Malcolm Gladwell, the renowned author of “David and Goliath” as well as other popular social science books, has spoken out about the on-going disagreement between Amazon and “Big Five” publisher Hachette, saying that it’s “sort of heartbreaking” to have Amazon, his long-time partner, turn on him.
“Over the past 15 years, I have sold millions of dollars’ worth of books on Amazon, which means I have made millions of dollars for Amazon,” Gladwell told the New York Times. “I would have thought I was one of their best assets. I thought we were partners in a business that has done well. This seems an odd way to treat someone who has made you millions of dollars.”
For the last several weeks, Amazon and Hachette have been having an incredibly public pricing debate. Amazon is trying to get Hachette to agree to a new e-book agreement and it is using pressure to get its way: It has removed pre-order buttons for Hachette books, tweaked its recommendation to feature non-Hachette titles, and ordered fewer copies of certain books, causing shipping delays.
Although both Hachette and Amazon have their critics, the biggest victims seem to be the authors who Hachette publishes. Gladwell, for example, said that he’s seen his book sales nearly cut in half because of Amazon’s tactics.
Amazon offered to fund 50% of a pool of money for affected writers if Hachette funds the other half, but the publisher refused until Amazon has agreed to more favourable terms overall.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.