Nice books you got there. It'd be a shame if nobody bought them.
May 23, 2014 7:34 AM   Subscribe

Amazon is deprecating books published by the French publisher Hachette after Hachette refused to drop wholesale prices to Amazon in recent negotiations. Per the NY Times, Amazon is reporting delays on Hachette books, increasing their prices, and suggesting alternatives. Hachette has maintained silence on the issue to their authors but royalty statements and examining their listings on Amazon reveals the truth. Affected authors and their professional associations are speaking out to pressure Amazon. Meanwhile, Amazon is raising the stakes by refusing to accept pre-orders for some books on Hachette imprints, including those by popular authors like Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling).
posted by immlass (83 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
Several independent bookstores I've seen are actively publicizing the fact that they'll order books from these publishers. I hope they make a bunch of money on the deal.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:41 AM on May 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Wow, that they're putting a "Similar Items at a Lower Price" bar at the top of Hachette books like the new one from Jeffrey Deaver is really, really sleazy. They don't do that for other Deaver books, or other publishers.

Kinda makes you think twice about Jeff Bezos owning the Washington Post. This is how he operates? Good to know.
posted by mediareport at 7:58 AM on May 23, 2014 [10 favorites]


Amazon is the Walmart of online retailing.
posted by Slothrup at 8:01 AM on May 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


This is the danger of a monopsony.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:05 AM on May 23, 2014 [17 favorites]


So, clearly, we need to sue Apple for this.

Thanks, DOJ!
posted by eriko at 8:08 AM on May 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


So, clearly, we need to sue Apple for this.

Is this actually illegal behavior by Amazon, or just crappy behavior?
posted by smackfu at 8:10 AM on May 23, 2014


It's worth noting that the Bezo's owned WaPo didn't report on the feud until Politico and others called them out on it. Here's the WaPo blog piece.
posted by Toekneesan at 8:14 AM on May 23, 2014 [11 favorites]


Previous NYT piece on this.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:17 AM on May 23, 2014


I really like how Hachette, which could easily have had all the goodwill for this, decided to consistently lie to their authors and, when pushed, just said all negotiations are secret.
posted by jeather at 8:17 AM on May 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


Between Walmart-like behavior - cutthroat pricing, treating their workforce rather poorly - huge amounts of data collection, and absurd amounts of rapid gentrification in the Seattle area (hello Am-holes), they seem to be high in the running for the title of Google North.
posted by Tailkinker to-Ennien at 8:19 AM on May 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also of note, Amazon is also doing this to publishers in Germany. I've also had colleagues at 14 small and medium sized not-for-profit US educational presses report that at the end of last year, Amazon simply stopped ordering their books altogether until they also agreed to Amazon's terms. They listed their books as not available until those presses caved in.
posted by Toekneesan at 8:19 AM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]




Is Hachette a small publisher?
posted by smackfu at 8:26 AM on May 23, 2014


No, I think the program has evolved.
posted by Toekneesan at 8:27 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


To a sufficiently fast cheetah, all gazelles are sickly.
posted by Etrigan at 8:30 AM on May 23, 2014 [17 favorites]


Amazons are gonna Amazon.

Or, what Chocolate Pickle said.

Not saying this is commendable behavior, mind. It's even less commendable when it comes to smaller presses than Hachette.
posted by seyirci at 8:30 AM on May 23, 2014


To a large enough distribution channel, all publishers are small.
posted by Toekneesan at 8:31 AM on May 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


I run a tiny publishing company and am totally at the mercy of Amazon's policies. I can't even negotiate, I'm so small. It's very frustrating sometimes. On the other hand, at least their customer support answers questions, whereas I get total silence from Apple when I have trouble with the iStore. Also Amazon pays me 5% more than Barnes & Noble on the same book sales. So it's kind of a crapshoot. Amazon is terrible, but so are the other behemoths. I'd be delighted to sell everything through small indie bookstores but they haven't got the market share so I have to sell through the big companies.
posted by joannemerriam at 8:33 AM on May 23, 2014 [17 favorites]


Barnes and Noble did something similar to Simon and Schuster last year. It wasn't as visible to customers though; in fact it was a little bit mysterious to people working in the stores. If I were an author or an agent this would freak me the fuck out. I don't think this is the last we've heard about this kind of tactic, either.
posted by BibiRose at 8:34 AM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think all distributors do this kind of thing to their suppliers at contract negotiation time, but most people just never notice. The complication for books is that there is someone else involved, the authors, who have no power in the negotiations but are directly affected by the hardball games. What a mess.
posted by smackfu at 8:46 AM on May 23, 2014


Amazon is the Walmart of online retailing.

Well, no, they're the Borders or the Barnes and Noble of online bookselling. Which is to say that this is exactly the sort of thing the big bookstore chains used to do in their negotiations with publishers. "Won't let us sell at the discount we want? Well, don't expect any of your books to be featured on the 'Staff picks' tables or the 'New & Notable' tables at the entry to the store; oh, and don't expect us to be rushing your books out onto the shelves as soon as they're delivered." There was never a time when bookstores simply opened their shelves to whatever the publishers chose to offer at whatever price the publishers chose to ask.
posted by yoink at 8:54 AM on May 23, 2014 [14 favorites]


Doubtless Amazon has tremendous market power but I wondered what percent of all book sales they hold. The numbers here from 2012 show Amazon at 27% with B&N next at 16%.
posted by exogenous at 8:54 AM on May 23, 2014


The polite fiction is that low prices come from scale and efficiency. But really low prices have to come from somewhere (or really: someone) and they tend to come out of hard negotiation. Pricing pressure, emphasis on the second word, has winners and losers.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:00 AM on May 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


A while back we had a thread on that New Yorker piece about Amazon which was in full pearl-clutching mode about big bad Bezos's hardball negotiation tactics. The weird thing about the piece was, though, that it made perfectly clear that the brick and mortar publishers were, if anything, playing rougher (with limited shelf-space it's pretty easy to just say "no, sorry, we're not going to stock your product"--which, for the most part, wasn't Amazon's preferred method). And yet somehow when brick and mortar stores did it it was just sound business practice--even laudable, because anything that preserves brick and mortar bookstores is inherently a Good Thing--but when Amazon did it it was a terrible betrayal of everything we hold dear.

I've never really understood this double standard or why it's so pervasive. Perhaps it's because the promise of the internet was also so inherently utopian--a kind of frictionless, seamless provision of All Possible Information to anyone who might desire any of it--that anything that smacks of mercantile constraints seems shocking in the online context, even if we read it as just a necessary response to a world of inherently limited resources in the offline world.
posted by yoink at 9:08 AM on May 23, 2014 [9 favorites]


It's not a double standard. It's two different standards. Shelf space at a brick and mortar is finite, but the number of book pages at Amazon isn't. There is very little overhead for an Amazon listing. The overhead on shelf space at a brick and mortar is pretty significant.
posted by Toekneesan at 9:21 AM on May 23, 2014 [13 favorites]


Thanks for posting this - I've needed a push to finally stop using Amazon altogether, and this was it.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:23 AM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


...anything that smacks of mercantile constraints seems shocking in the online context, even if we read it as just a necessary response to a world of inherently limited resources in the offline world.

Well, yeah, there's your answer. Big online businesses like Amazon don't have the same constraints, so there aren't the same practical reasons for them to behave like a brick-and-mortar on issues like these. Amazon doesn't have a shelf space limitation, so it doesn't have to make the hard choices of what to stock or not. And if you go into those brick-and-mortar stores and order the book that they don't have in stock, there won't be an artificial three-week wait for the book that was created as a fuck-you to the publisher.

It's the same sort of thing as when they bottomed out book prices below cost to punish Overstock for having a book sale: We're in control of this market now, we're making sure you all know it, so play ball or fuck you. That's vastly different from a physical store saying "I've only got so much shelf space, this supplier is more difficult to work with than is worth it, so I'm not stocking them but will order on request."
posted by middleclasstool at 9:23 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Shelf space at a brick and mortar is finite, but the number of book pages at Amazon isn't.

But the economic pressures involved are identical: brick and mortar stores saw lower selling prices as essential to their profit margins, and would withhold shelf-space from publishers who were inflexible on price-point. That's exactly what Amazon is doing and for the same reason, except that for the most part it doesn't withhold shelf space, it just offers less attractive shelf-space to publishers who won't let them sell at the price point they want.
posted by yoink at 9:27 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's vastly different from a physical store saying "I've only got so much shelf space, this supplier is more difficult to work with than is worth it, so I'm not stocking them but will order on request."

When "difficult to work with" simply means "won't let us sell at the discount we want" then I don't see the "vast difference"--other than the fact that you can still actually buy the damned thing from Amazon (you just get pitched some alternative products) whereas you're SOL with the brick and mortar.
posted by yoink at 9:32 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


There was never a time when bookstores simply opened their shelves to whatever the publishers chose to offer at whatever price the publishers chose to ask.

Yeah, and let's talk about those darling independent bookstores for a minute. They order books from the publisher, stock 'em and sell 'em, and then refuse to pay their bill until the publisher agrees to accept less. Then they reorder and the cycle begins again, with the publisher playing along. And when I say "they do this" all abstract-like, it's because this is not an exceptional practice. It's standard.

People who get all romantic about how "small bookstores" operate have usually never been inside the sausage factory. Amazon's practices might suck but no more or less than what was occurring all across the publishing industry back when Amazon was just a front-facing web page. It ain't exactly Kathleen Kelly out there.
posted by cribcage at 9:33 AM on May 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


The economic pressures would be identical if Amazon paid sales tax, treated employees like humans, or even paid income tax.
posted by Toekneesan at 9:34 AM on May 23, 2014 [11 favorites]


...pressures would be identical if...

See, that just means you don't understand cutting-edge syngeristic web-scale technology paradigm shift mechanics, and probably don't understand algorithmic design thinking methodologies either.

I guess what we're trying to say is: go back to worrying about your red stapler and let the New Elite* run things the way we were born to.

*New Elite functionally identical to Old Elite. Performance may vary, pay will not vary with performance. Taxes and Hereditary Title may vary.
posted by aramaic at 9:48 AM on May 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


Cribcage, I was a bookseller for over twenty years before I went into publishing and the tactics you describe were what I saw at the chains, not at indies. I had my own store for a decade and I never forced a publisher to accept less. I'm not even sure how I would, especially one like Hachette. Do you think I could just stop carrying all Hachette titles?
posted by Toekneesan at 9:48 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is Hachette a small publisher?

Hahahahaha no. They're owned by Lagardère Publishing, which in turn is part of Lagardère, a behemoth that owns everything from publishing houses to arms and aerospace manufacturers.

I wonder what the hell got into Amazon's mind.
posted by fraula at 9:50 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sign of the times; Google just recently did the same to a local website. /blog.
posted by buzzman at 10:02 AM on May 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


I don't approve of Barnes & Noble doing it either. But another difference-- besindes the ones referred to by Toekneesan-- is that the physical stores provide a showroom for the publishers. Amazon doesn't offer them that service.
posted by BibiRose at 10:10 AM on May 23, 2014


Yeah, and let's talk about those darling independent bookstores for a minute.

It's funny, people complain that Amazon got rid of the discounts on books like the Jefferey Deaver book, raising it from $17.34 to $25.20. But that's still under the hardcover list price of $28 that most indy bookstores would charge.
posted by smackfu at 10:18 AM on May 23, 2014


2bucksplus: The polite fiction is that low prices come from scale and efficiency. But really low prices have to come from somewhere (or really: someone) and they tend to come out of hard negotiation. Pricing pressure, emphasis on the second word, has winners and losers.

And sometimes, those losers are also the customers: major sellers, like Walmart, often get custom products made at a lower tier, with fewer features or less quality parts. Unfortunately with books, there are only so many ways you can decrease the cost of books (and the printing of the books is one of the cheapest parts, even with around 40% of new books getting pulped). You can squeeze the price of eBooks down somewhat, but there's a point for everything where it's not possible to cut any more costs without decreasing people's pay for their work.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:22 AM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


The economic pressures would be identical if Amazon paid sales tax,

Here's a list of the teeny, tiny, miniscule states where they do, in fact, collect sales tax:

Arizona
California
Connecticut
Florida
Georgia
Indiana
Kansas
Kentucky
Massachusetts
Nevada
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Pennsylvania
Tennessee
Texas
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin

By all means don't use Amazon if you don't like their business practices, but don't kid yourselves that working in the warehouses that handled books before Amazon came along was a plush, highly-paid job where everyone retired on full pensions and got foot-massages during breaks. Or that bookstores all used to be high-minded places whose sole concern was to bring the best that had ever been thought and written to readers at a price point that would sustain anyone who aspired to be a writer in at least a decent, middle-class lifestyle.
posted by yoink at 10:26 AM on May 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


I don't approve of Barnes & Noble doing it either. But another difference-- besindes the ones referred to by Toekneesan-- is that the physical stores provide a showroom for the publishers. Amazon doesn't offer them that service.

Actually Amazon provides them a fantastic showroom, with reviews, recommendations, etc. In fact, there are many many books I have bought from amazon after careful examination of reviews, etc. that I would likely not have from a brick-and-motar store.

The Everything Store is a fascinating read. It is not apologetic nor a pretty view but seems mostly unbiased.

Here is the way I think Amazon sees it: They built a highly successful book selling business on certain principles. Certainly one of those principles is selling at a low price by controlling costs very aggressively. They also provide a safe and known shopping place, with reviews, recommendations and many other features customers desire. If you want to benefit from their sales channel, you need to play their game; partly because hey, it's their game, you want in you go by their rules. But also because they built the game on those discounts, and don't see the edge in slipping back.

Now you might say that Amazon is so big that they now have so much power that a publisher can't NOT sell via Amazon. I call BS; they are big, but you can make up the difference if you can get enough additional money out of it via other channels. The publishers want in because they want the sales. Amazon wants their tribute. Both of them are in it for the money, not charity.
posted by Bovine Love at 10:49 AM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Amazon will be 20 years old this year. They've only been collecting taxes in those states for the last couple of years and only because laws were passed to require it. You can take a lot of market share on an uneven playing field.

James Patterson weighs in.
posted by Toekneesan at 10:52 AM on May 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


Warehouse jobs weren't "plush" but they were typically protected by unions.
posted by Toekneesan at 10:53 AM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


I am now utterly convinced that both Amazon and Google are dangerous monopolies that need to be stopped before they do more harm.

I am also utterly convinced that won't happen.
posted by tommasz at 11:01 AM on May 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Smakfu, part of the difference between the indie price and Amazon's price pays for your local schools, roads, and the salaries of neighbors.
posted by Toekneesan at 11:03 AM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't see the "vast difference"--other than the fact that you can still actually buy the damned thing from Amazon (you just get pitched some alternative products) whereas you're SOL with the brick and mortar.

Well, you're assuming that discounts are the only reason a brick and mortar would have problems dealing with a publisher. That's not necessarily the case.

And yes, you can buy the thing from Amazon with an artificially-induced 3-week wait, or you can go to a store where you're not in fact SOL but can order it and have it in a week.
posted by middleclasstool at 11:13 AM on May 23, 2014


Data:

(Here is the title at the top of my amazon wish list with the three week delay.)

REVELATIONS: Alien Contact and Human Deception by Jacques Vallee $15.42

Powell's has it in stock at their warehouse for shipment without delay. For 21.25 + 4.00 shipping. The last time I bought a book from Powell's they did not collect sales tax. Amazon collects sales tax. Round numbers is they are selling it for 25 % less at Amazon. And pressuring the publisher to lower the price.

Anecdote:

A couple of weeks ago I had the surreal experience of the United States Postal Service delivering an Amazon box to my front door on a Sunday. There was a dude playing in the pool with his kid out front and the look on his face was like he was seeing a ghost. I wonder who else the Post Office will deliver on Sunday for. I would guess it is a short list and I tried to google for a good source of information on this story but failed. I did find a USA Today story though!
posted by bukvich at 11:31 AM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


guess the internet didn't actually remove the useless middlemen and brokers intermediating between producers and consumers and usher in a dynamic new economy. oh well, i guess there was some other reason why all that money was invested...
posted by ennui.bz at 11:36 AM on May 23, 2014


This is nothing new. Here's my explanation of Amazon's business strategy from 2012.

TL:DR; Amazon hate authors and want me to starve. (Because we're cookie-cutter interchangeable bots, just like their warehouse staff.)
posted by cstross at 12:33 PM on May 23, 2014 [9 favorites]


And two years on, no change in the big publishers DRM strategy.
posted by smackfu at 12:53 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm not even sure how I would, especially one like Hachette. Do you think I could just stop carrying all Hachette titles?

If your store didn't do this, so be it. But the practice is common among independent, non-chain bookstores. And coincidentally my own experience is most directly with Hachette. You've only got half the equation written there: to stay in business, Hachette needs its books in stores. What's a publisher with a warehouse full of books?

As to how. The bill comes due and goes unpaid. Hachette reaches out is told the bookstore can't pay. "We could pay half that amount. How about that, mm?" Exactly the same as people do daily with medical bills, credit card debt, etc, except here it's business as usual. Hachette accepts, the store reorders, and they dance again. It's how the industry works. It's so entrenched that publishers are, hard to understand, loathe to put stores onto prepay status.

It's certainly true that small, independent, non-chain bookstores don't have the bargaining power of Amazon, nor access to Amazon's tactics. But it's a rough industry and they ain't spectators.
posted by cribcage at 1:07 PM on May 23, 2014


I'm curious as to the nuts and bolts of the slowdown. I suppose ordering software was re-written to shunt Hachette orders to a side-track for X number of days before hitting the warehouse. Interesting to know who made the decision, how queasy (or righteous) they felt doing it, and whether they left a paper trail.

Interesting to know if this kind of discriminatory behavior is entirely legal.

Interesting to know if such behavior is going to change the Fed's view of Amazon as friend to consumers and therefore deserving slack for what heretofore has merely been a potential abuse of power.
posted by IndigoJones at 1:19 PM on May 23, 2014


Amazon can just say, "we are in the middle of contract negotiations to lower prices, so it is in our best interest to not accumulate stock at the old higher prices."
posted by smackfu at 1:37 PM on May 23, 2014


cribcage, I closed my store 14 years ago so perhaps things are different today, but the only time I could afford to have a publisher put me on credit hold was when I could live without access to their books. Maybe I could get them from Ingram or B&T, but if it was a special order on a midlist title the distributors didn't have, I'd have to make sure the account was in good order or I'd lose a customer. Perhaps it happens a lot now, due to more list access through distributors thanks to POD, but that was not the case when I was a bookseller.

On the other hand, when Borders went under, lots of publishers (and Ingram) lost a mint, because most thought they couldn't stop shipping to Borders as they wanted their books on all those shelves. Borders just kept digging a deeper and deeper hole and publishers foolishly kept handing them longer shovels.
posted by Toekneesan at 1:43 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Jeff made the decision. Stone's book also notes that Jeff tinkers with the site on a daily basis. I'm on it most of the day and I would agree pages often don't seem to be the same page twice. Ironically Stone's book about Amazon called The Everything Store, is one of the books affected by the action.
posted by Toekneesan at 3:01 PM on May 23, 2014


If Amazon doesn't try to force lower e-book prices they are out of touch with digital reality and shouldn't be surprised when rampant piracy does to books what it did to music. If Amazon does try to force lower e-book prices they are a horrible corporate monopsony.

You want lower e-book prices? This is what that looks like.
posted by Justinian at 3:16 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


For the first time, I actually looked up a book on ibooks rather than Amazon. Amazon does a great job of getting me paper books here in Mexico, but I think I can safely switch to other sources for ebooks.
posted by dhruva at 3:49 PM on May 23, 2014


For the first time, I actually looked up a book on ibooks rather than Amazon. Amazon does a great job of getting me paper books here in Mexico, but I think I can safely switch to other sources for ebooks.

Can one strip the DRM off iBooks books as easily as off Kindle books? (Hypothetically speaking, of course.)
posted by acb at 4:30 PM on May 23, 2014


People are going to hate this, but I bet we see books go the "streaming" model soon. As usual startups will likely test it first (if they haven't already) and if even mildly successful get snapped up by Amazon or others. Everything is heading that direction, even iTunes store revenue is starting to decline.
posted by 2bucksplus at 5:05 PM on May 23, 2014


Brad Stone in Businessweek about his paperback's availability disappearing on Amazon today.

The more serious impact may be to Amazon itself. Jeff Bezos and crew have built 20 years’ worth of customer trust and established a record of being a uniquely customer-focused company, willing to forego potential revenue when it jeopardizes the user experience. By making some books harder to find and harder to buy, it’s damaging its reputation and alienating the broader community of authors.

posted by Toekneesan at 5:20 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


About a streaming model, it's kind of happening already. There's both Oyster and Scribd who offer a Netflix style model. But like Netflix, it's mostly the back catalog.
posted by Toekneesan at 5:22 PM on May 23, 2014


Also, both Oyster and Scribd count Smashword's catalog of about 200K self-publishied books as a significant portion of their "streaming" library. Not that there's anything wrong with that, just caveat emptor.
posted by Toekneesan at 5:26 PM on May 23, 2014


NPR on the story, and today's NYT's Bits Blog.
posted by Toekneesan at 5:47 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Another data point on the streaming model: I can read certain books in-browser only through a higher-ed library web portal.
posted by one weird trick at 6:40 PM on May 23, 2014


Go fuck yourself, Amazon! Take James Patterson and Rowling and run, Hachette!
posted by nicebookrack at 7:21 PM on May 23, 2014


Amazon and Google are both getting too big for their britches.
posted by aryma at 7:48 PM on May 23, 2014


As an Australian and avid reader, I gotta say fuck hachette - and all the big publishers, but especially Hachette in the ear. The fought Australians effort at parallel import restrictions so they could continue chargin $34 for a fucking paperback book, and even now charge way, way more. You think Hachette prices on Amazon are high in America, lo in from Australia and weep with rage at seeing ebooks priced higher than hard covers and paperbacks. Even the old ones - Hachette won't (at least for me in Australia) ever lower the prices of their ebooks, even if the books came out donkey's years ago.

It shits me up the wall. I don't pirate ebooks unless it's literally impossible for me to buy the thing here in Australia (so like, maybe twice a year, still surprises me), but it's cost Hachette literally dozens of sales from me, as there are plenty of publishers that get it.

More broadly, I do have to chuckle at how quickly the big publishers have transformed from bad guys in the age of paperback book - basically stereotyped monsters, do people not remember this? - to plucky little underdogs. A fight between Amazon and the old Publishers is like watching to sentient turds flailing at each other, but Amazon at least tries not to get bits of flying shit on me.
posted by smoke at 7:53 PM on May 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


Seconding Smoke - when I visit the USA I can buy new hardcovers for less than the cost of new paperbacks in Australia. When they're discounted, I can sometimes buy new hardcovers for less than the cost of secondhand paperbacks. Amazon recently bought out a company (bookdepository.com) whose business model is basically buying books in the UK and mailing them to Australia with free postage. Their books are cheaper than the same books in Australia, and they are often available much earlier. So basically, I don't buy books in Australia.

All this is because of Australia's copyright regime that allows publishers to prevent parallel importing into Australia. The excuse is that this would harm Australia's publishing industry. So from my perspective, Amazon are heroes and publishers are villains and I have zero sympathy for a publisher complaining about the terms that Amazon is trying to extract from them.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:30 AM on May 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


The excuse is that this would harm Australia's publishing industry

And when you look at some the moribund effluent put out by our domestic industry, it's even more laughable.
posted by smoke at 3:34 AM on May 24, 2014


Imagine a world where all the dip-shits who bray that public libraries are obsolete, so we should close them, get their way.
Since it's all zeroes and ones, let's just privatize them. Along with the post office!

Hello, Amazon sub-prime. Dystopia at your fingertips!
posted by Pudhoho at 4:15 AM on May 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


The excuse is that this would harm Australia's publishing industry

And when you look at some the moribund effluent put out by our domestic industry, it's even more laughable.


Matthew Reilly is your country's greatest export, and I will fight anyone who says different.
posted by Etrigan at 6:20 AM on May 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Offer to fight anyone who says different not valid in Australia.
posted by Etrigan at 6:41 AM on May 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


There are now Amazon Marketplace sellers claiming to have used paperback copies of The Everything Store to sell. Unless they're selling galleys, I smell scam/bot/scambot.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:32 AM on May 24, 2014


They're written "by Author (Author)," Lentrohamsanin. Sounds legit.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:08 AM on May 24, 2014


one weird trick: "Another data point on the streaming model: I can read certain books in-browser only through a higher-ed library web portal."

Interestingly, Springer went the other way and has started letting you download the whole book as a PDF.
posted by hoyland at 3:30 PM on May 24, 2014


Brad Stone apparently recently told an audience at a Digital Book World event that Amazon measures how often authors look at their own book pages. He speculated that it was very likely that the recent Hachette authors who were picked to have their statuses changed were first those who checked their books the most. Not all Hachette books are in fact being impacted, and the number and which particular titles seem to be changing, but the overall number of titles seems to be growing.

Data is a weapon.
posted by Toekneesan at 6:05 PM on May 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


That doesn't even make sense. Lore was the evil one.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:25 AM on May 25, 2014 [2 favorites]




I'm surprised that part of the e-book price-fixing settlement was not giving up the agency model. It seems like the publishers mainly got what they wanted in the end.
posted by smackfu at 7:11 AM on May 28, 2014


There's nothing at all illegal with the agency model, as the court noted in their judgement, and as I'm constantly reminding my colleagues in publishing. But it's very illegal to call the worlds largest English-language publishers and get them all to agree that all trade ebooks will cost $14.95, which is exactly what Steve Jobs did, and why the DOJ's case had nothing to do with Amazon's Monopsony. The agency model was simply Jobs' way of enforcing that price point as a standard.
posted by Toekneesan at 9:56 AM on May 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Right, but if I break into your house to steal your stuff, and they catch me and put me in jail, I also have to give back your stuff. It doesn't seem like the publishers gave back anything, they just got fined.

Also, Amazon put out a statement.
posted by smackfu at 2:23 PM on May 28, 2014


Guardian coverage from yesterday. Something of a backgrounder on the reasons behind the stances of the various parties.
posted by immlass at 3:48 PM on May 28, 2014






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