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Amazon Escalates Its Battle Against Publishers 218

Posted by Soulskill
from the digital-walmart dept.
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from the NY Times: "Amazon, under fire in much of the literary community for energetically discouraging customers from buying books from the publisher Hachette, has abruptly escalated the battle. The retailer began refusing orders late Thursday for coming Hachette books, including J.K. Rowling's new novel. The paperback edition of Brad Stone's The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon — a book Amazon disliked so much it denounced it — is suddenly listed as 'unavailable.' In some cases, even the pages promoting the books have disappeared. Anne Rivers Siddons's new novel, The Girls of August, coming in July, no longer has a page for the physical book or even the Kindle edition. Only the audio edition is still being sold (for more than $60). Otherwise it is as if it did not exist. Amazon is also flexing its muscles in Germany, delaying deliveries of books issued by Bonnier, a major publisher."
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Amazon Escalates Its Battle Against Publishers

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23, 2014 @03:44PM (#47077861)

    The Passive Voice blog has been covering this [thepassivevoice.com], and apparently Hachette's shipping department is running incredibly far behind on orders. Like ten days or more.

    It sounds like Amazon finally gave up on accepting orders until Hachette catches up, or stops playing games with Amazon, whichever the problem really is.

  • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Friday May 23, 2014 @03:44PM (#47077869)

    You're comparing Apples and Crocodiles. Apple rigged prices with the collusion of the major publishers which is illegal.

    I think you are confused. Do you work at the DOJ by any chance. The agency model removed control over pricing from the vendor and gave it to the publishers. That means that Apple had no control over pricing.

  • by 0123456 (636235) on Friday May 23, 2014 @03:46PM (#47077883)

    Uh, no. I don't know anyone outside the Jobs Reality Alteration Bubble who didn't see it as a blatant violation of anti-trust laws.

    There are a ton of online book vendors, and Amazon's online print sales are a small fraction of the print market. The majority of books they sell these days are ebooks.

    BTW, wasn't one of Hatchette's recent complaints that Amazon weren't discounting their books enough?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23, 2014 @03:50PM (#47077923)

    Apple and the publishers were trying to illegally fix prices

    FTFY

  • Re:Good news for BN? (Score:4, Informative)

    by oh_my_080980980 (773867) on Friday May 23, 2014 @04:03PM (#47078053)
    RTA: " The paperback edition of Brad Stone's The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon — a book Amazon disliked so much it denounced it — is suddenly listed as 'unavailable.' "
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23, 2014 @04:30PM (#47078325)

    The middle man is the one who pays the author an advance, so he doesn't starve while working on his book full-time. The middle man also has dedicated marketing and fulfillment departments that do the same work for many authors, spreading time and costs.

    Finally, the publisher spreads the risk around. If you are a self-published author and your first book does not sell well, you're out a lot of time and effort, may be bankrupt, and you may never write another book again. If you are with a publisher and your first book does not sell well, but you show promise as an author, you get to try again.

    This is all in theory.

  • Re:Good news for BN? (Score:4, Informative)

    by SydShamino (547793) on Friday May 23, 2014 @05:41PM (#47078987)

    Like many things in law, it probably comes down to intent. Refusing to carry a book critical of their CEO is likely protected in most cases, since they aren't a "common carrier" required to deliver any content a customer requests. Refusing to carry or demoting the books of a given publisher unless they get paid more is trickier, if they are found to be abusing their effective monopoly to force those concessions.

    Of course, if they are found to be abusing a monopoly, the resulting settlement could include requirements that they carry all books from certain publishers, which could then lead to them carrying books like the one critical of Bezos against their will.

  • Re:Good news for BN? (Score:5, Informative)

    by mysidia (191772) on Friday May 23, 2014 @06:58PM (#47079627)

    The article summary appears to misrepresent the situation.

    The retailer began refusing orders late Thursday for coming Hachette books, including J.K. Rowling's new novel.

    They made it sound like JK Rowling's novel is on the market and Amazon deleted its page. That's not the case. Amazon kept the page intact [amazon.com], but they stopped accepting PRE-ORDERS

    The publisher wants them to start taking orders for an item that is not even available to ship yet, because the publisher has not released it yet.

    The paperback edition of Brad Stone's The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon [amazon.com] — a book Amazon disliked so much it denounced it — is suddenly listed as 'unavailable.

    Again.. the page says in stock and available to order.

    Anne Rivers Siddons's new novel, The Girls of August, coming in July, no longer has a page for the physical book or even the Kindle edition.

    A page for the physical book came right up [amazon.com], when I searched for it; stating unavailable with an option to e-mail me when it becomes available.

    I think it's clear that what we have here is a MARKETING dispute. For one reason or another; Amazon has decided to stop collecting pre-orders on some books. Perhaps because the Publisher has not signed the proper contracts or made the proper agreements with Amazon, required for them to offer that publisher's books on a pre-order basis.

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