The War Wages on Five Fronts: Amazon, Hatchette, Indies, Readers, & Celebrity Authors

This is why I chose to sign the petition:

I am beside myself and infuriated. Hatchette thrives solely upon paperbacks and hardcovers for their revenue with only about 1% of their revenue coming from e-books from my understanding. I don’t see why they are being so uppity about the whole thing other than their insatiable greed. If e-books remain at the same prices as paperbacks, I can guarantee you that you’ll see more people pirating books. Amazon’s got the right idea; people want what’s affordable and within this economy, it’s necessary. The only time I purchase paperbacks is if they’re at a discount, like at thrift stores-I’m frugal by nature. I’d rather read indie authors and essentially support my peers. With this whole ‘Letter to Amazon in the Sunday paper’ move, it’s said that this is ‘The first time authors have come together in this magnitude’. Wow really? *blink, blink* That’s funny, because I’ve seen more camaraderie with indie authors in my experience, and that’s pretty much common practice. It’s how we roll!

Then we have the corporate greed and the quite obvious facts that everyone really ought to consider, which is cost versus profit. How much does it cost to publish an e-book? Let’s see, other than my time writing the book, formatting the book, editing the book, and creating the cover, not a damned thing. Well, I do purchase author copies, but that’s beside the point-those are for giveaways, local shops, and copies to sell myself.

E-books are digital, you can’t pass them off or lend them out to a friend, unless you want to lend your whole e-reader. Considering how much it costs to produce an e-book, why on earth should they cost as much if not more than a paperback? Why? Oh yeah. That’s right. Minimal cost equals higher profit. Price gouging upon that means that the publisher (Hatchette) makes even MORE money.

But…where does that excess money go? Apparently not to their authors considering the massive entitlement complexes and capitalistic butthurt that they have unleashed on the front bloody page of the Sunday news. Are you kidding me? Wow, maybe I should write a letter to the government and force them to lower taxes. I’ll get all my friends together pissing and moaning about how horrible this situation is while sitting in my nice mansion drinking martinis with my pinkie up *snortlaughs*. Had it not been for Amazon, I wouldn’t be the person I am today: a published author and a business owner. Yep, Amazon’s KDP inspired me to do what I love more than writing-helping other writers by editing their hard work and amazingly creative stories.

Does anyone even consider that if readers want to read books from their favorite big named authors, they will find a way to get a hold of their books? Does Hatchette realize that by gouging prices, quite literally raping the pocketbooks of individuals who are already bitch-slapped by this atrocious economy, it will create a level of bitterness and hatred for literature? The music industry as well as Hollywood have already complained about people pirating. Why do people pirate? Maybe it’s because going to the movies or listening to music has become so expensive due to greed that it’s very nearly impossible for a lot of people to afford to indulge anymore. There are probably other reasons, but I’m not going to touch upon that right now.

How about we all think of it this way: College is expensive, but we need education to get a decent job, right? To better ourselves as individuals and as a community as a whole. We complain about our children spending more time futzing on the internet or getting into trouble, failing in school, teen pregnancy and all that mess.

Kids lack interest in reading. Why? Perhaps big publishers passed up the opportunity to publish works that would interest these kids-works that indies have provided. The more books that are sold, the more interest people will have in reading. Amazon is the damned Renaissance that we so desperately needed! We have people harnessing their inner creativity because they have the opportunity to do so and share it with the world, myself included. We have kids picking up e-readers and actually reading again. The more people read, the more educated people become. The more educated people become, the more hope there is for humanity. They say ‘Reading is fundamental’ and it is. It provides a gateway into a world that initiates empathy, a virtue that we are sorely lacking in this frail world where entitlement has become the norm.

Sure, people read for entertainment, but it has been proven time and time again that the more an individual reads, the better they are at communicating and the more they learn.

Image: www.thejoycamp.com -google search

By gouging prices, Hachette is not doing anyone any favors. It’s lessening the importance of literature and dampens progress, simply to make more money. Their business tactics are self-serving and for as long as I can hold a pen, type on a keyboard, and write complete sentences, I will support Amazon.

When it comes to wars, this one has become one that has developed into a literary equivalent to WWIII.  In Douglas Preston’s letter, which was signed by the likes of Stephen King, John Grisham, and Daniel Handler a.k.a. Lemony Snicket, among over 900 others, these legacy published authors are urging everyone to join forces like the Power Rangers and pretty much ask us all to allow their publishers to kick us in the pants by price gouging e-books.

Amazon is like Russia-we have far greater numbers and I think Hatchette’s efforts are an exercise in futility.  In essence, these big-named legacy authors are begging us to spend more on something that costs less to produce because their publisher is throwing a tantrum.  Apparently we’ve regressed back to kindergarten because I’ve heard Amazon referred to as a ‘big bully’ or a ‘thug’ in some of these articles.  Wow.  Go Amazon for being all gangsta for taking the moral high road.

I’m curious as to whether or not these authors actually care about their readers.  I’m also wondering what sort of nonsense Hatchette has spoonfed these authors into thinking.  That they’ll lose money?  Lose readership?  Do they think that with the massive influx of money that Hatchette will receive if Amazon bends to their demands, it will actually be passed off onto them?

An article in the Huffpost referenced a comment about how Amazon is holding authors hostage.  Really?

liam neeson taken - Let my authors go  or I will find you, and I will kill you.


If a business does not want to carry a certain title, they are not obliged to do so.  Does Walmart carry every single item available in the world?  Online, perhaps, but not always so.  Amazon isn’t picking on the author as an individual-they are limiting the stock of the books in their warehouses.  That’s not a personal attack, its product.  Period.

Damn.  Writers are sensitive creatures, aren’t they?  We take everything personally.  Then we have the perspectives of indie authors who aren’t blinded by our success or greed.  We have educated individuals who can see past all the bullshit into the facts that apparently people are failing to grasp, especially in the biased media.

Okay, maybe I’m a little bit biased.  Unlike some individuals who don’t read past the headlines or they take the word of celebrity endorsements as pure fact-I like being objective before I settle on my opinion.  I read through the articles pertaining to Hatchette’s supporters, and I still don’t see what the problem is with maintaining affordable prices with e-books.  The facts outside of the bias, outside of the celebrity whining, outside of the names ‘Hatchette’ and ‘Amazon’,  I see two businesses fighting over whether or not to tell the readers and authors to bend over and take $14.99 a pop up the hoo-ha without lube.

Speaking of lube-kinda makes me wish we had someone fighting for the same thing when it comes to gas prices, you know?  $1.79/gallon?  I’m down for that again.

I can’t help but wonder if Douglas Preston was really out to help authors or if his intent was to garner more attention to himself? Its a pretty decent marketing tactic, that’s for sure. He did mention a few individuals reluctant to sign because they were perhaps advised not to do so.  If some of the authors we know backed out of signing, it makes me wonder if they felt the same way we do.   Or maybe they just didn’t want to get involved and wanted to concentrate on writing books instead.

Another thing I keep on hearing over and over again is how both Hatchette and Amazon have urged the other to keep authors out of this whole mess.  From my understanding, Mr. Preston acted out of his own volition as did the creator of the Petition on behalf of Amazon.   Preston stated that Amazon called him an ‘opportunist’.   Heh.  You know what?

If any of you are not familiar with an awesome gentleman by the name of Jim Rose, he has an amazing marketing strategy.  He is truly a brilliant man, but busted his tail to get to where he is now.  He  became recognized using tactics that most of us probably don’t have the stones to pull off.   If you haven’t checked him out yet, you probably ought to.  He’s a great man and a fellow supporter of artists, musicians, and writers alike.  He has a marketing co-op group on Facebook I urge you to join.  There, you will find links not just to indie authors, musicians, and the like, but also valuable information he has learned throughout his career.  When I first saw the reference to ‘opportunist’ regarding Preston, I immediately thought of how Jim Rose took the opportunities presented to him to help him succeed in his career by manipulating the media.  I wouldn’t necessarily consider ‘opportunist’ a slanderous term, rather; Mr. Preston took the issue as an opportunity to put the spotlight on himself.  Whatever.  Its marketing.  That comes as to no surprise there and well, Hatchette needs a poster child.

What’s funny?  The ‘open letter to Amazon’ is classified as an ‘ad’, paid for and brought to you by a small handful of authors who signed the thing.  Now tell me that mess wasn’t for the attention?  This is nothing but a smear campaign against Amazon.

I wonder what will happen next that will leave me breathless from laughter.

That concludes this episode of  ‘As The Literary World Turns’

Cue theme music:

 

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