The Kindle Community Forums is carrying an Amazon announcement that gives some details on the situation with Hachette Book Group, from Amazon's perspective. I'll post the full text below, as most customers don't frequent the Kindle forums. I've bolded some of the more salient points.
Initial post: May 27, 2014 4:42:07 PM PDT
The Amazon Books team says:
We are currently buying less (print) inventory and "safety stock" on titles from the publisher, Hachette, than we ordinarily do, and are no longer taking pre-orders on titles whose publication dates are in the future. Instead, customers can order new titles when their publication date arrives. For titles with no stock on hand, customers can still place an order at which time we order the inventory from Hachette -- availability on those titles is dependent on how long it takes Hachette to fill the orders we place. Once the inventory arrives, we ship it to the customer promptly. These changes are related to the contract and terms between Hachette and Amazon.
At Amazon, we do business with more than 70,000 suppliers, including thousands of publishers. One of our important suppliers is Hachette, which is part of a $10 billion media conglomerate. Unfortunately, despite much work from both sides, we have been unable to reach mutually-acceptable agreement on terms. Hachette has operated in good faith and we admire the company and its executives. Nevertheless, the two companies have so far failed to find a solution. Even more unfortunate, though we remain hopeful and are working hard to come to a resolution as soon as possible, we are not optimistic that this will be resolved soon.
Negotiating with suppliers for equitable terms and making stocking and assortment decisions based on those terms is one of a bookseller's, or any retailer's, most important jobs. Suppliers get to decide the terms under which they are willing to sell to a retailer. It's reciprocally the right of a retailer to determine whether the terms on offer are acceptable and to stock items accordingly. A retailer can feature a supplier's items in its advertising and promotional circulars, "stack it high" in the front of the store, keep small quantities on hand in the back aisle, or not carry the item at all, and bookstores and other retailers do these every day. When we negotiate with suppliers, we are doing so on behalf of customers. Negotiating for acceptable terms is an essential business practice that is critical to keeping service and value high for customers in the medium and long term.
A word about proportion: this business interruption affects a small percentage of Amazon's demand-weighted units. If you order 1,000 items from Amazon, 989 will be unaffected by this interruption. If you do need one of the affected titles quickly, we regret the inconvenience and encourage you to purchase a new or used version from one of our third-party sellers or from one of our competitors. *
We also take seriously the impact it has when, however infrequently, such a business interruption affects authors. We've offered to Hachette to fund 50% of an author pool - to be allocated by Hachette - to mitigate the impact of this dispute on author royalties, if Hachette funds the other 50%. We did this with the publisher Macmillan some years ago. We hope Hachette takes us up on it.
This topic has generated a variety of coverage, presumably in part because the negotiation is with a book publisher instead of a supplier of a different type of product. Some of the coverage has expressed a relatively narrow point of view. Here is one post that offers a wider perspective.
"Who's Afraid of Amazon?" [at The Cockeyed Pessamist site].
* How to get a Hachette book you want for your Kindle Fire tablet in the interim
Note that one of Amazon's recommendations for those seeking a book not available at Amazon at the time you want it is to buy a new or used version from one of their 3rd-party sellers or "from one of our competitors."
However, Amazon's customers normally want KINDLE versions of course, which poses a problem.
What I've done is to buy a book I want, then, from Barnes and Noble (where I have a membership because I like their stores) and then get the Barnes and Noble Android app to use on a Kindle Fire tablet. Others can get a B&N app for their Apple iOS devices, and there's one for Windows devices. There should be a B&N app for Windows and Mac desktops as well.
However, the Kindle Fire tablets can't access GooglePlay store, as Kindle Fire tablets are not recognized by GooglePlay. And the Amazon Android appstore doesn't carry the Nook app. I go, instead, to 1Mobile's app site which now has over 800,000 GooglePlay apps which they allow to be downloaded to Kindle Fire tablets. Once you get there, download the 1Mobile-store app (which is used the same way we use the Amazon-store app when we want Amazon apps).
However, there is a setting under the top bar's swipedown area -- older Kindle Fires say "More" and "+" for those settings, while the newer Kindle Fires say "Settings" and then the older Kindle Fires have, under DEVICE, an option to allow the installation of "apps from unknown sources," while the newer Kindle Fires have this setting under "APPLICATIONS" (rather than under "Device). Make sure you 'allow' the installation of "unknown apps" by turning it 'On'...
For Step-by-Step instructions if you encounter any problems, see the article on installing NON-Amazon apps.
Some news stories on the Amazon-Hachette situation to get some history and other viewpoints.
Amazon escalates standoff with publisher Hachette - nj1015.com - May 28
Amazon isn't -- and likely never will be -- a monopoly - finance.fortune.cnn.com - May 28
This one makes points against the familiar 'monopoly' cries similar to what was voiced when Big5 publishers joined Apple in 2010 in trying to raise ebook prices, pointing to what they described as Amazon's "monopolist" ways.
. "Antitrust courts since the 1970s have consistently held that it's not illegal for a company to hold huge market share, as long as they aren't using that power to raise prices for the end consumer."
. "What in Amazon's past practices should make us believe that this is anything more than Amazon pressuring its suppliers to offer a product at a lower price? This has been Amazon's secret to success for two decades, and something Walmart (WMT) (another common media target) has been doing for much longer."
Amazon war with Hachette over ebook profit margins intensifies - The Guardian - May 27.
This one mentions that, in general, authors and journalists are busily excoriating Amazon, while Stephen Fry tweeted "a link to a commentary by the self-published author David Gaughran, who characterises the current furore as an anti-Amazon PR campaign. Fry described the piece as a 'sane counter' to the prevailing views on the dispute.
Here's Gaughran's detailed look at this.
For reference: Simpler Timeline of key elements of ebook pricing wars -- events noted by the Department of Justice with similar arguments made against Amazon's dealings with Big5 publishers at the time.
FREE Android App of the Day - today, 5/28 only
MathLab (Pro) - Normally, $5, this app is a graphing calculator with algebra.
Amazon launches its Collectible Coins Store
Collectible Coins area - "Beta" version
I know nothing about collectible coins but am passing this on for those who are interested in this.
Current Kindle Models for reference, plus free-ebook search links.
Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources. Top 100 free bestsellers. Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.
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