Amazon v Stephen Colbert? Amazon Slow-walks Books by Gladwell, Colbert, Others in Spat with Hachette

In an apparent dispute over sales terms with big five publisher Hachette Book Group, Amazon is slowing delivery of select Hachette titles, The New York Times reports. Among the affected titles are James Patterson’s “Alex Cross, Run” and Stephen Colbert’s “America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t,” according to the Times. Amazon has used similar tactics in the past, including removing “buy buttons” from nearly every Macmillan title in 2010 over disputed e-book sales terms.

Amazon is in some cases delaying sales by format. All English language trade paperbacks by Malcolm Gladwell, for example, ship in two to three weeks, while Gladwell’s hardcovers ship immediately.

The availability of the titles Amazon delays appears to shift from time to time. “Alex Cross, Run” is listed as in stock this morning, while Amazon is still slow-walking “America Again,” which is available in two to three weeks in hardcover.

Self-interest protects certain formats: all titles appear to be available in Kindle editions.

Comments: more
  • Tom

    Questions for the lawyers: restraint of trade? Anti-trust?

  • Jim

    A comment I posted earlier today got deleted by the administrator at the Authors Guild. Apparently I committed the offense of pointing out the irony of Amazon’s kid-glove, monopoly-encouraging protection by the Obama administration Justice Department, and the publishing industry’s widespread support of said administration. A little sarcasm used to be a means of relevant political and cultural criticism. Alas, the Authors Guild doesn’t seem to embrace spirited commentary when their political opinion is gored. Authors Guild, shame on thee.

  • jim

    Nothing to see here. The Obama administration isn’t at all worried that Amazon is a monopoly. So why, faithful liberal, are you?

    • The Authors Guild


      Disqus on May

  • S Berry

    Whoever is Jasenn Zaejian, please DO NOT publish your book with Amazon–you are helping to undermine publishers and writers throughout the United States. Amazon’s goal is to put all other publishers and booksellers out of business and make it next to impossible for writers to actually make a living as writers. That’s why they are doing things like “slow selling” books or removing buy buttons–they want to break the will and independence of the publishing and writing industry.

    Saddest of all is that Amazon ultimately doesn’t care about books–they know they lose money on every book they sell–but it gets people in to buy the more expensive products that they do make money on.

    If you are a dedicated writer who believes that literature reflects and helps shape the culture of a nation, please rethink self-publishing with Amazon. You are ultimately only screwing yourself out of being paid fairly and equitably for your work. Check out Author Guild’s president Scott Turow’s recent New York Times article “The Death of the American Author.” Maybe it will help you reconsider!

    • John P. McAfee

      S Berry, I am sure this kind of discussion went on when we were switching from buggies to cars, too. I published my novel Slow Walk in A Sad Rain with Warner Books in 1993. The paperback came out in 1994. I published On Rims of Empty Moons with Texas Tech University in 1997. I had limited success with both but I enjoyed the process. Still, I had to feed my family so I taught English, Drama, and Wrestling until I retired in 2007. I started working on Ropes of The Sun and finished it in April, 2014. My agent had died by then, I was out of touch with the publishing world, and had nowhere to turn to try and get published. Amazon not only provided the answer, they were helpful in republishing my other works and timely in their publishing of my works on Kindle and in paperback. They give me 70% of all sales, furnish me with a daily upgrade on sales, and are helping me reach a whole new younger audience through Facebook. For too long the arrogant publishers acting as Gatekeepers have dictated to the writer how things are going to go. Now, it is our turn. You want my literary voice, pay for it; otherwise, I’ll sit out here in the wilderness knowing I am in control and can hawk my own books.. I did not abandon the publishers and bookstores, they abandoned me.d

  • Inette Miller

    This explains a great deal. Approximately two or three weeks ago, my paperback copies of The Return Voyage, and of Grandmothers Whisper (which are not published by Hatchette) began to show a “Two to Four Week” delay in delivery. It made no sense, because: they actually had the books in stock. My publisher challenged them last week, and it was finally corrected. But somehow, non-Hatchette books got thrown into the boiling pot. (And yes, it affected neither my hardcovers nor the kindle.) So please have our members who not Hatchette published keep an eye out for these mistakes.

    • The Authors Guild


      Disqus on May

  • bill schaill

    What is the difference between Lord Jeff Bezos and Czar Vlad?
    Both are more than pleased to abuse their monolopy powers (eyes and nat gas).

  • Maggie Meade

    My Hachette/GCP book is affected with the slow delivery (since late February 2014) and also with a lack of a price discount. My book is in the top 15 of best sellers for Hachette/GCP on Amazon (and B&N) – Currently #5,319 on Amazon

  • Jasenn Zaejian

    Aside from low sales volume, never had a problem with Amazon. Will publish next book through Amazon