With a heralding cry, Amazon releases a “Power to the Self-Publishing Author” letter today asking for the patience, understanding and support of their Kindle Authors. Comparing the current battle with Hachette to the rise of the Paperback, Amazon put out all the stop with Word World II and George Orwell references.
“They believed low-cost paperbacks would destroy literary culture and harm the industry (not to mention their own bank accounts). Many bookstores refused to stock them, and the early paperback publishers had to use unconventional methods of distribution – places like newsstands and drugstores. The famous author George Orwell came out publicly and said about the new paperback format, if “publishers had any sense, they would combine against them and suppress them.” Yes, George Orwell was suggesting collusion….
Perhaps channeling Orwell’s decades old suggestion, Hachette has already been caught illegally colluding with its competitors to raise e-book prices. So far those parties have paid $166 million in penalties and restitution. Colluding with its competitors to raise prices wasn’t only illegal, it was also highly disrespectful to Hachette’s readers.”
Ya-da Ya-da Ya-da and not sounding desperate at all, they then go on to ask Kindle Authors to reach out to Hachette and asked that you include these suggested points
– We have noted your illegal collusion. Please stop working so hard to overcharge for eBooks. They can and should be less expensive.
– Lowering e-book prices will help – not hurt – the reading culture, just like paperbacks did.
– Stop using your authors as leverage and accept one of Amazon’s offers to take them out of the middle.
– Especially if you’re an author yourself: Remind them that authors are not united on this issue.
Amazon problem is they may have the money and customers, but Hachette has the man-power. With authors like Stephen King, Steve Corbett, they know that if readers had to pick a side, they will side with their favorite authors.
The battle between Amazon and Hachette is just going to get uglier. So Amazon, launching a preemptive strike by creating a website call ReadersUnited makes sense. Especially with the news that Hachette’s more famous authors have signed a letter bashing Amazon and putting it out as a full-page ad in the New York Times. But Amazon seems to gloss over the fact that authors, traditional and self-published are well aware how cut-throat Amazon they can be.
On paper the Amazon-Hachette book war may seem a petty pricing dispute, it’s far more involved than that. Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with Amazon. I love their services, especially Createspace, and I constantly recommended their services to my clients. But Amazon do have a back-handed approach to book domination that I just can’t cosign.
So what do you think of Amazon petitioning Kindle authors to assist them in the eBook pricing battle with Hachette?