Readers United (Statement from the Amazon Books Team)

Perhaps channeling Orwell’s decades old suggestion, Hachette has already been caught illegally colluding with its competitors to raise e-book prices. So far those parties have paid $166 million in penalties and restitution. Colluding with its competitors to raise prices wasn’t only illegal, it was also highly disrespectful to Hachette’s readers.

The fact is many established incumbents in the industry have taken the position that lower e-book prices will “devalue books” and hurt “Arts and Letters.” They’re wrong. Just as paperbacks did not destroy book culture despite being ten times cheaper, neither will e-books. On the contrary, paperbacks ended up rejuvenating the book industry and making it stronger. The same will happen with e-books.

Read the entire statement (and possibly email the CEO of Hachette yourself) at http://www.readersunited.com

It’s quite baffling to me how Hachette can continue their tactics beyond this point.

Below, is a copy of the letter I emailed to Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch…

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Mr. Pietsch,

You’re probably receiving an extra volume of email due to a recent letter published online at http://www.readersunited.com, so I’ll make mine brief.

I’m a reader of many books per year.

While do not purchase that many e-books as a regular course of my reading, only having 183 of them on my tablet, I do have an extensive library of printed books.  I purchase most of them via Amazon.com.

I’ll get right to it, in my opinion you and your company are on the “wrong side of history” as it pertains both to the pricing of ebooks, and operating a publishing business within the context of our digital culture in general.

If you want to price your ebooks higher, stop selling them on Amazon.com, and simply sell them using other available distribution channels at the price you wish to sell them.

I think you’re gambling your company’s future profits by doing so, and I will not restate the number of reasons for that line of thinking.  All of those reasons are published both in Amazon’s recent letter, and via a multitude of thoughtful blogs on the Internet.  (via J.A. Konrath, Barry Eisler, and David Gaughran’s in particular).

But if you feel that strongly about the pricing of your titles, end this negotiation with Amazon now (along with your rather silly PR stunts), and simply sell Hachette titles elsewhere.

You will lose at least one reader by ceasing to sell on Amazon.com, but I suppose you will gain the satisfaction of maintaining the ebook pricing structure you would like.

Respectfully,

Joseph Ratliff

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You can sign the Change.org petition “Petitioning Hachette for low prices, and fair wages” here on their site.