I’ve been drafted in the Amazon-Hachette war. But I’ve decided to be a conscientious objector to Amazon’s attempts to put me on the front lines. Here is my response to the Amazon [this link goes to the company’s Investor Relations page] letter that arrived in my in-box:

Dear Kindle Support team,

In a word: No.

While you have a lot of convincing arguments — the paperback argument, the “books compete with other forms of media” argument, and your “price elasticity” argument, ultimately, Amazon is wrong on this one.

Books are not widgets, and authors are not widget factories. Yes, some authors turn out far more widgets than others, of uniform quality and temper, but the fact remains that quality ultimately wins out. And you don’t price quality like it’s a commodity. You say the book buyer should have a say over how much they want to pay for an e-book; well, if buyers vote with their wallets that Hachette books are too expensive, Hachette will lower their prices, without your bullying.

Do you pressure all booksellers to lower their book prices or only the publishing companies? Are you in fact mistaking publisher for bookseller? We all know that book prices by secondhand sellers are a vast and illogical minefield. There are some crazy prices out there. But that’s just the algorithm. Why don’t you make your secondhand sellers only sell their books for 99 cents? Book buyers would buy more of them!

If publishers are booksellers, why can’t they set their prices?

If publishers are book providers for you to resell, then this isn’t about the prices they charge readers. This is about Amazon’s cut.

So no, I’m not going to pressure Hachette. I am going to continue buying ebooks and reading them, and if one is more expensive than another, that’s the price I pay for something I want. My decision, not yours.


one of those authors with a different opinion than some other authors



carolyn putnam · August 9, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Way to go, agree with you 100%. Leave it up to the consumer to decide how to spend their money.

Patrice Sarath · August 9, 2014 at 12:41 pm


David Gullen · August 9, 2014 at 1:49 pm

With you there, Patrice.

Patrice Sarath · August 9, 2014 at 1:52 pm

I hope Amazon realizes how this is backfiring on them. Or even if it is backfiring on them.

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