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Time Thinks "Amazon’s Dispute With Hachette Might Finally Be Hurting Its Sales"

Over the past 6 months I have read many questionable arguments about the Amazon-Hachette dispute, but few rose to the level of sheer unsubstantiated clickbait as the piece that Time published on Friday.

According to Sam Frizell, Amazon’s slow growth in the NA media market comes as a result of the dispute with Hachette:

The book business launched Amazon to success, and now it’s hurting the online retailer’s growth.

Amazon announced its worst quarterly loss in 14 years Thursday, losing $437 million in three months. One of its worst-performing segments? Amazon’s old core business: North American book, movie and music sales. The segment’s sales increased a mere 4.8% from 2013, the slowest growth for the category in more than five years. That compares with a 17.8% growth in that segment a year ago.

Amazon chalked up the slow media segment growth to fewer students buying textbooks, but that doesn’t seem to be the whole story. In fact, the company’s woes may in part be related to its damaging publicity spat with the publisher Hachette.

Frizell thinks that, in a quarter where Amazon’s overall revenues increased by 20%, a growth rate of a mere 4.8% is a bad thing.

In other words, consumers are buying lots more from Amazon than they did last year, and they’re even buying more media than last year, but because the growth rate in that one segment has slowed Times thinks consumers are unhappy with Amazon.

If that is a valid argument then I have to wonder what grudge consumers are holding against Barnes & Noble. That retailer’s revenues peaked years ago and its struggled since then to build itself up.

Or perhaps the Times piece (which I found because DBW gave it the lead this morning) is simply nonsense.

What do you think?

image by nist6dh

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fjtorres October 27, 2014 um 10:12 am

It couldn’t possibly because there is no monster bestseller (in any media) this past quarter, could it?
Or that people are buying less movies and music because of subscriptions?
Or that people are buying way more (cheaper) indie ebooks every day?

It is Amazon feeling the sting of the Manhattan syndicate’s media campaign.


Nate Hoffelder October 27, 2014 um 10:22 am

Or that the increasing shift to digital means fewer big ticket DVD purchases?

fjtorres October 27, 2014 um 12:14 pm

No way!
Lots of wishful thinking out there…

Mike October 27, 2014 um 10:12 am


AvidReader October 27, 2014 um 10:27 am

Amazon #1 on the Brand Keys2014 Loyalty List.

AltheGreatandPowerful October 27, 2014 um 11:07 am

Yeah, SELL SELL SELL all you stock…

Daniel Vian October 27, 2014 um 1:30 pm

And who else might have a massive short position on Amazon? The New York Times? Streitfeld? Salon? This would not be the first time the media and journalists have used their slanting power to influence the stock market. The assumption that they do not do it makes no sense–the media industry has always been corrupted.

Common Sense October 28, 2014 um 12:31 am

They need to get out of their publishing world bubble. Most people have no idea who publishes the book they’re interested in and have never heard of the battle between Amazon and Hachette. All most people care about is price, availability, and good service and Amazon generally wins in all of those categories.

Nate Hoffelder October 28, 2014 um 5:58 am

There are even authors who i adore where I have to look up the publisher.

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