Amazon versus Hachette
Anyone living outside a box has heard by now of the megabattle between Amazon and Hachette over who gets to pocket more of the readers’ money. As the NY Times (to which I quaintly subscribe) so aptly put it, Amazon “promises a world where books are cheap, where anyone can publish anything,” whereas Hachette “is holding fast to the traditional publishing system that underpins modern culture.” So there.
Put that way, the choice could not be more stark–between good, and, well, something else good. It’s Godzilla versus MUTO–but who is which? And what about those two little people running underneath–Writer and Reader?
Ultraphyte has no real answers, but some thoughts.
- Publishers do a lot for authors; more than most realize. Blockbusters make up for the myriad titles that never pay back their advance. Good editors help some authors reach the bar of professional communication. And good marketers promote works that would not otherwise get noticed.
- Does the publisher’s work merit more than half the cover price? Even for ebooks? Do authors really want overpriced ebooks–or are we better off with lower price, larger volume?
- Does the “added value” of a “traditional publisher” really merit the current backlog, approaching two years at my publisher? When anyone could post it overnight on a website?
- Lower price, larger volume, quicker publication all favor Amazon. But what happens when they’re the only game in town? Do we really expect them to just win and go home like Godzilla?
Personally, I’ve cheered Amazon for years as the place where all my “out of print” books could be found forever, and where I could find anything else out there. If selling kitchen and hardware stuff subsidizes books (one of the claims) so be it.
But I’d also like to see more competition. So, for the moment at least, I’ve switched my book links (at right) to Barnes and Noble.
Tell me what you think.