I’m sure most of you have heard about the tiff between Hachette Book Group and Amazon.
It’s a contract dispute, and according to an article in the Washington Post titled Amazon said to play hardball in book contract talks with publishing house Hachette, Amazon isn’t exactly playing fair.
Amazon has allegedly held up shipment of select Hachette books, listing them out-of-stock and not filling orders in its usual timely manner (Hachette books can take 2-3 weeks to arrive).
“Hachette, which owns Little, Brown; Hyperion; and Grand Central, says that Amazon is deliberately slowing sales of Hachette’s books in an effort to pressure the French publisher into agreeing to new contract terms on book pricing. Hachette says there is no shortage of the books,” the Washington Post reported.
Amazon is supposedly putting the heat on authors in hopes that they’ll in turn put the heat on publishers to agree to Amazon’s terms, settle the dispute (in Amazon’s favor, of course) and get their books moving again.
It’s an ugly situation, and it’s the author shouldering the brunt of the fallout.
I understand this far too well. My book Dolls Behaving Badly is being held “hostage” by Amazon.
Print copies are indicated as out-of-stock on the Amazon site and the book is priced at a whopping $52.75, with a note below: “Usually ships in 3-5 weeks.”
My agent Elizabeth Wales talked with my editor over at Grand Central Publishing, who verified that my book is not out of stock and shipments have been made to Amazon.
Yet nothing has changed for weeks. No one can order a print copy of Dolls. It’s stagnant. It might as well be asleep, at least on Amazon.
Luckily, people can order copies on IndieBound and Barnes & Noble.
Still, I’m angry. I’m furious that I’ve unwittingly been caught up in a conflict between a major publisher and major supplier. I’m a pawn, and like all pawns, I’m the “little” guy (or gal). I’m pretty much helpless. And I don’t see much of a win in sight.
I’m not sure of a solution to this whole mess. If authors put heat on publishers to lower Amazon profits, we’re actually demanding that we get paid less, since those profits will trickle down to us in the form of lower advances, profits, etc.
It’s depressing and stressful and has come at the worst possible time: Right as I mailed in my signed film rights option contract to LA (I’ll talk more about this cheery and exciting news in my next post). It’s almost as if Amazon knew this.
So, I’m stuck in limbo. My book is stuck limbo. It’s as if we’ve both been thrown out in book purgatory, paying for the sins of profit and corporate greed.
And it totally and completely sucks.
At the same time, I read on a Kindle, which reads off Amazon eBooks. I’m as guilty as the next for “feeding” the great Amazon machine.
I don’t know the solution for any of this. I’m just putting it out there for discussion or something to ponder late at night when you cant’ sleep. I doubt that anyone really cares that my book is listed as $52.75 on Amazon. Except: It could happen to you.