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Author James Patterson Calls For Action Against Amazon

Author James Patterson joined the Amazon publishing debate. He called the retailer's attempts to "control bookselling" a "national tragedy."
Posted at 3:42 PM, May 30, 2014

Author James Patterson put out a call for action against Amazon's bookselling "monopoly" amid its growing beef with publishing house Hachette. Book business watchdog Shelf Awareness reposted his quote:

"Amazon also wants to control bookselling, the book business and book publishing. That's a national tragedy. If this is the new American way, it has to be changed by law if necessary."

Patterson's comments come while the giant retailer is apparently waging war with his own publisher, Hachette. Critics allege Amazon has been pulling preorder buttons on Hachette books and buying less stock, among other tactics. (Via Hachette Book GroupAmazon)

The novelist made his remarks while on stage at an awards ceremony. Book Expo America commended Patterson for giving $1 million to independent brick and mortar booksellers. 

Perhaps it's ironic Patterson champions the small business owner, because there are many indie publishers who have praised Amazon for leveling the publishing playing field. (Via Flickr / Books_Authors)

One such supporter is Permanent Press co-publisher Marty Shepard. In a blog post, which was later picked up by Amazon, he described how the online retailer helps.

Among his points: 

--Amazon gives his company up to an 80 percent return.

--There's no "discrimination of space" between his titles and those of big sellers such as Hachette.

​--eBook and Kindle sales find more profit.

--And finally, Amazon pays publishers faster. (Via The Cockeyed Pessimist)

Fortune finds it tough to label Amazon as a "bully" or a "monopoly" as well. On one hand, Amazon is forgetting to put its customers first by making Hachette’s books hard to find.

On the other hand, it's only doing so to pressure Hachette into lowering its prices — something it values for its customers. (Via Amazon)

"It's clear that Amazon sees legacy publishers as increasingly irrelevant middlemen who are keeping book production costs unreasonably high." (​Via Fortune)

Keep in mind Hachette books reportedly make up only 1.1 percent of Amazon's total profits. So it seems likely Amazon will take the bad press for now and come out with only a scratch and a better price.