Friday, May 9, 2014

Amazon playing games with publisher?

In the NY Times this morning there was an article about Amazon intentionally delaying delivery of books by the Hachette Book Group. The article; Hachette Says Amazon Is Delaying Delivery of Some Books, could reflect on an old cliché that Big-Is-Bad.

As much as I like Amazon I can envision this scenario playing out and having an effect on all who enter into a deal with Amazon. Amazon is the mighty muscle in the retail imagebusiness, Hachette is in the book publishing business, and each need one another – well maybe. Perhaps Amazon is trying to prove that Hachette needs Amazon more than Amazon needs Hachette and on this the public (consumer) be damned.

At one time if you sold to Sears you were controlled by Sears. They could tell you when, where, and how high to jump. Looks like this is the same when you deal with Amazon? What other choices are there for Hachette?

People could say that Amazon really doesn't care about Hachette's business and in a sense does not care about the consumer. For sure, Amazon cares about Amazon. It also could be said; the management of Amazon is more interested in their bottom line, the stock market, and it's ROI, than the consumer, the employee, or the suppler (publisher in this case). Hey this is true for many businesses. Any business who is hot after that bottom line will but the customer down the line.

Amazon does what it needs to do to keep the consumer happy however don’t mistake that for altruism in business. It takes really strong, idealistic leadership, to retain that consumer centric focus. And you better be good at it. We don’t see much of this today in many places.

I suspect today that Amazon is after stronger growth, less cost, and a better profit margin. 

Why do we buy from Amazon? Because it's better? Not likely. We buy because it's cheaper. If it wasn't cheaper we would most likely shop closer to home. Hachette doesn't have many choices for distribution with the demise of the books stores. Hmmm…..where did the books stores go? When I want better hands on servicer, or a deeper personal connection, I have to shop local. However buying a new cable for my computer does not fit into this scenario.

Should Hachette go ebook all the way? Some of the authors in the list, Seth Godin for one, are very big in the ebook world. There were book stores that would not carry, or delayed the access to, Seth Godin’s print books because of his ebook project.

The world is changing and we need to keep an eye on the gorilla in the room, in this case Amazon.

Two more links; Amazon delays Hachette book shipments as companies negotiate contract. And from CNNMoney; Hachette: Amazon delaying delivery of books.