Catching Fire and other catastrophes

I haven’t finished Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins yet, I will though, mark my words.

More important things came up like sleeping in and Game Of Thrones episode 9 (Season 4). Wow, I was not expecting that to happen! That was an amazing episode. Giants, woolly mammoths and awesome anchor action.  That’s why I haven’t been reading today.

Anyway, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. Back to the grind tomorrow.

Working in a bookshop and being a budding writer you would think go hand in hand. Alas, no. Gone are the days when you could read books at the counter and wait for the customer to come to you. Now it’s all service and no learning about what you’re selling. Sometimes I wish it could go back to that way. But time marches on and so to customs and the ways of the book trade.

Just look at Amazon and Hachettes squabble about book pricing.  It really is turning into a he said, she said, but no that’s not wait I implied kind of debate now.  Even Neil Gaiman had this to say about it “I’m obviously pissed at Amazon”, you can read the entire article at Salon.  The fact that Amazon has to resort these tactics to hold sway over a publishing company is disgusting.  Both parties should enter into discourse about what’s happening because at the moment everyone, including the media, are only getting second hand information about what the real issues are here. Hachette says they want fairer pricing for the books they sell on Amazon, Amazon in turn are saying that isn’t possible and it will effect the bottom line for their business.  I understand that you need to make a profit Amazon, but at the expense of alienating an entire publishing house because the want to renegotiate the contract they have with you.  That’s just throwing all your out of the cot because you have the most toys and you don’t want anyone else to play with them. The biggest problem for Amazon when the dust settles on this is that they will be portrayed as the villains in this piece. Hachette the publishing company doing good by their customers will come out of this as the hero who tried to change the status quo. The losers out of all of this will the customers. People like you and me who like to buy books from Amazon because of the convenience and accessibility and the cheap prices (well for US and UK based people anyway). If Hachette decide they don’t want to bother with Amazon anymore then that’s literally thousands of titles pulled from the website instantly. No more J.K Rowling murder mystery novels, no more James Patterson. Say bye bye to Stephen Colbert and Malcolm Gladwell (The Tipping Point).  These authors not only rely on Amazon for revenue for their books but reviews from people who have read the book, enjoyed it and want to tell other people to buy it. As a one stop shop for everything Amazon already have the infrastructure in place to accommodate this and more.  Setting that up from scratch would be a lesson in futility for a publishing house who wanted to go it alone. The sheer resources that would need to set up your own web presence and social media buzz would be enormous for Hachette.  Then they would have to deal with people not like things that are new and/or different and you’re fighting an uphill battle even before you begin. As a fan of Amazon I would say to them “Hey, Hachette aren’t being unreasonable about what they want, talk to them”.  If they did open the doors of communication to Hachette then that would be a step in the right direction and a win for consumers everywhere. Lets hope this gets resolved quickly. Because the reviews for the new JK Rowling book are looking really good.