Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Amazon. Bullies.

I see Amazon is at it again.

Instead of ranting I have, with permission, copied the following from the lovely Clare, which expresses the whole thing succinctly and gives us all something we can do to make our feelings known.

"The suggestion has been made that bloggers could stand together and campaign over the issue of Amazon's dodgy commercial tactics. Scroll to the bottom of this post for things you might be able to do. Meanwhile here's an update on the Amazon thing (full details here: http://tinyurl.com/4gocsg).

Amazon have removed Pay Now and Pre-Order buttons from selected titles published by Hachette Livre, in an attempt to force the publisher to sell stock to Amazon at even lower rates than they already do. They've also removed HL stock from Recommended Reads lists and various other (obviously not as impartial as you might think) sections of the site.

Hachette Livre is a large umbrella organisation, which encompasses the following publishers:
Little, Brown Book Group (includes Abacus, Virago, Sphere, Piatkus, Orbit, Atom)
Orion Publishing Group (Orion, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Gollancz)
Headline Publishing Group
Hodder & Stoughton (includes Sceptre)
Hachette Children's Books (includes Franklin Watts, Orchard, Hodder, Wayland)
Hodder Education Group
John Murray
Octopus Publishing Group (includes Bounty, Cassell, Conran Octopus, Hamlyn, Gaia, Mitchell Beazley, Miller, Philips)
They also have subsidiaries in India, Aus, NZ...

This isn't the first time Amazon has used this tactic. Earlier this year Amazon.com removed Buy buttons from selected books of publishers who refused to switch their Print-on-demand publishing to Amazon's newly bought POD company (see Bookseller story here: http://tinyurl.com/3efuy5). They really are bullies.

Amazon and the supermarkets have consistently been putting the squeeze on publishers in this way, making it harder and harder for independent publishers to operate, not to mention small bookshops (who don't have the same muscle and can't compete). The ultimate losers are the authors, who get a smaller and smaller slice of the pie. When books are sold at a discount, the author gets significantly less than that (percentages vary according to contract, but they're typically less than 10% of cover price).

Things you can do to help:
Contact Amazon (http://tinyurl.com/4skfzf)
Copy this post, or write your own, on your blog/website/via email
Boycott Amazon (alternative book sources: localbookshops.co.uk, abebooks.co.uk, bookdepository.co.uk, Waterstones.com, Play.com, actual physical bookshops, or where possible buy through authors' and publishers' own websites).
Write to newspapers
Contact the competition commission (email: info@cc.gsi.gov.uk)"

1 comment:

Derick Wilcox said...

You make the comment that the ultimate loser is the author, but is it not also true that we, the readers, lose out too? In any event, I shall endeavour not to purchase from Amazon in future.