Amazon vs. Hachette Fatal to Non-Superstar Authors

SO far most of the coverage of the battle between Amazon and the Hachette publishers has looked at the impact on bestselling authors like James Patterson and J.K. Rowling, whose work becomes harder to get or impossible to pre-order during the current feud. But a new story argues that the writers really hurt by this are lesser known and first-time writers. The Al Jazeera America piece judges that, “while a battle between book industry titans is unlikely to affect the standing of such well-established writers, it is potentially ruinous to the careers of first-time authors being published by Hachette this month.” Writes Alessandra Bastagli:

 

Industry insiders say the window of opportunity for a debut to establish a new author is during the first three weeks after publication. If s250px-Javits_Center_11av_jehales are poor (and without Amazon, which is responsible for an average 50 to 80 percent of all sales, they very likely will be), a book is potentially dead out of the gate.

“As a first-time author, you have so much to prove — that you can produce a good book, but then that it can actually sell,” said author Daniel Schulman. “If my book isn’t seen as a success, regardless of the reason, it can affect my ability to sell a second one.”

At Book Expo in New York’s Javits center, the tussle has become the most frequent topic of conversation.

The story, by the way, is by my editor at AJAM, who knows her stuff. She worked previously as an editor at the Free Press.

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