The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 254): Amazon vs. Hachette

In episode 254 of the SF Signal Podcast Patrick Hester brings together Gail Carriger, Jay Garmon, Derek Austin Johnson, and Michael R. Underwood to discuss:

Does the average book buyer/reader care about the Hachette v Amazon battle? SHOULD they care and why?

The average book buyer probably doesn’t know there’s a battle going on, so WHY should they care? WHY should they not? Is this whole thing contained within the SF&F community and, therefore, a non-issue for most people? Hachette is a multi-billion dollar company being portrayed as the innocent underdog – why? Is that accurate? Is there anyone beyond authors who will truly be hurt by all of this? What does all of this mean for the average reader going forward? What does all of this mean for authors going forward? What about independent publishing? Will people be people an buy their books wherever they want no matter what happens here?

This is also only the first of several battles to come. The publishers have to renegotiate with Amazon one by one… so will we be seeing this every couple months/years forever?

Lastly – what about the new Kindle Unlimited? Do we care? Is it good, bad, indifferent?

The Panel & Links:

© 2014 SFSignal.com
Featuring original music by John Anealio

Tell us what you think – leave us a comment below!

4 thoughts on “The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 254): Amazon vs. Hachette”

  1. Good job everyone not getting too polarised on a topic that the internet seems determined to paint as good vs evil (though it can’t agree which side is the evil and which the good).

    As another Hachette author, I’m not dipping my toes too deep in these murky waters (I do have my sympathies in this particular fight, but neither side is free of fault, foolishness or, especially, self-interest – which in a sense is how it’s supposed to be, since these are after all, corporations and corporations are not your friends, no matter how hard they may work to persuade you otherwise, or how many friends you may even have within them) – but I will say my instincts are that Gail’s got it 100% right: any author, whether traditionally or self-published, who’s watching this and experiencing anything other than a sinking feeling might well have gotten the wrong end of the stick …

    And any readers who think they’re going to benefit from all this in the long run – well, maybe. But I wouldn’t be too sure about that either.

  2. Amazon is, as you say, not the only gorilla in the room. I think they have it sewn up in the one-stop-shopping thing; people are basically addicted to convenience and that is worth a heap to them. Amazon can take a loss on books because selling books is not the only thing they do. It IS for Hachette though. And the longer this goes on and the more Hachette authors get frightened, the more authors they may lose to self-publishing. Controlling your own destiny is important to people and if they feel that Hachette is not fighting this battle for them, they’ll leave.
    Hachette and the other publishers cannot compete with Amazon in the distribution side.
    I would suggest consumers are ignorant of this battle.
    I think ebooks will be given away with hardbacks in an attempt to add value to them. I don’t own a kindle but friends who do have dozens (if not hundreds) of books that they have not read. I have not bought an ereader because I HATE the narrow device thing, and the download limits. I can’t afford to rebuy books.

  3. Baen…

    I know they are icky to the SFF intelligenstsia, but…

    You guys should pay more attention to them. As a business model if nothing else.

  4. Great conversation and it is nice to hear the author POV. The one thing I would like to say is that, as a multiple kindle household, clearly I like Amazon. However, I do try to buy direct from authors if it is available. And as long as authors sell MOBI content (or even e-pubs, which can be easily converted with tools like Calibre) the Kindle has no issue loading them and letting me read them. So a Kindle does not chain you to only the kindle store. Now it is more convenient to use the kindle store and be able to whisper-sync (Anelio are you listening?) between my kindle and my iPhone kindle app, but that is really a very minor issue and would never stop me from buying author direct.

    As for would customers care if the author they are looking for is not available and then buy some other self published author, I would say absolutely not! At least the genre readers I know, and especially myself, I look for very specific authors. I will not read some other, self published, crappy Space Opera, because I couldn’t find the latest Expanse novel at Amazon. And I am not trying to imply that self published novels are crappy. But I want to read Daniel and Ty’s newest book, and no cheap alternative will do. I think readers are brand loyal to the authors they like. And, yes, I will still read Daniel and Ty, even if they are going to be published by Tor instead of Hachette. It is the author I am after, not the company that prepares their offerings.

    Joerg

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