Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal June 4, 2014 - 7:46pm

So if it takes more than five minutes to google, just ask people who'd know.  Can someone fill me in oin the little details?  Everyone rants about it in blogposts, tweeter, etc...  But they're talking to people who are already familiar with the ins and outs.

Help a guy out!?

justwords's picture
justwords from suburb of Birmingham, AL is reading The Tomb, F. Paul Wilson; A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby June 5, 2014 - 7:31am

Are you talking abut the controversy going on w/Amazon? I've got a link to an article in NYTimes on this. The big question is can traditional publishers stay in business with the competition. It's not just e-books. 

justwords's picture
justwords from suburb of Birmingham, AL is reading The Tomb, F. Paul Wilson; A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby June 5, 2014 - 8:06am

Stephen Colbert had a rant on his show last night about this; Hatchette, his publisher, is renegotiating its contract w/Amazon, and Amazon is putting all Hatchette books on the slow track for filling orders in order to force Hatchette to accept their terms-- Amazon does this with all its renewals of contracts. Here is the link:

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/06/05/amazon-boycott-gets-a-helping-h...

He's got stickers on his website for your books that says "I did not buy this book from Amazon." After he called for a boycott, and a Hatchette publisher guest on his show hawked a new author's book just out and now stocked at Powell Books in Portland, the Powell Books site crashed. Don't know how well his boycott will work, but he has a point. The losers aren't just the publishers, of course; it affects the authors' royalties and whether or not you will even Get published with a traditional publisher--one reason why new authors aren't getting published by many traditional houses.

justwords's picture
justwords from suburb of Birmingham, AL is reading The Tomb, F. Paul Wilson; A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby June 5, 2014 - 8:07am

ps not all published books are available at Amazon.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like June 5, 2014 - 8:15am

My idea of a legacy publisher is one who publishes books based on their sense of cultural worth rather than market potential. (I might be wrong.)

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like June 5, 2014 - 8:17am

"Author-centric" i.e. building a legacy, or developing a writer's career rather than milking trends and then disposing when sales dry up.

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore June 5, 2014 - 9:54am

According to my research of five minutes ago: CreateSpace. CreateSpace is a Legacy publisher.

 

(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

justwords's picture
justwords from suburb of Birmingham, AL is reading The Tomb, F. Paul Wilson; A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby June 5, 2014 - 11:06am

I think I read somewhere that this author is being sued about someting to do w/this series; something like people sent money to get the books, whatever, and ended up not getting merchandise or money back when requested. 

G, the cover looks like an ad, maybe for makeup? Book sounds like a SNL skit to me.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal June 5, 2014 - 11:21am

Hmm, and here I had a bone to pick with amazon over endorsing the whole internet sales tax thing...

So...  Amazon is fighting with the publishers, why exactly?

And what's the other side's beef with these "legacy" publishers?

 

Also, is there a big difference between a "legacy" publisher and a... "regular" (?) publisher?

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore June 5, 2014 - 11:31am

I think I read somewhere that this author is being sued about someting to do w/this series

So you've actually heard of that? Wow. I was just random-searching by title, and was disappointed the book wasn't one of those new creature-porn genre entries, with a cover to match.

justwords's picture
justwords from suburb of Birmingham, AL is reading The Tomb, F. Paul Wilson; A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby June 5, 2014 - 2:36pm

@GH: Yes, I'm ashamed to say I do. Hadn't heard of it listed as 'Legacy Publishers' but ... One of my best friends has a niece who writes bodice-rippers under a nom de plume for Harlequin or one of those imprints & makes really great money for a stay-at-home mom; lot of horny, romantic cougars out there. You know, it's all about the Rent!

@Thuggish: I was just taking a stab in the dark, as my Duck Search came up with several articles about that. It's the only thing that made sense to me.

Amazon is all about the bottom line, not particularly about What the customer wants as much as How Much the customer will pay. In this case, the traditional publishers (who foot the bill, by paying for paper, ink, and publicity, including tours--which are increasingly less common due to expenses-- and paying to have advance copies printed) have a lot of expenses to cover. Amazon wants to pay as little as possible, and since they're the 500-pound bear in the literary room, they pretty much can dictate price due to the guerrilla tactics they learned from watching Walmart and its negotiating process with its vendors, which not incidentally knocked a lot of Mom & Pop stores out of business in same way. 

The publishers have been fighting this as their contracts w/Amazon come up for renewal, but not a lot of publicity has gotten to the general public until Colbert, who  understandably was unhappy about (1) getting less money in royalties and (2) Really unhappy about complaints from his fans that Amazon was backordering their requests for 4 months (Amazon is just not stocking the book in their warehouses to slow down deliveries). This is all legal but not ethical, IMHO and obviously in Colbert's.

Not only that, if Amazon wins and the big publishers go out of business eventually, self-publishing will be the only way a new author or an author who doesn't sell gazillions of books (like Grisham and S. King) to go. That's tough, because as all the writers on this site know, you've Got to have publicity to move your creation unless you don't want to make any money from what Amazon sees as a product, not a work of art.

Whew! Sorry for the long-winded explanation!! 

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal June 5, 2014 - 5:07pm

My understanding is that Romance novels are the biggest genre within fiction.  

 

Anyway, so what traditional publishers are "legacy" and what aren't?

justwords's picture
justwords from suburb of Birmingham, AL is reading The Tomb, F. Paul Wilson; A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby June 5, 2014 - 8:27pm

I got the impression the bigger, well-established ones are, the usual suspects: Hatchette, Knopf, Houghton Mifflin, Simon Shuster (I guess these guys are still around; there have been so many mergers/buyouts/ etc., I can't keep up.). I support local, small, and large bookstores--not chains, and I avoid Amazon whenever possible.  Of course, it could all be about that "Touched" series.... I don't know what rants or rumors you've heard; I'm just aware of the e-book and the hardcopy books dustups going on. People generally want everything first-class while they pay bargain-basement prices, especially when the economy goes south.

And you are correct, at least as far as most books sold, about Romance. With the entrance of the borderline/well-written porn (Shades of Grey--altho I've not read that stuff; I'm old school when it comes to porn lit.--D.H. Lawrence, The Story of O, etc.) that's been making the best-seller list, they're the high-dollar game in town. Before that, I think Rowell w/the Harry Potter books was the big dog on the porch. I'm glad these authors are getting theirs, but I hate how much it kicks the new authors to the curb.

Democracy, all cultures, and people in general-- these are all better served when there is an unrestricted exchange of ideas and this includes entertainment venues, albeit Hitler and those like him fall in a gray area.. 

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated June 6, 2014 - 12:20am

If two merged, why do they call them the Big 6?

MattF's picture
MattF from Tokyo is reading Borges' Collected Fictions June 6, 2014 - 12:52am
Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated June 6, 2014 - 5:37am

I still read the phrase being used, even if About.com disagrees.

MattF's picture
MattF from Tokyo is reading Borges' Collected Fictions June 6, 2014 - 7:43am

Cool. Who are "they" by the way? Are you reading the phrase being used in reputable publications published after July 2013, or in blogs or forum posts by people that might not know or care about the merger.

And for the record, About.com is not actually disagreeing that you've read the phrase being used. 

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated June 6, 2014 - 8:17am

First I understand that they don't disagree with the fact I've read it, I was implying they disagree with it being the best choice.  I was hoping that my sarcasm that About.com being important enough to mention would come across, but I guess not.

I'm not sure why you aren't able to keep up with this, but 'they' includes pretty much everyone writing in English besides the exceptions we went over above.  You can count Telereads if you want, since they explain that it really means the Big Five when they use the term.

The rest, even if you limit it to items published/updated/whatever since August 1, 2014 use it. Small groups like you suggested,

https://www.facebook.com/thebig6ebooks

big media like the L.A. times, 

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/aug/06/entertainment/la-et-jc-public-libraries-and-big-six-publishers-fight-over-ebooks-20130805

websites aimed at professionals,

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/aug/06/entertainment/la-et-jc-public-libraries-and-big-six-publishers-fight-over-ebooks-20130805

Wikipedia pages,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HarperCollins

and the site you are on right now as you read this,

http://litreactor.com/news/lawsuit-by-indie-booksellers-against-amazon-dismissed

all seem pretty set on using the term.

MattF's picture
MattF from Tokyo is reading Borges' Collected Fictions June 6, 2014 - 4:04pm

@Thuggish: I usually see "legacy publishing" refer to the five (formerly six) big publishing houses based in NY, but its usage is a bit random. I've seen it used to describe established magazine and newspaper empires as well--the "publishing establishment" essentially.

There's a (longish) recent article in the New Yorker:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2014/02/17/140217fa_fact_packer?curre...

which discusses Amazon's relationship with publishing houses. It details some of the history of the battles justwords is describing above.

@Dwayne: it's unusual that you find that to be the case, as a very stripped-down, simple google search of "big five publishers" should prove otherwise. I list July 2013 because that's when the merger took place. A simple google search of the "big six" will lead to more articles from 2012. The LA Times article you linked twice is from August 2013, just after the merger.

Here's an article that explains the author continuing to use "big six" because Penguin and Random House have thus far maintained their identities and function independently regarding the article's topic--but it seems to be the exception rather than the rule:

http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blog/big-six-publishers-and-lib...

The About.com article I linked above might be of interest to the general discussion because it lists the big five publishing houses and lists several of their imprints as well (for example knopf is an imprint of Penguin Random House).

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated June 6, 2014 - 9:24pm

They why is debateable, but I'm not sure why you don't get that you are abstractly, observably wrong here that the term Big Six is still in use more.  As in this isn't my opinion, but a fact.  Maybe pictures will help.  The below is a side by side comparison of the number of times the term "Big Six publishers" has been used in the past year on Google search with "Big Five publishers."  It you look, you will see I've circled in red the numbers, and the term Big Six is used about 4.6112600536193029490616621983914 times more than Big Five.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal June 7, 2014 - 9:55pm

I'm starting to think that an amusing piece of tongue and cheek dystopia whatever fiction would be the cliched ol' corporation grows so big that it takes over the world...  but it turns out to be amazon.  (this is an idea i had after the first couple paragraphs of that article.)  it's not faceless, it's not a bank, it's not a tech company...  they just sell shit, and end up selling literally everything.

hmm...

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated June 8, 2014 - 1:55am

I think a more serious one that could be awesome would be the mega corp that was more like the Spacers Guild from Dune.  No, we don't want to run everything.  Or anything.  Stop trying to get us to take over the Galaxy, we don't want your evil plans!  We just want to make money.  That's it.  No deeper meaning, no evil plan, nothing.

L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami June 8, 2014 - 10:33am

So is the assumption that it would eventually make slef-pubbing the only way?

I'd rather not publish with Amazon as long as possible.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal June 8, 2014 - 1:22pm

So, having at last finished the article at this point (possibly the longest one article I've ever finished in my life ), I find some interesting hypocricies.

Name, amazon talks about being customer-data driven and all these things, right?  They're allllll about the customer- and in many ways I think they're pulling that off and doing a good job.

But!  They are also known to NOT put yours in the "suggested" "similar items" whatever it's called section of a pate.  And they are also known to give precedence in a search to those publishers (and I'd assume other businesses) who play their game, while not only biasing a search against certain brands/publishers/whatever, but ALSO taking away the buy option, purposely delaying sales and/or deliveries...  

If there's one consistency with amazon, it's that they declare themselves to be customer oriented.  Clearly their customers are at least collateral damage when it comes to these policies.  So... if they're really so customer oriented... why would they be doing all this?

justwords's picture
justwords from suburb of Birmingham, AL is reading The Tomb, F. Paul Wilson; A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby June 8, 2014 - 8:31pm

^T: they're making a buck. Many, many thousands of millions of bucks. They'll deny their own mothers to make a buck. They don't care about the customer; they don't have to--- they're Amazon. Same with Walmart. This is why monopolies are a bad thing. Of course, what do I know? I'm just a customer, a moderate liberal; I have at least 2 friends who love Ayn Rand economics and Rand Paul and think free market and capitalism are the best things in the world and can do no wrong. I believe in some regulation. Otherwise the bullies take over the schoolyard, and we end up with a bunch of Vanderbilts, Hearsts, Murdocks, and I'm not even talking about the Tech/Silicon Valley high-dollar rollers. 

Oops, sorry, here's the soapbox back. (Yeah, I know: "why don't I tell you how I really feel?" My mom always told me I need to quit talking when it comes to politics and religion; she was definitely right.)

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated June 8, 2014 - 10:41pm

The problem with 'some regulation' is it tends to create oligarchies with a few large businesses that have little/no serious competition. Like the Big Six publishers.  I don't think Amazon is there because they love us/are great people, but they have forced legacy publishers to change.  I'm not sure the old guard are getting it right, or it isn't too little too late, but they are trying.

And remember Amazon simply can't keep this up.  It isn't turning a profit or paying dividends, and eventually investors will insist they do.  

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-10-24/same-old-amazon-all-sales-no-profit

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ey/2014/06/03/can-entrepreneurship-rescue-a-lost-generation/