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Old 07-14-2015, 05:49 AM   #1
fjtorres
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Authors United, allies, demand government intervention

From the Digital Reader Blog:
http://the-digital-reader.com/2015/0...tigate-amazon/

Quote:

Lead by Authors United spokesperson David Streitfeld, multiple groups in the book industry have simultaneously decided today to send letters to the US Department of Justice, asking that the Doj investigate Amazon for being a big meanie.

Just about every group is involved. Streitfeld has posted a piece in the NYTimes on behalf of Authors United. The American Bookseller Association has sent a letter, and so has Authors United (you can find both letters on the ABA website).

Yes, Authors United has finally followed through on the promise they made last November to pursue their vengeance against Amazon to the ends of the earth. According to the ABA, Authors United is joined in their effort by the Association of Authors’ Representatives, which has sent a letter. And finally The Authors Guild has added their voice to the chorus (PDF).
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Where is the Association of American Publishers? Its biggest members hate Amazon as much as anyone, and yet I don't have any news of the AAP sending a letter to the DoJ (I'm waiting for a response to my query). Why hasn't the AAP joined the party?

Update: My contact at the AAP was unable to respond to my query. She did not have a prepared statement because the AAP isn't part of this circus (weird, but true).

Add everything together and it makes me wonder what is really going on here.
More at the source and elsewhere.
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Old 07-14-2015, 06:22 AM   #2
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Suddenly, its 2014 all over at the NYT, huh?

As Nate pointed out, during the conspiracy investigation, the DOJ investigated Amazon top to bottom and found nothing actionable.

Also, during the trial, attempts were made to drag Amazon in; the DOJ refused.

Third, as a condition to their settlements in the conspiracy case, the BPHs agreed to have the DOJ monitor their negotiations with Amazon and vet their contracts. Negotiations were monitored, contracts approved; the DOJ found no need to intervene.

Fourth, at the height of the "sound and fury" of the Hachette contract stall last summer, the DOJ *did* act... to seek documents from the BPHs to determine if they were coordinating contract negotiations the way they did in 2010.

Since then, S&S renegotiated their contract without drama, Hachette stopped stalling and negotiated, and the rest of the Manhattan Syndicate reached deals allowing them to raise *their* ebook prices... and saw sales plunge.

Over at the source, Nate wonders why the gold-plated AU gang and allies are whining this week instead of earlier and two possibilities were brought up: Amazon's highly visible 20th Anniversary sale, PRIME DAY, and the delayed release of AAP sales numbers. The former explanation implying a spiteful attempt to inject some whine into Amazon's cheese-fest, the latter suggesting kneejerk panic at further BPH sales declines.

Given that the complaints are the usual LeGuinian hash of emotional inaccuracies and misinformation and the composition of the signatories (pbook sellers, agents, and authors... but not publishers) the latter rationale seems a bit likelier.

(Of course, the publishers could be manipulating everything remotely and steering clear to avoid DOJ attention, but really, when have the big guys ever done such a thing as conspire to attack their biggest distribution channel?)

Lost somehow in all the whining is that nothing they complain about actually harms consumers, that antitrust is about consumer harm and not about protecting entitled authors seeing declining sales or B&M retailers unable to adapt to the internet.

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Old 07-14-2015, 07:35 AM   #3
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I've just had a brief look at the 24 page "position paper". I don't propose to waste any more of my time on it, and i imagine the DOJ will probably feel the same way. It demonstrates the same level of intellectual rigour and respect for the truth as the previous pathetic efforts of this group. I am amazed that a group of successful writers is unable to come up with anything better. Perhaps some fiction writers sometimes get so caught up in worlds of their own creation that they forget that their omnipotence in their own fictional worlds does not extend to the real world, in which others must be persuaded by arguments based on at least some reasonable level of logic and fact.
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Old 07-14-2015, 09:01 AM   #4
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I've just had a brief look at the 24 page "position paper". I don't propose to waste any more of my time on it, and i imagine the DOJ will probably feel the same way. It demonstrates the same level of intellectual rigour and respect for the truth as the previous pathetic efforts of this group. I am amazed that a group of successful writers is unable to come up with anything better. Perhaps some fiction writers sometimes get so caught up in worlds of their own creation that they forget that their omnipotence in their own fictional worlds does not extend to the real world, in which others must be persuaded by arguments based on at least some reasonable level of logic and fact.
So you are saying that it is not even worth reading those 24 pages? They are not even slightly amusing, basically just a waste of time?
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Old 07-14-2015, 09:23 AM   #5
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Hi Duckie. Perhaps there is some amusement value there. My reading took place when tired after a long day and not in a particularly great mood. Perhaps I should revisit the paper when in a better mood and I will better appreciate the funny side. In the meantime, please don't let my negativity discourage you from taking a look. I value your opinion, and would be interested in what you think of it.
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Old 07-14-2015, 09:26 AM   #6
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So you are saying that it is not even worth reading those 24 pages? They are not even slightly amusing, basically just a waste of time?
Did you read the LeGuin screeds?
More of the same.

They want big daddy government to turn the clock back to 1995.
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Old 07-14-2015, 10:14 AM   #7
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Here we go:
http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2015/0...il-o-rama.html

Konrath fiskings are always fun.
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Old 07-14-2015, 10:33 AM   #8
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Here we go:


Konrath fiskings are always fun.
Haven't finished it yet, but yeah Konrath is fun.

The whole Authors United document is nothing but another PR stunt. Another whine about Amazon destroying 'lliterature' while their books remain on Amazon's site. Time to man up and get your books pulled and start your own ebook store. I'm sure that will work out just fine.
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Old 07-14-2015, 10:40 AM   #9
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I love this part:

Quote:


The most basic way Amazon manipulates a specific reader is to “price discriminate” by offering discounts and promotions that may lead a particular reader to buy one book and not another.


Next thing you know, this new, nefarious scheme will catch on with other retailers. Maybe they'll start putting certain products on "sale." Then they might go so far as to "advertise" these "sale" products using periodicals, direct mail, coupons, pop ups, sidebars, or TV.


How do we stop it?
Yeah, they complain that Amazon discounts books they think will sell well, to the detriment of their books because the publishers they chose to sign with don't want to discount.

Discounting is evil! Please save the world from discounting, DOJ!!

Hmm, before this I only suspected Indies were eating the AU'S lunch.
Now I know it.

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Old 07-14-2015, 10:47 AM   #10
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It sounds like a special snow flake storm. They're caused when a low pressure zone is created by a vacuum of reason and it's rapidly filled with inflated egos. Luckily the flakes will melt and fade away before anyone notices.

Maybe Tom Waits could write another emotional weather report...
http://www.tomwaits.com/songs/song/2...eather_Report/
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Old 07-14-2015, 12:47 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
Yeah, they complain that Amazon discounts books they think will sell well, to the detriment of their books because the publishers they chose to sign with don't want to discount.

Discounting is evil! Please save the world from discounting, DOJ!!

Hmm, before this I only suspected Indies were eating the AU'S lunch.
Now I know it.
All the other bookstores are advertising Go Set A Watchman today except Amazon. I looked at my Amazon's home page and it's no where to be found. It's not even displayed on my Kindle eBook page. I had to type in a search.

In fact, all the books displayed/recommended are from Amazon's publishing or KU. One would think they didn't sell any titles from a large publisher.
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Old 07-14-2015, 12:53 PM   #12
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All the other bookstores are advertising Go Set A Watchman today except Amazon. I looked at my Amazon's home page and it's no where to be found. It's not even displayed on my Kindle eBook page. I had to type in a search.

In fact, all the books displayed/recommended are from Amazon's publishing or KU. One would think they didn't sell any titles from a large publisher.
I never get any generic advertised new releases on my Amazon home page. Only recommendations based on my previous purchases/browsing history. Not one of those (out of the first 5 displayed) are KU or KDP (or Amazon Digital), however.
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Old 07-14-2015, 12:56 PM   #13
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All the other bookstores are advertising Go Set A Watchman today except Amazon. I looked at my Amazon's home page and it's no where to be found. It's not even displayed on my Kindle eBook page. I had to type in a search.

In fact, all the books displayed/recommended are from Amazon's publishing or KU. One would think they didn't sell any titles from a large publisher.
It's the #1 book in both the paper book & Kindle stores, so I don't think it probably needs any extra help from Amazon.

IIRC stores like B&N cut deals with publishers on placement and stuff, don't know if Amazon does anything like that since it's an artifact from brick and mortar bookstore mentality.

My recommendations are a mix of KDP, Amazon publishing and titles from various NY publishers.



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Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
I never get any generic advertised new releases on my Amazon home page. Only recommendations based on my previous purchases/browsing history.
Same

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Old 07-14-2015, 01:00 PM   #14
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All the other bookstores are advertising Go Set A Watchman today except Amazon. I looked at my Amazon's home page and it's no where to be found. It's not even displayed on my Kindle eBook page. I had to type in a search.
Interesting, because it's right there at the top of 'Best Seller' list on the right of the page.

And as DiapDealer said, the majority of the books on my Kindle books page are recommendations from previous purchases, previous browsed and new and noteworthy.
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Old 07-14-2015, 01:04 PM   #15
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I have a big ad for "New and Notable Historical Fiction" on my home page. They could have used that space for GSAW, possibly the biggest (and most profitable) seller of the year.

I have 25 titles displayed all indie or Amazon publishing.
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