Amazon vs. Publisher Kerfuffle Continues

Though I don’t yet have a dog in the race, I’ve been following the Amazon vs. Hatchette/authors battle. Looks like there’s been another volley, and it’s just a bit silly. Amazon apparently emailed a bunch of “their” authors (those who have used the KDP) requesting that they email Hatchette and cc Amazon’s PR folks on it…to prove it, I guess?

Basically, they wanted to use the authors are human battering rams against their rival corporation. The funny thing about writers, though: they like to write things. So I saw a cascade of folks offering up their opinions.

Here are some good ones to read:

  • Neil Gaiman:  “It’s like Godzilla battling Gamera, and we’re looking up from the sidewalks of New York rather worried that a skyscraper might topple on us.” And he points out some independent bookstores people might populate instead.
  • Chuck Wendig: Who wrote a long, detailed and really great post about the whole thing. “It’s a cheapy tactic meant to drum up support from a group of people who don’t really have a huge dog in this fight — this is a fight with traditional publishing about traditional publishing. “
  • John Scalzi: The following quote is only tangentially related to the controversy, but it hit home for me.

“Look, here’s the thing: You can construct in your mind a world where there are the tough and scrappy self-published authors on one side of a battle and the posh and pampered traditionally published authors on the other, and pretend to set them against one another, like flabby, middle-aged Pokemon. But I think that’s kind of stupid and I’m not obliged to live in that particular fantasy world. Nor do I believe that the successes of other writers take away from my own. It’s not actually a zero-sum game where only one publishing model (and the authors who use it) will survive and the rest are eaten by weasels, or whatever. The world is large enough to have authors publishing one way, or another, or by some combination of various methods.”

Considering that Amazon has widened its fights to include a drag-out fight with the monolith that is Disney, I can’t see this slowing down anytime soon. However, I must say it has given me pause regarding whether I’ll publish with Amazon. I mean, I probably will–they’re the biggest fish in the pond in the ebook space, and it’s sort of crazy to ignore that–but it does make me hesitate.

Anyone else keeping tabs on this? Thoughts?


Filed under Publishing, writing

3 responses to “Amazon vs. Publisher Kerfuffle Continues

  1. I tend to agree with what both John Scalzi and Chuck Wendig pointed out, namely, that publishing is a business and you should go with whatever makes most sense from a business point of view (i.e. what’s going to put the most money in YOUR pocket, seeing as all the publishers are also really trying to do is get the most money in THEIR pockets). Amazon is trying to convince everyone this is about justice or morality or some such, but it’s really not.

    Amazon is being idiotic, making me less likely to consider them as a future business partner, but then Hachette could be just as idiotic; we just don’t know about it because they’re not doing publicly idiotic things like emailing all their authors, creating a website especially to rile up readers and misquoting George Orwell (thought that last one might actually qualify Amazon as evil).

    I did not realise Amazon was fighting Disney as well.

  2. Both parties are deeply self interested but at least Amazon gives you a path of some self determination and greater profit participation. Read APE for a practical guide on self publishing today.

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