Profit sharing negotiations have broke down between Amazon and publisher Hachette, leaving competitors like Walmart, Target, and Barnes and Noble an opportunity to cash in on the disagreement.
Neither Amazon nor Hachette are giving specifics on the impasse due to a legal agreement concerning the negotiations. The disagreement has spurred Amazon to some heavy-handed tactics. Several hundred Hachette titles, from authors including James Patterson and J.K. Rowling (as Robert Galbraith), have been unavailable for pre-order. Prices for these titles and their shipping times have increased. How does this affect consumers?
Amazon issued a rather blunt statement to consumers in the wake of the standoff.
“If you do need one of the affected titles quickly, we regret the inconvenience and encourage you to purchase a new or used version from one of our third-party sellers or from one of our competitors.“
Consumers have taken their advice and moved on to other big chain retailers. Stores like Walmart and Barnes and Noble have made the Hachette titles available on their sites, placing links to some of those sales on the their front pages. As a result of discounted titles filling the vacuum left by Amazon, Walmart has reported an increase of 70 percent in sales as of Tuesday. Other booksellers are following suite.
As Amazon continues to flex its huge retail muscles and consumers flock to other stores, Amazon released another statement that doesn’t give much hope for reconciliation with Hachette.
The statement makes it appear neither side is willing to budge. As the behemoths slug it out, consumers can simply shop elsewhere. And while some have referred to Amazon as the Goliath and Hachette as the David, Hachette is no small fish. The group is part of what’s known in the publishing circles as The Big Five. These giants include Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster. It’s only been a couple of years since these The Big Five got together with Apple and attempted to increase the price of some best-selling e-books by two dollars, from $12.99 to $14.99. This group attack to stop Amazon from discounting its books caused the Department of Justice to file a civil antitrust lawsuit against the giants.
The authors look to have it the worst, as their books set on virtual shelves while Amazon and Hachette fight over a couple of bucks. Best-seller James Patterson had input on Amazon’s strong arm tactics. Patterson said “It certainly doesn’t appear to be in the best interest of authors.“
Image via Huffington Post