November 13, 2014

Burying the Hachette

From Amazon and Hachette Resolve Dispute
Amazon and Hachette announced Thursday that they had resolved their differences and signed a new multiyear contract, bringing an official end to a publishing dispute that blossomed into a major cultural and business brawl.
In an excruciating PR exercise that both companies realised was increasingly necessary, given how much money they were both losing and how petty it was starting to seem to even the most passionate observers on both sides, they expressed their satisfaction with the terms of their new agreement in breathtakingly vague, whitewashed pleasantries.
“This is great news for writers,” Michael Pietsch, Hachette’s chief executive, said in a statement. An Amazon executive, David Naggar, said Amazon was “pleased with this new agreement." [...] Neither Amazon nor Hachette would comment beyond their statements.
But the authors whose hackles were raised during the months-long negotiations are less sanguine.
“I’m relieved that Amazon and Hachette reached an agreement,” Mr. Preston [founder of Authors United, an organisation formed in response to the negotiations] said. But, he added: “If anyone thinks this is over, they are deluding themselves. Amazon covets market share the way Napoleon coveted territory.”
Mr Preston added. "I dunno, does that analogy seem forced? I feel like it seems forced. Time to kill some darlings!"
Authors United and the Authors Guild are in the midst of writing a lengthy letter to the Justice Department.
Of COURSE they are. I'd love to be a fly on the wall in that meeting.
AUTHOR 1: "Frankly, we are shocked and appalled that the government would stand by while an organisation like Amazon, whose business model alone seems sometimes to verge on antitrust, dismantles the publishing industry."

AUTHOR 2: Dismantles? Demolishes? Decimates.

AUTHOR 1: Decimates is a little melodramatic, don't you think?

AUTHOR 2: You can talk. You covet melodrama like Napoleon coveted territory.

AUTHOR 1: That analogy seems forced.

AUTHOR 2: YOU seem forced.

AUTHOR 1: I mean, why not go with Genghis Khan? Hitler? Napoleon feels awfully bland, really.

AUTHOR 3: I wrote a prologue to this preamble if someone wants to take a look!
N.B. I will still gladly accept a publishing deal with Hachette. Call me, Pietsch!