The feud between Amazon and Hachette has been detrimental to many authors and readers. Not only are readers not getting access to upcoming titles, authors are not able to market their new releases. Amazon, at least, is now making it possible for the authors to make a bit more money off the ebooks they do manage to sell.
Like any other publishing company, Hachette makes a percentage out of every book they sell, whether it is a hard copy or an ebook. This percentage can vary a little from company to company but there is a standard.
Amazon is now offering to give authors one hundred percent of the revenue on their ebook sales, which, if true, could mean a huge financial boost to these authors affected by the battle between Amazon and Hachette. Of course, the authors still have a contract with Hachette, so they would probably not be able to keep the hundred percent of the ebook sales, but it still shows that Amazon is willing to negotiate.
Amazon is known for being very PR-guided. They have suffered a backlash of negativity from this fight with Hachette and have lost many customers who instead prefer to take their business to independent bookstores, even online ones. This could easily be seen as a way to appease some of the upset customers and fix the way people see them.
They claim they have been trying to resolve this issue with Hachette, but there has been no real compromise. This offer of a hundred percent cut for Hachette author ebooks is more like a Band-Aid than anything else. The problem still exists, and though it is a nice thought that the authors are getting more money for their ebooks, is it really true?
Yes, maybe Amazon is willing to lose their own percentage in each sale, but Hachette still has a contract with the authors stating that they get a certain percent of each ebook and hard copy sold, whether in a bookstore or through Amazon. This means that, in the long run, the author is still not going to get the compensation he or she deserves after dealing with great loss of pre-order sales. For debut authors, who depend on these pre-order sales, this quick fix is too little, too late.
A debut author who is not able to get the kind of pre-sales expected runs a very good chance of not being able to earn the kind of royalties they need to make a living, so in essence, Amazon has still done a great disservice to people who deserved more. Offering them a hundred percent cuts on ebooks is not going to be enough.
It doesn’t seem that this offer Amazon has put on the table will make a big change in what the Hachette authors have been going through. It seems much more like a ploy to get their public image cleaned up.