The offer sounded almost too good to be true, but the reports on Tuesday were from reliable sources. Caught in a publicity fire-fight with Hachette Book Group authors and publishers, Amazon appealed to one of the parties for peace. The online shopping giant had proposed – perhaps more accurately, it had dared –to give Hachette authors 100% of all their e-book revenues for the duration of Amazon’s pricing dispute with the publisher.
So what does the bid for authors’ sympathies say about the Amazon perspective on the future of book publishing?
“It’s about price control,” Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer, declares. “Amazon is showing its teeth in an effort to ensure that in a post-DOJ settlement world, the e-book business never goes back to agency pricing.”
Many observers have argued that Amazon is only after more margin, though Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally he doesn’t see any reason to think so. “If Amazon prevails and gets near what it is asking, according to analyst Peter Cohan, we’re only talking about $11.2 million in additional revenue – that’s about .014% of Amazon’s $78 billion in revenue. Hardly worth the trouble.”
Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.