Let’s Take a Look at the Amazon vs. Hatchette Debate

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Do you guys know what’s going on with Amazon?

Let’s take a look at what’s going on at Amazon.com versus Hatchette, because it certainly affects us as wannabe writers and current consumers. Amazon has longer arms than we realize sometimes. Consider why the fixed price for most eBooks are $9.99. Amazon just picked it and apparently publishers followed suit.

That’s really where it started: Amazon wanted to cap the price of eBooks, which looks great from a consumer perspective, but maybe not so much from the publisher’s view. Amazon also would take 30 percent off the top, leaving authors and publishers to take the rest of the 70 percent.

It’s why Hatchette fought back, and as a result, Amazon has slowed delivery on Hatchette books (no more 2-5 business days), made it more difficult for consumers to search for Hatchette inventory, and stopped taking pre-orders. I can’t help but think that it hurts the authors more.

It shows that Amazon has a scary amount of power, and what’s more is that it’s not afraid to use it.

Many famous authors who are actually non-Hatchette writers spoke out and signed a letter to Amazon Director Jeff Bezos, asking if this is how Amazon would treat publishers, aka its main business partner.

I agree that Amazon has opened doors for consumers and authors. Many wannabe authors can publish eBooks or promote their self-published works through the site, which actually adds some credibility to that person. It also has Amazon Worlds, which lets fanfiction writers for certain fandoms make a buck.

Yet as burgeoning writers, we have to see that this is a frightening environment we’re slowly trying to be a part of.

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Because while big publishing companies like Hatchette, which is thankfully surviving in this economy, start to fight Amazon and as Amazon uses all of its power to make it irrelevant, what does this mean for even the small guys? The small prints?

I get that many publishers and writers can’t survive without Amazon, but is it really fair for Amazon to create such a toxic leadership over everyone?

To a degree it’s censorship, preventing consumers from finding certain works and authors. To another, it’s tyranny.

Amazon’s a beautiful thing. I won’t forget that from a consumer perspective. But it’s too big to ignore.

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