Having played the victim card, Hachette goes on a binge


In a feat of utmost unexamined irony, the habitual bashers of corporate monster Amazon over at Melville House report on how Hachette has now resumed gobbling up literary properties like some sort of … uh … corporate monster?

Hachette bought Black Dog & Leventhal yesterday …

Hachette’s had a big year. About four months ago, the company did not end up buying Perseus … We all assumed it had to do with the Amazon standoff … All of that ended last week … So who will Hachette acquire next?

Hachette US bought the Hyperion backlist, and formed Hachette Books to start acquiring in a similar vein. Hachette UK bought Constable & Robinson in February and Quercus in March. They’re buying a whole lot of small nonfiction publishers with strong backlists.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Hachette takes a moment from devouring everything in sight to reward its boot-licking minions at the Authors Guild for standing by them against Amazon?

But … probably not, as the hilarious Dan Meadows explains (after quoting comments from Authors Guild president Roxana Robinson):

“It is our hope that Hachette, in light of the loyalty its authors have shown throughout this debacle, takes this opportunity to revisit its standard e-book royalty rate of 25 percent of the publisher’s net profits.”

Sweet Jesus! Tell me you’re not that naive. Loyalty?! What part of “billion dollar corporate negotiation” don’t you understand? You hope, in light of your “loyalty”, that they take this opportunity to revisit that standard? What opportunity would that be? The one where they’ve settled up with Amazon, already have you all under contract at that standard, and don’t need to name-drop you morons in an obviously coordinated PR assault on a rival anymore?

The opportunity to do a hell of a lot more than “hope they revisit the standard” was the past seven months when Amazon had Hachette over a barrel and the other publishers were all worried they were next. The only opportunity you have now is for them to laugh in your face.

Yup. And when they do, don’t get made when we say we told you so.

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  1. I enjoy how Amazon is the coming death of all literature but large publishers buying up everything they can find barely notes a mention, despite the fact that it’s precisely the kind of behavior that expedited the newspaper industry’s collapse on itself. I’ve been throwing warnings about that for two years now, that these book publishers are taking nearly identical actions to the newspaper publishers 10 years ago and tens of thousands of creatives; writers, editors, designers, etc; lost their careers in the resulting wreckage. I’d like to see history not repeat itself but you can’t help people who won’t help themselves.

  2. We get the point that’s being made, but that point has consistently been based on falsehoods and a basic misunderstanding of the dispute.

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