Tuesday, June 3, 2014

THE AMAZON-HACHETTE CONTROVERSY: PART TWO


After posting my last blog, WHO’S AFRAID OF AMAZON.COM?, on May 27, it immediately went viral, appearing on Business Insider, Forbes, Bloomberg News, and Yahoo Financial, and included interviews in Forbes and Business Insider, which gave me an opportunity to expand my comments. Amazon.com also posted it. The Cockeyed Pessimist received over 30,000 hits, I had countless email responses, and God knows how many others read it from these various sources. The Financial Times of London asked me to write an Op-Ed piece, which was published on June 2 and sent to their 300,000 subscribers.


That blog was written in response to a business article in The New York Times written by David Streitfeld and Melissa Eddy, which seemed to contradict the reality of our own experiences with Amazon. No sense repeating them here—all you need do is go back to that previous blog to follow the argument. One of the things I’ve learned since then is that over 85% of the small and independent publishers who responded to my blog had the exact same experiences with Amazon that I had and shared my viewpoint.


It also appears that Streitfeld and Eddy have dug in on their position, for they continue to present a mixture of hypothesis and  rumor (which, to their credit, they report as such), but also adding dollops of innuendo by painting Amazon as the villain in the dispute with Hachette and the other four publishing conglomerates. These huge multi-national corporations may be filled with fears and uncertainties, but the reporters ignore the fact that there are over 3,000 publishers in the US (according to a recent report in Literary Market Place).  What works for the Big Five does not necessarily work for the other 2,995 of us, any more than the richest 1% of our population represent what the other 99% of us desire.  In fact, Amazon has provided huge benefits and advantages to small, independent publishers, unprecedented in my 35 years as a publisher.


On May 30, two separate articles appeared in the Times. They cite “rumors” that Amazon is willing to alienate customers because it is selling Kindle titles at too low a price and are willing to lose money in the process. In a second article Hachette author Michael Gladwell was interviewed, who by his own account has earned millions of dollars for his books and goes on to describes Amazon—along with his publisher –as “partners.” He wonders why his partner Amazon, who must also have earned millions from his book would abandon him by not taking pre-orders well ahead of publication date for his next book.


I know that Amazon won’t take pre-orders from us unless we can ship books within the time frame of expected delivery.  Perhaps they have a different deal with the Big Five, but I’m not privy to their negotiations. What I do know is that the Department of Justice ordered that discussions between Hachette and Amazon be held   in private, without commentary from either side. Still, in one of Streitfeld’s postings his final line was “An Amazon spokesman declined to comment.”  He didn’t refer to the DOJ injunction, which also applies to Hachette, leaving the impression that Amazon alone is intentionally hiding something dishonorable. 


I’ve read that another Hachette millionaire author stated that pre-orders from Amazon help determine print runs. I do know that pre-orders of books, before knowing how many copies are destined to be sold, puts an impossible burden on all publishers, since this is the only industry that sells on consignment, allowing bookstores (and Amazon is an on-line bookstore) and wholesalers to return books for full credit, and most publishers—large and small—receive returns of 20% to 80%.  Nonetheless, it’s been a blessing to be able to address media reporting that not only seems one-sided, but is doubtlessly bringing great joy to the Big Five’s well-staffed PR departments. 


I can also tell you that on-line journalists and bloggers have been generally far more supportive of my views than most print journalists. But change seems to be coming in print, too. On the OP-ED page of the New York Times on Saturday, May 31, Bob Kohn, who represented the Big Five and failed to win their case when the Justice Department found them guilty of collusion was at it again, writing a difficult to follow screed, How Book Publishers Can Beat Amazon,  while the columnist Joe Nocera  dismissed all of this as nonsense in a beautifully  rational, and balanced way in his article, Amazon’s ‘Bullying’ Tactics, which I’d urge you to read.

What all this does is get a conversation going where everyone can have their say, not just the privileged few.


Marty

1 comment:

  1. INTERNATIONAL CONCEPT OF WORK FROM HOME
    Work from home theory is fast gaining popularity because of the freedom and flexibility that comes with it. Since one is not bound by fixed working hours, they can schedule their work at the time when they feel most productive and convenient to them. Women & Men benefit a lot from this concept of work since they can balance their home and work perfectly. People mostly find that in this situation, their productivity is higher and stress levels lower. Those who like isolation and a tranquil work environment also tend to prefer this way of working. Today, with the kind of communication networks available, millions of people worldwide are considering this option.

    Women & Men who want to be independent but cannot afford to leave their responsibilities at home aside will benefit a lot from this concept of work. It makes it easier to maintain a healthy balance between home and work. The family doesn't get neglected and you can get your work done too. You can thus effectively juggle home responsibilities with your career. Working from home is definitely a viable option but it also needs a lot of hard work and discipline. You have to make a time schedule for yourself and stick to it. There will be a time frame of course for any job you take up and you have to fulfill that project within that time frame.

    There are many things that can be done working from home. A few of them is listed below that will give you a general idea about the benefits of this concept.

    Baby-sitting
    This is the most common and highly preferred job that Women & Men like doing. Since in today's competitive world both the parents have to work they need a secure place to leave behind their children who will take care of them and parents can also relax without being worried all the time. In this job you don't require any degree or qualifications. You only have to know how to take care of children. Parents are happy to pay handsome salary and you can also earn a lot without putting too much of an effort.

    Nursery
    For those who have a garden or an open space at your disposal and are also interested in gardening can go for this method of earning money. If given proper time and efforts nursery business can flourish very well and you will earn handsomely. But just as all jobs establishing it will be a bit difficult but the end results are outstanding.

    Freelance
    Freelance can be in different wings. Either you can be a freelance reporter or a freelance photographer. You can also do designing or be in the advertising field doing project on your own. Being independent and working independently will depend on your field of work and the availability of its worth in the market. If you like doing jewellery designing you can do that at home totally independently. You can also work on freelancing as a marketing executive working from home. Wanna know more, email us on workfromhome.otr214425@gmail.com and we will send you information on how you can actually work as a marketing freelancer.


    Internet related work
    This is a very vast field and here sky is the limit. All you need is a computer and Internet facility. Whatever field you are into work at home is perfect match in the software field. You can match your time according to your convenience and complete whatever projects you get. To learn more about how to work from home, contact us today on workfromhome.otr214425@gmail.comand our team will get you started on some excellent work from home projects.


    Diet food
    Since now a days Women & Men are more conscious of the food that they eat hence they prefer to have homemade low cal food and if you can start supplying low cal food to various offices then it will be a very good source of income and not too much of efforts. You can hire a few ladies who will help you out and this can be a good business.

    Thus think over this concept and go ahead.

    ReplyDelete