Amazon is currently in a serious dispute with Hachette over the price of e-books. Amazon claims this e-book dispute to be the revival of history; one similar to the paperback books issue, back in the period preceding the World War 11. At that juncture of history, publishers tried to suppress these paperback books as they were a lot cheaper. They considered it to be a degradation of the value of art and letters. While the more potent reason in action behind this suppression was evidently their assumed loss in revenue. The same is the case with e-books now.
WHAT IS AMAZON’S STANCE IN THIS DISPUTE?
Amazon states that increasing the prices of e- books is a loss for both the authors and the readers. Amazon has repeatedly tried to assert this point of view that lowering the books’ prices would help in developing and nurturing a widespread book culture. Since the books would be accessible to more readers, therefore consequently authors would also receive greater royalty checks. Thus eventually, both the parties would be benefited. Amazon further tries to shed light on this significant fact that it is not merely books that books have to compete against ; rather they have to compete against movies , social media , TV channels , news sites , blogs and other media. Thus their prices ought to be competitive, so that the literary and book culture is eventually widened.
WHAT IS HACHETTE’S STANCE IN THIS DISPUTE?
E books should definitely have a lower price, as they are devoid of printing, over-printing; need to forecast, returns, lost sales due to out of stock, warehousing costs, transportation costs and secondary market. However Hachette insists on selling e-books at high prices.
ILLEGAL COLLUSION- ITS ROLE IN THIS BOOK DISPUTE
If we trace back history , we observe that while this paperback books issue was at its peak , a famous author George Orwell gave a public statement that if publishers would have had any sense , they would all have got together and tried to suppress this paper back revolution. Indirectly George Orwell suggested collusion. Undeniably collusion is an illegal act and Hachette has already been guilty of this. This collusion to raise the prices of e-books is not only illegal but is also highly dis respectful.
WRITERS’S STANCE ON THIS DISPUTE
Many writers support Amazon on this issue that prices should be lowered. Understandably of course the writers do not want to become a part of this dispute, while Hachette prefers keeping the writers in middle to use as leverage.
Amazon has so far made three offers to Hachette which are as follows:
- First suggestion was that Amazon and Hachette together make the author loyalties whole while the dispute lasts.
- The next suggestion was that until the resolution of this dispute, the authors receive 100% of all sales of their titles.
- The third suggestion was that normal business operations would be resumed if Amazon and Hachette’s normal share of revenue went to a literary charity.
Yet Hachette cast all these suggestions aside, hoping that keeping authors in the midst of the dispute would turn out to be leverage for their case.
Amazon pledges to stand by its case for a healthy reading culture. It promises to never give up its just fight for lowering the prices of e-books; and for this purpose it asks for support from both the readers and authors alike. Amazon requests everyone to mail Hachette at
Hachette CEO, Michael Pietsch: Michael.Pietsch@hbgusa.com
And then to copy them at