Monday, June 16, 2008

Amazon sanctions against authors...

I'll take a brief break from Como news just to mention the following. If you haven't read anything about this issue, you ought to, because we authors are among the victims here, as are independent booksellers and ultimately you, the reader. Sure, you can buy cheaper books in the short term, but in the long run the publishing industry suffers and so will you. (Most of this applies to Amazon.co.uk only, and not necessarily Amazon.com - although they have had their own run-ins with authors lately, over publish-on-demand titles...).

The Telegraph talks about Amazon.co.uk sanctions here, in an article published on 13 June 08, that starts like this:
Amazon, the online book seller, could face a strike by authors and publishers in an increasingly bitter battle over book profits. The UK's biggest publisher, Hachette Livre UK, is leading the charge against Amazon, which it claims is squeezing the market and demanding too great a share of sales.

In a very public fallout Amazon stopped selling new copies of about 50 Hachette titles, including books by Kate Mosse, Alexander McCall Smith, James Patterson, Stephen King and Dan Cruickshank, on its British website.

People are still able to buy and sell the books second hand through Amazon but the publishers make no money out of those sales.

Here are some facts, supplied by my UK publisher, Hachette Livre:
  • Larger British book retailers already receive the most generous terms in the English-language world from publishers.
  • Major retailers, including Amazon, generally already receive on average well over 50% of the recommended retail price.
  • Amazon now makes some 16% of all book sales in Britain.
  • At its present rate of growth Amazon could be the largest bookseller in Britain in about three years.
  • Amazon seems each year to go from one publisher to another making increasing demands.

Hachette Livre has decided to make a stand and resist these demands, and I am right behind them all the way.

Meanwhile, should you have trouble buying any Hachette-Livre titles in UK, uncluding my own (Orbit) books, they are easily available online from, Waterstones.com, Play.com (UK) and other retailers, as well of course as from bookshops.

2 comments:

hrugaar said...

You're back. :)

A friend of mine was selling her second hand paperbacks on amazon. Not only were the publishers and authors making no money out of that, by the time amazon took their chunk out of the 'post-and-packing' fee she found that there wasn't always enough to cover her actual postage costs, so it was cutting into the price she'd charged for the book ... in other words, a lot of work for just a few paltry pennies.

It's a shame ... amazon started out as such a good idea, and such a useful service, and now they're just degenerating into another greedy corporate monster. :\

Sarah said...

Unfortuately everywhere seems to be turning corporate, Hrugaar.