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Friday, June 13, 2014

Stephen Colbert: "Because of Amazon's Scorched-Earth Tactics, More People Are Getting Screwed Than in 50 Shades of Grey"

Posted by on Fri, Jun 13, 2014 at 2:32 PM

1. As a protest against Amazon's ongoing battle against Hachette, Stephen Colbert wants to land Edan Lepucki's upcoming Hachette novel California on the New York Times bestseller list.

You can buy California from your local bookseller by going to

2. There's a great interview with David Sedaris about Amazon at the Parnassus Books Blog. His quote about the beauty and charm of independent booksellers is making the rounds on the internet, but I also really like his explanation for why underpricing e-books hurts the quality of books:

Amazon wants to drastically reduce the amount they charge for e-books. In order for that to happen, they need my publisher to make concessions. My publisher, quite understandably, is resisting, and I’m behind them 100%. Lots of worthy people work at Little, Brown. I might write my books, but my editor’s the one who makes them readable. The design department makes you want to pick them up. The publicists trick you into buying them. Then there’s the sales department, the lawyers (hooray), the audio team, on and on. Why are these people less worthy than the people who work for Jeff Bezos? Why should they lose their jobs just so Amazon can further cut their costs? Is $3 or however much they currently charge, really too much to pay for an e-book?

3. Don't forget: If you want to pre-order J.K. Rowling's newest Robert Galbraith novel, local independent bookshop Third Place Books is offering a 20% discount on the book, and they're promising to hand-deliver the book to you next Thursday.


Comments (17) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Aren't you tired of the Animal Farm like "Amazon baaaad, Hatchette goooood" propaganda by now Paul? You've been at this for years when it comes to Amazon, to the detriment of your own credibility. How much damage to your integrity and career are you willing to risk for your hobby?
Posted by You know better, Paul. We know you do. on June 13, 2014 at 2:53 PM · Report this
Kinison 2
Im pretty sure most people dont care about billion dollar companies fighting each other, especially when one company is trying to lower costs.

Mind you, this is a year after Apple got caught red handed trying to inflate prices by forcing Amazon to raise prices on all ebooks.
Posted by Kinison on June 13, 2014 at 2:56 PM · Report this
I like the $3 notion. Man, I wish my ebooks cost that little.
But when Jim Butcher's Cold Days came out, I remember comparing the eBook price to the hardcover and realizing the hardcover was cheaper. Which is BULLSHIT, and exactly the sort of reason I am on Amazon's side. Ebooks should always be at least slightly cheaper thhhan physical copies.
Posted by supergp on June 13, 2014 at 3:01 PM · Report this
"Lots of worthy people work at Little, Brown. I might write my books, but my editor’s the one who makes them readable. The design department makes you want to pick them up. The publicists trick you into buying them. Then there’s the sales department, the lawyers (hooray), the audio team, on and on."

We, the consumers of books who aren't luddites, have been deciding that we don't find it "worthy" to fund this train of much the same way that we've grown tired of funding the middlemen in the music industry. Of the people he lists, only the editor adds anything of value for me, the paying consumer of an e-book.
Posted by jorstvin on June 13, 2014 at 3:27 PM · Report this
biffp 5
I called Third Place last weekend looking for My Struggle, and got put right on hold. I gave up waiting. The people at Elliot Bay were awesome.
Posted by biffp on June 13, 2014 at 3:39 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 6
"I don't want to buy my books and my toilet paper and my clothing all under the same roof."

Exactly. Americans should be willing to do some driving when they shop. Go to a book store for books. If they don't have what you wanted, there's another book store a mile down the road. Then drive over to a pastry shop for croissants. Go to a shoe store for shoes. There's parking, for God's sake! Stop for gas on the way to the grocer's, then hop on the expressway and you're home in no time. As long as there aren't a lot of delivery trucks clogging up our roads, am I right?

It scares me to imagine a future where people no longer live like that.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on June 13, 2014 at 3:41 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 7

So what makes you decide to buy and read a particular book? A sparrow alights on your shoulder and whispers a title in your ear?
Posted by keshmeshi on June 13, 2014 at 3:46 PM · Report this
@2 You aren't moved by the suffering of billion dollar companies and millionaire authors?

I for one am more than happy to pay more for eBooks so they can keep their jets and bloated salaries.

Posted by giffy on June 13, 2014 at 4:04 PM · Report this
Yeah, I love Amazon, they even print our ballots! America: where an evil asshole gets a pass because a well-meaning asshole might cost you some money

Bezos, please don't sic your drones on me I read Wapo
Posted by hooray on June 13, 2014 at 4:17 PM · Report this
fletc3her 10
I was going to complain about Sedaris's disconnect with the actual pricing of eBooks. It costs $9.99 for an eBook of "Me Talk Pretty One Day". But, there it is. Pre-order of "Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls" for $3.99. And actually given that the trade paperbacks cost $16, the discount to $10 sounds like about the right percentage.
Posted by fletc3her on June 13, 2014 at 4:26 PM · Report this
#9, Amazon is the well meaning asshole in relation to Hatchette or most of the other assholes on the block. This is the case of an obsolete, outdated company desperately trying to stay relevant by complaining about the modern company any way they can.
Honestly I thought Colbert was above such tripe.
Posted by Why the Amazon hate? on June 13, 2014 at 4:46 PM · Report this
Well we all knew Constant just couldnt resist another hit piece....and we all Keshmeshi would show up in need of some anti-amazon throat olympics...

Oh well..time for me to order more stuff from Amazon...
Posted by busy making another amazon order... on June 13, 2014 at 5:25 PM · Report this
AmyC 13
I'm not going to get into the fight about what things "should" cost. But I've recently made a point to start frequenting the independent booksellers in my city instead of BN and ordering online, and I just plain like it. The physical space is always more inspiring than a mall store, and the people that staff it are invariably more informed. There are always surprising things on the shelves. It's just *nice.* Whatever the arguments are about economics, I don't give a shit. I would be sad to see these places go. I see now why Paul and others are so insistent about them. They really are community treasures.
Posted by AmyC on June 13, 2014 at 5:40 PM · Report this
Banna 14
Thx for the auto play.
Posted by Banna on June 13, 2014 at 8:11 PM · Report this
I like Corey Doctorow books...a lot. If you read his stuff sequentially you can spot when editors started being involved. This was a good thing. The stories didn't feel different but the occasional jarring moment of inconsistency or repetition were gone. Those editors had a good touch.

If you read the originally published vs unedited Americsn Gods there is also a definite improvement in clarity (and some loss of cool but not essential stuff). They are both worthwhile but I wouldn't have read the very long version without having read the edited version first.

A good edit is a beautiful thing and writings hard enough as it is.

By the same token: a bad editor can ruin a good book but on balance, I, for one, am glad they're there.

Posted by david on June 13, 2014 at 11:08 PM · Report this
It has already been said, but where does Sedaris live that he thinks one of his books, or probably any book published by Little, Brown is regularly priced at $3 for an eBook?

Hell, if they were priced at $5, I would be all over Amazon for being unreasonable. But the fact is they're typically priced at as much or more than a paperback which is ridiculous.
Posted by randoma on June 14, 2014 at 1:53 AM · Report this
Well I prefer the library, but I have the urge to buy a book from Amazon today.
Posted by wasd on June 14, 2014 at 7:24 AM · Report this

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