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By Buying from Amazon, are you Supporting a Bully?

By 10/06/2014February 19th, 2019writing
Is Amazon a bully?
Amazon and Hachette

Amazon and Hachette

If you read or write books, you might be aware of the Amazon Hachette debacle. If you aren’t, this will give you the gist of what Amazon and Hachette are negotiating this very moment.

If you’re an author or reader, (the majority audience of this blog) you’ve all dealt with Amazon in one way or the other.

On the one hand:

Amazon is a behemoth that has leased you your ebooks and is fully able to lay its claim on them any time it so chooses. It could also selectively delete books from your device, without notice.

The New York Times is calling Amazon a Monopsony, the mirror image of Monopoly.

On the other hand:

Amazon has enlarged the book revenue pie for everyone by generating real e-book revenue with the Kindle digital reader, as well as with “the world’s first viable mass-market self-publishing platform,” which has enabled “thousands of new authors to make a living from their writing for the first time in their lives.” (Original article here )

Some independent authors selling via Amazon are celebrating and then,  there are people who’re saying this:

“Unlike almost every other CEO of a publicly-traded company, Bezos does not consider his most important constituency to be shareholders, followed by the board of directors. Bezos knows that if customers are happy, everything else tends to fall into line in the long run…

..Bezos doesn’t ignore profit margins, he just takes them out of the hides of everyone except customers. He pays terrible wages, especially to low-end employees, strong-arms suppliers and business partners to lower prices, and invests in technologies and tactics that will reduce costs, often by firing more people…I would never want to work at Amazon. But I have to admit I like buying from the company.”

This is where my questions come in.

Do you buy books on Amazon?  If Amazon is fighting to lower ebook prices should it win your support as a reader? Do you sell books on Amazon? Are you concerned that the fate of the Hachette authors may one day be yours? Is Amazon becoming too powerful by selling everything from books to electronics to diapers? Do You ever feel that by buying from Amazon, you’re supporting a bully– but that Amazon is simply too good to resist? Have at it in the comments!


And here are today’s Bloggers I recommend visiting!

As part of helping spread the love in my community, I recommend three bloggers on each post, and today’s bloggers are:

Mishika Jenkins or Harliqueen: She’s a writer, and talks a lot about her writing process, in a way that always makes me go aha, and smile!

Vidya Sury: She’s a ray of sunshine, wherever she goes. Her blogs are for you if you look for positivity and conviction in your blog explorations.

Heather M Gardner: If you’re going to make one new blog friend this June, let it be her– a more supportive and kind blog friend is hard to find.

Please join Daily (w)rite on its Facebook Page in case you’d like to be heard by this community. If you liked this post, you can have posts delivered to your inbox by subscribing via email on the sidebar.


Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her next literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and was published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Thank you for liking “After a Halloween Rain” and “Zoomorphic Pareidolia.” I started buying books on Amazon when the local bookstores in my area shut down. Recently, I have not bought any fiction books from Amazon, but I still order school textbooks from them. I do not sell books on Amazon, so I do not know if they deal with their authors fairly.

  • eisyasofia says:

    Hi. It’s great to hear your point of view because I never considered e-books. E-book readers are expensive here in Malaysia so we still depend on paperbacks & hardcopies.

    I write about book-related issues so when I researched for ideas, I came across this campaign in the UK & Ireland called ‘Keep Books on the High Street’. It’s basically a campaign to encourage people to buy from independent book stores and to discourage purchasing from Amazon. I’ll attach some links so you could read more.

  • elegsabiff says:

    Your blog certainly opened the way for debate. Amazon is not perfect but Hachette is out for itself not us, and is going to hurt us.

  • bornandread says:

    This is a tough one, because I LOVE my Kindle. I love it hard, and I don’t want to feel guilty every time I buy a new e-book on Amazon. So, I do try and go to my local Indie bookshop as often as possible and share the love around, but Amazon (or Amazon-owned Book Depository) is usually so much cheaper that it’s hard to resist.

  • cafechica says:

    I love reading and I have a Sony eReader. Used to buy books from their store but it’s closed now, so I have mostly been signing out books from my local eLibary (which is awesome!) or buying the occasional book from Chapters Indigo (Kindle). I do purchase my kids books from Amazon though, simply because I would rather have my daughter read a physical book then an ebook and I can usually find the best deals there! Not sure if that’s always the best, but when you’re on a budget, it limits your options.

  • I am an indie writer and by this time next year I hope to have my first release on amazon. So I hope there won’t be any negative changes that will impact authors from now and that time. I have a hard time dealing with the fact that amazon in the ebook aspect is still alien to me and what the experience is like for first time publishers on that platform. I’d love some feed back if any one cares to fill me in ^_^

  • scarlettfinn says:

    This is of great interest to me and it’s funny because I recently started a discussion on this topic– it’s a very difficult judgement to make.

  • ajaysharda says:

    I will answer this by a question. Have you heard about Wal Mart ? Is its model different from Amazon ?

    • Your comment is interesting. That was exactly what I was thinking while reading this post. However, it’s really a bit of a catch-22 situation for independent authors and would-be authors.

  • lauzlau says:

    Your blog is full of info/advice that I could use. I would like to spend more time reading but haven’t set up a “system” yet for writing/reading. Practice makes perfect! Thank you for visiting my blog & following.

  • Hobbie DeHoy says:

    When I heard about the Hachette/Amazon story on the Colbert Report, I went to one of the (three!) indie bookshops in my community and bought my books there instead. Amazon is already the biggest bully in the playground, and I want the little ones to succeed as well. Yes, it’ll take longer than 2 days and I will have to (gasp!) run another errand to go pick them up AND it’s a little more expensive that way. I’m willing to deal with that to help my local indie bookstores to survive.

  • I stopped shopping at Amazon back in 2008 after hearing an editor talk about their strongarming tactics and how dealing with them was like dealing with a five-year-old’s tantrum. I think I’ve bought three things since then from them, all because the prices were that much cheaper. And none of those three things were books.

  • W. K. Tucker says:

    First off, let me say I am a writer. And though I’ve had short stories published in magazines, I’ve yet to secure a literary agent for my novel. With short stories, I pitched straight to the publishers–no agent required; novels are a completely different kettle of fish. I need an agent to get my foot in the door of the big publishing houses, and the vast majority of agents I have queried don’t even have the curtiousy to send a form rejection, let alone offer advice or constructive criticism like in the olden days.

    To me, traditional publishers–and agents–want nothing to do with you unless you are already a well-known author, or a celebrity with a ghost-written autobiography. Oh yeah–or if you are a celebrity who has written a children’s book.

    Sadly, It seems to have gotten to the point that to get your book out there, Amazon is the place to go, and I may end up doing just that.

    On another note, I’m an avid reader. For the past several years, most of the books I’ve purchased have been in digital format, and most from Amazon. Yes, I have read a few that have been poorly written and plotted, but I have discoverd many, many gems that would never have seen the light of day if not for Amazon.

    The whole thing is a double-edged sword, and who knows how it will all pan out once the dust has settled.

  • Puru says:

    So, is Amazon the Wall Mart of eCommerce ?

  • sheketechad says:

    As someone who purchases most of their books used due to budgetary constraints, I deal very little with Amazon except in the e-book realm for books. In this, I like that self-published authors have an enormous platform to sell through. It is transforming the publishing world, just as it has transformed the music world, in both good and bad ways. As a consumer, I like the choices I now have through this model. Those who have long profited as middlemen and gatekeepers will fuss the loudest, as it impacts their profitability, which narrows in every business month by month, fueled by consumer-driven demands and the ever-expanding globalization model. Digital and centralized distribution are changing our world. In the end, will it be for better? I don’t think we can know

    While I don’t go there much anymore, I, like Raised A Reader, do mourn the pending loss of more brick and mortar bookstores. I guess as long as they don’t do away with libraries, I can still get my ‘book aroma’ fix and be surrounded by towering shelves of books 🙂

  • lexacain says:

    Holy cow – you have a LOT of comments1 Thanks for visiting my blog. Sorry to hear you’re under the weather too. I hope we both recover soon. 🙂

    I think Amazon is a bully, but so are the trad publishers in different ways. My biggest gripe is my inability to buy or even download FREE books because Amazon has blacklisted the WHOLE CONTINENT of Africa. Yes, if you live anywhere in Africa, from South Africa to Morocco to Egypt, you can’t download books from Amazon. And if you order books and have them shipped (like I did once) don’t expect them to arrive EVER. The Amazon shipper relinquishes all responsibility once the books leave the US. They’re practically driving us into the arms of pirates…

  • Hmm…Amazon hits home for me. Not only does my daughter work for Amazon, they have also been selling one my books for 18-years. I’m a bad one to ask that question to since I personally feel that all publishers and booksellers are thieves. Trying to make sense out of an author’s royalty statement is like trying to put together a puzzle with a few missing pieces.

    Where did they go?

    I know a lot about how Amazon operates (with their employees) so I’ll keep my mouth shut for my daughter’s sake. However, since they are the biggest game in town (the web) I’m afraid we are all stuck with them.

    Amazon is like the DMV – you can’t help but hate going there, but if you want to keep driving you don’t have much of a choice.

    Sad, but true. ?

  • trentpmcd says:

    I have a love/hate relationship with Amazon. Anything I want I can find and usually at a good price. There was a time I hated to by books by “mail order” and then by the Internet because I needed to hold the book and leaf through it. A review wasn’t good enough, I had to look at it to see if it fit my style. Things have changed – I’ve bought very few books through other sources than Amazon in the last 10 years. But I know they are a bully. I know all of the bad things they do. (Not “all”, but enough to hate them.) I wouldn’t want to work for them but in the modern world there is little we can do but deal with them.

  • Whenever I can, I try to buy books from Barnes and Nobles. As of now, I don’t have anything against Amazon, but I’m concerned with the trend of bookshops in my area closing down. If there ever came a time when I couldn’t walk into a Barnes and Nobles and see those towering stacks of shelves around me, I don’t know what I would do. Interesting question, though.

    Erin @ Raised Reading

  • Tony Laplume says:

    I’m not just saying this as an employee who lost his job when it went out of business, but this is another ramification of Borders closing. Amazon became the default leading bookseller (did anyone REALLY think that was Barnes & Noble?), and so it gets to throw its weight around. Here is some of that in action.

  • As with all companies when they don’t have competition, they can make their own rules. Readers are definitely the winners – but it would be nice if everyone could appreciate the amount of effort that goes into writing a book. No one would expect to only acquire free chocolate bars or TVs would they?

  • -Do you buy books on Amazon?

    Yes I do. Not often though.

    -If Amazon is fighting to lower ebook prices should it win your support as a reader?

    I’m a fan of lower prices.

    -Is Amazon becoming too powerful by selling everything from books to electronics to diapers?

    Maybe. Kind of like Walmart.

    -Do You ever feel that by buying from Amazon, you’re supporting a bully– but that Amazon is simply too good to resist?

    I have to admit that I hadn’t thought about it much. I’m a fan of books and reading in general, so I just bought books on my tablet.

    Great blog and thanks for visiting mine earlier!

    • Damyanti says:

      I guess the modern age is one when we have to think about everything we buy, where it comes from, and at what price :).
      Thanks for your comment.

  • Yes, I am the kind of feeble person who buys from Amazon, but wishes they didn’t. I will no doubt pay up for them to stock the book I am self-publishing, though I have resisted making the e-book version through them.

  • Back in February, Beorge Packer wrote an excellent article in The New Yorker about Amazon, in what has been called, “Is Amazon Bad for Books?”

    You can find it here:

    It’s a long article, but a good read. What I find most disturbing about it is how Amazon forces book publishers to pay ‘promotional fees’ to get their books higher in Amazon’s mysterious book ranking algorithms. How can an indie author compete with that?

    • Damyanti says:

      That’s an interesting perspective– I wonder what those who have defended Amazon here have to say about that? I’m still on the fence– any big conglomerate, be it Hachette or Amazon, I look at with caution.

  • IMHO, I guess it all depends if one is a consumer or a provider. While their strategy might pinch the authors or publisher, it does benefit lots out there as consumers. I have realized that, in life, nothing is absolute good or bad and it all depends on the context or perspective one is in. As a terrorist is one country is martyr in another, the slave or colonizer comparison tantamount to who is looking at it. While they are in business to make money, they are also creating so many jobs .With their recent launch in India, consumers stand to gain a lot….

    • Damyanti says:

      Yes, but I’m wondering if there’s no competition, any market becomes unstable… I’m glad India has Flipkart as an alternative.

  • INSIGHTS says:

    That’s an interesting one Damyanti, I am often perplexed about the presence of a single market capture. One company becomes too big and starts wiping out the local competition till it starts a monopoly and the rest keep falling a prey to it. Perhaps the effect is minimized by the presence of a strong competition to keep things on track offering a customer enough choice to rationalize and identify which solution he wants. I guess Flipkart is doing that for amazon and the other way round. I just hope that one doesn’t acquire the other!

  • Harliqueen says:

    First off, thank you for linking to my blog! 😀 That was really kind of you.

    Great post by the way. I have to admit, I haven’t looked too much into it, and have been mostly following it though the posts people have been doing on it. It seems like giant companies do like to swing their egos around!

    • Damyanti says:

      They do, indeed. And you’re welcome to the mention– you’ve supported this blog for a while now, and I’m grateful.

  • We’re in a big market disruption. Right now, Amazon is the big player, but who knows a year or three from now? Remember when everyone was bewailing the power of B&N?

    Going by the squawking, the biggest squeeze seems to be felt by the Big Five. And yet I read that they are raking in the profits and sales are up. I feel more for their authors, who do not own rights to their own works and, especially in the midlist, watch their books fade away, untended, earning a fraction of the profits.

    I feel the Big Five are the ones who have to adapt to a new marketplace where indie authors have many options.

    Where does this leave me re Amazon? Right now, Amazon is the indie author’s biggest friend. Thousands are running businesses, paying mortgages, putting kids through school, and building an investment that keeps earning over time. One could argue that this would not be happening if Amazon hadn’t invested in a huge way in Kindle and POD. They proved the market that everyone else is now chasing.

    And the end is not written. With Nook allying with smartphone superpower Samsung, and more and more people reading ebooks on apps, not just dedicated devices, who knows? Could we be at Peak Amazon in terms of ebook dominance?

    I love indie bookstores. We have some okay ones, but I believe indie bookstores are missing out by allying themselves with the Big Five and, for the most part, shutting out indie authors. The result is that many indie bookstores end up being nothing more than B&N light. I long for the days when indie bookstores offered what you couldn’t find elsewhere. Some bookstore entrepreneurs like Sarah McNally are finding ways to thrive.

    • Laura–I completely agree with the point you make about indie bookstores. At the very least, I think indie bookstores would do well to sell indie books by local authors on consignment. I’d like to find more indie authors in the DC area so we can approach our local bookstores together to request some shelf space. Anyone interested in this can reach me via my blog at

  • krissnp says:

    Amazon is a tool only. It doesn’t publish book. Readers will decide which books to read, not only the literary agents or editors. So will be the cost. A book doesn’t sell for its low cost. Amazon will drive the traditional publishers to bankruptcy, if they continue to publish the mediocre literature.

  • barn7777 says:

    I have yet to buy books from Amazon, although there are a few I am planning to. However, as a writer, I do not like the idea of lowering book prices–I think any book $10 or less is cheap enough! If Amazon forces books to be lowered to 0.99, I will definitely be looking elsewhere as a reader for books. I will not support this–it really undermines the hard work writers put in to creating a book–writing a story. I heard about this case before, but it is only now that I am understanding it more. Thanks Damyanti for writing about this 🙂

  • literarylad says:

    I’m trying to give up buying from Amazon. Most things (including books!) can be found elsewhere; the question is whether we’re prepared to pay the higher price! I’m not aware of an alternative for publishing our own books for Kindle. Although as I haven’t sold many copies, I’m not exactly financing Amazon!

  • I work for a publisher. We rarely offer Kindle ebooks because the terms Amazon offers to publishers are terrible. However, I do own a Kindle Fire myself, so I am a customer. People are basically stuck between a rock and a hard place on this issue. I have heard of authors making it big however because of Amazon’s ebook publishing, although I’m sure this isn’t common.

    • Damyanti says:

      Thank you for your perspective. I guess as the days pass, we’ll know more about what this debacle was really about.

  • It’s a tough situation for writers because even if we don’t agree with all of Amazon’s practices it’s the main place readers go to buy books… I haven’t self-published yet (my first book was with a publisher) so I will have to see how it all sits when that point comes. Thanks for the valuable post and the wonderful discussion it has brought here!

    • Damyanti says:

      It is always a decision– both self pub and trad pub are so hard I wonder how the world is crawling with so many of us 🙂 — writers should, logically, have been an extinct species by now 😀

  • Liz A. says:

    I got a nook rather than a Kindle, but I still find that I buy from Amazon. I do worry, this race to the bottom ultimately hurts those that want to sell stuff, and that will effect me at some point. I see what Bezos is getting at, too. This is a hard one.

    • Damyanti says:

      The race to the bottom will eventually give rise to a new winner. When the situation becomes untenable, something always comes up. The way I see it, there will always be readers, and probably, the same goes for writers.

      • I would be more concerned about Amazon’s labor practices than it’s bullying of suppliers. Frankly, Hachette is part of Lagardere’ Publishing a giant French publishing company so I as a reader couldn’t care less for Hachette being shafted it’s already a big company part of a bigger company and it is seeking a merger with Perseus Books Group to give it more clout in fights with Amazon. I’ve heard Amazon benefits self published authors so there’s no reason for them to boycott as it gives them more control over their own books. The big five publishing houses with U.S. offices in New York have a monopoly on the print book market. They can decide what gets published in print. With Amazon’s ascendance some lesser known authors are in a better position. So I think Amazon bullying Hachette doesn’t bother me as much. However, Amazon’s labor practices the way it treats their workers makes me uncomfortable buying from Amazon. Also their use of DRM on the Kindle was a demand of big publishers – they could have learned from Apple’s fight with the RIAA on price increases and the RIAA’s eventual victory in getting Apple to adopt variable pricing after allowing Amazon to sell unprotected music that can work with Apple devices and non Apple devices and allowed another distributor to sell their ebooks DRM free. Translation ebooks could be accessible on Kindle and non Kindle devices. The publishers could even sell their ebooks directly to consumers. Big publishing wants to maintain its control over publishing those days are over. Now indie authors have self publishing.

        The big publishers have been greedy for far too long and their collusion in the Apple ebooks antitrust case to thwart Amazon is for me in this matter more of a reason to support Amazon. If I had to take sides would support Amazon but would rather stay out of it. I try to not buy from Amazon most of the time I feel in general Amazon is too big. If Amazon bullies smaller suppliers that I find offensive but Amazon fighting with larger suppliers I couldn’t care less for Hachette or Warner Bros which was in its own fight and settled on Amazon’s terms. I think Amazon just wants to keep getting bigger and the more we buy from it the bigger it gets. The bigger it gets yes the more of a bully it becomes.

  • I’ve never bought on Amazon but was considering buying novella. Glad to see this fresh and insightful perspective. I wrote short stories and do read, temme honest feedback.

  • Finley Jayne says:

    I shop quite a bit on Amazon, but not usually for books (I buy 2-3 ebooks a year, on average). I really like Amazon because of their prices, diversity of items available and their free shipping option. We buy things like pet food (the fish food we buy is ridiculously marked up at our local pet store), and then things that I can’t find locally for a decent price (if at all).

    But, I’m also working on my first ebook, and as of right I’ll be using Smashwords, and will probably bypass Amazon. So for me-I love Amazon for some things, but books aren’t one of them 🙂

  • ccyager says:

    I buy from Amazon, usually if I cannot find what I want in bricks and mortar stores. Unfortunately, this happens more and more frequently. I am selling my e-book at Amazon, but I am also selling it at Barnes & Noble and Kobo. I’m not that fond of the Kindle software. But as a publisher now, I must recognize that Amazon offers a huge market to sell into. You cannot ignore the thing, but it’s still possible to offer alternatives at the same time.

    Even for my e-book, Amazon wants proprietary rights which I have not granted. If I wanted to sell via the Kindle Direct Select and be able to offer free books, special deals, etc. then I would not be able to sell the e-book anywhere else. That was unacceptable to me, so I’m not in the program. I can offer special deals and free books elsewhere. So I understand what Hachette is going through. As a publisher, they want to retain control over their product and its pricing. They should be able to. Amazon, however, wants full control.

    Is Amazon a bully? Bullies tend not to provide so much that is good for sellers and publishers. I’d call Amazon a control freak, obsessed with cutting expenses in order to increase profits.


  • I generally purchase from one of the local indie bookstores, or sometimes B&N. I know they are a “big box” chain store, but I like the fact that they provide a place where kids can explore shelves of books. The only time I buy books from Amazon is if they are used out-of-print books or school texts that require a long wait to get them locally.

  • Maybe. I’ll consider shopping at Borders more often. I read an article that pointed out that Amazon’s tactics resemble something that a monopoly would do, and that reminded me of what big cable companies are doing to force changes to the internet. The key is that there isn’t enough competition for Amazon to make it worth their while to think about consumers.

  • Gargi Mehra says:

    Hi Damayanti, I have been following this debate with great interest. Like you I’m on the fence and neither for or against. Possibly if I had self-published and gained a lot from it I might have supported Amazon. Indeed it appears that the supporters of the respective parties are those that have gained from their association with them. Traditionally published authors support Hatchette and Self-publishers support Amazon. I liked Chuck Wendig’s balanced viewpoint, though it is a bit much for any of the Big 5 to call Amazon a monopoly or a behemoth or a bully when similar words could be applicable to them also.

  • Desiree B says:

    I’ve seen this Amazon vs Hatchette dilemma all over social media but I didn’t bother to look into it. Thanks for sharing this post, now it’s clear.

    As for the discussion, I do buy from amazon but I’m not married to them. I buy the products that I want wherever I can find them for a cheaper price. Most of the time, amazon isn’t the answer. With that said, I don’t think I’m supporting anyone lol.

    This problem between Amazon and Hatchette seems, to me, to be a power struggle between two companies. We’re only getting one side of the story so that makes it hard to say who’s really the “bad guy”. Why is Amazon suddenly stomping Hatchette? What were the terms of this “failed negotiation deal” between these two companies? What’s really going on?!

    I don’t know about you…but I feel like smoke is being blown into my face.

    It’s a shame that so many authors are caught up in this situation just because two companies are having a stare down contest. *sigh*

  • Susan Scott says:

    Wow Damyanti! I had no idea! yes I do buy from – not often but I do because of the lesser Kindle price. I haven’t checked out Smashwords for my WIP but I surely will. Thanks for pointing this out. The comments in this post are valuable as are your responses back to them. Will look at this more thoroughly when time permits. As well as thanks for the bloggers recommended which I popped over to and commented. Nice choice. Vidya is always a ray of sunshine! sells my book when I made it an e-book (though I am still to receive royalties – living in South Africa presents a ‘difficulty’).
    Garden of Eden Blog

  • Jonathan says:

    Everybody seems to be behaving as if Amazon is a utility, such as a Public Library, and they are wrong to do so. Amazon is no different than any supermarket, and does deals with publishers to supply their goods. Hachette are playing a very dirty marketing game to make Amazon look bad, when in reality it’s just Hachette that are not willing to pay the same as everybody else to have Amazon sell their goods…

    • Ben Wonders says:

      I agree with Jonathan, clearly Hachette is not willing to accept the price point that Amazon wants and this is some dirty marketing to get Amazon to relent.

  • Julia Lund says:

    A question with so many twists and turns to the answer(s). I tend to buy books from Amazon that are more ‘niche’, as Amazon has the information on stock available at the click of a button that links you to other possibilities you didn’t even know existed. For example, when I was researching my latest novel, I discovered a wealth of possibilities on Amazon for the background reading I needed to do. I could have gone into town to place orders at the indie bookshop after deciding what to buy, but Amazon was quicker and more convenient, and, since the global financial crisis and the UK government’s austerity measures, which saw thousands of public workers (me included) lose their careers and incomes, every penny counts. Even parking charges going into town. Added to that, I heard a report recently that consumers in the UK make up the largest internet purchasing market in Europe. The UK High Streets are struggling to redefine themselves. That all being said, perhaps Amazon and global business is part of the financial ‘sickness’ that the world is struggling with. Society is shifting; people are finding new jobs but a much reduced wages as employers squeeze every penny they can from wherever they can find them. Consequently, disposable income becomes more precious and bargains are what consumers are driven towards. Specialist shops and businesses are in decline.
    Your post has given me food for though. I need a couple of specialist titles on Jane Eyre and the Bronte sisters. I shall order them from my local indie store tomorrow when I have to be in town for something else. 🙂

  • simonfalk28 says:

    Another really good post.
    I think I turn to the Amazon group more for practical reasons. I live and work in a rural part of Australia and about 80 kilometres from any major bookstore. I also do a lot of driving and find audiobooks a boon in that regard. Hence, the Amazon Kindle and Audible options are a real help to me. I would however, be very interested in other ebook options (especially audio) that offer a wide range of titles. That way I can help others share the competition around the market. I have a little experience with Kobo and obviously need to do more homework in that regard. I’d be interested in other posts of about ereader and audio options.
    Having said all of that, I still love the experience of going and browsing in real book shops and libraries and the feel of opening a new book for the first time! 🙂

  • Lainey says:

    I’m conflicted….I do buy from amazon as well as other places. I get how they are bullies but I also know people who have been able to publish their work through amazon that couldn’t have before – without paying astronomical printing fees. Of my amazon purchases a lot are made through market place sellers. In fact at my last job – an independent bookseller – we sold through amazon and those sales alone got us through a terrible year sales wise. We would have gone under without amazon…

  • JW Najarian says:

    Sorry, but I believe times have changed. Is it better? in some respects like savings, yes, but at the cost of the little guy.

    Books like music have become a commodity and even though some publishers will have to go hybrid to survive, is this really a bad thing?

    Amazon is no hero and I am sure that if they make it impossible to publish then writers and publishers will find another way.

    Like the music industry there is more and more self publishing going on all the time. Change leads to innovation and I believe there are more and more opportunities for writers to publish than ever before. Maybe we will see a YouTube for Books? Everyone will be posting their books and no one gets paid unless your book goes viral and people click on the ads?

    If anyone believes that Amazon will be the single reason why a book becomes a NYTimes bestseller or not is delusional and in fact becoming an Amazon best seller or top listed can be a big deal to many authors.

    If we start boycotting Walmart… oh I mean Amazon, guess how how fast Walmar… opps I mean Amazon will go down…. hopefully you get my drift. Boycotting will not stop Amazon from growing if they are the best deal and service in town.

    The leasing of the book issue is one that bugs me, If you buy the book should you not get the Kindle version at no cost or slightly higher? When you buy a CD at Amazon you can get the download MP3 for no additional cost for your MP3 player. I do not buy from iTunes because after you spend your 99 cents you do not own that music. It is not available to you as an mp3 that you can put in another player so I buy from Amazon MP3. Amazon allows the download of the music you buy as an MP3 so you own it forever! So I say cheers to Amazon for that.

    Your “On the Other Hand” section says it well. So many authors would not be published or make any money without Amazon. The truth is that most authors make little or nothing so along with changes that we say we do not like, they have increased the odds that you might sell more that 250 books a year.

    Writing is a tough gig. I interview many authors and there are many. There are still a lot of changes coming that we have not seen yet. Remember when Myspace and Ebay were too big to fail?

  • mikehaley3 says:

    I only needed to see the word; bully. That was enough for me.

  • Lyra says:

    I do my best to not shop on Amazon. I do not own a Kindle just for the reason you stated above, I want to own my books not lease them. I have a NOOK. I shop through B&N mostly for my books or directly through the publisher if there is an author published through someone like Carina Press.

    As a reader, I ask authors if they have their book available through B&N or available in epub format since that is what NOOK supports. It bothers me when they tell me to just get the Kindle app. I reply that it is not the readers job to ensure that they have the “correct” e-reader for what they want to read but for the author to make sure that their work comes in multiple formats. Then they blow me off. Sorry I don’t want to support writers who have that attitude.

    I’m also a writer. I’m considering either going through a small press or self-publishing. Honestly, if I were to self-publish I would sell through Amazon. But I wouldn’t be exclusively with Amazon. I think limiting myself to one venue would be damaging. It’s like if you are are traditionally published you tell your publisher you only want your books to be sold only at small mom & pop bookstores but not Barnes & Noble.

    I work at Walmart. I know they get a lot of flak that Amazon is currently getting. I hear people come in and talk about how they believe employees are treated and how they strong arm suppliers while they are buying $200 worth of items. Once I actually told someone if they thought it was so horrible why are they shopping here? I say the same thing to people who complain about Amazon’s practices, if it’s that awful why are you shopping through them?

  • I never buy from Amazon and thanks Damyanti for giving me another reason was I shouldn’t. I like to buy from my local bookstores, from Bookworld and I used to buy from the Book Depository but now they have been take over by Amazon. They are a bully and I will never support them. I particularly don’t like the fact they have made there kindle almost privatised in the fact they people can only download ebooks from Amazon and cannot even download from libraries. I have had so many complaints about this at the library where I work I don’t think people realise this when they get a kindle. It is most frustrating.

  • I both buy (frequently) and sell on Amazon. I think they offer a great selection at a great price and with speedy delivery. I have 6 e-books for sale with them, but I also have them on Barnes and Noble and to be honest, I get a lot better royalties from BN than I do from Amazon. Amazon’s margin for royalties is pretty slim, unless you do their Select program, which I chose not to do because I earn more from BN so why would I cut off my nose to spite my face? But I never felt “strong armed” into being in the Select program, I just said “no thanks” and left it at that.

    I understand that it is sad about brick and mortar and mom-and-pop stores going out of business, but unfortunately that is the way it goes with what we call “progress”. Just think, at one time there were wheel-wright shops and stagecoach makers, which eventually went out of business when the train came along, and then traveling by train went by the wayside (at least in the U.S.) when the automobile came along. This is just the way of things. Everything is always in flux. Should we continue to travel by stagecoach so that we don’t put stagecoach makers and stagecoach drivers out of business? The truth is, we live now in the electronic age. Most people I know are BUSY, BUSY, BUSY. They don’t have, nor take the time, to find out where the things they buy come from or the business practices of those that make them. Everyone wants what they want and they usually want it NOW (or yesterday would probably be better) and Amazon has made it very easy for most of us. With one click of a button I can know that the items I wanted will be at my door in a matter of one or two days (or on my electronic device in mere moments) and I can go about my other duties. It doesn’t make one a bad person because one doesn’t know what is going on behind the scenes of a business – it just means one is busy with other matters that take up the majority of one’s time.

    This is just an aside, and will demonstrate what a weak-willed person I am – I am an Army veteran but I love Starbucks coffee. It is my reward after a hard day of work and grocery shopping. I have been told over and over that I should not buy Starbucks because they don’t “support the troops”. I guess I feel that my one frappe every two weeks isn’t going to make or break Starbucks, the corporation, the only person that will be hurt is the teenager working behind the counter. While in the Army I was trained in journalism and the one thing I am good at is seeing two sides of a story and often “riding the fence” rather than making a firm stand on an issue. 🙂 So there is my two cents’ worth.

    Thank you for this interesting discussion, as I didn’t even know there was an Amazon controversy until I ready our post Damyanti!

  • Sammy D. says:

    I buy from Amazon and locally run stores. They are both for-profit businesses and I don’t view either of them as “evil”. Some for-profit businesses break laws and should be punished, but profit in and of itself isn’t immoral or unlawful. I’ve lived too long in liberal trust-fund bastions where rich guilt incents them to subsidize things like affordable housing, but oppose affordable shopping like Walmart or Amazin. It’s ludicrous. As for Amazon, our retail industries will continue to evolve as rapidly as technology allows. If corporations like Amazon are so horrific that it’s slave labor to work there, eventually that will be rectified by better jobs elsewhere. If Amazon is so horrific it squelches supplier or self-publisher or customer opportunities, something else will rise to compete.

    Do I mourn the loss if mom & pop stores? Absolutely. I’d give anything to go back to the “good old days”. But the change s irrevocable – you can’t keep only the parts of the past you selectively choose. We want social change and economic opportunity and incredibly fast technology advances. There will be collateral damage.

  • Sam Hughes says:

    The Amazon vs. Hatchette debacle is unnerving at best. While I have benefitted from the reduced prices that can be found on all manner of items sold by Amazon, their willingness to pressure suppliers for cheaper prices, however, is wildly concerning.

    On the other side of the fence, the prospect of publisher’s has always seemed, to me, like a sore deal for the numerous works that have gone unpublished because it didn’t get to the right person on the right day. Not to mention the hundreds of poorly realized novels (to me) that are found lining shelves of local bookstores, both big name and mom-and-pop, which is all the more of a slap in the proverbial face of the writers that have received stock rejection letters because of the above.

    I fear where things go from here for two reasons. At one extreme, Amazon wins and secures an ever-stronger grip on its efforts to become the looming monopoly is positioning itself to be. The other extreme; Amazon is successfully boycotted and forced out of the book market (although highly unlikely it would go that far) and a writer’s only real option is to go back to peddling their wares to publishers that serve as gatekeepers to bookstore shelves and ultimately, the very ability to get one’s work into the hands of prospective readers.

    I’ll be anxiously following this one through to the end to see what comes of it.

    Thanks for putting this out there, it was a nice, consolidated spot for me to brush up on where it stands.

    • Damyanti says:

      Sam, I’m trying to understand this whole situation as well, and the comments so far have been enlightening. Thanks for summing it up so neatly.

  • davidgturner says:

    My e-reader is a Nook, and mostly I buy from BN, because I want to support brick and mortar companies when I can and they’re the only show left in town for me. The trouble with Nook is they do a poor job of indexing things and I often can’t get the books I want at all for it. The public library system is by friend these days – that and direct purchases from the publisher.

    • Damyanti says:

      I read a lot from the Library, also because where i live, it is hard to get any Kindle ebooks. I read on Kobo, mostly.

  • Leah says:

    I love Amazon! I’m not on the fence at all — great customer service (usually award winners I believe), competitive prices, deliver to my door in 1-2 days (I’m a long-time Prime member), amazing selection, etc.

    I am an avid reader who has had a Kindle since 2010; the ability to search and instantly download on the spot is terrific and I wouldn’t change anything! I also love the instant video’s and so does the rest of my family, it’s a great alternative to cable (we also love Netflix!).

    As a writer, Amazon is my hero! No way, ever, would a traditional big-NYC publisher give me the time of day. I have a nice little following, I get a wonderful little side “paycheck” from my ebooks and I’m not complaining one bit about the royalties or the online system Amazon has set-up for us authors to easily see our sales numbers and they pay monthly! Oh, and the KDP fund is like an added bonus, I mean seriously how many traditional pubs do that!

    Here’s the thing: Amazon does it right! People, their returning customers, love them and they buy there A LOT, so now they are very large and very profitable and I say “good for them”! Bezos is a genius and Patterson is a cry baby. If Patterson wants to put some weight behind his whining, why doesn’t he pull all of his books from the Amazon website? I mean, they’re evil right? So why does Patterson, or anyone else who thinks the large successful super company is the anti-Christ, buying or selling with Amazon? Put your money where your mouth is and either pull-out of Amazon all together or leave it alone. I find zero credibility in the arguments if you are still putting your hand into the Amazon cookie jar.

    • Damyanti says:

      I completely agree that a writer-by-committee like Patterson should stop making noises against Amazon. Frankly he would hurt any cause he speaks for, purely because he carries very little moral authority. And yes, I agree that those making noises should pull out of Amazon, putting their money where their mouth is.

      I’m just a little concerned that Amazon can be perceived as anyone’s hero. They’re a profit-making enterprise, and while they might be convenient, may have leveled the playing field, perhaps a little caution in dealing with them would not be out of line. I completely respect your prerogative in supporting Amazon a 200 %. But as an author, I tend to be a bit wary of any organization that doesn’t listen at all to those on whose backs it builds its empire. I’ve heard horror stories from indie friends on how Amazon did not compile all their sales right, or how they got muscled into KDP select. I don’t pretend I understand all of it– but I don’t know if I’m a total Amazon fan.

      I’m not part of the ‘Amazon is evil bandwagon’ either– it is a corporation, and no corporation is moral, so expecting them to be good or evil is moot.

      Thank you for sharing your perspective– it is precisely this diversity of opinions that I was looking for when I made this post. I’m learning with each comment– thank you for making yours.

  • lilicasplace says:

    I do buy books from Amazon and once I decide I’m ready to publish some of my work, I will self-publish on Amazon. While I don’t agree with some of Amazon’s practices, it is the company that gave self-published, indie authors the opportunity to make a living with higher royalties and more frequent payments.

    I realize that they’re being called the ‘bully’ today, but it wasn’t that long ago that the traditional companies had the monopoly over the publishing world. Many forget. Good authors went unnoticed, the ones that were picked up didn’t receive the greatest royalties, and had to give up all rights. I take words from multimillionaire authors like James Patterson (whom I used to admire) with a grain of salt; he has others co-write his books now. Have an up-and-coming author sing the praises of how well traditional publishers treat and pay their authors.

    There was a similar situation between B&N and Simon & Schuster last year that didn’t get anywhere near as much attention. It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out.

    When I shop from Amazon, no, I don’t feel like I’m shopping from a bully. Since I can’t drive yet because of my disability, the fact that they offer so many items online and have fast shipping is like a godsend to me.

    • Damyanti says:

      Like you, I’m interested in watching how this will play out– it will certainly have a mammoth effect on the way the book industry will function in future.

      I’m rooting for neither, merely seeking to understand what others, with better/ different knowledge than me stand on this issue. I agree that if you need home delivery of books, Amazon is a godsend. I wish others like B&N, iBooks or even the Big 5 did try to match at least the navigability of Amazon’s site, if nothing else.

  • Arlee Bird says:

    In a sense no matter where and what we buy there’s a good chance that we are supporting some “bully” somewhere. There is so much in the way of slave and low wage workers in the world, large corporations putting smaller ones out of business, and other examples of monster business models that crush competitors by gaining upper hands. It’s the way of business unfortunately. I don’t know how to get around it when we the consumers want the best price we can get and the sellers will sell for what the market will bear. The big will eat us all.

    I don’t buy much of anything anymore because for the time being I can really afford it. But for the staples and necessities I go to the big box stores like Walmart, Lowes, Costco, etc if I save money. I care about the producers of product, but I have limited resources that I must take into account.

    Tossing It Out

    • Damyanti says:

      Lee, you’re so right. It makes me so sad. The big will eat us all. Slavery is alive and well in the modern world, and the big corporations are the colonisers.

  • toconnell88 says:

    I wonder if including only an anti-Amazon pull quote constitutes bias? It would be nice to hear a succinct summary of pro-Amazon lobbyists’ argument without need for further reading. I fear Amazon is unnecessarily portrayed as a boogeyman by most.

    Not that I’m a staunch supporter, but what they do at large doesn’t really affect me. Their service is efficient and cost-effective, and my personal dealings with their customer service representatives have been resoundingly positive. Until they personally wrong me, I see no reason to write them off. The whole Western world exemplifies shady business practices, so I’ve never understood why Amazon, Microsoft, McDonalds, etc, are the perpetual scapegoats.

    • toconnell88 says:

      Great post, though. If my comment sounds snarky, I didn’t intend it! I think it’s great you’re facilitating this discussion. I suppose my stance, really, is one of ignorance. I just don’t really care to delve into Amazon’s supposed wrongdoings. My experience with them has been positive, and I don’t feel I should have to have a comprehensive understanding of a business’s ethics before dealing with them.

      • Damyanti says:

        To be fair, I did add a pro-Amazon quote too– I think I need to mark it as a quote.

        The reason I’m asking these questions is simply this– I’m just as ignorant as you, and want to understand better. As an author I think it would be unprofessional of me not to know what’s going on, and where opinions stand on this. I have to say that I don’t eat Macdonalds nor drink Coke, not just because they’re bad for health, but also because of their business ethics. I try and buy local tea, and not Starbucks. If we closed our eyes to what’s happening around us, a day would come when it would affect us personally too– it might be a positive effect, who knows? It could be negative too– and that’s why, the need to arm oneself with information.

        On my blog I mostly facilitate discussions, because almost all bloggers know more/ differently/ better than me, and I’m keen to learn– gather all perspectives so that I don’t rush to wrong judgment.

        As long as you’re not trolling or pulling anyone down personally, I’m okay with snark, too. I appreciate that you not only took the time to comment, but came by a second time to talk about your tone– that’s an honest, professional blogger right there.

        • toconnell88 says:

          You’re quite right: guess I didn’t read it closely enough! My apologies 🙂

          I’ve a lot of respect for you and your blog. I think it’s commendable that you’re principled and aspire to a fair world. I guess I’d rather be honest about my indifference than half-heartedly get up in arms about causes (not that I’m saying anyone here is doing that!). If I start throwing opinions about then I’ll have to walk the walk, too, and I’m just not passionate enough about this issue to do that. As a near-destitute student, my bottom line is affordability (be that when buying books, groceries, whatever). Perhaps when I’m older or financially better off I’ll feel differently.

          Anyway, thanks for an understanding response! Keep up the excellent work 🙂

          • Damyanti says:

            I’ve been a destitute student myself– often the choice was between books and food, and guess what I chose ? 😉

            I’m a little crazy that way, especially about books– they kept me sane as a child and now keep me together as an adult. I think I owe them a debt of gratitude. I really wish for an eco-system where books I adore would keep getting written– and I don’t know if reducing a book to ‘content’, with as much ‘value’ as, i don’t know, a diaper, would keep the best books out there.

            I read all kinds of books, from erotica to philosophy to highbrow literary and fantasy series, indie and trad– so while I’m all for genre books that Amazon has made available to the masses, I don’t think literary books would have a half chance if Amazon came to rule the book world– literary writers just don’t sell as many copies.

            I definitely am better off financially today than I used to be, and I wish you the same. But more than that, as a frenetic book lover, I wish upon you a mad passion for books :). Thank you for being patient with me, and for commenting on my posts.

  • As a writer, Amazon has given equity to small and large writers. I wouldn’t have a third of my sales if not for them. On the other hand, they’re impossible to talk to as a seller, they do it their way and barely listen to my opinion, I can’t sell my ebooks there because their price conscriptions are so tight–I could go on and on. In balance, I make a choice to take the good with the bad as long as it’s law abiding and morale.

    I suspect that last is the core of your post.

    • Damyanti says:

      “On the other hand, they’re impossible to talk to as a seller, they do it their way and barely listen to my opinion, I can’t sell my ebooks there because their price conscriptions are so tight–I could go on and on.”

      That’s what bothers me a bit– the fact that there is no negotiation with them or talking to them at all. They are not available even when it is clear a publisher is being bombarded by trolls. This happened to a publisher of an anthology where I had contributed a story, and I was dismayed how Amazon refused to listen, for the longest time, when clear, abusive, false statements were being made against the publisher. Only when the publisher tracked down the troll on their own steam, gave screenshots and links to their sites, that Amazon listened, partially.

      I’m concerned that Amazon might start treating writers the same way it treats its employees– and no one on planet earth would defend Amazon’s record on its employee/ HR policy.

      You’re right. I’m trying to find out whether it is law abiding and moral to support a conglomerate that offers convenience, at an alleged moral cost.

  • Dan Antion says:

    The problem with the approach of only looking out for your customers, is that somebody has to pay for that. Keep in mind that books and eBooks are only a small percentage of what Amazon sells. They drive their low costs by pressuring supplies. Those suppliers then have to pressure their employees. If you want a (long) but interesting explanation of this practice in a near-worst-case scenario, take a look at this article about a different bully –

    I buy from Amazon but I try not to. Yesterday, I willingly paid $7 more for a network storage device at my local retail outlet. They had a guy who answered a couple of questions, and I appreciate that fact. I could have asked the questions and still bought from Amazon, but I think that’s wrong.

    If you are a supplier to Amazon, eventually you will be asked to sell to them for less.

    • Damyanti says:

      If you are a supplier to Amazon, eventually you will be asked to sell to them for less.

      That is the thing that most concerns me. That writers who are grateful to be published at all, and are grateful to Amazon for that reason, would be reduced to becoming content providers so that Amazon always has enough to stock their customer’s Kindles. In a way, that has happened, already. The majority of writers trying to make it on Amazon are sort of slaves to Amazon– the ones who’re exclusively on Amazon even more so. They dare not open their mouths for fear of losing what little they make.

      To me, books, like food or art, should not be reduced to ‘cheap is best’ mentality– because these are the things that keep us human. I’m wondering, though, whether publishers are such great gatekeepers of book culture after all– because the number of indie author runaway successes on Amazon points to the contrary.

  • WTF Pancakes says:

    It’s a complicated question. Both Amazon and Hachette are trying to maximize their cut of the take (note that the author’s cut isn’t even a consideration). Chuck Wendig has the most complete take I’ve read on this subject to date ( Yes, Amazon is in many ways to the book distribution business what Wal-Mart is to pretty much everything else, and that’s worrisome. On the other hand, Hachette is trying to take a bigger margin on e-books than it gets on their paper counterparts even though the virtual offerings sell for less. As is often the case when middlemen clash, the creator and the consumer are kind of left on the sidelines.

    • Damyanti says:

      Thank you for the link. And I like Chuck’s solution– diversify. But Indie, buy local, buy from Amazon. That would keep books from being reduced to a commodity and authors to content providers.

      I agree that by virtue of being big corporations, neither is really looking at morality and fairness. We have to hold our horses before rushing to defend one or the other.

  • I admit I like saving money so I like Amazon. I’ll also admit it concerns me. Amazon’s enormous shadow dwarfs all the small plants below. There is a reason not to have monopolies – all the obvious ones. I would pay a little more for the same products if the trade off was maintaining a competitive market. Let’s see what happens. In the meantime, I keep reading Hachette as hatchet – hopefully it’s not foreshadowing of things to come…
    AnnMarie 🙂

    • Damyanti says:

      I keep reading Hachette as hatchet – hopefully it’s not foreshadowing of things to come…

      I hope so, too. I wish Amazon would loosen up a little, and so will Hachette.

      More than that, i wish both will respect authors more. It kills me that those who are the foundation of the book world, often get treated the worst.

  • Do you buy books on Amazon? No
    If Amazon is fighting to lower ebook prices should it win your support as a reader? No
    Do you sell books on Amazon? No
    Is Amazon becoming too powerful by selling everything from books to electronics to diapers? Of course
    Do You ever feel that by buying from Amazon, you’re supporting a bully– but that Amazon is simply too good to resist? If I did I would. What isn’t? (Too good to resist)
    Cheap now, but, someone somewhere sometime will be making up the difference
    Sure hope it’s not anyone I know!

    • Damyanti says:

      Cheap now, but, someone somewhere sometime will be making up the difference
      Sure hope it’s not anyone I know!

      And that’s the crux of your answer. 🙂

  • MishaBurnett says:

    I do buy from Amazon and I do sell on Amazon. What Amazon is doing to Hatchette is treating them as a supplier with whom they do not have a current contract. That is, they are not giving Hatchette the perks that they offer suppliers as part of a contract, such as pre-order buttons and bulk warehousing.

    The reason for that is that Amazon and Hatchette do not, at this time, have a contract. That’s why they are in negotiation. Amazon is still selling Hatchette’s books, and Hatchette is still paying their authors the same royalties that they always have. Amazon isn’t offering discount on Hatchette books because Hatchette is not offering Amazon discount on Hatchette books.

    It’s kind of like how an apartment complex will offer tenants a better deal for signing a lease than renting month to month, and it’s pretty standard for how retailers do business with manufacturers across the board.

    Will Hatchette’s authors sell more the two companies negotiate a contract? Probably, but blaming Amazon for the time the contract negotiations take is kind of one-sided.

    • Damyanti says:

      I agree that there are negotiations going on.

      But a look at Amazon’s strong-arming tactics, with a willingness to alienate the same customers who are purportedly their top priority, should concern anyone watching. Being at the receiving end of such tactics, I imagine, would be anything but pleasant.

      • MishaBurnett says:

        I don’t see what Amazon is doing as “strong arm tactics” at all. They are treating Hatchette the same way that they treat any other supplier. The problem is that Hatchette is used to being treated like royalty because it is a “Big 5 Publisher”. They are in a situation where they don’t get to set their own terms and force everyone to take it, and acting like spoiled children.

        What Amazon is doing is leveling the playing field. Small presses and self-published authors have the kind of virtual shelf space that they could never get from a traditional brick and mortar chain.

        • Damyanti says:

          While I agree with you that Amazon has had a hand in leveling the playing field, I don’t think it is so level, after all. When you search for a book with any tag, the ones that come on top are nearly always from the big publishers and not small houses or indies.

          Strong arming won’t seem as such unless it is directed at oneself– when Amazon starts talking to Indies to price down their books, (which it already does by ‘matching the price’ option, or making a profile look incomplete if “KDP Select” is not chosen)– that’s when everyone would wake up and take notice.

          Hachette is no saint, they do their best to negotiate contracts unfavorable to authors, but they have strong competitors, who act as alternatives. Amazon has become altogether too powerful– not many viable alternatives in sight.

          This is business, but from what I understand, neither side is very pro-author, at the best of times. At the worst of times, Amazon could be a nightmare that some of my indie friends have gone through.

          But I respect your opinion– it is this diversity and respectful disagreement that makes for a crackling and useful discussion.

  • Doesn’t surprise me. I do get eBooks from them when I can’t find them anywhere else, although I do shop the iBookstore first. (An infinite supply of iTunes gift cards doesn’t hurt, either.) What happens when Amazon crushes all the competition though?

    • Damyanti says:

      That’s the million-dollar question. Even scarier: what happens when Amazon becomes the sole arbiter of literary taste?

  • I wouldn’t be able to buy books for my research without Amazon. Most of the books (fiction or nonfiction, work or leisure) I read are in English and I live in France. Even when I used to live in the Paris area and used to buy from English bookstores when a teenager, the choice went drastically down in the early 2000s. I don’t pretend that Amazon is an ideal business, but when I see that even the choice of books in mainstream book store companies in France diminishes (in regards to the types of books I enjoy) Amazon (whether France, UK or US) is the most practical and affordable choice for me, and sometimes the only one, especially in regards to all that I read in English.

    • Damyanti says:

      I completely understand your situation. I would do the same in your place– but the question is directed more towards those who, presumably, have a better choice, in that they live in places where alternatives are available. I guess the question for you would be: if you had alternative avenues, would you still order from Amazon?

      • In an ideal world, I would purchase from actual bookshops rather than online, because nothing beats the joy of wandering in a book shop. I am unsure that I would try another online shop for books if I had to stick to this, because despite the issues with Amazon, I always had perfect customer service and affordable prices. I would try out another online shop if several people I knew recommended it to me.

  • rabbiadar says:

    I buy from Amazon, but it’s my last resort. I have a dear friend whose family had a mom-n-pop bookstore – now gone. She regards Amazon and Bezos as the Evil Empire, and I can’t say I blame her.

    I am now getting ready to do some e-publishing, and i realize that Amazon is regarded by many as the way to go – but I don’t like the idea of working for or with Bezos. His attitude about labor practices gives me the creeps, and I don’t want to be in business with him or work for him or, well, anything.

    I have found to be an excellent alternative to Amazon. For e-books, I go to Barnes and Noble. I wish I could say I buy exclusively from my local indie store, but my disabilities make home delivery very tempting.

    • Damyanti says:

      I like Smashwords, too, because of the number of formats they sell in. If you do publish an ebook, consider Smashwords. I’m going to look up Powells.

      • rabbiadar says:

        Thank you, I will! I appreciate the recommendation.

        Powell’s is a remarkable store. Their management recognized the potential in the internet and went online early. Their website is sophisticated, and while I would prefer it were a bit less busy, it’s quite good. AND I have the satisfaction of knowing that I’m buying from an indie bookstore.

  • This is a great post! Such an interesting read!

  • rod says:

    I don’t know the answer to your question. I have no idea about the operating practices of Hachette, though I do know it is a very large company.

  • macjam47 says:

    I do buy from Amazon. Sometimes I do feel guilty that I am not supporting Indie bookstores when I do, but the convenience, the deals, and the quick turn around of my order are hard to pass up. I am concerned about the number of e-books offered at 99 cents or for free is on the rise – this, to me, means that authors are on the losing end.

    • Damyanti says:

      I am concerned about the number of e-books offered at 99 cents or for free is on the rise – this, to me, means that authors are on the losing end.

      That concerns me, too.

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