Amazon Sends Letter, Blogosphere Goes Meh

amazon-logo3The contract dispute between Amazon and Hachette took a turn for the bizarre late Friday night. After months of alternating silence with reserved statements (and a leaked letter), Amazon decided to change their tactics.

The retailer sent out a letter to KDP authors and publishers (and possibly even ebook buyers), asking them to intervene in the dispute by sending an email to the CEO of Hackette Book Group.  While it is too early to see how the public responds, the response in the various publishing spheres would best be described as not what Amazon intended.

Over the past few hours I have been searching for and collecting some of the more colorful and more thoughtful responses. I do not have them all (Mike Shatzkin and David Streitfeld, to name a couple absent names), but the pundits I cite below tended to be the most shared on Facebook, twitter, etc.

Many questioned whether they should get involved, or even if Amazon should have sent the letter at all. When I reported on the letter, I mostly filtered my opinion out of the post and tried to simply summarize the contents. Others reacted in a less neutral tone, including John Scalzi, who tweeted:

And he's not the only one to wonder what was going on. Similar opinions were expressed by authors over on the KBoards forum, and Moriah Jovan described her first impressions in the comment section of my post:

I read that email at 3 am. It sounded like a half-drunk noir writer with a raging hateboner for Hachette wrote it. It took me a while to decide it wasn’t a hoax and it really was from Amazon. It was dismaying, not necessarily because they did it, but because it stinks of amateurism.

Those are two of the more colorful comments on the tone, timing, and wisdom of the letter Amazon sent out, but they are by no means the only ones.

Chuck Wendig picks apart the letter with his usual acerbic wit, starting with:

Listen, I don’t know what the fuck is going on, because our toddler was awake until approximately blarp o’clock last night and I can barely see through the sleep still desperately clinging to my eyeballs, but I’m pretty sure — though it may be a hallucination! — that last night Amazon wrote me, a KDP author-publisher, to get me to… I think ding-dong-ditch Hachette? Maybe prank phone call them? Pull down Hachette authors’ pants? Give them a swirly?

They have posted this at

We’re at a point in this struggle where things just got really goofy.

He goes on to ask if anyone else is tired of this insanity. I certainly am; this morning I had to keep resisting the urge to simply delete the email I got from Amazon and finish writing the post (I fought the same compulsion when writing the post about Authors United Friday night).

But not everyone feels that way; some authors even took the time to show that authors truly were not united on this issue. Maria Bustillos took Amazon's suggestion and turned it around. She posted her letter to HBG CEO Pietsch on her blog:

I write to you as a reader, at the behest of Amazon. Also as a writer, a sometime tech journalist, a former antiquarian bookseller, and as a student of publishing and copyright history.

I beg you to refuse to negotiate with Amazon, now or ever. Don’t do it!

Amazon claims that its concerns are merely on behalf of readers: “books should be cheaper”!! No: they should not. Books are not widgets. They should be prepared for publication by professionals, and sold by professionals, who actually know and care about books.

And she's not the only one to question Amazon's call to arms. As I went through my various leads I found that, aside from the usual anti-Amazon voices, the overwhelming response ranged from ambivalence to annoyance.

Take Denis Campbell, for example. He posted his response as an open letter on LinkedIn, asking the CEO of Amazon and of Hachette Book Group why exactly he should get involved:

We, the self-/small publishing house authors are the ants yet you choose to enlist us in your fight? What and for whom are we exactly fighting? If we support amazon we get 70% commissions but our titles become part of a Netflix-like experiment. Is this not the industry that objected to Google taking all books in print and indexing them/making searchable?

If we side with Hachette we are tacitly supporting a broken book publishing system that indeed over-charges for e-books to maintain false margins and support a broken system rewards top authors, yet ignores the up and comers who do not overnight become JK Rowling.

And then there's Neil Gaiman, who is affirmatively neutral in this fight:

I don’t see an enemy. I see two huge multinational corporations having a fight over contracts and terms, and authors staring up at them from ground level. It’s like Godzilla battling Gamera, and we’re looking up from the sidewalks of New York rather worried that a skyscraper might topple on us. I liked Chuck Wendig’s summary and commentary.

I’m a Hachette Author in the UK. My wife’s a Hachette Author now, and she has a big book coming out in November, which you cannot pre-order through Amazon. Which sucks. I don’t regard Amazon as the enemy, any more than I regarded Barnes and Noble as the enemy when they had a dispute with DC Comics and stopped selling the hundred top DC Comics Graphic Novels in their stores (which included 17 books by me, including all Sandman).

Just to be clear, the responses were not uniformly against Amazon or neutral; there were any number of tweets as well as comments at The Passive Voice and on KBoards in support of Amazon, including ones which said that they had sent an email.

It is worth noting that I didn't find any posts to that effect, but here's one such email:

Just a note to let you know that this legacy published author has turned to independently publishing her novels. After years of begging my publishers to bring my 16 out-of-print novels back into print, I finally gave up and did it myself. I write three series, and I give away the first book in each series as a loss leader. Through experimentation I discovered that $4.99 was the sweet spot for an e-book, the price the average reader was willing to pay without complaint, and so priced the rest of the books in each series. It took about nine months after the last book went on sale for me to pay off the last of approximately $230,000 in mortgage debt.

Allow me to recommend two books by Chris Anderson that would greatly inform your business model going forward, The Long Tail and Free. You publish them both, and both are available on Kindle for $9.99. I’m pretty sure Jeff Bezos has already read them.

Barry Eisler also reports that he wrote a letter, albeit one which was more neutrally worded:

Hi Michael, even if the Big Five (why would anyone imagine something called the Big Five could be a cartel?) still had the power to control the market — and you don’t — the best you could do through agency and windowing and the like is delay the inevitable mass market transition to digital.  Is that really who you want to be?  A reactionary, focused on shoring up the next quarter rather than expanding your opportunities for the long term?

I don’t want big publishing to die — I want it to get well.  But to get well, you’re going to have to change the lifestyle that’s led to your ongoing decrepitude.

Please, think about the future.  Think about your place not just in the Big Five, but in the world.  Stop impeding what’s best for readers, writers, and reading.  Don’t fight progress.  Be progress.

Eisler goes on to dissect several arguments for, against, and tangential to Amazon's letter, and I would Highly Recommend that you go read him.

For added enjoyment, check out John Scalzi's fisking, which included gems like:

 Leaving aside that Amazon’s initial phrasing of their argument seems to be largely and clumsily lifted from a Mental Floss article, and that paperback books existed well before the 1930s — see “penny dreadfuls,” “dime novels” and “pulps” (further comment on these and other flubs here and here) — the central problem with Amazon’s argument is economic, to wit, it’s trying to say that its drive to have all eBooks priced at $9.99 is just like paperbacks being priced ten times cheaper than hardcover books.

All in all, I don't think Amazon's letter is having nearly as much of a positive effect as they would like. Even the authors and independent publishers who might be expected to have a common interest with Amazon are less than enthused.

To be fair, it is too early to completely write off the effort, but when the most vocal voices are expressing doubt or hostility it does not bode well for Amazon.

How did you chose to respond to Amazon?

About Nate Hoffelder (10612 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

48 Comments on Amazon Sends Letter, Blogosphere Goes Meh

  1. Where is your sampling of the maybe thousands of people contacted by Amazon who DID (like me) write to Hachette at Amazon’s request complaining about Hachette? If you have not those letters to look at, what do you know about the overall response? Do you think the 8000 people supporting Amazon at are fake? No one really knows what’s going on here, but it’s possible Hachette’s CEO received a hundred thousand anti-Hachette emails. People jump to conclusion and call this or that move by Hachette or Amazon an “error” when the error is to reach some silly gotcha conclusion without evidence.

    • P.S.: It’s NOT okay to distort or exaggerate in a headline. Not now and not ever.

      • I have a lot of people who say the letter was half-baked. But I’m not in love with the title so I am happy to remove the phrase.

        • I don’t mean to be so aggressive. I like you and your newsletter. Here is the letter I wrote to the CEO of Hachette at the request of Amazon:

          Dear Mr. Pietsch:

          The Hachette stance in the Amazon-Hachette controversy is irrational and hypocritical and self-destructive. The public wants low-cost e-books and if your business model cannot tolerate that you should think of changing your business model or the steamroller of techological progress will squash you the way it squashed the horse and carriage business during the advent of the automobile.

          As a bookseller, Amazon has a right to sell or not sell any book, and if they choose not to sell Hachette books, who is going to win this, you or Amazon?

          Your only sensible course is to reach some kind of agreement with Amazon and adapt to the new technological circumstances in publishing. Anything else will be both a corporate and personal failure for you.

          Dan Agin

          • Eh. I can live with it. And TBH there were times I was probably more aggressive today on twitter.

            But I don’t really think your initial complaint was fair; you faulted me for not finding something which was inherently difficult to find.

  2. The people who think that this letter was half-baked are letting their own biases interfere with their judgment. Whatever you think of Amazon, assuming they let idiots run their PR strategy in this dispute seems a little far-fetched. It would be far more useful to assume everything about this letter was carefully vetted and planned by people who know what they are doing. The letter might originate from a bad idea or a brilliant one, but taking it seriously lets us reason about what they consider important, the kinds of risks they are willing to take, and how they view the current state of play.

    Even if you assume the worst, say, that Jeff Bezos just lost his temper and screamed at somebody that they better make sure that Pietsch gets as many angry emails as he does after the NYT ad comes out, the letter can still tell you something important. Or assume this is part of some brilliant plan you can’t see, what do Amazon’s choices tell you? No matter what, there are a few things that are obvious.

    The late Friday night / early Saturday morning release was intentional. The letter was composed with a very clear purpose and is carefully constructed. The audience was chosen with a reason in mind. They had a freaking domain ready. Did anyone (looking at you Nate) check to see how long they have owned that domain?

    I am pretty confident in saying that Amazon doesn’t care at all what Scalzi, Streitfeld and Shatzkin think. As Barry has already pointed out, Amazon could cure cancer and those folks who criticize them. People who think Amazon is getting desperate have as much credibility as the Flat Earth Society.

    With all that said, without knowing exactly what Amazon wants to accomplish, I can only say that is too early to say whether this was a misstep. The early returns don’t look great, but they aren’t nearly as bad as most people think. Getting people to send emails to Pietsch wasn’t the only goal. They asked people to copy them on the emails. That suggests they are looking for people and letters to highlight. They are, in effect, crowdsourcing their PR. That is not a bad idea at all. I am sure that David Gaughran doesn’t mind the attention. And if it gets people to buy his excellent historical novels, that is more important than all the huffing and puffing from blowhards like Chuck Wendig.

    • I don’t know that you’re right but you do reassure me that I was right to report on this neutrally.

      Amazon has owned the domain since at least January 2013.

      P.S. Is it okay of I clip your comment and turn it into a post?

      • Yes.

        • And now that I have had a chance to think about it, I can see why he thought that.

          I’m not saying you are in Amazon’s pocket, but I do think you were too hasty to discount all of the bloggers I cited. While we don’t have complete info on Amazon’s positive effect, the non-positive comments I shared come from people that Amazon failed to convince. These represent Amazon’s misses, and had Amazon penned a better letter there’s a chance some might have been moved to send an email. And if not that, at least write in more positive tones.

          • William Ockham // 11 August, 2014 at 7:48 am //

            I am discounting all of the immediate reaction because I am more interested in the real dispute, not the PR war. I can’t judge whether or not Amazon achieved its goals. I am interested in the fact that a lot of the reaction is driven by stupid assumptions. There is an intelligent way to criticism this letter, but I haven’t seen one yet. You could argue that Amazon should have done nothing, that engaging publicly was a mistake. But that means showing me evidence that this was more likely than not to have permanent ill effects on their reputation and that is a hard case to make.

            Or you could argue that some specific different wording would have been better. I would expect real examples and a good explanation of why your proposed wording would be better at accomplishing Amazon’s goals.

            I haven’t seen anyone make a decent case explaining why this was a bad idea. Maybe it was a bad idea or poor execution, but I haven’t seen enough evidence to convince me of that. What I see are Amazon’s opponents being stupid. What we need are Amazon’s opponents to be smart.

          • “What I see are Amazon’s opponents being stupid. What we need are Amazon’s opponents to be smart.”

            So far as I know the people I cited are not Amazon opponents.

    • To amplify what you say, here is what I think is a very good analysis:

    • Chuck Wendig’s critique of the Amazon letter was terrific. The whole idea of Amazon urging KDP authors to bombard Michael Pietsch is idiotic. KDP and self-publshed writers are irrelevant to the Amazon-Hachette dispute, and I’m sure Pietsch couldn’t care less what they think or want him to do. Of course, you and nearly everyone over at the Passive Voice blog are in the bag for Amazon and applaud anything they do.

      • Right. That’s why of all the quotes he posted, only one was positive toward Amazon, one neutral and the rest were not in agreement with Amazon’s statement. Did you even bother to read Nate’s post?

        • Actually, I think Peter was saying that William was in the bag for Amazon.

          • Could be. As seen by postings on every site, it seems most already have their opinions and they are set in stone. For me, Amazon’s position is best for me economically but I do feel the letter was a misstep unless the intent was to draw attention from Preston’s ad. While the media seems to be solidly in Hatchette’s corner, comments when allowed seemed to overwhelmingly favor Amazon. This letter might change that.

  3. I thought that the email message from Amazon was a hoax at first too. I even looked at the calendar to make sure it wasn’t April 1. (True. The email message was weird.)

    Then I thought it was stupid.

    That’s because it IS stupid to send an email message to KDP authors and publishers, as many, many bloggers have pointed out. Why would we care that Hachette’s bad-mouthing Amazon and vice versa? It’s nothing to do with us.

    I expected more from Amazon. Something like: “here’s a PDF of the contract that Hachette won’t sign…”

    Now THAT would be interesting. Since neither side are showing what they’ve got, and precisely what the terms are, it’s all just a lot of hot air and propaganda. And it’s tedious.

    • It’s likely Amazon sent the letter to KDP authors because most KDP authors have a favorable view of Amazon for making the KDP platform available to them. KDP authors are free to publish elsewhere, so if they remain at KDP one can assume they benefit from it and one would think many authors in this group would support Amazon. That’s reason enough to ask for the support of these authors and there is nothing “weird” about it. Anyone who writes for money has an interest in this ongoing technological revolution and the various business models that arise and fail during the transition to a new kind of publishing. There is apparently a cleave now between authors who are primarily digital and authors who are primarily print and that was maybe as predictable as the early cleave between wordprocessor authors and typewriter authors (or even earlier typewriter authors and handwriting authors–and in the very beginning printed books and handwritten books). Maybe the most interesting question is what do we think the situation will be in fifty years? Will the Hachette business model still be around anywhere? What’s going on here is a move into a murky future, so maybe that should be of interest to every author–whether or not they make money with their work.

      • P.S.: In general “what they’ve got” are two different business models–the Hachette model is to promote and make money from printed books and the Amazon model is to promote and make money from digital books. That’s the cleave and it’s been so from the very beginning, no matter the details of any contract.

        • And that is exactly the problem. Currently, print outsells digital (in books, and I am only referring to books) by at least 2:1. Flipping that is in Amazon’s best interests because Amazon would eliminate all warehousing and labor costs currently associated with dealing with print book orders, thus making its 30% cut even more valuable. The way to flip the numbers is to have digital cost significantly less than print.

          In addition, Amazon is trying to compete in the subscription area (all you can read smorgasbord), which is something print doesn’t do and doesn’t want to do and can’t do economically (after all, that is what libraries do for print).

          The point is that the more digital the better for Amazon, especially as it is not a content creator (and KDP doesn’t count as content creation because it is the author/publisher who does the creation and pays all of the costs associated with creation), whereas for Hachette the more print the better.

          Contrary to the arguments being made here and elsewhere, there is nothing inherently flawed about the traditional print business model. And as the book market stands now, with more people wanting print than ebook, Hachette is in fact catering to what the public wants and Amazon is not. Amazon wants to drive the market and “force” readers to go digital by making print uneconomical and thus undesirable. The market may ultimately go that way on its own, but Amazon wants to push it along. Hachette simply is serving the existing market and pushing down the road the decision of how to deal with a changing market should the market actually change.

          Interestingly, there has been no further shift of the market in the past couple of years. The initial surge in ebook market share has slowed significantly, perhaps even plateaued for the moment. But such slowing/plateauing doesn’t fit with Amazon’s future.

          Isn’t this similar to the tablets + ebooks in education? Initial surge then backpedaling by the market yet the tablet makers and ebook textbooks sellers keep trying to force the market.

          • Perhaps I haven’t said this enough (or at all), but I don’t think traditional publishing is going to fall by the wayside.

            I wish certain traditional publishers would die. I wish certain practices would go away. But publishers are still going to be around a couple decades from now. To be more exact, I think that 20 years from now we’re going to have something to point at and call a publisher. It might not fill all of the roles of existing publishers but it will exist.

            The fact of the matter is, gathering multiple authors into a larger economic unit will still make sense even after the current period of upheaval is over. If nothing else a larger economic unit has a better negotiating position than a single author.

            As you may recall, a number of indie authors have complained that indie authors are treated as second class citizens (Kindle Unlimited, for example). I never came out and said it but my thought was that if the authors wanted a better deal they needed to develop a better negotiating position. They need to form a collective, union, or some other group which would pool their negotiating power. Or they could sign with a larger economic unit like a publisher.

  4. My response to them:

    Greetings to the Amazon Books Team and the so-called Readers United team.

    Thanks for this e-mail. I recently crawled out from under a rock, and had no idea of what was happening in the Amazon vs. Hachette dispute.

    To be blunt, this e-mail is an inappropriate use of your list. It may be true you’re facing an unprecedented nemesis, or that you somehow lack the courage or conviction to see this through to a conclusion (I doubt it), but e-mailing authors in this way is, again, inappropriate. I have no love for Hachette, and genuinely appreciate all that Amazon has offered in terms of opportunities and royalties for my dozen-plus titles.

    Please carry on about your dispute, and leave me out of it.

    Chris Backe

  5. Ya know, Nate, you were the one who pointed out that most consumers just don’t give a rip about Hachette. The letter might have been sent to KDP authors, but the version on the web is directed “Dear reader,” and the URL is “READERS united.” not “KDP authors united” (or, for that matter, “bloggers united”).

    I submit that you really can’t tell how effective the publicity is going to be with the general public based on a bunch of bloggers, most of whom were already firmly on Hachette’s side anyway. Nothing Amazon could possibly say would sway them, and they’d find nits to pick in absolutely anything Amazon did or didn’t say.

    I also submit that this is no more (or less) ridiculous than a bunch of one-percenter authors blowing a hundred grand on an ad in the New York Times to try to change people’s minds.

    Seriously, I’m just about ready for the whole thing to be over. But I don’t think that’s going to happen for a while. And I think Amazon is in the stronger bargaining position. Should be interesting to see how it goes, at least.

    • You raise a good point. That was a couple months ago, and in fact the latest survey was close to a month ago.

      Maybe Amazon is seeing a shift in consumer opinion against them and decided noq was a good time to start an active campaign.

  6. Only the bookselling and publishing industries treat their vendors and customers like crack whores.

  7. This was my letter to KDP yesterday morning after I got my email. I actually got a response from them thanking me for the feedback, and I sent them a short acknowledgement of that.


    Dear Sirs,

    Thank you so much for including me in your nicely comprehensive email regarding your current very public issues negotiating with Hatchette and possibly other big publishers.

    I obviously would not even be publishing if Amazon or Apple or even Barnes & Noble, and now Scribd and Oyster, had not developed as they have. I gave up submitting to big publishers back in the 80s (smiles).

    And I, in principle, agree with Amazon’s price ideas. They fit how I myself actually live.

    But those are my preferences.

    And I cannot in good conscience say you (Amazon) or Hachette or any other business entity HAVE to do something a certain way, just because it’s better for me. That’s presuming all is legal.

    Fair? That’s another question. What’s fair to Amazon or Hachette may or may not be fair to readers or authors. Like subsidies to banks or oil companies or who knows who else. There’s always an argument going both ways.

    And yet, eventually, decisions have to be made.

    The only decision in my power, is to say, “I” prefer lower prices (and act accordingly, as per my review of Patterson’s Zoo indicates).

    But in equally good conscience, I also cannot say that without very sincerely stating, Amazon’s exclusive policy for me to participate in Kindle Unlimited, also harms reader availability and discovery.

    And, in my opinion, is unfairly enforced.

    Too many other classes or levels or groups or individual instances of authors NOT having to be exclusive, feels wrong to me. It’s not what I associate with everything else I do regarding Amazon: buy books, music, list gift items, sell books in the regular store, use the Amazon cc, etc.

    All those activities, the sales reporting, consistency of payments, ease of returns, and I can’t forget MayDay on my Fire – are my “view” of Amazon.

    Yes. I want and (usually) only act on lower prices.

    But no, I don’t like having to be exclusive to participate.

    So I think that’s best, to be honest. I’m not a favored author with special non-exclusive privileges, but I still think the world of Amazon. Yet won’t say it’s all it could be, yet… (smiles)

    Best wishes, sincerely,


  8. As a reader, I’m neutral. I feel negotiations like this should stay private and out of the court of public opinion. To me it has devolved into a farce. Without all the distractions, maybe they could probably get this sorted.

  9. I found the whole thing exceedingly bizarre. I’m on KDP to self-publish, don’t really know much about this battle, don’t really care. Well, let me say, I didn’t care – past tense. Now I’m slightly miffed at Amazon for pitching me on this thing with some poorly cited propaganda.

    I replied to the email asking to Unsubscribe. Amazon’s personnel didn’t unsubscribe me and said the next time I get a KDP newsletter, I could unsubscribe from that. How do I keep the newsletter, but skip the propaganda? How come the propaganda didn’t offer an unsubscribe button? So I did the next best thing and within Gmail I marked every previous KDP email as spam.

    Will research iBooks self publishing next.

  10. When an email is titled “Important Request” it’s not a good thing to ask the reader to slog through 15 paragraphs to actually find out what the request is. And then to discover that it involves something you’d never want to do in the first place.

    Amazon jumped the shark on this one.

  11. I’m pretty sure Amazon doesn’t care about me, just the minute amount of money I’m able to make for them.

    Will I get the same kind of letter, perhaps from a disgruntled employee, when Amazon gets its way and can thus reduce my royalty payments? I think not.

  12. I too received the letter from Amazon. And here’s what concerns me as an indie writer. The only thing that has to happen to put me out on the street is for Amazon to stop selling my books. I’m 70 years old and my books are providing me with the only pension I have, other than about $700/month from Social Security. So to see Amazon negotiate by harming authors, even if it is “just collateral damage”, terrifies me.

    • @Catherine, unless you’re in a restricted position with Amazon (by choice, or default if you’re in Kindle Unlimited), you might explore Scribd and Oyster among many other options.

      I feel those have the momentum of where the market is (supposedly) trending toward, ebook subscription services.

      Either way, all the best wishes for you. Keep writing. (smiles)

    • Amazon’s value is discoverability.

      Otherwise, nobody is at its mercy when it’s easy to set up a shopping cart on one’s own site.

      If authors don’t sell their own wares through their own site, they’re not truly taking control of their fates, whether they think they are or not.

      Amazon does NOT have me over a barrel. Period. Nobody else does, either.

      And that’s why I don’t really care one way or another.

  13. @Nate – “…my thought was that if the authors wanted a better deal they needed to develop a better negotiating position. They need to form a collective, union, or some other group which would pool their negotiating power. Or they could sign with a larger economic unit like a publisher.” –

    Very much agree. And very glad you spoke out with this, thank you!

  14. When I got the letter from Amazon, I was shocked at how blatantly propagandistic it was. They make the claim that there are no returns for ebooks (I get returns every month) and there is no transportation costs (I get charged $0.15 per Mb for delivery). It is clear that they are looking for mindshare, not accuracy or, God forbid, truth.

    But the thing that makes this most disingenuous is the idea that they are trying not to put the authors in the middle. Of course they are. They have had the authors in the middle of their war on the competition for years, practically since day one. Their Most Favored Nation clause makes it impossible for me to work with any other ebook retailer that might want to set their own prices, especially if those prices are below Amazon’s. Effectively, Amazon promises–and delivers–punishment upon authors and independent publishers for working with any ebook retailer that dares to undercut them. If they were really in it for the reader, and not themselves, they would eliminate that clause and allow me to profit at Amazon and anywhere else I can sell my books.

    In essence, Amazon is not above twisting reality to suit their purposes. My only concern is the possibility that someone influential will by their BS and help convince any number of impressionable readers, authors, or publishers that Amazon is fighting the good fight, and that Amazon has the authors and readers at heart. It’s just simply not true.

    • “They make the claim that there are no returns for ebooks (I get returns every month) and there is no transportation costs (I get charged $0.15 per Mb for delivery).”

      Heh. This is true.

      • The transportation costs are true but print returns from customers in brick and mortar are usually invisible to the author and publisher because that same book can be resold to someone else. Perhaps Amazon should have been more exact in their wording.

  15. Great point about those ‘penny dreadfuls’ predating mass-market paperbacks.

    Amazon’s just-launched attacks on Disney may prove a major blunder. It’s been arguing that Hachette has been resisting its will because the publisher is greedy. But taking on Disney means that it also has to demonize Mickey Mouse too. And if Hachette continues to resist, Amazon may soon be fighting a third publisher.

    At that point it will start to look to the public like the fault lies with Amazon alone.

  16. I thought the letter was extremely well composed, yet full of twisted logic. And, by their own account, it seems as though Amazon is telling Hachette how to run its business. Spooky that no one at Amazon wants to be the face of this debate…the letter was signed by the Amazon Book Team….really a name you can trust to fight the good fight for “reading culture”. I went through the letter line by line:

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