Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Say No to Amazon! Support Hachette Authors! Shop Indie!

Have you been following the ongoing dispute between Amazon and Hachette? If not, you can start by reading this article from the New York Times (edited to add: and the LA Times explains everything really clearly in this article). 

Learn more by watching this video of Stephen Colbert and Sherman Alexie (author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian). Both Stephen and Sherman are published by Hachette.  As Sherman says in the video, "They [Amazon] want a monopoly. They control 40-50% of the book market, and they want more. And the only way they can do that is by forcing the book prices lower and lower and lower and making it impossible for more and more publishers to publish their books." 

Basically, Amazon is trying to force Hachette to give them a better deal on books by withholding their sales of Hachette books (which, unfortunately, is a huge percentage of a publisher's sales). They are, among other things, not putting the pre-order button on Hachette authors, not offering a major discount on the price for customers, delaying shipping by weeks and weeks, and suggesting you might like books published by other publishers entirely. And who is getting hurt in all of this? The authors, of course!

So, what can you do about it? You can buy your books from indie bookstores, like Addendum! 

As author and illustrator, and recent Horn Book Award winner, Peter Brown says:

"I ... love the culture of books. I love places filled with books. I love talking about books. I love the power of books. And I really love people who love books, which is why I love booksellers.

Booksellers are curious and intelligent and interesting people and they’re always finding new things to be excited about, thanks to the books they get to know. They love matching the right book with the right reader. They bring authors and artists into our neighborhoods. They do story times for children.  They provide a setting to learn and grow and interact with our communities. There would be no book culture without booksellers.

(Nor would there be book culture without libraries, librarians, publishers, and readers. They are all required. But back to booksellers…)

So I’ve been confused by the bizarre negotiations between Amazon (a different kind of bookseller, but a bookseller nonetheless) and my publisher, Hachette. Things have gotten messy, and as a pressure tactic Amazon has made it difficult or impossible to buy Hachette’s books, including my books.

It actually makes me sad that Amazon, a bookseller, would be willing to hold my books hostage. I thought Amazon loved books? I thought it loved MY books? How could it hold books hostage if it loves them?

The answer, of course, is that Amazon does not love books. To Amazon, books are just a Loss Leader. Amazon loses money on books, but uses them to lure customers toward more profitable things. “Check out our mysteriously cheap books,” whispers Amazon. “And since you’re here, why not reorder some regularly priced batteries and soap?”

To sell things like batteries and soap Amazon has driven down the price of books, which has convinced people that books aren’t worth much. But books have value. Books change lives, and they’re beautiful objects, and they have a special place in our history and culture. Books are worth a lot.

Bookstores that can’t compete with Amazon’s artificially low prices die off. When bookstores disappear, so do booksellers and book culture.

And now Amazon is taking aim at publishers. Now Amazon is holding my books hostage.

Amazon is destroying my favorite things!


What do you think will happen if Amazon succeeds and destroys its competition? Do you think it will continue slashing prices when it’s the only bookseller left? Do you think it will continue giving us great bargains out of the kindness of its heart? Am I the only one who wants to live in a world with lots of bookstores and and book culture and a healthy publishing industry?

I love bargains as much as the next guy, but I have limits. I could not support a company that used, say, slave labor, no matter how great their bargains. (And Amazon’s working conditions aren’t much better than slave labor). Likewise, I cannot support a company that is destroying so many of my favorite things."

Read Peter's full blog post right here.

At Addendum right now, you can find a large display of books by Hachette authors. All the books facing out in this display are Hachette, and there are many, many more on the shelves as well! Can't find the one you're looking for? We can order it and have it to you faster than Amazon will ship it. 

Not only do we have all these books available for you, but we have a number of signed Hachette books from the likes of Peter Brown, Eoin Colfer, Cori Doerrfeld, A.S. King, Christopher Lincoln, Barry Lyga, and Rick Riordan, among others. 

In addition, we have a special deal on a signed booklet of never-before-seen writing from a number of authors, including Kody Keplinger, who is published by Hachette. 

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Amazon has bullied publishers, but together we can make sure it's the last! 

Support Hachette authors - shop locally and independently for your books! 

In the video (link above) of Colbert and Alexie, Stephen asks "What can we, as the victims in this fight, what can we do to fight back?" 
Sherman's answer:
"Well, number one, you don't shop there [Amazon] - for anything!"

You can print your "I Didn't Buy It On Amazon" book stickers from Stephen Colbert right here

Thank you! 

Edited to add: another great post, this time by Dan Santat.  Click through to read the whole thing, but here's part: 

"Amazon isn’t drastically discounting books to make it more affordable to enlighten you or to crush the evil greedy publishing empire. Amazon sells books (more commonly at at a loss of profit) because they are taking the chance that they can crush brick and mortar stores.
Amazon doesn’t care. It just wants to make money regardless if content is good or bad.

Lastly, the notion that publishers are greedy is asinine.

I’m looking at my 1981 copy of Jumanii and it cost me $17.95. That’s relatively the same cost you pay for picture books now. In 1981 my parents could fill up the gas tank in their car for $10. Now, you’re looking at anywhere from $40-$80 (sometimes even more) to fill up your tank. In 35 years it now costs you, on average, 6X more to fill your tank. Yes, inflation on goods will go up after 35 years but in that time Jumanji is the same price now as it was 35 years ago.

That’s not greed.

Buy independent."

No comments:

Post a Comment