Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Modest Proposal To Break Amazon's Grip on Books

Shipping books at
"The nuclear option was exercised for only a few days, a mere flexing of Amazon’s muscles. But imagine what would have happened if it had continued. With a major publisher out of the market for new manuscripts, authors would receive less money. And less money would mean fewer authors, and fewer books. (Nor are self-published authors safe from the power of a monopsony: While a traditional publisher like Macmillan needs an author’s consent to change the terms of his or her publishing agreement, Amazon reserves the right to change any provision of its agreement with any author at any time for any reason.) ...

"Perhaps the best solution would be an online marketplace controlled by the publishers — with the 30 percent commission being split 50-50 with the authors in addition to the author’s royalty."

--Lawyer Bob Kohn, writing in today's NYTimes about the dispute between Amazon and Hatchett/Little Brown (publisher of a couple of big books by local authors Roland Lazenby and Beth Macy, both of which are new).


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