Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) Should be More Fair to Authors: Susan Shapiro

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Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) was engaged in a war of words with Hachette Book Group for the last four months. The dispute initiated between the two companies during the negotiations for pricing of ebooks and contracts’ details for distributing Hachette books. Amazon was very aggressive in their pricing of ebooks and pressed the Hachette group hard on this. Small companies would buckle from the pressure from a big company like Amazon, but Hachette themselves being a big company resisted to Amazon demands.

During the dispute with Hachette, Amazon halted sales of some of the Hachette book, made some unavailable and delayed some book deliveries, which many authors felt as completely unfair on them. Many authors started taking sides and many of them made public statements against Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN). More than 900 authors signed a full letter, which circulated through The New York Times and appealed against Amazon for harming the lives of authors through this dispute. Susan Shapiro, author of ‘The Bosnian List’, talked on Bloomberg TV about this dispute.

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Shapiro said that the Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has made a big mistake and they were not fair to any authors. She pointed out that every author, editor and agent in the US is upset about the Amazon’s actions. She feels that there were many other better ways to handle the dispute between the companies rather than hurting the authors, editors and publishers.

Shapiro’s books were published by Penguin Group and not Hachette, but she has joined the disputed in favor of Hachette. She said that she has taken that risk to stand united with other authors. She thinks that Hachette was just the first step and this might happen with all the other publishers as well in the future. She added that keeping books as hostages in a dispute is not fair and she asked for Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) to be fair to them. Hachette Book Group could have accepted the Amazon’s terms and played the dispute safe for the authors. Shapiro thinks that the dispute was completely due to Amazon and not Hachette.

“It was just really unfair negotiation tactic. In the middle of a negotiation between two parties, you don’t make a threat and then make good on the threat and punish a 1000 authors and then punish readers. Amazon did a very extreme, nasty, angry, down to dirty tactic, that we don’t agree with. […] It was really, really unfair,” she said.

Shapiro added that almost all authors love Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), and every one of them like to see better ratings for their books from Amazon. But she pointed out that Amazon should be working together with authors and not against them by blocking the sales of their books. She said that selling hard covered books was more profitable for authors, publishers and editors compared to selling the ebooks. She pointed out that the profits in books industry started shrinking since the introduction of ebooks and everyone should work together to improve the situation.

Shapiro said that she prays for the conflict to end soon. She added that Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has encountered losses and lost reputation, Hachette has laid off their employees and many authors have suffered through this dispute and she pointed out that everyone has to acknowledge that this dispute was completely unnecessary and parties have to work together to reach a compromise.

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