From The New York Times Bits blog:
In the dispute between Amazon and Hachette, neither side is blinking.
Amazon has been discouraging sales of books published by Hachette in an effort to make the publisher come to terms on a new contract for e-books. The confrontation has dominated publishing and bookselling circles. Amazon has been heavily criticized for using writers as pawns, although it also has its defenders.
. . . .
Many Hachette authors have weighed in. James Patterson was vehement in his criticism of Amazon, which he repeated at the booksellers’ convention in New York this week.
But there was one voice that was notably absent: that of Malcolm Gladwell, author of “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants,” “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference” and other extremely popular social science books. Amazon has trimmed or eliminated the discount on most of his books or added weeks to the shipping time, or both.
. . . .
Mr. Gladwell did not quite say he felt betrayed by Amazon, but said he was “surprised and puzzled” by its actions.
Here’s a lightly edited account of the conversation:Q.
You’ve been silent since this story broke.A.
I was initially asked by Hachette to give them some time to negotiate. It’s easier when things are not being hashed out in the press. But several weeks have passed, so maybe it is appropriate for me to say something.Q.
Let’s hear it.A.
It’s sort of heartbreaking when your partner turns on you. Over the past 15 years, I have sold millions of dollars’ worth of books on Amazon, which means I have made millions of dollars for Amazon. I would have thought I was one of their best assets. I thought we were partners in a business that has done well. This seems an odd way to treat someone who has made you millions of dollars.Q.
What is happening to your sales?A.
They have been profoundly affected. Where Amazon used to sell two copies, now it sells one. It’s a pretty big decline.
Link to the rest at The New York Times and thanks to Meryl for the tip.
PG would note that if Gladwell really wanted to partner with Amazon, he’d use KDP to self-publish his books. Among other things, self-publishing would allow him to know exactly how many books he’s selling on Amazon instead of relying on Hachette to pass on whatever information it wants him to have about his sales.
Perhaps PG is in a particularly cynical mood today, but he wonders if Gladwell is in the company of other bestselling authors in receiving an advance so large that his books are never expected to earn out. If that is the case, it doesn’t make any financial difference to him how many of his books Amazon sells.