Amazon is hitting Hachette in the pocketbook by not discounting and not adequately stocking Hachette titles, but as Lilith SaintCrow explained over on Ragged Feathers, Amazon is also Hachette’s default source of market forecasts.
When Amazon pulled the pre-order buttons yesterday Hachette lost also lost their best source of forecast data:
Preorders are largely how publishers forecast how well a certain book will do. Those forecasts create numbers that are used when, for example, Devi makes the case to buy another series from me while I’m finishing up writing the current one. It’s not fair, but it’s the only metric the publishers have in some cases, for all sorts of reasons–frex, it can take over six months for the contracts department to get all situated. (Contracts people are by their nature picky and detail-oriented, and that’s fine, it’s just frustrating sometimes.)
All of this is backstory (hello, exposition!) to what I am about to tell you.
The full, nasty effect of Amazon removing buy buttons and removing the ability to preorder a publisher’s upcoming books doesn’t hit the publisher. …
You really have to wonder about whether the Hachette management knows what they are doing. It’s one thing to become financially dependent on a retailer which needs Hachette not one bit, but to also let a key business function atrophy in favor of relying on that same retailer? And then to let a contract dispute carry on for 7 months while lying to authors and agents?
I am finally beginning to understand why everyone is springing to Hachette’s defense and blaiming Amazon for being so evil.
It’s like you are defending a special needs child against a bully. Here I thought that Hachette was part of a multi-billion dollar multi-national, when in reality they cannot be relied upon to run their own affairs.
Shame on you, Amazon, for beating up on an innocent publisher. Shame.