When it comes to desperate measures and stooping lower than a snake’s testicles nobody does it better than Amazon.
Emailing KDP authors begging them to write to those nasty people at Hachette is bad enough. But to dress it up with a load of bull about paperback prices, World War II and George Orwell takes sad to a whole new level.
As Amazon rightly say, “We recognize that writers reasonably want to be left out of a dispute between large companies”.
In the next breath, “We’d like your help. Please email the CEO of Hachette and copy us.”
Amazon implore us to tell him in no uncertain terms, “Stop using your authors as leverage.”
Quite right, Amazon. It’s fine for you to use KDP authors as leverage in this dispute which has nothing to do with us, but how dare Hachette do the same thing.
“We want lower e-book prices,” says Amazon, the company that is encouraging indie authors to raise prices through Pricing Support, while penalizing us with lower “royalties” if we try to offer readers a real bargain. Apple still pay us 70% if we price below $2.99. Amazon take 65%.
“Hachette does not (want lower prices).”
Bull. Hachette wants the right to charge a premium for new releases, just like every other entertainment media does.
A quick glance at Amazon’s listings will show only a handful of Hachette titles are priced above ten dollars. The bulk are well below ten dollars, with many at indie prices, and even free.
“Hachette has already been caught illegally colluding with its competitors to raise e-book prices… Colluding with its competitors to raise prices wasn’t only illegal, it was also highly disrespectful to Hachette’s readers.”
Curiously Amazon omitted to mention that they are currently being sued by the Federal Trade Commission for illegally scamming millions from parents of children using free Amazon apps. Not some accidental scam. The FTC has Amazon internal emails confirming Amazon was aware of this for a long period and chose to do nothing.
“Even Amazon’s own employees recognized the serious problem its process created,” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in a statement. The FTC highlighted one internal communication in which an Amazon employee likened the growing chorus of customer complaints to a “near house on fire.”
This of course is not in any way disrespectful to Amazon app customers.
Amazon says Hachette “think books only compete against books.”
And Hachette said this when, exactly?
“But in reality, books compete against mobile games, television, movies, Facebook, blogs, free news sites and more. If we want a healthy reading culture, we have to work hard to be sure books actually are competitive against these other media types.”
Says Amazon, with its unlimited “free” streaming of video and music for Prime members.
“Moreover, e-books are highly price elastic. This means that when the price goes down, customers buy much more. We’ve quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99.”
Therefore it is eminently good business sense for Hachette and every other publisher to sell a new release at $14.99 while readers are willing to pay a premium for the new release, and then sell to all those others at $9.99 at a later date.
It’s interesting to note that Macmillan, Penguin-Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, etc, etc, are all selling new releases at $14.99 and Amazon is making NO fuss at all about this.
Where is the Amazon email asking us to spam the email boxes of the CEOs of Macmillan and co. telling them to bring their prices down because consumers are suffering?
This has NOTHING to do with benefitting consumers and EVERYTHING to do with the fact that Amazon can’t get its own way with a particular supplier in a particular dispute.
Amazon is and will remain for some time the most important outlet for most indie authors. That doesn’t mean we have to respond to this kind of underhand interference in a dispute between Amazon and a supplier we have nothing to do with.
As Amazon rightly say, Hachette is “part of a $10 billion media conglomerate.”
Amazon omits to mention that Amazon is a $150 billion conglomerate.
WTF is a company that size doing begging indie authors to intervene to help it settle a dispute with another supplier?
You couldn’t make it up…