Well Then: Amazon offers Hachette authors 100% cut of ebook sales
How is this for some Boardroom Maneuvering? Amazon and Hatchette have been beefing, and that’s left a lot of people opining that it’s the authors getting fucked. Now in what strikes this dumb-ass, completely business-unsavvy dude as a brilliant move, Amazon is offering Hatchette authors a 100% cut of their ebook sales.
For months, authors have complained about being caught in the middle of a very public spat between Amazon, the world’s largest bookseller, and publisher Hachette. Amazon has aggressively worked to secure better contract terms with the publisher, and in the process has turned to controversial “negotiation tactics” like halting pre-orders for upcoming Hachette books, cutting down on physical inventory, and hitting customers with abnormally long shipping delays. But now the company is offering to reverse those decisions, which authors have roundly criticized as unfair and a glaring example of Amazon abusing its dominant market position.
Now, Amazon says it’s willing to give authors something more: a bigger cut of ebook sales. The online retailer has offered to provide Hachette authors with 100 percent of ebook revenues as negotiations between the two sides continue. Both The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times are reporting that Amazon has circulated the offer via a letter sent to authors and their agents.
Should Hachette agree, Amazon says it will restore “normal levels of on-hand print inventory, return to normal pricing in all formats, and for books that haven’t gone on sale yet, reinstate pre-orders.” From Amazon’s perspective, this would basically remove authors from the drawn out fight and remove them from the awkward position they’re currently stuck in. It’s also clearly a move designed to bring the authors — many of whom have backed Hachette in the dispute — closer to Amazon’s side.
But some recipients, including the Authors Guild, aren’t buying it. “If Amazon wants to have a constructive conversation about this, we’re ready to have one at any time,” Roxana Robinson, the group’s president, said in a statement to the Times. “But this seems like a short-term solution that encourages authors to take sides against their publishers. It doesn’t get authors out of the middle of this — we’re still in the middle. Our books are at the center of this struggle.” [The Verge]