Welcome to the official blog of Third Place Books

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Hachette vs. Amazon and Why it Matters

Perhaps you've heard about the little dust-up going on in the book world. For those who haven't, Amazon and publisher Hachette Book Group are in the midst of some sort of disagreement over terms, though no one really knows the specifics. As a result, Amazon has retaliated by taking certain actions against Hachette including slowing delivery of Hachette titles and removing books altogether. At any rate, it's a lot to explain, so you should read more about it here and here.

While Amazon throws its considerable weight around, the disagreement is hurting more than just Hachette. Authors are beginning to worry about what the continued battle will mean for their livelihoods. James Patterson has written a short but brilliant piece on the subject:
The press doesn't seem to consider this newsworthy, but there is a war going on between Amazon and book publishers. This war involves money of course, and though I have an opinion, I’m not here to comment on what might be a fair and reasonable settlement. 
There are other significant issues people might want to consider. Currently, Amazon is making it difficult to order many books from Little, Brown and Grand Central, which affects readers of authors such as Malcolm Gladwell, Nicholas Sparks, Michael Connelly, me, and hundreds of others whose living depends on book sales. What I don’t understand about this particular battle tactic is how it is in the best interest of Amazon customers. It certainly doesn't appear to be in the best interest of authors. 
More important—much more important—is the evolution/revolution that’s occurring now in publishing. Small bookstores are being shuttered, book chains are going out of business, libraries are suffering enormous budget cuts, and every publisher—and the people who work at these publishing houses—is feeling a great deal of pain and stress. Ultimately, inevitably, the quality of American literature will suffer. 
If the world of books is going to change to ebooks, so be it. But I think it’s essential that someone steps up and takes responsibility for the future of American literature and the part it plays in our culture. Right now, bookstores, libraries, authors, and books themselves are caught in the cross fire of an economic war. If this is the new American way, then maybe it has to be changed—by law, if necessary—immediately, if not sooner.
Now, sure, James Patterson will probably weather this storm just fine. But what about the smaller, lesser known authors?

Hopefully this gives you a few more reasons to shop with us, or any other independent bookstore. For one thing, we'll gladly sell you the book you want (and if we don't have it, we'll get it for you as soon as we can, usually within a day or two). And shopping with us means supporting your favorite authors. At the Ravenna location, we've put together a small display of Hachette titles, making it easier for you to support those authors and your community, and maybe help Hachette stand its ground.

And in case you need them, here are a few more reasons to shop indie, brought to you by IndieBound.

Why shop Indie? 

When you shop at an independently owned business, your entire community benefits:
The Economy
-Spend $100 at a local and $68 of that stays in your community. Spend the same $100 at a national chain, and your community only sees $43. --Local businesses create higher-paying jobs for our neighbors.
-More of your taxes are reinvested in your community--where they belong.
The Environment 
-Buying local means less packaging, less transportation, and a smaller carbon footprint. 
-Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money to beautify your community.
The Community 
-Local retailers are your friends and neighbors—support them and they’ll support you. 
-Local businesses donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains. 
-More independents means more choice, more diversity, and a truly unique community.
Now is the time to stand up and join your fellow individuals in the IndieBound mission supporting local businesses and celebrating independents.

If you'd like to learn more about what Amazon means for the future of publishing and books, George Packer's New Yorker article from earlier this year is required reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment