Speeding Past in the Blink of an Eye

by wjw on February 3, 2010

While I was enjoying a pleasurably distracting weekend and unable to properly follow events, a huge earth-shaking contretemps broke out between publisher Macmillan/St. Martin’s/Tor and Amazon, to determine which business model will prevail on the Internets of the Future. The whole thing seems to have flown past in an eyeblink, to what some are claiming as a sort of resolution, but which really isn’t, as yet.

Scott Westerfield has a good analysis of the situation here.

John Scalzi explains why Amazon is being stupid right here.

But why, you ask, does this concern you? You are, after all, a reader, not a Macmillan author.

Why it concerns you is that Amazon has stated that they’ll eventually have to cave to Macmillan, which convinced a lot of people the situation was over— but they haven’t actually caved yet. In the meantime Amazon has, essentially, unfriended every writer in the Macmillan/St. Martin’s/Tor stable. You can’t buy their books on Amazon, not unless they’re offered by a third party.

This doesn’t affect me, fortunately. I have no books with Tor at the moment. (Wait a minute— I just realized that there was a shift in publishing that didn’t fuck me over! What the hell . . . ? This never happens!)

But the crisis does affect Macmillan authors, including all of those science fiction and fantasy writers at Tor, which is the largest US publisher of fantasy and science fiction.

Any number of my friends are published by Tor, including— just off the top of my head— Daniel Abraham, Charles Stross, Melinda Snodgrass, Steve Gould, Laura Mixon, Cory Doctorow, and my former student Ian Tregillis, whose terrific first novel, Bitter Seeds, will appear from Tor in April. (And if you’re a Tor author and a friend of mine and I haven’t mentioned you here, it’s not because I secretly hate you, it’s because my brain is defective and/or I don’t actually know who’s publishing you. So don’t put out a contract on me, okay?)

(Okay, paranoid fit over now. We now return you to the ongoing brouhaha.)

I’m going to follow John Scalzi in suggesting that you all go out and buy some books by Tor/Macmillan authors— naturally, from places other than Amazon.

(And if you buy one of mine while you’re at it, well, that’s only natural.)

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