By now many of you know of Amazon’s latest bullying incident, delaying shipment of certain titles published by Hachette by as much as three weeks or longer, some say in order to force Hachette to concede more profit to Amazon. Hachette, the French company that bought the Time Warner Book Group in 2006, includes a number of American imprints, including Little Brown and Hyperion, and authors such as Malcolm Gladwell, Kate Atkinson, James Patterson, and George Pelecanos.
Amazon is larger than the next dozen largest online businesses combined, controls well over a third of the American book trade, and has flexed its monopoly muscle in similar ways numerous times. By creating obstacles to buying books from certain “uncooperative” publishers, Amazon also prompts customers – and this may be the ulterior motive here -- toward the option in which they are vastly more dominant, the e-book format.
If you’re in a hurry for your Hachette title, try Square Books, or any other independent bookseller. We don’t have robots snoop around to create your “profile” based on what you read or buy. If we do not have it in stock, most titles we can get in two days, and we will special order immediately any book from any publisher for anyone, any time. -- R.H.