Tightening the Screws

by wjw on May 24, 2014

As I mentioned in a previous post, Amazon is engaged in pitched battle with Hachette, the publisher of my Dagmar books, over terms of a new contract.  And now Amazon has tightened the screws a little bit more.

They are delaying the shipment of physical books published by Hachette.  (My This Is Not a Game is currently delayed by 3-5 weeks.)  They are no longer accepting advanced orders for Hachette books, such as the forthcoming Cibola Burn by my good friend James S.A. Corey.  Some authors, like Anne Rivers Siddons, have even found the Amazon pages for their books disappearing.

Amazon is even refusing to stock J.K. Rowling’s latest.  (Now who exactly is this supposed to hurt?  Because Ms. Rowling’s fans are legion, and persistent, and they will find Rowling’s new book and buy it wherever they can.  And of course Rowling’s fans are pretty well networked, so the Amazon hate meme can only spread.  Only Amazon is going to be hurt by that genius negotiating tactic.)

Amazon was apparently hoping to drive a wedge between Hachette and its authors, but so far the authors seem to know exactly who to blame.  Everyone I’ve talked to has responded, “Fuck those fucking fuckers at fucking Amazon to fucking death!” Or words to that effect.

Now I am not particularly hurt by Amazon’s actions.  My Hachette books have been out for a while, and most of the people who wanted copies already have one.   Only This Is Not a Game is unavailable via Amazon, because there are still copies of Deep State and The Fourth Wall in the Amazon warehouses, and they’ll ship right away.

So I’d suggest that those of you in search of remedy seek out a book by Hachette, whose SF imprint is Orbit, and buy it from anyone but Amazon.  You can pick Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, which just won the Nebula Award for novel, or the aforementioned Cibola Burn, or something by Kim Stanley Robinson, or Allen Steele, N.K. Jemisin— in fact, here’s a list of Orbit authors for you to pick from.  You’re sure to find something you like.

And you poke a fast-growing monopoly in the eye.  Which is always a good thing.

Ralf The Dog May 24, 2014 at 6:26 am

Purchasing from someone other than Amazon does no good. First, send an Email informing them that you are purchasing from someone else. Be polite but be firm. I am sending them an Email stating, I will first check with other venders, if they do not offer the book, I will fall back to Amazon.

Can we please bring back the local bookstore?

John Appel May 24, 2014 at 4:42 pm

A small victory: I occasionally correspond (via e-mail) with one of the best-known writers at The Atlantic. He posted an article yesterday that contained links to Amazon for several books mentioned in the article. After a polite request this morning pointing out current round of shenanigans, he’s updating his article to point to a different bookseller.

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