For the sake of convenience, I buy most of my books from Amazon. Or, I used to. Ever since the ruckus with Reba Belle and the case of the deleted reviews, I haven’t been able to make myself buy from there.
I thought my unease would subside in a few months (and that this would be a great opportunity to make a dent in my tbr pile), but the more I hear about Amazon, the less I’m inclined to throw my money their way.
This morning I woke to a Radio 4 spot recounting a recent dispute over terms between Amazon and Hatchette, Britian’s biggest publishing group.
The story was originally broken by Bookseller last month, when Amazon removed from sale key front and backlist titles from across the Hachette Group (taking away the ‘buy new' button).
According to the radio segment, publishers and retailers split profits on 90% of the price of a book. However, Amazon is pushing "too hard for too great a share." Currently, more than half of the price of the book already goes to the retailer.
Where does this leave the authors? Well, it punishes them - a publisher giving the bookseller a really deep discount effects the author’s share of the pie.
The ultimate losers are the authors, who get a smaller and smaller slice of the pie. I got 70p per book with a cover price of £10.00. When books are sold at a discount, the author gets significantly less than that (percentages vary according to contract, but they're typically less than 10% of cover price).
In a letter to authors, Hachette C.E.O. Tim Hely Hutchinson stated:
[Despite advantageous terms] “Amazon seems each year to go from one publisher to another making increasing demands in order to achieve richer terms at our expense and sometimes at yours.”
Since then, the agent and author community has come out in support for Hatchette, with one rival publisher stating: “Taking the ‘Buy’ button down is the equivalent of going to a bookseller on the high street and saying, ‘Can I buy that book?’, and them saying, ‘No.’ It’s disgraceful.”
I think it’s time to find myself another online retailer. Listed below are some UK alteratives if, like me, Amazon is beginning to smell a little off.
The Book Depository
Or... I guess I could buy a mantitty emblazoned book over the counter... yikes.