Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Hachette

An Author Writes an Open Letter to His Publisher . . .


Jerry J. Davis - Author

Jerry J. Davis

I have a friend named Jerry Davis, an author interviewed here back in 2012.

I recently discovered a fascinating post of his from back in 2014—Open Letter to Hachette CEO, Michael Pietsch.

I think it still has great validity for consideration by writers (and, writer’s friends...).

You may remember it was back when Amazon and Hachette were violently feuding

Here are just a few excerpts (but, do go read the whole thing...):

“Holding onto outdated business models by force is … well, completely backwards and ultimately a doomed path….Resisting the movement to ebooks is not the answer.”

“As a one of your authors who has also released his ebooks independently on Amazon, I have made FAR more sales on my own than with your publishing group. Far more sales, and far more income.”

“I have not seen a penny from my book with you in years, by the way, even though I KNOW it’s selling.

“But that’s beside the point.”

“…for godsake stop using your authors as leverage and accept one of Amazon’s offers to take them out of the middle.”

Even though some folks would say, “What’s the big deal? They stopped fighting.”, the fact that they’re big corporations would certainly make them prone, in today’s business environment, to fighting again.

Plus, one of the smartest publishers around has pointed out some of the possible harm Amazon, itself, may cause authors this year

What’s the solution?

Radical Self-Publishing—> try this post if you’re new to the idea…

Oh! You also might want to check out Jerry Davis’ books :-)
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How Close to Insanity Is the Traditional Publishing Industry?


As of this writing, I have 11 posts about Traditional Publishers <— that link includes this post… 

But, I also have 33 posts about Traditional Publishingsee the Top Tags widget, down a bit in the left side-bar, for other Fine Distinctions :-)

Usually, my GoTo person for explanations about the inane activities of traditional publishers is Joe Konrath.

But I’ve found another author who can eloquently explain the actions of an industry that’s being severely challenged by the opportunities created by digital technology

Before I share some insights from this author, I need to reference two posts I wrote back in 2014 about a fracas between one of the Big 5 traditional publishers and Amazon:

Financial “Entitlement” Morphs Into “Legal” Outrage ~ Amazon & Hachette

Almost Against My Will ~ Yet Another Look At The Amazon–Hachette Dispute…

I want you to be able to access those when you read what I’ll share from an article by author Gene Doucette, called The Collective Insanity of the Publishing Industry.

I should interrupt myself and give you a link (even though it’s also down in the Top Tags widget) to all my posts on Self-Publishing, in case you’re a writer and what I share today makes you wonder where you can get published—in a sane manner

Also, I urge you to actually go read the full article by Mr. Doucette because he’s been Independently Published and Self-Published

A few excerpts from Gene’s article:

“In 2014, there was a drawn-out dispute between Amazon, and Hachette.”

“The essence of the dispute was that Hachette—and all the other publishers we affectionately refer to as ‘the Big 5’—wanted more control over the list price of their e-books on Amazon.”

“…if Hachette wanted to charge $15.99 for an ebook, and Amazon marked it down to $9.99, Hachette was still paid their cut of the full price of the book.”

Note: people tend to by more copies of a book if it costs less…

A few more excerpts:

“Hachette fought for, and won from Amazon, the return to something called the Agency Model, whereby they set their price and Amazon wasn’t allowed to reduce that price.”

“Soon after that contract was signed, the other Big 5 contracts came due, and they all asked for the same Agency Model arrangement.  Thus, the finest minds in publishing—or one might assume—negotiated themselves out of an arrangement whereby they sold more units at a lower cost without suffering the financial impact that comes with a lower unit cost.

“On purpose.

“This isn’t even the crazy part.”

Part of the crazy part was that the Big 5 then made their e-books even more expensive

Gene goes on to describe how, after 6 months of the Big 5’s reduced e-book sales, they proclaimed that print books were making a come back

You really should go read Gene’s description of these events—he writes extremely well; but, for me, the upshot is that traditional publishing, under pressure from the wild success of digital self-publishing, shot itself in both feet

And, this whole story doesn’t even approach the sick “games” traditional publishers play with the lives of their authors

Perhaps things like this were one of the reasons I published a novel that has a completely insane Corporate World
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One Top Rank Author Who Isn’t Fighting Amazon . . .


The 66th Frankfurt Book Fair is over… Amazon Hachette

I’m sure there were many comments, on stage and off, about how Amazon is ruining the literary world.

I’ll bet there were any number of arguments about the worth or threat of Amazon.

There was an article in a recent Publishers Weekly that led with this sentence:

“At a standing room only session at the Frankfurt Book Fair, bestselling Brazilian author Paulo Coelho had a message for publishers: Embrace change. And, lower your e-book prices.”

This is quite a different perspective from other famous authors—like John Grisham and Stephen King—who are battling against Amazon and supporting the big publishers.

If you haven’t been keeping up with all this, checkout my past post, Almost Against My Will ~ Yet Another Look At The Amazon–Hachette Dispute…

Here are two other things Mr. Coelho said in that Publishers Weekly article:

“I’m not saying the war is lost. I’m saying we humans are still here because of our capacity of adapting ourselves. The war is not lost. It is the opposite. The war is won. Culture is now available all over the world. People can read.”

“There is a golden rule. Don’t be greedy.”

I was so impressed that a man who has sold more than 150 million books in over 150 countries worldwide could be so sane about where the literary business is heading that I went and found a video of him.

I think it speaks to everyone in the world…


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Almost Against My Will ~ Yet Another Look At The Amazon–Hachette Dispute…


I write my blog to help folks explore Reading, Writing, and Publishing.

I often cover various hot topics in the news but, more often, lead people toward valuable information.

I’ve covered the Amazon–Hachette battle a number of times (links at the bottom) and, the last time, I almost didn’t do the post because I’m plainly disgusted with the way “business” intrudes on the smooth flow of the river of creativity.

There’s someone at Amazon who maintains that the only players necessary in the Book World are authors and readers.

But, the big publishers are frightened by self-publishing and the retailers (especially Amazon) are “just” businesses trying to make a buck.

I pity the folks who depend on the publishers and retailers for their living—the well-established authors as well as those writers attempting to emulate them and make a living by selling books…

There’s bound to be major change in the book market—probably bigger than what’s already happened—and, authors and readers may just work out methods that make the retailers and publishers act with more consideration…

So, I’ll give you two links to articles that display the most rationality I’ve seen yet in this Amazon–Hachette thing:

Making Sense of Amazon-Hachette

More Fights About Terms

And, with the hope that I never feel I have to write about this convoluted mess again, here are a few of my past posts about it:

Financial “Entitlement” Morphs Into “Legal” Outrage ~ Amazon & Hachette

Making Certain Authors Eat Their Own Words . . .

The Corporations and The Writer ~ Who’s Winning?
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Making Certain Authors Eat Their Own Words . . .


Can over 900 authors all be wrong about the same thing?

Authors Eat Their Own Words

Image courtesy of Ry Young ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/ryasaurus

Well, I think most authors can be dead wrong about many things.

Take this Amazon-Hachette tussle.

Huge publisher, Huge retailer—a fight over pricing—some authors feeling they’re caught in the middle.

I started gathering material about this business fracas weeks ago—started getting fed up with all the childish behavior—told my Best Friend I wasn’t going to blog about it…

Then, I spotted an article from Publisher’s WeeklyOver 900 Authors Sign Open Letter to Amazon—read a bit of it and immediately went off to see what Joe Konrath had to say about it.

Joe is an author who fought his way out of the trenches of traditional publishing and has become a bestselling self-published author—he knows what he’s talking about—he’s been-there-done-that…

So…

His response to those over-900 authors who are complaining about their treatment by Amazon is amazingly straightforward and will probably force a few of them to eat their own words…

Joe’s article—Authors Behaving Badly and Authors Who Aren’t—is fascinating reading—here are just a few excerpts:

“So a bunch of legacy authors–many of them smart and who should know better–just signed a letter accusing Amazon of things that simply make no sense.”

“Preston [the author who wrote the letter other authors have signed-on to] recently said:

‘If I were Jeff Bezos, the one thing I would fear most is if authors organized themselves and took broad, concerted, sustained, and dignified public action.’

“Konrath replies:

‘If I were Jeff Bezos, I would know that legacy authors have no power, because they signed away their rights to their publishers. Patterson, Turow, and Preston couldn’t remove their books from Amazon even if they wanted to. But, strangely, I don’t hear any of them demanding it, or even mentioning it.'”

[Preston] “…in this case, Amazon has done something unusual. It has directly targeted Hachette’s authors in an effort to force their publisher to agree to its terms.

“Joe sez: Amazon is engaged in blatant acts of capitalism. It hasn’t ‘targeted authors’. Last I checked, Jeff Bezos isn’t sending authors hate mail, or hiring people to follow authors around and push them into puddles, or making public statements about how Hachette authors are boycotting common sense.

“What Amazon is doing is not allowing Hachette to control ebook prices, because Hachette wants to raise them.”

[Preston] “As writers—some but not all published by Hachette—we feel strongly that no bookseller should block the sale of books or otherwise prevent or discourage customers from ordering or receiving the books they want. It is not right for Amazon to single out a group of authors, who are not involved in the dispute, for selective retaliation.

“Joe sez: Again, look at the purposely provocative, incendiary choice of words. ‘block the sale of books’ and ‘discourage customers’ and ‘signal out a group of authors’.

“Amazon doesn’t sell beer. Are they blocking the sale of beer? Amazon doesn’t sell Glocks. Are they discouraging customers from buying Glocks? Amazon isn’t signaling out a group of authors. They are in a business negotiation with the authors’ publisher.”

[Preston] “Our books started Amazon on the road to selling everything and becoming one of the world’s largest corporations.

[Joe] “You didn’t form Amazon from the ground up. You didn’t innovate the world’s best online shopping experience. You didn’t invent the Kindle.

“Amazon has made YOU millions of dollars. Customers have chosen where and how they want to shop, and savvy writers have run with the advantages Amazon has offered us.”

There ya have it—a bunch of screaming authors and another guy who tells it like it is :-)

If you really want to understand what’s going on with the Amazon-Hachette dispute, do go read Joe’s full article…

In the meantime, any Comments?

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