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Hachette, Bonnier, and Warner Bros. – the Rowling Connection

jk-rowling-official-portrait[1]Amazon is in the middle of a very public and very messy three front war against their suppliers.

While Amazon is normally a contentious company which is bound to be in conflict with someone at all times, have you ever wondered why 3 disputes bubbled over and went public all at the same time?

There’s a good chance that it could be as simple as the publicity surrounding the Hachette dispute shined a light on other conflicts which would normally have gone unremarked, but last night I heard an alternate idea. While this idea could well fall into the category of conspiracy theory, it is just too juicy to pass up.

There is a coincidental connection between Hachette, Bonnier, and Warner Bros. which might explain why all three media companies suddenly stood up to Amazon.

JK Rowling

There are probably any number of other connections, but one blogger I follow noted last night that this strong-willed author is involved with all 3 companies. Hachette is Rowling’s publisher for her latest Galbraith novel, Warner Bros produces the Harry Potter movies (including the spinoffs due out next year), and Bonnier is another of Rowling’s publishers for that Galbraith novel.

So what’s the connection. According to Rebecca Allen:

Whenever someone notices how odd it is that a group of people suddenly grew a spine, I perk up, because I know the kind of thing that can cause a group of people to suddenly grow a spine. Usually, there’s one widely connected and well-respected person with more spine than a platoon of Marines — and that one person has decided to Fix Something. I’ve seen this kind of thing in action on a much smaller scale, because I have, on occasion, been the perp. Generally speaking, the sort of person who does this sort of thing is the last person you would expect it from — and they don’t want any bit of credit for it, so arguments involving how Rowling’s name is nowhere near this thing won’t convince me.

Aside from a few tweets, Rowling has largely remained silent on the Hachette-Amazon dispute (this in spite of the fact that her latest novel just came out). More publicity equals more sales, and yet Rowling isn’t capitalizing on the opportunity.

What are the chances that this idea is true?

It’s unlikely that even a high profile author such as Rowling would have this kind of influence, so I would rate it as somewhere between slim and none. But it’s still a question worth asking just for the entertainment value. And who knows, it might be true.

What do you think? (Feel free to tell me I’m crazy)

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fjtorres June 12, 2014 um 9:55 am

Well, aside from the fact that "standing up to amazon" presuposes amazon is the cause of the impasse and Hachette is poor tiny victim, the odds that a six month long negitiation would overlap with another media company negotiation, without any conspiracy are pretty good.
So, coincidence is more likely.

That said, this highlights *exactly* why Amazon is not going to give in the Hachette’s PR campaign. They have thousands of suppliers, many of whom are truly small innocent companies, not giant predatory multinationaks, so if Amazon is seen to give in to Hachette they will face the same fight on a thousand fronts at once. Some of whom, like the TV vendors (who also want no-discount anti-competition regimes) actually matter to Amazon’s bottom line.

My guess is that if Hachette is in fact coordinating with other media companies to publicly pressure Amazon, they might in fact just delist them altogether. Rowling or no Rowling.

fjtorres June 12, 2014 um 10:06 am

Now, if you *really* want a conspiracy theory to ponder, consider that Hachette bought Time Warner books back in 2006 so a lot of the whiney Hachette execs are actually ex-WB staff and, in the incestuous NYC world of big media, are close golfing buddies if not actually in bed (financially or even literally) with each other.

Want a conspiracy theory? How about NYC BIG MEDIA CONSPIRES TO FORCE AGENCY ON AMAZON?

I’m not ready to buy into it myself (at least not until the DOJ starts deposing media company execs) but there’s a whiff of smoke there. If not from a gun, maybe from a big stinky cigar…

fjtorres June 12, 2014 um 10:14 am

Oh, for bonus points:

Add in ABC/DISNEY with backdoor ties to… Apple.

As THE QUESTION would say: it’s all connected! 😀

Just don’t quote me, okay? 😉

I’m not really into (unverified or made up) conspiracy theories.

puzzled June 12, 2014 um 8:24 pm

If I may make a point for the other side: if Rowling wanted to maximise her income, should wouldn’t be publishing as Galbraith. Or she would have let publishers know who Galbraith really was. Galbraith’s book sales weren’t that great until word leaked out of who the author really was.

Afrânio June 12, 2014 um 10:48 pm

Well… her new book will be released next week. I intend to buy it on Amazon IF the book is available for purchase. If it’s not… well… I’ll just get it for free and wait until it is available so that I can pay for it.

Peter Turner June 13, 2014 um 11:18 am

Speculating about something that has slim-to-no chance of being true doesn’t seem enternaining so much as "self-stimulation."

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