Once again, Amazon model of e-reader books and higher margins has escalated into Walmart-like bullying against vendors who won’t play their way—namely, continually lowering their prices until said vendor goes out of business, at which point Amazon/Walmart buys up the broken pieces or moves on to another target. With no stake in any brick and mortar locations, just warehouses they don’t want to pay increasing rent, employee wages and benefits on and rising shipping costs, Amazon has made a practice out of squeezing publishers when their contracts renew for reduced prices—some of which are passed on to customers but most of which go to higher margins for the company. Their current target is Hachette, a firm with numerous imprints and responsible for publishing authors you may have heard of: J.K. Rowling, Kate Atkinson, David Baldacci, James Patterson, and Donna Tartt, whose newest novel, The Goldfinch, won the Pulitzer Prize. Haven’t read it? Well, don’t make any plans if you insist on buying it from Amazon because their newest ploy is to delay shipping on ALL Hachette titles from 2-5 weeks in an effort to force Hachette to give into their demands.
I understand the lure of Amazon in our instant gratification society and I have used their site for numerous purchases (aside from books). In their day, their practice of free shipping and reduced prices was a unique concept but this is not the case anymore. There are all kinds of online booksellers who offer great shipping and similar pricing. So, rather than be a part of the problem, why not show Amazon they’re not the only game in town. Here are just a few other retailers where you can get the titles you want, when you want them. Or if you have a local bookstore reach out to them—they can advance order, hold books, and often ship for free as well.
This is a big issue and has gotten a lot of press in the book world. Only recently has it moved beyond our little corner when another Hachette author became angry enough to vent. I’ll speak for himself:
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