Amazon v Hachette: Don’t Believe The Spin

An excellent look at the Amazon/Hachette squabble that the media is feeding to the publishing community at large. My personal view is that, considering that Hachette (and all the Big 5 “traditional” publishers) really have nothing good to say about any self-published or independently-published author until they’ve proven they’re “winners” and can be brought in to write in the limited marketing segments that the Big 5 loves to tout, I’m on Amazon’s side in this one. Unless it comes out that Jeff Bezos has been burning kittens on peoples’ lawns in his spare time, I think his current business model still had the independent author playing a big part.

David Gaughran

amazonhachetteThe internet is seething over Amazon’s reported hardball tactics in negotiations with Hachette.

Newspapers and blogs are filled with heated opinion pieces, decrying Amazon’s domination of the book business.

Actual facts are thinner on the ground, however, and if history is any guide, we haven’t heard the full story. Here’s how it started.

In a historical quirk of the trade, publishers and booksellers negotiate co-op deals at the same time as the general agreement to carry titles. (For those who don’t know, co-op is the industry term for preferred in-store placement, such as face-out instead of spine-out, position on end-caps, front tables, window displays, and so on.)

At publishers’ insistence, the same practice has continued in the online and e-book world, namely that negotiations regarding virtual co-op (e.g. high visibility spots on retailer sites) take place at the same time as discussions over general terms and publisher-retailer discounts.

There is a lot…

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