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Amazon Customers Largely Indifferent to Ongoing Contract Dispute with Hachette

amazon-logo3Amazon is regularly cast as the bully in coverage of its contract dispute with Hachette, but a new survey shows that all the negative press is not having much effect.

Peter Hildick-Smith of the Codex Group recently released the results of a survey of 5,300 book consumers in the US, and it turns out most respondents  had never heard about the unresolved contract negotiations. Over 60% of those surveyed indicated that they were unaware of the standoff, and of the 39% who had read or heard about most didn’t care.

Of that 39%,  a sizable number (39%) had no opinion, while 37.5% said that the dispute had not changed their buying habits and 4.4% said they were buying more books from Amazon. Only 19% of those book buyers aware of the contract dispute said they were buying fewer books from Amazon.

In other words, all of the media coverage has only managed to convince around 8% of book buyers that Amazon was at fault. That is a lot of ink spilled for not much effect.

The indifference does not bode well for groups like Authors United, which recently formed with the goal of pressuring Amazon to acquiesce to Hachette in the negotiations. Organized around authors who had signed the open letter drafted by Douglas Preston, the group plans to continue their campaign with a full-page advert in the New York Times (funded out of their own pockets). I would wish them luck, but the results mentioned above would suggest that they are wasting their time and money.

This survey confirms earlier reports from early June that Amazon’s brand image was largely untarnished by the press coverage, although it does seem to have had an increasing effect over the past 7 weeks. Perhaps if the dispute drags on for a few additional quarters, Amazon might begin to feel the pinch.

Publishers Lunch



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Peter July 22, 2014 um 11:46 pm

"Hatchwho?" — average Amazon customer.

"Oh, those asshats who conspired with the other big publishers to drive up book prices? And Amazon’s sticking it to them? Good on Amazon." — informed Amazon customer

"JEFF BEZOS IS THE SPAWN OF S4TAN!!!11111111ONEONEONEONE" — Publishing executive, multimillionaire author (ownership of large sharecropping plantation optional), mid-level author with Stockholm Syndrome.

"The whole thing is irrelevant, since nobody reads anymore." — Steve Jobs' ghost.

AltheGreatandPowerful July 23, 2014 um 2:44 am

"Oh, those asshats who conspired with the other big publishers to drive up book prices? And Amazon’s sticking it to them? Good on Amazon.”

THIS. Go, Amazon, Go. Stick it to them with the BIG fork.

beth July 23, 2014 um 6:16 am

Well, I did preorder some ebooks from B&N since AMAZON didn’t have that option–that’s a first for me.

Bob W July 23, 2014 um 7:45 am

Not surprising. Most people that read beyond the headlines would scratch their head and say, "apparently I’m supposed to be mad at Amazon, I just don’t know why." I wonder how the opinions would change if the general public knew what the disagreement was really about. [cough] agency [/cough]

Eric July 24, 2014 um 8:14 am

Funny. On another site, the exact same numbers were used to show that the kerfuffle is costing Amazon money and customers. Personally, I wish Amazon would just quit selling Hachette books and then see what happens.

Authors United Sends Open Letter to Amazon Board, Filled With Bad Arguments and Factual Errors – The Digital Reader September 15, 2014 um 12:40 pm

[…] with consumers. In July the Codex Group surveyed 5,300 American book consumers and found that 60% were unaware of the dispute, and that only 8% were buying fewer books as a result of the media coverage. (And while that survey […]

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