon appears to be angling for $9.99 top price in the majority of cases because it has servers full of sales data that says yes, at $12.99 and $14.99 and higher it's share per sale will be more, and so will the publishers, but there will be fewer purchases, which means over the long run fewer customers buying, which means a grand total of less books being sold, which means both parties don't make as much money as they could.

They are saying $9.99 is where both businesses are being screwed, and the customer is happy.  Yes, at a higher price point, Amazon and Hachettes share would be more, but fewer purchases made means less money in the long run.  At $9.99, customers buy more, and the sales volume makes up for the difference you would have had at a higher price point.  Amazon is saying at $9.99 we're both leaving money on the table, and the customer is happy.  Apparently Hachette isn't OK with that.  And all we have is speculation as to why.

Dav
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Cherise on August 11, 2014, 01:48:29 pm
I think the money (Amazon) are making off their web and cloud services will dwarf the rest of divisions for a while, and their recent foray into B2B wholesale sales is going to be sizable as well in the long run, they have almost no sizable competition there. The fact they have so many fingers in so many pies is what gives them staying power.  Amazon made a  bet on a phone, and it looks like that bet isn't going to pay off.  Amazon can take that hit and keep moving.  Barnes and Noble made a bet on the Nook, and now can't afford the results of it not paying off.


I see where Amazon was going with the phone. They do need to capture younger users. Most of their users are my age (50+), judging by Bookbub's demographics.

No one is asking me, but I recommend that Amazon advertise its Kindle apps on Goodreads. It astounds me how many Goodreads users don't know you can read Kindle books on any device. And Amazon owns Goodreads, so it would cost them nothing to advertise there.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Leanne King on August 11, 2014, 02:02:50 pm
January: "Hey Hachette, we need to talk about your contract."

February: "Hey, guys, haven't heard back. Give us a call. We need to talk."

March: "Look, you guys haven't responded for three months, so we assume you don't want to renew the contract. So we're going to delist all of your books. Let us know if you want us to list again."

April-May: Amazon goes about its business, not missing Hachette at all and making up the difference by promoting the indies it loves.

June: Hachette returns with hat in hand, begging to be allowed back into the fold after seeing the error of its ways.

BOOM! Problem resolved, right?

If we assume Amazon is run by smart people and we assume that the prevailing theory that Amazon doesn't need Hachette is true (and at only 7% of its business, doesn't even need books apparently), then something is missing in the translation. None of Amazon's recent behavior makes sense in a world where Amazon doesn't need those sales. Hachette's behavior makes sense insofar as it fits with their business model (we can argue whether or not that business model itself is a good one, but their behavior does in fact fit their business model). I don't have to agree with their position to see a pattern of logic behind it. But Amazon's behavior doesn't follow a pattern of logic based on a company that doesn't need that 7% of its business and can just as easily make up the difference by promoting indies.

Something does not compute.

Makes perfect sense. Pulling Hachette's books is the nuclear option. Just pulling preorder buttons got Amazon labelled as a publisher-killing monster by the press. They can't very well hit the big red button without first exhausting every 'diplomatic' option open to them.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 11, 2014, 02:06:48 pm
Amazon appears to be angling for $9.99 top price in the majority of cases because it has servers full of sales data that says yes, at $12.99 and $14.99 and higher it's share per sale will be more, and so will the publishers, but there will be fewer purchases, which means over the long run fewer customers buying, which means a grand total of less books being sold, which means both parties don't make as much money as they could.

It'd be awesome if they actually showed that data instead of depending on people to just accept that what they say is true with zero proof.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: thesmallprint on August 11, 2014, 02:20:26 pm
I've read thousands of words about this dispute, yet I do not understand Hachette's objections.

What I have grasped so far is this: Amazon told Hachette 'We have a huge amount of data that proves that if you price your books at X, you will make more money. Your authors will have more readers and more money. Your customers will have more money to spend on books. Everybody wins.'

Now, I don't believe any company should dictate prices to a producer, but Amazon's argument seems about as compelling as you can get.  Is it simply that Hachette don't trust the data?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Kathelm on August 11, 2014, 02:46:19 pm
This reminds me of the CBS/Time Warner dispute a year ago.  If you had Time Warner internet and tried to steam content from CBS' website, you got a message saying, "Sorry, but we're blocking your IP.  If you ever want to see your shows again, e-mail Time Warner and call them a bunch of jerk faces for us."  CBS got the angry e-mail for that one, not Time Warner. 

I am not Amazon's minion.  As an indie author, I have no incentive for Hachette to lower its prices.  That whole e-mail, if real, is unprofessional.  E-mail bombing a CEO is how 4CHAN behaves, not a large company.  Obviously, their clout as the largest internet retailer in the world wasn't good enough to change Hachette's mind, so what is a pile of spam going to accomplish?  And why should we dirty our hands by encouraging Hachette to lower its prices when competing on price is indie publishing's main strategy?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Bluebonnet on August 11, 2014, 02:52:37 pm

I see where Amazon was going with the phone. They do need to capture younger users. Most of their users are my age (50+), judging by Bookbub's demographics.

No one is asking me, but I recommend that Amazon advertise its Kindle apps on Goodreads. It astounds me how many Goodreads users don't know you can read Kindle books on any device. And Amazon owns Goodreads, so it would cost them nothing to advertise there.

I don't have a Kindle. I read e-books on the Kindle app for PC. However, it was years before I accidentally discovered there was an app available because Amazon doesn't publicize the apps. Why not? Well, because they'd rather customers buy Kindle devices than use apps. IMO, Amazon doesn't sell e-books because they want to make money in the e-book business, but because they want to sell Kindles. Then they want to sell Kindle customers upgraded versions of Kindles periodically, such as the Fire, and new devices with e-reading capability, such as the phone. I don't think they are going to be successful with their phone, for several reasons, but that's a different topic.

This is an underlying issue in the controversy about Hachette. Amazon is positioning themselves as an e-bookseller trying to get good deals for their customers. However, the foundation of Amazon's e-bookselling agenda is to sell Kindles. If Hachette and the other big publishers win and get to charge high prices for e-books, [potentially] fewer customers will buy e-books, resulting in [potentially] fewer sales of Kindles.

Bearing all that in mind, I still support Amazon in this issue. Amazon is focused on customer service, and competitive pricing is an important element of that. Hachette is focused on maintaining their status quo in an industry that is rapidly changing. Amazon offers a good deal to indie authors, both new and established, and does not act as a gatekeeper to turn away new authors. Hachette is a traditional gatekeeper. Moreover, I don't think they offer a good deal to their "grunts," the midlist authors who don't make much in royalties.

As a reader, I am pretty disgusted by Hachette trotting out their millionaire authors to whine about losing sales on Amazon. I heard about the full-page ad the authors' group took out in The New York Times (a publication I am liking less and less due to their endless grim tirades against Amazon). Also saw the "poor-me" screed from a certain rich Hachette author who has a Northeastern vacation home. Why am I supposed to be willing to pay a few dollars more for an e-book so he can keep his summer vacation estate? I am down here with the other 99-percenters, struggling to pay my bills and having to keep a tight budget for non-necessities like books. Class warfare backlash, anybody?

Hachette has the option to sell their books through several other retailers, any retailer that will agree to their terms, or they can sell directly from their own website. Amazon is not and never was a sole source for Hachette books. Readers who want to pay Hachette's prices can buy the books elsewhere.


Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 on August 11, 2014, 02:58:22 pm
Now, I don't believe any company should dictate prices to a producer, but Amazon's argument seems about as compelling as you can get.  Is it simply that Hachette don't trust the data?

Someone over on Passive Voice ran the figures through the Author Earnings data and confirmed that Hachette's CEO was on the button when he said that 80% of their books already were less than $10 (actually it is 81%). They are even launching a Patterson collaboration novel that launches in 15 days time with a list price of, guess what?, $9.99. Amazon's bare claim about prices in general makes no difference to the long-term Big Pub model of selling the dearest access to a new book first to let those with money to burn show off that they afford the premium. The rest of us just glance at our TBR and choose to wait. The $14.99 books do not stay at that price. I bought a 2012 Man Booker nominee for 70 cents at the weekend, not Hachette, but Bloomsbury.

The $9.99 limit is a red herring, so what is the real negotiation that Amazon is hiding behind that smokescreen? We just have to wait on what I keep reminding people since this debate erupted weeks ago, is a confidential business negotiation. If Amazon lose the battle of wills with Hachette we are unlikely to ever know what their real position in the negotiations was.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JeanneM on August 11, 2014, 03:04:56 pm
I just happened across this and thought you guys might be interested.

  http://finance.yahoo.com/news/amazon-and-disney-lock-horns-over-dvd-pricing-140940292.html (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/amazon-and-disney-lock-horns-over-dvd-pricing-140940292.html)
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Cherise on August 11, 2014, 03:09:58 pm


I am not Amazon's minion. 




Ah, that's where you're wrong.

The only use I see in this email from Amazon? It has clued us in. It has tipped Amazon's hand.

Amazon thinks of us as its minions. This isn't really surprising. We pay Bookbub and Freebooksy and Ereader News Today and Kindle News and Tips... to send traffic to the site. We shill for Amazon. All part of Amazon's plan when they developed KDP, no doubt. Brilliant plan!

So, knowing is half the battle, right? Forewarned is forearmed, and all that? Now we know how Amazon sees us. Expendable. Errand boys. The question is, what are we each going to do with that knowledge?

I won't pull my books from KDP, but I sure won't put any new books in Select. I will diversify my sales outlets as much as I possibly can.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Cherise on August 11, 2014, 03:18:35 pm
IMO, Amazon doesn't sell e-books because they want to make money in the e-book business, but because they want to sell Kindles.


Agreed, but I don't think Kindles are Amazon's end game. I think they want everyone to have a Kindle so that they will shop Amazon for other stuff using their Kindle.

However, tablets happened. Smart phones happened. Kindles are no longer attractive to potential Amazon customers.

So now, Amazon's best bet is to get the Kindle app installed on as many tablets and smart phones as they can. And then start advertising their other, non-book products on the Kindle app. In order to get back on track.



The catch?

I don't shop on my Kindle, and I even have a Fire. I wonder how many people do shop on their Kindles? Is there a survey on KBoards somewhere we could link to?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 11, 2014, 03:24:05 pm
The best part of this, is how when Amazon isn't telling people ebooks should be cheaper and forcing them to do it, the scramble people around these parts are in is to make their books more expensive.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vivi_Anna on August 11, 2014, 03:31:30 pm
Have you seen this explanation of the issues?  I think it's a good article.

https://medium.com/@jakedfw/making-sense-of-amazon-hachette-6ef55a961cbe

Apologies if its already been posted.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Davout73 on August 11, 2014, 03:36:48 pm
It'd be awesome if they actually showed that data instead of depending on people to just accept that what they say is true with zero proof.

As opposed to just disbelieving everything they say because....why?  Don't get me wrong, I admire a healthy dose of skepticism, but I'm reasonably sure (having observed these forums for a while), that if Amazon did provide the numbers, they'd be ripped apart for a variety of reasons by people who are looking to rip them apart. 

Amazon has sales data going back to 1994.  They've got some of the most sophisticated price matching algorithms out there.  They're selling over 100 million ebooks a year.  If their numbers are wrong, the same publishers should be able to tell everybody. 

Dav
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 11, 2014, 03:39:32 pm
I don't mean any offense to you personally at all, but to me this outlook you've presented seems quite cynical.

We are writers who sell our stuff through Amazon's platform - I'm not sure how that makes us minions/errand boys or expendable. We could assume Amazon sees us as such - but it is pure assumption; so we could likewise imagine that Amazon sees us as business partners, no?

They just told us to go spambomb some dude and CC them when we do it.

That's a minion job. Not even henchmen have to do crap like that.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 11, 2014, 03:46:18 pm
As opposed to just disbelieving everything they say because....why?  Don't get me wrong, I admire a healthy dose of skepticism, but I'm reasonably sure (having observed these forums for a while), that if Amazon did provide the numbers, they'd be ripped apart for a variety of reasons by people who are looking to rip them apart. 

Amazon has sales data going back to 1994.  They've got some of the most sophisticated price matching algorithms out there.  They're selling over 100 million ebooks a year.  If their numbers are wrong, the same publishers should be able to tell everybody. 

Dav

If they had data to prove their point, why not produce it?

Why would anyone in any business just take someone's word for it that the data they have but refuse to disclose says you should do this thing that massively benefits them?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 on August 11, 2014, 03:51:59 pm
That's a pretty dramatic interpretation. It was an email asking for your help, not a command. You can read or not read the email and decide whether or not to help - it's that easy.

The email should never have been sent it was unprofessional and unAmazon. It briefly made me think of not pulling my novel from elsewhere to go into Select, but only briefly. Amazon is a good place to sell and I will not let the fact that Amazon let the Preston pressure get to them change my business plan - to sell in whatever way suits my business and personally stay out of Amazon and Hachette's negotiations.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Davout73 on August 11, 2014, 04:05:31 pm
If they had data to prove their point, why not produce it?

Why would anyone in any business just take someone's word for it that the data they have but refuse to disclose says you should do this thing that massively benefits them?

They did.  That whole $9.99 vs $14.99 argument, and the 1.74 ratio.  But, as I said above, thats not good enough because there wasn;t enough nuts and bolts shown in how those numbers were determined.  So, obviously the safe and logical assumption here is that Amazon's lying and making those numbers up? 

Traditional publishing could counter these numbers easily.  That they haven't is telling.

Dav
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Davout73 on August 11, 2014, 04:07:03 pm
The email should never have been sent it was unprofessional and unAmazon. It briefly made me think of not pulling my novel from elsewhere to go into Select, but only briefly. Amazon is a good place to sell and I will not let the fact that Amazon let the Preston pressure get to them change my business plan - to sell in whatever way suits my business and personally stay out of Amazon and Hachette's negotiations.

How do you feel about Patterson asking readers to email Bezos?

Dav
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 11, 2014, 04:15:32 pm
They did.  That whole $9.99 vs $14.99 argument, and the 1.74 ratio.  But, as I said above, thats not good enough because there wasn;t enough nuts and bolts shown in how those numbers were determined. 

That isn't that. That is a conclusion drawn from the apparent data.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Cherise on August 11, 2014, 04:18:31 pm
I don't mean any offense to you personally at all, but to me this outlook you've presented seems quite cynical.

We are writers who sell our stuff through Amazon's platform - I'm not sure how that makes us minions/errand boys or expendable. We could assume Amazon sees us as such - but it is pure assumption; so we could likewise imagine that Amazon sees us as business partners, no?



Would you ask a business partner to email a rival company and beg them to lower their prices? Or is that something you would ask a minion to do?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 on August 11, 2014, 04:19:20 pm
How do you feel about Patterson asking readers to email Bezos?

Unlike several other writers I do not work for Patterson. Amazon should have criticised Patterson/Preston, not gone for: any depth you can plumb I can plumb better.  ;D
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JETaylor on August 11, 2014, 04:26:11 pm
They did reply back.  I'm always skeptical of unsolicited emails, glad I checked.  I've been very quiet on this issue overall because I have friends on both sides of the fence.

I had a chance to read Hugh's blog today and I have to say, I absolutely agree with him. 

Whatever hurts readers is not good for any author. I think I tend to veer a little off from Hugh in that I'm less concerned about the author in the Amazon / Hatchette fiasco as I am about the customer. 

High prices are not good for the customer. 

Yes, they may make my books seem more appealing, but overall, I'm not in a competition.  If I was, I would have never become a publisher as well.  I want to help get more quality books out there so readers have options, and as a publisher, I don't want my customers to have to break the bank to buy our books.   

Reading is important.  In the age of video games and hand held electronics, the fade from books is happening. I see it with my kids.  Given a choice - 95% of the time my son will choose his PS3 over a book - so I want to be able to give him his choice of books during that other 5% of the time.  If I have to pay $15-20 per ebook, or paperback for that matter, his choices diminish and his focus goes elsewhere.

I bought him 13 paperbacks for our vacation. I paid 9.99 per book - if they had been more, I wouldn't have picked up the whole set.  From a consumer perspective, it irks me that the big houses want to raise e-book prices just to staunch the ebook market.  Hugh has a beautiful point - which Amazon allows us to do in KDP - if someone buys the paperback - we can discount the ebook or even make it free.  That is a wonderful and powerful combination.     

I've said my peace.  Now I'm off to finish writing my next book...



Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: FictionalWriter on August 11, 2014, 04:44:30 pm
Have you seen this explanation of the issues?  I think it's a good article.

https://medium.com/@jakedfw/making-sense-of-amazon-hachette-6ef55a961cbe

Apologies if its already been posted.

Very interesting. Makes a lot of sense.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Herc- The Reluctant Geek on August 11, 2014, 05:13:31 pm
Because I'm a publisher. So are you.

Yes, we're all publishers, and most of us are publishers of ebooks with a vested interest in there being a greater takeup of ebooks in the reading community. Hachette is a publisher that publishes mostly paper books and has a vested interest in keeping ebook take-up as low as possible.

Amazon is a retailer who wants to increase the proportion of ebooks sold because it (a) makes them more money and (b) greatly simplifies getting the book from the publisher to the reader and slicing off a bit of the money for themselves.

Amazon said to Hachette. We make more money when books are priced less than $9.99. If you price in that range, we want a 30% cut. If you price greater than $9.99, then we want a 50% cut to compensate for the reduction in our revenue.

Hachette says to Amazon, bugger off. When we had agency pricing, we could protect our core business and skim extra $$$ from inflated ebook prices. We want to return to that model to maximize our revenue.

Because ebooks are only 7% of Amazon's business and Hachette is only a subsidiary of a huge multinational (Lagarde), both can afford to rattle their sabres and promise all manner of dire consequences.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lisa Grace on August 11, 2014, 05:49:49 pm
Uhh...um...WUT JOE SED??!!

*kidding* :)

I was under the impression that the trad pubs are actually quite friendly with one another - and perhaps Amazon has made them so?

I'm all for consumer choice but I also don't like to see price gouging, and while yes, people will pay $30 for an ebook I don't think charging $30 for an ebook is acceptable.

To borrow your analogy - I understand the love of a kitten is priceless, but I also believe no one should be priced out of experiencing that love.

Ebooks don't come with the inherent costs that paper books do and therefore I see no reason to continue the charade of higher prices when times have changed and technology is trying to do what it does which is shrink in size and lower in price. Artificially maintaining higher ebook prices is damaging to the industry (that includes all of us) and harmful to the consumer.

And I have read samples of your work and seen your blurbs, titles and covers and if you think price is your only way of competing I say you devalue yourself and your brand in saying so. You have what it takes to compete in the deep end and so do many other indies - I truly believe that. :)

Thanks Kward.  :) I did amend my earlier post to give credit to Joe for the great kitten analogy.  I was trying to go online while dealing with three rained-in kids (only one is mine) and I was driven to distraction.

But I am one of the crazy ones who instead of buying a mutt, went out and bought a $600 designer dog. Should any puppy cost that much? I don't know.  I have friends that have paid as much as $2,000 for a pup. Yes, it's probably crazy, and of course, more people pay much, much less, and some even get theirs free.

Again, I don't think we should dictate to any publisher what they decide to charge.  Hachette customers who pay those high prices now obviously are willing to pay that much. God bless 'em. If Hachette keeps their prices high, it gives us a better chance to get 5.99 to 9.99 for our ebooks, and I'm all for that.


Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Ty Johnston on August 11, 2014, 05:54:41 pm
We are writers who sell our stuff through Amazon's platform - I'm not sure how that makes us minions/errand boys or expendable. We could assume Amazon sees us as such - but it is pure assumption; so we could likewise imagine that Amazon sees us as business partners, no?

I can't speak for Amazon itself, but after my 7 years in grocery distribution and 20 years in print distribution, all with multiple companies and different corporate cultures, we would be lucky if Amazon thinks of us that well. I seriously doubt we are seen as "partners." Cynicism? I call it experience.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 11, 2014, 06:09:16 pm
Man, if we're thought of as business partners, I've been missing a bunch of contract negotiation announcements of my own. Maybe they got dumped to my spam folder by mistake.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: KOwrites on August 11, 2014, 07:33:05 pm
If books are only 7% of Amazon's business...

And Hachette is only a percentage of that percentage of Amazon's business...

And that percentage is not critical to Amazon's business...

Then Amazon's behavior during this entire thing makes even less sense. If, as folks here continue to claim, Amazon doesn't need Hachette and those sales are merely the equivalent of a rounding error (which as a percentage of 7% of their overall business, it would be) then someone explain the logic behind Amazon just not cutting Hachette loose? This whole thing should have been over MONTHS ago if the prevailing theme of this thread is correct.

January: "Hey Hachette, we need to talk about your contract."

February: "Hey, guys, haven't heard back. Give us a call. We need to talk."

March: "Look, you guys haven't responded for three months, so we assume you don't want to renew the contract. So we're going to delist all of your books. Let us know if you want us to list again."

April-May: Amazon goes about its business, not missing Hachette at all and making up the difference by promoting the indies it loves.

June: Hachette returns with hat in hand, begging to be allowed back into the fold after seeing the error of its ways.

BOOM! Problem resolved, right?

If we assume Amazon is run by smart people and we assume that the prevailing theory that Amazon doesn't need Hachette is true (and at only 7% of its business, doesn't even need books apparently), then something is missing in the translation. None of Amazon's recent behavior makes sense in a world where Amazon doesn't need those sales. Hachette's behavior makes sense insofar as it fits with their business model (we can argue whether or not that business model itself is a good one, but their behavior does in fact fit their business model). I don't have to agree with their position to see a pattern of logic behind it. But Amazon's behavior doesn't follow a pattern of logic based on a company that doesn't need that 7% of its business and can just as easily make up the difference by promoting indies.

Something does not compute.

Someone up thread said something about a Red Herring. This is what I would hazard a guess to say this is. What's happening is less about Hachette and more about the rest of the big 5 as contracts come up for renewal with the Zon this fall and beyond...These appear to key messaging points from the whole price comparison thing at $9.99 and lower to what is best for readers blah de blah. I believe this is Amazon's agenda as they've put it out there for all to see/consider including the rest of the big 5.


The backfire is the bad press...Amazon looks horribly bad. Somebody underestimated the reaction of the Indie authors in wanting to help out and write an email to a CEO they don't work for as well as CCing Amazon which is its own divide and conquer machination. To me, the underlying sentiment of being regarded as second-class citizens rang true in the way this was presented in the email sent to KDP authors et al. and it is not boding well for Amazon at all in the press that follows this.


I don't know how to cite other people's quotes. @Cherise, I completely agree with yours.

@KWard  Hmmm...this isn't about being cynical or paranoid or irrational and I really hate it when people's feelings are discounted...or made fun of...The email to KDP authors was not well thought out or was misrepresented by the handful that Amazon may have checked with before they drafted the thing. It's terrible PR work. Just terrible. I was in PR; and I can envision the people running around with those math examples not even stopping to compute them for real. Quote checking that lacked etc...Obviously, it's a team project that went awry.

Also, the response from Hachette's CEO was pretty good, I thought. And really, if it is true that 80-81% of their ebooks are priced at $9.99 or less what is really going on here? Agree with @vaalingrade on all of this...

I'd also like to point out that readers buy what books they want at pretty much the going price if they want it (or think they want it)...Fifty Shades of Grey, Gone Girl, The Goldfinch (the only time I will use those three books in the same sentence!) All priced high and on the best seller lists a mighty long time at those $12.99 + prices...

I commented in Chuck Wendig's post that these moves by Amazon seem to be corralling the Indies into a particular direction and that would be whatever Amazon finds useful...We get this long-winded email about emailing the CEO of Hachette and yet nothing before Kindle Unlimited is implemented. Personally, I think Amazon is running in a few too many directions and the strategies being played are not cohesive.

Thus, we get Kindle Unlimited - all you can read for $9.99 that kills the bestseller lists for any Indie not in Select.
We get some fangled pricing tool that would have me list my books at $6.99 and $9.99 based on some data Amazon does not share that will absolutely kill my sales if I went that high...
We get ACX changes that halved the revenues/profits for any Indies in the program.
We get free under a hidden tab to control the voracious readers and the authors who fed them probably because Amazon was getting people to the site without them spending a dime. Oy.

And, many Indies do feel like we're being jerked around by the changes without any engagement prior to implementation. Not a partner. No way. Just a distributor with a hefty TOS that keeps Indies in line and towing it. Or, ye will be punished. Erotica anyone?

My 2015 marketing plan just changed entirely because as Cherise said in a quote I can't add because I don't know how...we can get a pretty good idea of what and where they're going with what Amazon is doing. (ugh....) need thread replies and like buttons!!!!

This saga/dispute/contract negotiation has nothing to do with readers. This has everything to do with keeping most favored nation pricing matrix going at Amazon and limiting readers options. Truly. Amazon wants people buying from their site and going nowhere else.  Books are the loss leaders and they aim to keep it that way.

Carry on.
 
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lisa Grace on August 11, 2014, 07:37:57 pm
Man, if we're thought of as business partners, I've been missing a bunch of contract negotiation announcements of my own. Maybe they got dumped to my spam folder by mistake.


Ha! Made me chuckle.
Amazon is a distributor with an uneven playing field, and rules, that can change to favor you--or not.

Back in 2012?
I had a series of promos running on one of my paid books. Magically, my book would hit 30 sales, then....nothing. My rank would drop throughout the day, then a bunch would dump in overnight. This happened several days in a row over the length of the promo. It was obvious to me that Amazon had "set" some kind of algorithm that would stop counting my books at that point.

Before that my book was selling like hotcakes.

Of course it wasn't done to hurt me. Being a self employed business owner my whole life I assume it was to give other books and authors a chance at visibility during prime ordering hours. 

Amazon is the best outlet for getting self published ebooks to readers right now, but make no mistake, if something better comes along I'm as loyal to them as they are to me.

Don't forget, they also lowered ebook royalties in the foreign stores to 30%, and they took away a huge chunk of commission from audio books (they own ACX), then they sent threatening letters to affiliates who were pushing free ebooks, cutting their paychecks drastically.

Yes, I'm glad Amazon allows self publishing, but branching out and promoting sales through other stores (like iTunes, Google, and B&N,) makes sense. If Amazon cuts the rug out (like they did with the newsletter affiliates pushing freebies)  from self publishers, have another way of reaching readers.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: CraigInOregon on August 11, 2014, 09:27:08 pm
As always, trust Joe Konrath for expert analysis : http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2014/08/william-ockham-fisking-michael-pietsch.html?m=1

Sent from my LG G2 Android Phone.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 11, 2014, 09:42:39 pm
Yeah, working on other options and insulating myself from any one party's fluctuations or manipulations is just good business. Plus, it's given me lots of money from non-US customers.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I'm expecting marching orders to yell are the CEO of Disney very soon. DVDs should also be artificially limited to $10 too it seems.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 11, 2014, 10:14:33 pm
Would you send Amazon a letter asking for their help stopping Google from discounting your books?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Carradee on August 11, 2014, 10:41:48 pm
I don't look at Amazon emailing self-publishers who use their services asking for their help as them looking at us as brainless minions or cannon fodder or whatever[…]

Besides which, Amazon's e-mail wasn't phrased as an imperative. It was phrased as a polite request.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 11, 2014, 11:07:05 pm
From wikipedia:

"A straw man is a common type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on the misrepresentation of an opponent's argument. [1] To be successful, a straw man argument requires that the audience be ignorant or uninformed of the original argument.

The so-called typical "attacking a straw man" argument creates the illusion of having completely refuted or defeated an opponent's proposition by covertly replacing it with a different proposition (i.e., "stand up a straw man") and then to refute or defeat that false argument ("knock down a straw man") instead of the original proposition.[2][3]

This technique has been used throughout history in polemical debate, particularly in arguments about highly charged emotional issues where a fiery, entertaining "battle" and the defeat of an "enemy" may be more valued than critical thinking or understanding both sides of the issue.
"

Okay, good. You can use wikipedia. We'll get you a cookie later. Good thing that has absolutely nothing to do with the line of discussion that the email was unprofessional.

Now answer the question: would you, as a professional, send out a call to action to business partners of yours to intervene on your behalf in a dispute you're having with another business that has no bearing on said partners?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 11, 2014, 11:08:50 pm
Besides which, Amazon's e-mail wasn't phrased as an imperative. It was phrased as a polite request.



With a polite request for a CC to make sure you sent it.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: KOwrites on August 11, 2014, 11:12:45 pm
With a polite request for a CC to make sure you sent it.

+1

Yes! That's the sentence that really got to me because I don't work for the man anymore. And let's not forget: we do pay Amazon a fair chunk of change to sell our books there -- 30% to 70% commission is not too shabby, now is it? Just sayin'.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 11, 2014, 11:15:19 pm
See it's not just that it's a baldfaced attempt at manipulation, it's that it's bad at it. To quote Louis Black: "It's your job to manipulate me better."

The invocation of WWII, the misquoting Orwell, the request for a CC, the list of points they want you to make, the reiteration of 'facts' like the $10 thing without data to back it up... it's all so transparent. It feels like they didn't even put much through into it. It's a handwave and a 'go get 'em tiger' without even a dramatic locker room speech.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Gentleman Zombie on August 12, 2014, 01:05:44 am
It just boggles my mind that their are independent publisher-authors on this board... who don't see danger in all of this. I don't want Amazon to dictate my business practices any more than it already does. They can already close accounts and remove books at will. The TOS is already written to heavily favor their corporation. Now they want to ability to control prices set by the  publisher.

How can anyone who self-publishes defend this action? Why in the world would you want to give Amazon more power over pricing than it already has? I'm no huge fan of Hatchette. However, I see a real danger in Amazon winning this. What happens if they decide they want more power over our pricing as well?

I don't think this is a far-fetched scenario.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Mark E. Cooper on August 12, 2014, 01:16:34 am
It just boggles my mind that their are independent publisher-authors on this board... who don't see danger in all of this. I don't want Amazon to dictate my business practices any more than it already does. They can already close accounts and remove books at will. The TOS is already written to heavily favor their corporation. Now they want to ability to control prices set by the  publisher.

How can anyone who self-publishes defend this action? Why in the world would you want to give Amazon more power over pricing than it already has? I'm no huge fan of Hatchette. However, I see a real danger in Amazon winning this. What happens if they decide they want more power over our pricing as well?

I don't think this is a far-fetched scenario.

I must have misread or missed the part where Amazon doesn't already control our prices? The 0.99-2.98 = 35% and 2.99-9.99 = 70% and finally the 9.99+ =35% is control.

As far as I am aware they are not telling Hachette they can't price at 14.99 or whatever, they are saying go ahead but we will not pay 70% for it.

Am I wrong? Did I miss an update?
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin on August 12, 2014, 01:33:00 am
What happens if they decide they want more power over our pricing as well?

I don't think this is a far-fetched scenario.

We diversify - spread the risks and leave as many options open as possible. Everybody has a tipping point and when people think that their business plans could be compromised because one of their distributors has got a little too up themselves, they implement their respective exit strategies.

Despite what many people are saying, ebooks are important to Amazon. Authors/e-publishers output and marketing campaigns lure millions of people into Amazon's shop each year. Many will go on to purchase big ticket items which help Amazon grow richer. This might be enough to curb any future corporate excesses. But if it isn't sufficient, get ready to jump ship PDQ!  :)



Edited: @%[email protected][email protected]%$ militant typo insurgency successfully repelled!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Jash on August 12, 2014, 01:53:36 am
You could always remove your books from their site and sell elsewhere. Have they closed your account or removed your books?

It's cool you're standing firm on something you believe in and all, but this sentiment will never not be dumb

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Carradee on August 12, 2014, 03:41:18 am
With a polite request for a CC to make sure you sent it.

Um, first, even that was a request, and the point of CC = recordkeeping, so that you know what the other person said. It makes sense that Amazon would want to know what folks complaining to Hachette are actually complaining about.

If Amazon really wanted to "to make sure [we] sent" the requested message, there are far better methods—like, oh, link trackers and web forms and online petitions.

How can anyone who self-publishes defend this action? Why in the world would you want to give Amazon more power over pricing than it already has? I'm no huge fan of Hatchette. However, I see a real danger in Amazon winning this. What happens if they decide they want more power over our pricing as well?

From what's been admitted about this, the situation could be as simple as Amazon trying to get Hachette on a tiered % royalty like we have. Or Amazon could be wanting a wholesale deal and Hachette an agency deal. Or any number of things that actually don't involve actual control over pricing.

Claiming Amazon is trying to control pricing is ascribing motive and making assumptions about what's going on behind closed doors. We don't know. You can assume it's going to be something monstrous and negative, but it really could be something simple and…not problematic at all.

What befuddles me is that, in all this discussion (and worse) about the situation, folks are focusing on hypotheticals and ignoring the actual precedent this incident is setting for Amazon behavior.

The precedent: Amazon selling books under the old agreement even when the contract is expired.

Now, it's possible that Amazon's agreement with Hachette had a provision that allowed for this. I hope it did. Otherwise, we would all have good reason to fear Amazon continuing to sell our work even after we unpublish it and no longer give them permission to do so.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 12, 2014, 04:00:47 am
Is the condescension really necessary? We can have a discussion without resorting to that can't we?

You wouldn't think so, but then someone quoted a massive chunk of the wikipedia entry for 'strawman' appropros of nothing.

Quote
We disagree here - to me Amazon's email was not to ask us to "intervene" on their behalf - I think that's overstating things a little. Amazon asks for our help and support, yes - but not to jump into contract negotiations - and again, I think they're very aware it's easy for anyone to read that email and simply disregard it.

They ask us to go yell at some dude none of us have any dealings with whatsoever and tell him to capitulate to his commands. That's... pretty textbook intervention. I guess you can say screaming in his face 'GIVE IN!' isn't negotiating perse.

Quote
But would I send out a letter asking for help or support from folks I do business with in a trying time? Absolutely.

I look forward to see how ready Amazon is to go to bat yelling at people on the internet for you.

Quote
This dispute between Amazon and Hachette impacts us greatly. Hachette's stance is negative for consumers and negative for our industry. Amazon represents a better option for readers and readers being treated fairly should be among our most primary concerns.

Price is not the only thing consumers care about and it's certainly not the only area the industry--the actual industry that's interested in selling books for a profit rather than as a loss-leader--cares about.

Allowing Amazon to dictate price and then use it as a lever to gain even more market share and thus be able to dictate MORE things from its vendors is bad for everyone but Amazon in the end.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 12, 2014, 04:09:13 am
Haha, I love all the attempts to just simply shut down discussion.

No, people are not going to stop discussing the letter and how utterly, bafflingly dumb and bizarre it is or the attitude it represents.

And no, people are not going to withdraw from a lucrative sale channel just because some people on the internet tell them to. Just because you make money of it doesn't mean you have to love or even like a company--especially a company you're paying to perform a service.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Gennita Low on August 12, 2014, 04:15:44 am
I must have misread or missed the part where Amazon doesn't already control our prices? The 0.99-2.98 = 35% and 2.99-9.99 = 70% and finally the 9.99+ =35% is control.

As far as I am aware they are not telling Hachette they can't price at 14.99 or whatever, they are saying go ahead but we will not pay 70% for it.

Am I wrong? Did I miss an update?

You and me both, Mark ;). But no one's listening here in the Game of Thrones. Blood. Show us the blood! ;)
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: books_mb on August 12, 2014, 04:21:19 am
It just boggles my mind that their are independent publisher-authors on this board... who don't see danger in all of this. I don't want Amazon to dictate my business practices any more than it already does. They can already close accounts and remove books at will. The TOS is already written to heavily favor their corporation. Now they want to ability to control prices set by the  publisher.

How can anyone who self-publishes defend this action? Why in the world would you want to give Amazon more power over pricing than it already has? I'm no huge fan of Hatchette. However, I see a real danger in Amazon winning this. What happens if they decide they want more power over our pricing as well?

The big names draw people in. Having the latest big name ebook priced at 15 $ (an inflated price which cannot be justified by costs) makes owning an e-reader less attractive. And that means fewer customers for ebook authors. Hatchette is obviously trying to slow the growth of the ebook market to ensure that paperbacks continue to sell, Amazon is not willing to go along with that. Both companies are acting according to their interests and there's nothing wrong with that. Neither Hatchette nor Amazon is fighting for the interests of readers or authors. But Amazon's interests are much closer to mine, so I'll support them. I want the ebook market to grow as fast as possible. If they decide to discount my ebook by 50%, but bring me 50 % more volume, I have no problem with that. Hatchette however has, because they make their money mostly with paperbacks.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: books_mb on August 12, 2014, 04:41:23 am
They ask us to go yell at some dude none of us have any dealings with whatsoever and tell him to capitulate to his commands.

Just like Hatchette's open letter. It's a good ol' Soviet style propaganda war. Hatchette and Amazon care about market share and profit, neither lists the satisfaction of readers and authors in their balance sheet. So the only sensible thing to do here is to pick a side according to your own interests.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: CraigInOregon on August 12, 2014, 05:38:35 am
New post by me, reflective of the general tone of the thread:

1) I'm not for or against either Amazon or Hachette... now let me detail everything Amazon's done wrong and ignore Hachette entirely.

2) Both Amazon and Hachette are #($*s who will despoil your children and eat your spouses! I'm the only enlightened one in this thread wise enough to say this, even though well over half of everyone who posts here... says that. Umm...

3) I know more than any of you! I will now proceed to demonstrate by everything I go on to post, that I don't.

4) The sky is falling! The sky is falling! (Oops, that was for a thread on climate change... but surprise, surprise, it fits here, too.)

5) Everyone is out to #($( us indies over!

6) Amazon (or Hachette, take your pick) is the ONLY one who cares about us indies.

7) And whatever anyone else says, I will immediately post the opposite in an attempt to prove I'm not a drone, so long as my main theme remains Amazon is evil!

I shall now return you to your regularly-scheduled embodiment of these generalities by others.

Take the blue pill.

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.

Zardoz forever!

It's a cookbook! To Serve Mankind is a cookbook!

Soylant Green is PEOPLE!

And that's the bottom line, 'cuz Stone Cold said so!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Hugh Howey on August 12, 2014, 05:43:24 am
New post by me, reflective of the general tone of the thread:

1) I'm not for or against either Amazon or Hachette... now let me detail everything Amazon's done wrong and ignore Hachette entirely.

This. I see a lot of primarily trad-pubbed authors doing this. Pretending to be above the fray and neutral, but look at how they respond with vitriol to everything Amazon does. Meanwhile, zero complaints about their publishers or calls for better wages or fairer contracts. Also, no outcry over the real blacklisting of APub authors from brick and mortar stores.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: DTW on August 12, 2014, 05:51:17 am
Craig and Hugh have the right of it.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: books_mb on August 12, 2014, 05:55:04 am
Soylant Green is PEOPLE!

So I like the taste, big whoop. I'm sure everybody enjoys a bowl of delicious Soylent Green every now and then. It's great with basil.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Rick Gualtieri on August 12, 2014, 05:56:36 am
This. I see a lot of primarily trad-pubbed authors doing this. Pretending to be above the fray and neutral, but look at how they respond with vitriol to everything Amazon does. Meanwhile, zero complaints about their publishers or calls for better wages or fairer contracts. Also, no outcry over the real blacklisting of APub authors from brick and mortar stores.

Well you've probably seen it here, Hugh. We've had more than one post on this thread about someone angry with Amazon for their letter but not wanting to confront them out of fear of reprisal.  I would imagine that fear is at least quadrupled for those (midlist or lower writers) under contract to a big publisher.  For some it might be Stockholm syndrome for others it's towing the party line lest Big Brother become angry.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: KOwrites on August 12, 2014, 06:00:47 am
Amazon asking you to CC them equates to "working for the man"? It was an email asking you for help that you could easily ignore. And what does that CC request have to do with your percentage of commission?

I am ignoring the email. I have no intention of sending an email to a publisher I do not work for about their pricing structure and contract negotiation with a distributor who is trying to involve me in a dispute that has nothing to do with me in the guise that it is good for the reader. Viva the reader! Save the reader.

I don't work for Amazon; why would I CC them on an email if I chose to send one? WHY would they ask you CC them?  Because it's business? Common courtesy? To add you to the Christmas card list? To keep track of who did send the email? Yes, that last one because copying Amazon on an email to the Hachette CEO would be an indication that you sided with Amazon.

Cue the future press releases we have X-thousand authors that agree with us...

So no, not charmed by a request to CC Amazon on an email...That request/machination/call-to-action doesn't sit well with me because I don't work for Amazon. They are distributor of my books as an online retailer and I pay them for that (just thought I'd remind everyone here about that) and abide by their TOS. And that is it.


Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: penrefe on August 12, 2014, 06:09:32 am
Anyone else notice that the http://readersunited.com page isn't there anymore?

Just says "This is a website" now, so it's not down, just removed.

Thanks to the Way Back Machine, the content will be available for a while yet: http://web.archive.org/web/20140810033130/http://readersunited.com/

I find it bizarre that we're being contacted with regards to this whole thing. How is Hatchette's pricing our business? If Amazon wants to make it their business, then sure, that's fine; it's their company, and their site the products are being sold through. But it isn't ours.

I just don't get it.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: I'm a Little Teapot on August 12, 2014, 06:14:46 am
Meh. I didn't even get the email.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Colin on August 12, 2014, 06:28:39 am
Quote
Soylant Green is PEOPLE!

It's great with basil.

It is Basil.....and Fred....and Doris....and Sarah....and
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: NothingToSeeHere... on August 12, 2014, 07:29:21 am
I do not consent to the new TOS, and do not give my consent by posting and maintaining my membership here.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 12, 2014, 07:42:53 am
As a related anecdote:

My co-workers all know that I sell books on Amazon and run a micro press. So I tend to be their "go to" person whenever they have questions or complaints about Amazon. Because they really have no idea what my actual relationship with Amazon is, and they have this idea in their head that I have Bezos on speed-dial or something.

Anyway, this is conversation I just had with one of my co-workers who works in sales.

Him: "Hey, *****, you work with Amazon, right?"

Me: "Yeah, what's up?"

Him: "What's KDP?"

Me: "It's the self-service program Amazon uses for indie authors to sell ebooks."

Him: "I think Amazon got hacked."

Me: "Why? What happened."

Him: "They sent me an email addressed to 'KDP Author'. Something about World War II and censorship. I don't know. I didn't read the whole thing. But I figured you'd want to tell them." (because, you know, I'm tight with Amazon like that and I can just tell them during our next lunch meeting   :o)

Me: "Nah, it's OK. It wasn't a hack. It was a real email from Amazon."

Him: *dear in headlights look* "You sure?"

Me: "Yeah, it's been a topic of discussion in writer forums."

Him: "OK, well, when you talk to them tell them I thought it was weird."

Me: "Sure, next time I talk to them I'll let them know."

So, yeah, if anyone at Amazon is reading this, Chris said to tell you he thought it was weird.  :P

Oh, and if he orders something with two day shipping at 11 PM on Monday, does Monday count toward the two days or does the clock not start until Tuesday? Because he needs to know if the gift he ordered for his wife will be in Wednesday or Thursday. (Because I am apparently Amazon Customer Service, too).

 
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Rick Gualtieri on August 12, 2014, 07:47:42 am
Oh, and if he orders something with two day shipping at 11 PM on Monday, does Monday count toward the two days or does the clock not start until Tuesday? Because he needs to know if the gift he ordered for his wife will be in Wednesday or Thursday. (Because I am apparently Amazon Customer Service, too).

Tell him to stop being such a cheapskate with his wife and go for the $3.99 overnight shipping already...those drones are still a few years off.  :D
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 12, 2014, 07:56:35 am
Tell him to stop being such a cheapskate with his wife and go for the $3.99 overnight shipping already...those drones are still a few years off.  :D

 ;D
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Deke on August 12, 2014, 08:08:19 am
"I see a lot of primarily trad-pubbed authors doing this."

Are trad published writers brainwashed, or are they so well compensated that trad-pubbers have bought their allegiance (and objectivity)?

Seems to me that if Hachette doesn't meet the price point Amazon wants to sell at, then Amazon should remove their products (this is what Walmart does to its suppliers).  And if Amazon won't respect Hachette's pricing strategy, then Hachette should remove their products from Amazon. The fact that both parts are doing this silly dance of delayed delivery and so forth indicates there is some mutual benefit in the relationship that prevents either from walking away. 
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Deborahsmith author on August 12, 2014, 08:36:50 am
Are trad published writers brainwashed, or are they so well compensated that trad-pubbers have bought their allegiance (and objectivity)?

Seems to me that if Hachette doesn't meet the price point Amazon wants to sell at, then Amazon should remove their products (this is what Walmart does to its suppliers).  And if Amazon won't respect Hachette's pricing strategy, then Hachette should remove their products from Amazon. The fact that both parts are doing this silly dance of delayed delivery and so forth indicates there is some mutual benefit in the relationship that prevents either from walking away. 
[/quote]

Trad pub authors have better things to do than argue with folks who know virtually nothing about trad publishing.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Andrew Ashling on August 12, 2014, 09:09:51 am
Trad pub authors have better things to do than argue with folks who know virtually nothing about trad publishing.

Nine hundred trad pub authors beg to differ.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JRTomlin on August 12, 2014, 09:12:45 am
Anyone else notice that the http://readersunited.com page isn't there anymore?

Just says "This is a website" now, so it's not down, just removed.

Thanks to the Way Back Machine, the content will be available for a while yet: http://web.archive.org/web/20140810033130/http://readersunited.com/

I find it bizarre that we're being contacted with regards to this whole thing. How is Hatchette's pricing our business? If Amazon wants to make it their business, then sure, that's fine; it's their company, and their site the products are being sold through. But it isn't ours.

I just don't get it.
You are mistaken. The Reader's United page is up and loading just fine.

I happen to think that the health of the industry and what is going on in the industry in which I *make a living* is very much my business, so speak for yourself and not 'us'.

This. I see a lot of primarily trad-pubbed authors doing this. Pretending to be above the fray and neutral, but look at how they respond with vitriol to everything Amazon does. Meanwhile, zero complaints about their publishers or calls for better wages or fairer contracts. Also, no outcry over the real blacklisting of APub authors from brick and mortar stores.
Indeed. Their indignation over losing their own 'pre-order' buttons but being just fine with thousands of authors being totally blacklisted infuriates me when they try to take a morally superior tone.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: FictionalWriter on August 12, 2014, 09:18:06 am
You are mistaken. The Reader's United page is up and loading just fine.

I happen to think that the health of the industry and what is going on in the industry in which I *make a living* is very much my business, so speak for yourself and not 'us'.

The site was previously down. Publisher's Weekly tweeted about an hour ago that it was now back up. It certainly was down when I visited it after I say the post below. No mistakes were made.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JRTomlin on August 12, 2014, 09:21:35 am
The site was previously down. Publisher's Weekly tweeted about an hour ago that it was now back up. It certainly was down when I visited it after I say the post below. No mistakes were made.

I didn't say penerefe was mistaken that it had been down. Sites go down all the time from server or other problems. Penrefe claimed that it was permanently removed. This is obviously not the case. They didn't just jump to a conclusion, they leapt upon it with huge hugs and kisses hoping to make Amazon look bad.

ETA: Corrected because it wasn't romanceauthor who made the post I responded to as I originally said.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: FictionalWriter on August 12, 2014, 09:23:52 am
I didn't say you were mistaken that it was down. You were claiming that it was permanently removed. This is obviously not the case. You didn't just jump to a conclusion, you leapt upon it with huge hugs and kisses hoping to make Amazon look bad.

Um, I didn't post the original post, so I'm not sure where you're seeing huge hugs and kisses from me. I never claimed it was permanently removed. If you see that in my previous posts, please point it out to me. I'm sometimes very forgetful.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JRTomlin on August 12, 2014, 09:24:36 am
Um, I didn't post the original post, so I'm not sure where you're seeing huge hugs and kisses from me. I never claimed it was permanently removed. If you see that in my previous posts, please point it out to me. I'm sometimes very forgetful.
I realized that immediately after I posted and corrected the post. My apologies.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: FictionalWriter on August 12, 2014, 09:30:34 am
I realized that immediately after I posted and corrected the post. My apologies.

:) These things do happen. Apology accepted and no offense taken.

Now back to the business of making a living writing genre fiction.

And let's hope that in this epic battle, there won't be too many innocent casualties or permanently severed friendships.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: penrefe on August 12, 2014, 09:57:37 am
I didn't say penerefe was mistaken that it had been down. Sites go down all the time from server or other problems. Penrefe claimed that it was permanently removed. This is obviously not the case. They didn't just jump to a conclusion, they leapt upon it with huge hugs and kisses hoping to make Amazon look bad.

ETA: Corrected because it wasn't romanceauthor who made the post I responded to as I originally said.

Hi, me again. The site wasn't "down" as in an error message, like error 500, over capacity, etc.

Here's a brief blog post on it, which is the only thing I can find searching Google: http://lunch.publishersmarketplace.com/2014/08/people-etc-286/

As the post says, it was changed back, and it was put down to a "technical glitch".

Now, either it was changed and then reverted, someone outside of Amazon got access to the site and changed it, or that message was the error page. If a blank page with "This is a website" it is the error page for their site, then of course, I stand corrected.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: KOwrites on August 12, 2014, 11:42:18 am
Hi, me again. The site wasn't "down" as in an error message, like error 500, over capacity, etc.

Here's a brief blog post on it, which is the only thing I can find searching Google: http://lunch.publishersmarketplace.com/2014/08/people-etc-286/

As the post says, it was changed back, and it was put down to a "technical glitch".

Now, either it was changed and then reverted, someone outside of Amazon got access to the site and changed it, or that message was the error page. If a blank page with "This is a website" it is the error page for their site, then of course, I stand corrected.

I saw it  just like you posted (soon after you posted). Where it simply read: "This is a website." That was it.  Not a 404 message or anything like a regular website normally displays. All-in-all it was just poorly executed all around and continues to be so.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 12, 2014, 04:34:48 pm
Yell? Capitulate? What's with the hyperbole? It was an email asking for your help and support.
They want us to rn and tell Hachette that we 'know they colluded' and to stop using authors for leverage like Amazon is doing in the very same email.

Quote
Profit is great, but not at the expense of doing a disservice to your customers. No one is asking you to give up your profits, but why not do the right thing for your potential readers?

Why not let the consumers choose whether or not they want to pay those prices rather than Amazon artificially forcing prices down?

Quote
Why do you care how much market share Amazon has if you sell books through Amazon and continue to successfully sell your works?

Because the terms I have to abide by with them stink. And the more marketshare Amaozn has, the less incentive they have to make them better.

Quote
What things are they dictating to you that have you upset? If Amazon is "dictating more things" to Hachette or other big publishers why do you care if they're not dictating those things to you?

They already dictate my prices to me thanks to the 70% tier BS KDP authors have to accept.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lilpenguin1972 on August 12, 2014, 06:13:42 pm
I know I was ignored the last time I asked this question, but how many of Hachette's titles are 14.99?  I looked at the NYT bestseller list, and I don't see any ebooks over $13. I just purchased a NYT bestseller, currently in hardcover, in ebook for $11. 

BTW, the author whose book I just bought...I found about 12 of her books below $7.  In fact, the books in her bestselling series all sell below $7. 


Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: D/W on August 12, 2014, 07:03:35 pm
I know I was ignored the last time I asked this question, but how many of Hachette's titles are 14.99

I searched the Kindle Store at Amazon.com using the phrase "Hachette Book Group" (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_st?keywords=%22hachette+book+group%22&qid=1407894880&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3A%22hachette+book+group%22&sort=price-desc-rank&x=13&y=13) and sorted results on price from high to low.

After accounting for the few audiobooks included in results, I count 204 e-books priced at $14.99 and another 393 above that price.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 on August 13, 2014, 12:23:29 am
http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/ (http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/)

The books that are prominently featured on the front page are listed at their hardcover prices first - most of which are priced between $28-$30, then as you click to view their ebook versions the prices seem to hover between 14.99 and 12.99. That's a far cry from the 4.99 or so that many of us indies charge. These are the titles Hachette's website currently promotes on its front pages - of course surfing through their website on a deeper dive ymmv.

There is a James Patterson collaboration coming out on 26 August 2014 at $9.99 Private Down Under

http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/james-patterson/private-down-under/9781455529773/ (http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/james-patterson/private-down-under/9781455529773/)
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 on August 13, 2014, 01:13:15 am
I'm looking forward to when all of their titles are selling for 9.99 or less. :)

I suggest that you email Jeff Bezos then to ask that indies are limited to $9.99 or penalised with a 35% extra service charge. On KDP you can set prices in the EU (including Hachette's French homeland) that are the dollar equivalent of $12.99 and stay on the 30% service charge rate.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lady Vine on August 13, 2014, 04:00:26 am
Don't you just love this guy upthread who is calling one person out for using hyperbole, while in the same breath throwing out choice phrases like "Hachette aims to turn customers off of your products"? Brilliant. Mate, I think you've called that kettle black enough now, don't you? And you repeating those baseless and absurd lines isn't going to make them true, but you will continue to lose credibility. (I suppose toning down on the hyperbole won't instil the type of hysteria you're going for, though, will it?)

All across this forum there are stories of newbies joining the bestseller ranks and making the type of money some could only dream of. The likes of H.M. Ward, Russell Blake, Elle Casey, Viola et al are watching their sales grow month after month. And the last time I checked Hugh wasn't hurting for sales. I'm a nobody, and even I've seen growth. This isn't unusual, and this has all been happening while "Hachette aims to turn customers off of your products". Yeah, not buying it. The last time I checked, it wasn't Hachette's decision to price their books at $14.99 that lost me visibility back in July, on Amazon. No, that was Amazon rolling out their exclusive service and assigning the same weight to borrows as they do sales. These are the things that directly affect me, not Hachette's pricing decisions.

Quite frankly, this whole attitude screams entitlement, and it's getting a little tiring to read. You people need to get over the fact that no one owes you anything, whether that be a living, or books, or whatever. You can't afford something, don't buy it. Buy something cheaper. What part of this concept don't you understand? This is what a free market looks like. The ebook revolution has levelled the playing field and has provided readers with choice so they're no longer forced into paying prices they can't afford for the luxury of reading. You don't need that James Patterson when you can read Russell Blake. I don't need that Porsche when I can settle for a Fiat Punto (it might not get me there as quickly, but it will get me there).

The fact is, ebook sales are growing year on year. Sales are going up, mate, not down. For indies, that is. So what does that tell you? It tells me that, despite your claims, more people are turning to ebooks. More people are buying indie. There's actually more proof of my assertion than there is of your "Hachette aims to turn customers off of your products" claim. Not sure how you reached that conclusion, to be honest. What that should read is "Hachette aims to turn customers off of their own products". And who am I to stand in their way? All the advertising money they throw into promoting the titles and authors that "draw in" readers - some of them yours - has to come from somewhere.

Hey, erotica authors, better watch out. Those 100 page compilations that you're charging >$4.99 for will come under fire next. According to one person upthread (or is that downthread? I never can tell), this would be "an inflated price which cannot be justified by costs", and because the market is simply unable to dictate price, it should fall to Amazon to do it. Heck, all books should be priced arbitrarily (and, yes, this is still just Amazon's word, absent any real proof) by Amazon, in that case. Never mind the fact that no one knows how much money goes into producing each individual book, that some books cost a lot more to produce than others, and that all books aren't created equally.         
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 13, 2014, 06:16:36 am
Never mind the fact that no one knows how much money goes into producing each individual book, that some books cost a lot more to produce than others, and that all books aren't created equally.         

But that is the problem. Too many people don't care what a publisher's costs are. How many times has something about "maybe they don't need those New York offices" been thrown around? Despite the fact that there are completely legitimate reasons a corporation would want to have an office in the biggest, most economically influential, city in the United States? In this thread, there is only One-True-Way you can "rightfully" make money: you must do it all yourself, and you must primarily use Amazon. Any other business plan is illegitimate solely by virtue of the fact that people who self-publish say so. How DARE these companies actually have overhead and employees? They should be ashamed of themselves for actually paying salaries to people.

Really, if an indie can "get away" with using untrained beta readers instead of editors, why can't the big publishers? If a $35 pre-made cover is good enough for indies, why should trade publishers use anything else? And really, why are they wasting all that money on print books anyway. Nobody reads them. Despite the fact that print sales have rebounded over the last two years. But nobody reads print so why spend money on it?

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: KOwrites on August 13, 2014, 06:48:01 am
Don't you just love this guy upthread who is calling one person out for using hyperbole, while in the same breath throwing out choice phrases like "Hachette aims to turn customers off of your products"? Brilliant. Mate, I think you've called that kettle black enough now, don't you? And you repeating those baseless and absurd lines isn't going to make them true, but you will continue to lose credibility. (I suppose toning down on the hyperbole won't instil the type of hysteria you're going for, though, will it?)

All across this forum there are stories of newbies joining the bestseller ranks and making the type of money some could only dream of. The likes of H.M. Ward, Russell Blake, Elle Casey, Viola et al are watching their sales grow month after month. And the last time I checked Hugh wasn't hurting for sales. I'm a nobody, and even I've seen growth. This isn't unusual, and this has all been happening while "Hachette aims to turn customers off of your products". Yeah, not buying it. The last time I checked, it wasn't Hachette's decision to price their books at $14.99 that lost me visibility back in July, on Amazon. No, that was Amazon rolling out their exclusive service and assigning the same weight to borrows as they do sales. These are the things that directly affect me, not Hachette's pricing decisions.

Quite frankly, this whole attitude screams entitlement, and it's getting a little tiring to read. You people need to get over the fact that no one owes you anything, whether that be a living, or books, or whatever. You can't afford something, don't buy it. Buy something cheaper. What part of this concept don't you understand? This is what a free market looks like. The ebook revolution has levelled the playing field and has provided readers with choice so they're no longer forced into paying prices they can't afford for the luxury of reading. You don't need that James Patterson when you can read Russell Blake. I don't need that Porsche when I can settle for a Fiat Punto (it might not get me there as quickly, but it will get me there).

The fact is, ebook sales are growing year on year. Sales are going up, mate, not down. For indies, that is. So what does that tell you? It tells me that, despite your claims, more people are turning to ebooks. More people are buying indie. There's actually more proof of my assertion than there is of your "Hachette aims to turn customers off of your products" claim. Not sure how you reached that conclusion, to be honest. What that should read is "Hachette aims to turn customers off of their own products". And who am I to stand in their way? All the advertising money they throw into promoting the titles and authors that "draw in" readers - some of them yours - has to come from somewhere.

Hey, erotica authors, better watch out. Those 100 page compilations that you're charging >$4.99 for will come under fire next. According to one person upthread (or is that downthread? I never can tell), this would be "an inflated price which cannot be justified by costs", and because the market is simply unable to dictate price, it should fall to Amazon to do it. Heck, all books should be priced arbitrarily (and, yes, this is still just Amazon's word, absent any real proof) by Amazon, in that case. Never mind the fact that no one knows how much money goes into producing each individual book, that some books cost a lot more to produce than others, and that all books aren't created equally.         

+1

Perfect response. Exactly so.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Rick Gualtieri on August 13, 2014, 07:10:29 am
If a $35 pre-made cover is good enough for indies, why should trade publishers use anything else?

Apparently Penguin is all for this idea with that new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory cover.  ;)
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: FictionalWriter on August 13, 2014, 07:30:05 am
But that is the problem. Too many people don't care what a publisher's costs are. How many times has something about "maybe they don't need those New York offices" been thrown around? Despite the fact that there are completely legitimate reasons a corporation would want to have an office in the biggest, most economically influential, city in the United States? In this thread, there is only One-True-Way you can "rightfully" make money: you must do it all yourself, and you must primarily use Amazon. Any other business plan is illegitimate solely by virtue of the fact that people who self-publish say so. How DARE these companies actually have overhead and employees? They should be ashamed of themselves for actually paying salaries to people.

Really, if an indie can "get away" with using untrained beta readers instead of editors, why can't the big publishers? If a $35 pre-made cover is good enough for indies, why should trade publishers use anything else? And really, why are they wasting all that money on print books anyway. Nobody reads them. Despite the fact that print sales have rebounded over the last two years. But nobody reads print so why spend money on it?

While I believe that Hachette has every right to set the retail price for their books and heartily agree that all books (digital, print and audio) are not created the same and therefore shouldn't necessarily be priced the same, many self-published authors like myself don't have pre-made covers or solely use beta readers to proof our work. I have an editor, proof readers and critique partners. I have my covers designed by a professional graphic designer. I have a marketing budget and promote my butt off when my book comes out.

And I've worked in corporate America for most of my adult life. I worked in NYC for years. There is a LOT of waste there. A ton of it. The people who usually do the "work" are the ones who get paid the least. NY editors make very little. I know, I interviewed at a publishing company for a job shortly after graduating from college. I couldn't afford to take the pay cut, it was too steep. 

My contract with a NY publisher paid me an advance of $2500/bk and 6% royalties. My first cheque (I received a year after the book was published) was $453. I got the absolute smallest piece of that pie. If not for ebooks, I wouldn't have made -- to this day -- $5000 on the first book and even less on the second, which had a print run of 13,000.

Yes, traditional publishers have overhead costs to be considered. I understand that. They can't afford to give me a straight 70% like Apple does (keeping in my mind here, I act as publisher and author). But, IMO, they can certainly give me more than the 15% I currently get off my NY digital books.

Thankfully, I now have the choice to go it on my own.

And to @Lady Vine, I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments. I saw my rankings take a hit when KU was rolled out. I saw all the audio books I'd planned to do go up in smoke when ACX announced our flat 40% take. I not only write the book, I pay a narrator thousands of dollars to do the work, I have the cover redesigned and do the quality check, and they put it up on their site and sell it to customers, and they take 60%. Sounds fair to me. Nope, it actually sounds more like business as usual. 

I don't see any heroes here if that's what people are looking for. Traditional publishing and Amazon are looking out for themselves. But at least I know that. The only one looking out for me is me.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 13, 2014, 09:10:52 am
While I believe that Hachette has every right to set the retail price for their books and heartily agree that all books (digital, print and audio) are not created the same and therefore shouldn't necessarily be priced the same, many self-published authors like myself don't have pre-made covers or solely use beta readers to proof our work. I have an editor, proof readers and critique partners. I have my covers designed by a professional graphic designer. I have a marketing budget and promote my butt off when my book comes out.

And I've worked in corporate America for most of my adult life. I worked in NYC for years. There is a LOT of waste there. A ton of it. The people who usually do the "work" are the ones who get paid the least. NY editors make very little. I know, I interviewed at a publishing company for a job shortly after graduating from college. I couldn't afford to take the pay cut, it was too steep. 

My contract with a NY publisher paid me an advance of $2500/bk and 6% royalties. My first cheque (I received a year after the book was published) was $453. I got the absolute smallest piece of that pie. If not for ebooks, I wouldn't have made -- to this day -- $5000 on the first book and even less on the second, which had a print run of 13,000.

Yes, traditional publishers have overhead costs to be considered. I understand that. They can't afford to give me a straight 70% like Apple does (keeping in my mind here, I act as publisher and author). But, IMO, they can certainly give me more than the 15% I currently get off my NY digital books.

Thankfully, I now have the choice to go it on my own.

And to @Lady Vine, I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments. I saw my rankings take a hit when KU was rolled out. I saw all the audio books I'd planned to do go up in smoke when ACX announced our flat 40% take. I not only write the book, I pay a narrator thousands of dollars to do the work, I have the cover redesigned and do the quality check, and they put it up on their site and sell it to customers, and they take 60%. Sounds fair to me. Nope, it actually sounds more like business as usual. 

I don't see any heroes here if that's what people are looking for. Traditional publishing and Amazon are looking out for themselves. But at least I know that. The only one looking out for me is me.

Again, I have never once argued that publishers shouldn't give authors a bigger piece of the pie. I have argued that what percentage publishers pay authors has zero bearing on this contract dispute because Amazon is not fighting for publishers to pay higher royalties to their authors. They are pretending they are arguing that with their convoluted math, but they aren't saying "Hachette should pay authors 40% royalties." "They are saying "Hachette should sell books at the price we dictate, and we promise authors will probably make more money on volume in the long run." But unless Amazon is going to put that in writing and back it up with a guarantee, it doesn't mean squat. What Hachette pays its authors has no more bearing on this contract dispute than what Amazon pays its warehouse workers. No matter how this shakes out, it isn't going to increase the royalty percentage of authors any more than it will raise wages for warehouse employees. This dispute is strictly about AMAZON'S bottom line, not authors'.




Edited to correct formatting. --Betsy
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 on August 13, 2014, 12:50:17 pm
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this entire message board dedicated to self-publishing? And is it not the ethos of many/most self-publishers to eschew the old ways of doing things and trad pub model in general in favor of the new? I admit I could be wrong about this.

You are wrong, consider yourself corrected. You are welcome. The board is dedicated to the Kindle and the Writers' Cafe came later. The moderators do give out periodic reminders to the indie radical fringe that the board includes hybrid and trad only authors.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: FictionalWriter on August 13, 2014, 01:45:00 pm
I was not aware of that - thank you. I think it's obvious I qualify as being part of the "indie radical fringe" - shocking right?  :D

You're quite passionate in your unwavering defense of Amazon. I was going to ask if you're employed by them. And if so, I hope they pay you well. ;)

But on a serious note, it's rare that I've come across this kind of loyalty to a company. I hope they never let you down. 
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: JRTomlin on August 13, 2014, 01:50:31 pm
You're quite passionate in your unwavering defense of Amazon. I was going to ask if you're employed by them. And if so, I hope they pay you well. ;)

But on a serious note, it's rare that I've come across this kind of loyalty to a company. I hope they never let you down. 
I think some of us get a bit tired of being patronized and addressed as idiots because we are supporting a corporation which we consider to be doing the best job for us at the moment.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: KOwrites on August 13, 2014, 02:01:11 pm
I was not aware of that - thank you. I think it's obvious I qualify as being part of the "indie radical fringe" - shocking right?  :D

indie
radical
fringe

What am I thinking?  :-X


I don't know...I'm confused by you. Do you have books on Amazon or not? It's easy to hide behind a moniker, kward. You've been here with this one since May 2014, right? So you're new? Possibly. From Canada? Possibly.

There's a wealth of knowledge on these boards with these writers and you've managed to take a swipe at quite a few of them. Nicely done. But here's the thing nobody likes a know it all, especially when he/she doesn't know it all.

Here's the dealio, I pay Amazon a fair price to play in their game on the KDP platform, but I don't have to express gratitude to their corporate altar every flipping day. I am independent. I chose it. I like it. I run my show. No one tells me what to do for the most part. I evaluate the circumstances and act accordingly. Thus, I'm all in at KU but will be all out come mid-October. We try; we experiment; we adapt.

However, I, like a few others who have posted here, do not appreciate the subtle manipulation going on with this dispute as well as a long list of changes that the Zon has made when it comes to Indie authors (radical or fringe or just plain independent; you dig?) in the last few years. Some more obvious than others. And now, that I feel it so blatantly with this call-to-action guise of a request from Amazon in the form of an email to hatchet at Hachette, I will make changes in my marketing strategy and subsequent efforts going forward.

It's a journey after all and those of us in it, for the long haul, will adjust.

Go ahead.

Take the board, kward.

Hey, it rhymes. Seuss... my favorite.


Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: FictionalWriter on August 13, 2014, 02:08:58 pm
I think some of us get a bit tired of being patronized and addressed as idiots because we are supporting a corporation which we consider to be doing the best job for us at the moment.

On the most part, I think this whole thread has been pretty civil. Viewpoints have been shared and they differ--sometimes quite ardently--but I'm not seeing the kind of disrespect you're talking about. And when it has gotten testy, I've seen it on both sides.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 on August 13, 2014, 02:16:39 pm
I think some of us get a bit tired of being patronized and addressed as idiots because we are supporting a corporation which we consider to be doing the best job for us at the moment.

And some of us get a bit tired of people presuming that those of us who criticise Amazon's actions must not think that they are doing the best job for author publishers at the moment. I have been very critical of Amazon but today entered KDP select for the first time. I also wrote the Hachette CEO to criticise Amazon and copied it (as requested) to Readers United.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: 75845 on August 13, 2014, 03:52:31 pm
How about we dust ourselves off shake hands and be friendly again - cool?  8)

On a friendly completely off topic comment. I have just realised that your new avatar is a Blue Jays pitcher. I was in what was then the Sky Dome as the Blue Jays beat the White Sox just before the run that led them to the AL title and retaining the World Series. Me and the x nipped down during the match to have a photograph taken with the World Series trophy, but unfortunately the x got the photo in the divorce  :'(

I've had a soft spot for the Blue Jays ever since even though I'm not really into sport.

Enough of Toronto vs Philadelphia, now back to Seattle vs New York  ;D
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: KOwrites on August 13, 2014, 05:17:44 pm
Well, I thought I was finished with this thread until someone posted about the Blue Jays!!!  :o

Mercia, too bad about that photo - but pretty cool you had that opportunity - great stuff.

Yes, I remember those games against the White Sox - the tension! :) I remember that time you describe well - my wife still lords it over me that she was in the ballpark in '93 with her Dad when Joe Carter hit the home run against Philadelphia to win the World Series. It was an exciting time to be a Blue Jays fan. :)

Thank you for sharing your experience and glad that there are no hard feelings.

I've got a baseball player in my latest novel and the WIP. Busy researching the minor leagues versus majors when a player gets sent down and how all that works. Why I didn't write about a football player I do not know.

And some days, I don't recycle.

And I don't feel bad about it. But then, again I don't have a problem using and or but at the beginning of a sentence these days because I am an Indie author and I do things my own [expletive] way. And I'm going to have to do some hard self-editing and take out the f-word which has creeped into my writing quite a bit on the almost finished WIP so you can imagine how the Hatchette Amazon contract negotiations are playing into my psyche as well.  :)

There you go.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Gennita Low on August 13, 2014, 06:28:20 pm
I think you've done a good job, kward.

ATLANTA BRAVES FOREVER!
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: CraigInOregon on August 13, 2014, 08:19:48 pm
Braves,  Jays, etc...  dare I say... i have no dog in this fight...  But now, here's a list of everything Atlanta has done wrong...

...

Nah...

Sent from my LG G2 Android Phone.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Mark E. Cooper on August 14, 2014, 01:15:42 am
Again, I have never once argued that publishers shouldn't give authors a bigger piece of the pie. I have argued that what percentage publishers pay authors has zero bearing on this contract dispute because Amazon is not fighting for publishers to pay higher royalties to their authors. They are pretending they are arguing that with their convoluted math, but they aren't saying "Hachette should pay authors 40% royalties." "They are saying "Hachette should sell books at the price we dictate, and we promise authors will probably make more money on volume in the long run." But unless Amazon is going to put that in writing and back it up with a guarantee, it doesn't mean squat. What Hachette pays its authors has no more bearing on this contract dispute than what Amazon pays its warehouse workers. No matter how this shakes out, it isn't going to increase the royalty percentage of authors any more than it will raise wages for warehouse employees. This dispute is strictly about AMAZON'S bottom line, not authors'.

Edited to correct formatting. --Betsy


I agree Julie. It won't increase royalty by percentage, but if volume sales go up (and we know they will because lower prices are our bread and butter) authors will gain in actual cash money. Again that isn't Amazon's end game I know, and it certainly isn't something Hachette care about, but I think their authors probably do.

I doubt much will change in the short term. Hachette and others will make a small change, Amazon will make a small change, and big pub will continue with its train wreck to the natural conclusion of any business that doesn't change with the times.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Jan Strnad on August 14, 2014, 08:02:52 am
When we talk about Amazon using its royalty structure to encourage lower ebook prices, we should remember that they also use their royalty structure to encourage higher ebook prices.

While I can see a lower royalty being perhaps justified for lower cost books, there isn't any reason to lower it for books priced above $9.99 other than Amazon's desire to throw its weight around. When they were wanting people to buy Kindles, it made some sense, but more and more people are reading on tablets that they bought for reasons other than reading.

There is less and less and less need everyday to sell ebooks on the issue of price. There's convenience and instant delivery and price, not price alone, as reasons to buy ebooks.

Plants take more nurturing when they're first sprouting. They need more protection from predators and the elements, they need the best conditions possible in order to thrive. Once they're established, they don't need so much care. They develop their own defenses and are better able to withstand less-than-optimal conditions.

Ebooks aren't delicate seedlings anymore. They're established, they're strong, and they can compete with print books without having to be significantly cheaper.

We don't need Amazon muscling trad-published ebook prices downward to nurture ebooks anymore. In fact, if trad publishers received the higher royalty, it would be even harder for them to justify the low rates paid to authors.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Vaalingrade on August 14, 2014, 12:56:29 pm
There's little chance this is about 'nurturing' anything. It's far more likely to be about the 'All eBooks Under $10' banner.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: CraigInOregon on August 14, 2014, 01:48:27 pm
When we talk about Amazon using its royalty structure to encourage lower ebook prices, we should remember that they also use their royalty structure to encourage higher ebook prices.

While I can see a lower royalty being perhaps justified for lower cost books, there isn't any reason to lower it for books priced above $9.99 other than Amazon's desire to throw its weight around. When they were wanting people to buy Kindles, it made some sense, but more and more people are reading on tablets that they bought for reasons other than reading.

There is less and less and less need everyday to sell ebooks on the issue of price. There's convenience and instant delivery and price, not price alone, as reasons to buy ebooks.

...

We don't need Amazon muscling trad-published ebook prices downward to nurture ebooks anymore. In fact, if trad publishers received the higher royalty, it would be even harder for them to justify the low rates paid to authors.

Sure... and rich people who believe in higher taxes because they can afford it, willingly pay more to the IRS each year, rather than suggesting higher mearginal rates for all Americans who make less than they do.

Oh wait... that doesn't happen, either.

Sorry, Jan, but your logic is flawed.

Paying a 70% royalty above $9.99 would encourage, not discourage, higher eBook prices.

Wow, the efficacy of incentives is well-established historically.

Even millionaire athletes love to have their contracts loaded with bonuses for "performance incentives," which is the same core idea.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: bardsandsages on August 14, 2014, 05:20:40 pm
Sure... and rich people who believe in higher taxes because they can afford it, willingly pay more to the IRS each year, rather than suggesting higher marginal rates for all Americans who make less than they do.

Um, I believe Jan might have been referring to the fact that we are only paid 35% on books under $2.99, thus discouraging lower prices and forcing authors to raise prices to at least $2.99 to earn the 70% royalty.





edited quote. --Betsy
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: CraigInOregon on August 14, 2014, 08:11:31 pm
Um, I believe Jan might have been referring to the fact that we are only paid 35% on books under $2.99, thus discouraging lower prices and forcing authors to raise prices to at least $2.99 to earn the 70% royalty.

Reread his post, which I quoted. His point is exactly the opposite of what you think.

He specifically said that he understands a lower royalty to encourage a minimum price, but that he sees no reason to reduce the royalty to discourage high prices on eBooks.


Sent from my LG G2 Android Phone.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on August 14, 2014, 10:08:49 pm
Throwing a yellow flag here...Let's lighten up.on the personal comments.

Betsy

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Lilpenguin1972 on August 14, 2014, 11:37:46 pm
I searched the Kindle Store at Amazon.com using the phrase "Hachette Book Group" (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_st?keywords=%22hachette+book+group%22&qid=1407894880&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3A%22hachette+book+group%22&sort=price-desc-rank&x=13&y=13) and sorted results on price from high to low.

After accounting for the few audiobooks included in results, I count 204 e-books priced at $14.99 and another 393 above that price.

So, we are clear. You found about 600 ebooks? Let's say Hachette publishes 1000 books each year (very conservative number). This doesn't include books that are still in print. So, out of about 100000 books (still conservative), you found 600. BTW, many of those expensive ebooks were box sets.

Obviously, it's an epidemic.
Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Jan Strnad on August 15, 2014, 11:36:32 am
Reread his post, which I quoted. His point is exactly the opposite of what you think.

He specifically said that he understands a lower royalty to encourage a minimum price, but that he sees no reason to reduce the royalty to discourage high prices on eBooks.

For clarity's sake:

Yes, I was referring to the lower royalty for books priced from $0.99 - $2.98 as an incentive to charge more, at least $2.99 to get the 70% rate.

I understand why they might want to do this, since it's going to cost Amazon the same to store the file and process the sale as it costs to deal with a higher-priced book. They need a higher percentage of the list price in order to make what they think is a fair return. (Theoretically. I have no idea how Amazon really thinks.)

A 70% royalty for books priced more than $9.99 would definitely encourage higher prices... I think Craig has that right. There's no intrinsic reason for Amazon to pay the publisher less other than to discourage publishers from charging more than $9.99.

My point, though, is that ebooks have been established as a viable format choice for reasons outside of cost. Plus, there are plenty of low-cost choices including a lot of backlist from trad publishers at or below Amazon's anointed $9.99 price. If trad publishers want to charge a premium for new releases from bestselling authors, I don't think it will have a significant impact on the number of people adopting ebooks.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: CraigInOregon on August 15, 2014, 12:39:35 pm
For clarity's sake:

Yes, I was referring to the lower royalty for books priced from $0.99 - $2.98 as an incentive to charge more, at least $2.99 to get the 70% rate.

I understand why they might want to do this, since it's going to cost Amazon the same to store the file and process the sale as it costs to deal with a higher-priced book. They need a higher percentage of the list price in order to make what they think is a fair return. (Theoretically. I have no idea how Amazon really thinks.)

A 70% royalty for books priced more than $9.99 would definitely encourage higher prices... I think Craig has that right. There's no intrinsic reason for Amazon to pay the publisher less other than to discourage publishers from charging more than $9.99.

My point, though, is that ebooks have been established as a viable format choice for reasons outside of cost. Plus, there are plenty of low-cost choices including a lot of backlist from trad publishers at or below Amazon's anointed $9.99 price. If trad publishers want to charge a premium for new releases from bestselling authors, I don't think it will have a significant impact on the number of people adopting ebooks.

Exactly. I understood your point and simply disagree. Which two people of good conscience can do... See things differently.

Sent from my LG G2 Android Phone.

Title: Re: I just got a letter from Amazon about Hachette
Post by: Jan Strnad on August 15, 2014, 02:29:50 pm
Exactly. I understood your point and simply disagree. Which two people of good conscience can do... See things differently.

Yes, they can. No problem on my end!
Title: I just got a letter from Hachette about Amazon
Post by: 75845 on August 16, 2014, 12:19:56 am
I couldn't resist posting this to play around with the original post title. I received an email from Hachette because I wrote to the CEO saying that I would not be demanding that they lower their prices. They helpfully appended the email that I would have received if I had asked them to lower their prices.