Word arrived this afternoon that Hachette and Amazon have settled their differences. Amazon will restore the normal buttons to Hachette books over the next few weeks and will resume normal shipping. Most important, Hachette will decide the price of its authors’ ebooks. The company “will benefit from better terms when it delivers lower prices for readers,” according to the Guardian.
It is a relief that this dispute is winding down. It won’t be over until the beginning of 2015 when the new agreement takes effect.
The larger concern remains, however. As I mentioned in “Hachette vs. Amazon, Encore,” Amazon has created a climate of distaste, if not aversion. It has given me great pleasure to buy books from the local retailers and to order items from other etailers. I’ll probably return to the ebehemoth at some point but will always look elsewhere first.
The great benefit is that authors who operate autonomously found a cooperative voice, outside of a union setting (which I also heartily endorse). To use an analogy that arises in connection with independent operators, organizing writers is like herding cats. Amazon succeeded in creating a pride of lions, which included cheetahs, tigers, leopards, and a few mild-mannered house cats. Don’t know if the pride will continue to prowl in defense of writers, but just the knowledge that it happened is empowering.