Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Amazon's Pricing Dispute Sets Book Expo Buzzing

by Lynn Neary)

To listen to the 4 minute interview click here.

The dispute between retail giant Amazon and publisher Hachette was big news at Book Expo America. Writers, publishers and agents are wondering what the rift could mean for the future of books.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


Getting a buzz going is what the publishing industry's Book Expo is all about. The annual conference took place over the weekend. It is the premier event in the publishing world. And every year publishers hope it gets people excited about their upcoming offers. Well, this year, the biggest buzz wasn't about books. It was about the ongoing dispute of e-book pricing - the dispute between Amazon and one of the big five publishing houses Hachette. NPR's Lynn Neary was there.

LYNN NEARY, BYLINE: Pretty much everyone was talking about Amazon and Hachette in the hallways of the vast convention center, on the panels of experts discussing the latest trends in publishing and at the many private events that were taking place in various corners of the building. At a luncheon for authors published by Little Brown, an imprint of Hachette, book seller Pam Cady made it crystal clear that she wants Hachette to prevail in its negotiations with Amazon over the price of e-books.

PAM CADY: They're our heroes. They are the heroes right now. And we're hoping that they are able to stay the course so that all publishers will be free of the tyranny - literally, the tyranny - of Amazon.

NEARY: Cady is a manager at the University Book Store in Seattle, Amazon's hometown. Independent booksellers like Cady have been trying to offset the competition from Amazon for years. So Cady says they're thrilled that Hachette is standing up to Amazon, even though the online retailer is slowing down deliveries of Hachette books and making it difficult to buy upcoming titles from the publisher.

CADY: They're losing money daily. Daily they're losing money. And their decision to stand firm while losing all of this money in a capitalist society is heroic.

NEARY: Booksellers didn't mind making their opinions known, but writers were more reluctant to go on the record. A few very successful writers like James Patterson have publicly criticized Amazon, but many authors feel caught in the crossfire between these two powerhouses. Literary agent Steven Axelrod says there's a lot at stake for both authors and agents.

STEVEN AXELROD: I think people are very, very concerned.

NEARY: Everyone is watching this negotiation so closely, Axelrod says, because whatever terms Hachette agrees on will set the stage for future negotiations between other publishers and Amazon. Axelrod says it will be difficult for everyone if Amazon prevails and gets the price it wants.

AXELROD: One assumes that every other publisher will be forced to accept those terms or close to those terms. And I think it will take the profit that publishers have been, you know, showing, which are allowing them to invest in authors and just turning it over to Amazon.

NEARY: So how does that hurt your specific corner of the industry?

AXELROD: There will be less money for advances.

NEARY: In an area set aside for independent publishers, Dennis Johnson of Melville House, an outspoken critic of Amazon, said he's curious to see what happens when the other big publishers' contracts come up for re-negotiation.

DENNIS JOHNSON: I think you're going to see the other publishers forced to do exactly what Hachette is doing right now, and that's going to be interesting. Is Amazon really not going to carry 50 percent of the books being published in this country, which is the books being published by the five biggest publishers? I don't think so.

NEARY: But writers milling around the Kindle Direct publishing booth had a different take on the controversy.

BOB MAYER: I think a lot of the people from Hachette's side are steeped in traditional publishing and want things just to stay absolutely the same and they're not going to stay the same.

NEARY: Bob Mayer is an author and CEO of Cool Gus Publishing. He uses a lot of different publishing platforms including Kindle Direct.

MAYER: I can set my own store. Every author could set up their own store. You know, James Patterson's complaining, but he could start his own website, sell his books to his fans and not need Amazon or Hachette. As long as the Internet's free, they're not going to have a monopoly.

NEARY: But Hachette and Amazon have indicated they don't expect to reach an agreement anytime soon. Lynn Neary, NPR News.


You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.


  1. I surmise the article is really founded on some nonexistent certainties or perspectives. Be that as it may, the thoughts generally speaking of introducing this link is as great and we need to energize the exertion of the person who made behind it. The recommendations are fascinating on the off chance that we would execute them in our reality and I genuinely like it without question.

  2. As there are huge numbers of the extras that are utilized just with the end goal of class in look. As I likewise like nose ring as notice on link and I surmise young ladies might want it since it make more adequacy in the magnificence or appearance of them. I genuinely value the article and like it without a doubt.

  3. Through dispute sets of book in expo buzzing in amazon's pricing. This time you want to saw here but at some of the time you just want to look here. But if you not find then you may not be do more work on it.

  4. Excellent post,The New England loyalists have some quality players who make this group increasingly joined together and offer boldness to advance but you can visit the site to manage your task. I am certain this time this group will play diversely and win the title on the grounds that each time they played great now this time they will play remarkable this season.

  5. Excellent post,Move toward becoming undertaking chiefs isn't a simple errand and each time you have confronted a great deal of troubles and you have to handle every one of the issues but you can get go to site for best work. In this post, you share your experience and which isn't great however you give your message precisely.