Sunday, April 3, 2011
The Pale King
So again actual bookstores are upset with Amazon over perceived or real advantages the behemoth gets. Now? Now it is this.
What to do? Be outraged? Boycott Hachette(the publisher who knowingly made this deal with the devil)? Or shrug?
I mostly opt with option three. Outrage won't change this. Boycotting Hachette will only hurt the quality of our store and the choice in books our customers have. The reality is that we are long past a time when anyone was on equal footing in this business. Overall sales to indies across the land are a mere drop in the overall bucket of sales. That is real. And publishers are scrambling to save themselves. They'll take any kind of revenue they can get because they are desperate.
The only piece of this puzzle that is a little disturbing to me is this quote: “I don’t really understand the confusion,” Ms. Dewey said. “This happens all the time. There’s nothing unusual about it.” That's apparently from one of their publicists(Nicole Dewey). And it's pretty pathetic aside from her willingness to toe the company line. Sure, no one should be upset about the fact that they can't sell a book customers are asking about and others are selling.
Here's my bottom line--on-sale dates are pointless at this point. Outside of Harry Potter, where Scholastic basically made booksellers promise their eternal souls not to sell the book before a specific date, I'll sell any book that comes into the store. Before the date or not. Because I know other stores are doing the same. When I've complained to publishers about this fact I have never, not once, heard back from them. They won't punish the chains or Amazon because they can't afford to. So if they decide to punish us or some other small store so be it.