For the last two months, Amazon and “Big Five” book publisher Hachette have been having a very public pricing disagreement that has sparked a debate in the literary world about whether or not Amazon has too much power.
Vincent Zandri, a novelist published by Amazon Publishing’s Thomas & Mercer, told David Streitfeld of The New York Times that even though he makes enough money from working with Amazon to fund trips to Nepal, Italy, France, and the Amazon River, he isn’t on either company’s side in the pricing debate.
Zandri makes about six figures annually by publishing with Amazon, and he says the company “places its writers on a pedestal” and has fulfilled every promise it’s made to him. Most people read his stories and novels in Amazon’s e-book format, and he gets a 35% cut of each sale — which is about 10% more than he would get working with a traditional publisher. Yet he told Streitfeld that he isn’t on either company’s side, and he still worries about what would happen if Amazon became the only publishing player left in the game.
“I don’t agree that the entire dismantling of the traditional publishing world in New York is the answer,” he said. “No one wants to hand Amazon a monopoly. I’d be a fool to assume the good times will last forever.”
Over the last two months, Amazon has removed preorder buttons and reduced its inventory of certain Hachette books, and tweaked its recommendations to stop featuring Hachette titles to try to pressure the publisher into accepting better terms on e-book sales.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.