Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Amazon's Shot Across Hatchette's Bow

In a rare move,, Inc., made a statement regarding their ongoing negotiations with Hatchette Book Group, USA.

Amazon normally doesn't say a damn thing in the middle of talks with another party, but Hatchette's PR antics over the Memorial Day weekend elicited a response.

There three main points in Amazon's statement that are very subtle:

1) Amazon will no longer warehouse Hatchette's books for free. They will order books on a case-by-case basis.

2) Hatchette is only 1.1% of Amazon's business while Amazon is 20% of Hatchette's.

3) Amazon offered to match funds Hatchette puts into a pool for authors harmed by the current negotiations. And supposedly, Amazon made the same offer to Macmillan four years ago, which Macmillan turned down. [Correction: Macmillan did apparently accept Amazon's offer.]

Hatchette's executives and attorneys don't seem to understand that they cannot force a retailer to carry their product. Also, I'm beginning to wonder if Hatchette's sales from Amazon aren't a lot more than 20%. That's what happens when you're the test case after you're off probation.

[Edit to add: Hatchette has responded. IMHO, fighting this battle in public is not Hatchette's best tactic.]

[2nd edit to add: A Hatchette memo was leaked to Digital Book World. Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath royally fisk the hell out of it.]


  1. This is interesting. And I agree, they can't force a retailer to carry their products. That's not how it works.

    1. They are trying. I do not think they will succeed.

    2. For a retailer to be forced to carry something they don't want to carry, is both insane and a scary thing. Then we open up to all kinds of other issues. Be interesting to see how it all goes down.