Following the recent, and ongoing, Amazon and Hachette dispute, many writers, both traditionally and self-published will no doubt be wondering what this means for their work. The truth is that those writers published by Hachette will find that their work is no longer available at a reduced price on Amazon, or in some cases it may not be available at all.
Self-published writers might feel that the reduced presence of Hachette books on Amazon will open up more opportunities to bringing self-published books to prominence. And to some extent this is certainly true, but it might not be the smartest decision to side with Amazon over this issue, no matter how you publish your writing.
The dispute between Hachette and Amazon is not particularly straightforward, but one of the main concerns surrounding this issue is the price of Hachette’s e-books, all e-books, in fact. Publishers have, for a long time, expressed their concern about the fact that Amazon is willing to sell cut-price eBooks, simply because they’re not on paper. They’re so willing to do this, that Amazon actually make a loss on some eBooks, and traditional publishers believe that this is all part of an effort on Amazon’s part to reduce the value of books as a whole in the public’s mind.
Hachette, along with many other publishers, wants Amazon to sell eBooks at a fair price for the author and for the publisher, as well as the reader. For a self-published writer, bringing down the prices of traditionally published books would surely be an advantage, but unfortunately that is not the case.
On Amazon, for example, there is a clearly defined line between self-published and traditionally published books. People are willing to pay more for traditionally published books, which is why the prices can be higher. But people are also willing to take a chance on a self-published book if the price is right. With self-published novels being at a significantly lower price, if somebody is willing to take a chance on them then they don’t have to compete with the bigger names in novels, because their books are out of their price range.
If, however, Amazon gets its way and is able to continue bringing down the price of books, self-published writers may well feel that they are without a hope in their attempt to compete with some of the more established writers and publishing houses. In fact, in this case self-published writers might feel pressurised to lower their prices even further.
So, despite the animosity and disappointment that you might feel for the publishing house that turned you down, remember that in this war, it is Amazon who is trying to devalue the sales of books. It is Hachette who just wants to keep things as they are.