AMAZING THINGS: Hatchette and Amazon Settle Dispute

It’s being blasted all over, but for those getting their first look here – the Amazon vs Hatchette Book Group dispute over pricing of e-books has been settled.

Naturally, neither side is disclosing the details of the settlement, but the results are that a new three year distribution deal has been signed and Hatchette will be allowed to set the prices for their ebooks.  Various and sundry are suggesting that there are various “incentives” built into the deal that will “encourage” Hatchette to move in the direction of Amazon’s desired lower pricing scheme for e-books.

First – glad its over in time for the Holiday rush – this will no doubt help out a bunch of authors who have been negatively affected by Amazon’s throttling practices

Second – looks like from the outside that if you’ve got to give the ‘win’ to anyone, it goes to Hatchette.  There was a lot about this deal that was never released to the public, but one thing was known for sure:  a major bone of contention was Amazon’s desire to get Hatchette to fall in line with lower pricing for ebooks – and Hatchette resisted.  Considering that Hatchette retains the right to set their own prices, it makes it look like a win for them (pending, of course, whatever they gave up in exchange for that right).

Third – not to pleased that Hatchette chose to sign the deal rather than continue to upset the applecart and maybe think about going their own way.  In the long run, this deal may be good short terms for Hatchette authors, but it certainly does one thing for Amazon in the win department – it keeps a big publisher under their distribution thumb, and that’s not a good thing.

Indie authors who may take offense at that assessment, please note:  my issue is with Amazon, its drive for monopsony/dominant market share of the book distribution channel and the firm historical fact that nononopsony/monopoly has NEVER worked out for the good.  Unless of course you are Pharoah.  I’d have nothing to say at all on this subject if there were a second player that kept Amazon from controlling so much of the ebook market.

Of final note:  the Author’s Guild is writing a letter to the Justice Department regarding this issue, so it ain’t over.

From around the web:

NY Times    NPR    Forbes    Guardian     Wall Street Journal    Washington Post    USA Today     Slate


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