At the time of this writing, Amazon Corporation is in a financial and political dispute with the Hachette Book Group. This conflict has become so personal that it spilled from the corporate boardrooms into the streets. Authors of the most successful books to the most lowly bloggers have been pulled into the fray. There is great anger on both sides, with even greater confusion about who are the good guys. At the core of it all is a business issue that seems simple when examined superficially.
The dispute concerns which middleman corporation may set prices for Hachette e-books that are sold by Amazon. Both corporations know what is best for us and the overall industry, of course. Amazon is seeking lower prices overall, while Hachette is trying to keep e-book prices at paperback levels. From a simplistic analysis, it would appear that Hachette is attempting to maintain fair compensation for authors and itself, while Amazon is on the side of consumers and a rapidly-growing market. Neither is entirely true; especially concerning Hachette in getting fair compensation for its authors, for its history proves otherwise.
With the old media companies, even big name authors are exceedingly lucky to get three dollars per sale. To appropriately contrast Hachette's business with Amazon's, we small-timers (at Health Wyze Media) are getting paid about 10 dollars for every book sale, we are not required to wait a year for the money, and the deal includes free distribution throughout hundreds of resellers and Amazon main. Meanwhile, through back-room deals and intimidation, old media companies like Hachette are blocking independent authors from getting their books inside bookstores and other retailers. By publishing through Amazon's CreateSpace division, we did not have to sign-away our rights, so we did what we do best, without selling out. It truly is the contrast between good and evil. Some of the old industry's authors never get paid anything, and this is not always because of low sales. Whether it is mostly due to greed, or a combination of greed and incompetence, the final bankrupting result is the same for the people who did all of the work, and yet customers are expected to pay a premium price for the creative work. Unfortunately, most people realize the true price of making a deal with the Devil when it is too late, and years of labor are forever lost. Which brings me to another point about how our work will never be "out of print" or "unavailable", because Amazon did not ask us to surrender our rights. We shall never be like the old industry authors who get the plug pulled on their work forever. It must be incredibly heart-breaking, and of course, financially ruining. So much for the welfare of authors and fair compensation. Except for those pets of the industry, like Stephen King, this is the eventual fate of practically all authors who are naive enough to deal with the meat grinder known as the publishing industry. The transition from success to has-been happens quickly on the night when they pull the plug. It is the act of removing life support.
We have been involved in media long enough to know how the old media industry cheats, steals, and lies to maintain its position as a parasite to both the media creators and consumers alike. The agenda for the various Hachettes is to maintain their monopolistic cartels by eliminating our choices, and to price gouge everyone for as long as they can maintain their empires. It is something that you will never read in the public announcements, but it is business as usual.
The dispute between Amazon and Hachette became public, as both groups exchanged heated e-mails that were widely shared with customers, authors, and various media organizations. Both groups have been recruiting their faithful in an attempt to generate enough public pressure to force concessions from the other side. The mainstream media has shown itself to be thoroughly biased in favor of obtaining a public relation's victory for Hachette, which has led many to believe that Hachette must have the moral high ground. It indicates that the general public somehow has not been lied to enough to question everything reported by the establishment, which is truly a bewildering realization for us. Regardless, it should actually be expected that the established media organizations would support the old publishing industry, since they are the very same industry, which finds itself so threatened by the freedom and paradigm shift that Amazon offers for all of us. To the parasites, Amazon represents an extension of the Internet's power, which is poised to bring a true freedom of press and an eventual destruction of the old cartel. Once it happens, people will realize how the publishing cartel has intellectually stifled our society for a century, and the people will never let it happen again. The academic and cultural theft is beyond comprehension.
Our Personal Publishing Experience
Those who know of our media work may find themselves surprised to learn that we got a close look at the internals of the publishing industry, because we did everything ourselves, without any assistance or agents of any kind. Our first work was rejected by everyone, for we went through the normal publishing channels of using agents and publishing companies. Our work was not politically correct enough for publication. The problem was not a lack of quality or substance. The problem was that we were trying to write things which people are not allowed to publish. It remains an unpublished book that is called, Love: The Opposite of Power. It cataloged how sociopaths are much more common than we like to believe, and it honestly discussed how guilt is often shared in long-term abusive relationships, for 'victims' co-dependently learn to play a role in perpetuating the abuse, so that only a two-pronged approach can fix an abusive relationship. It certainly got interesting responses from the feminists, who are so entrenched throughout the publishing industry. Their man-hate is responsible for the media attacking everything family-related, moral, and masculine, which sometimes includes attacking even God himself. Our book was meant to help victims on a level never before possible, for it approached the abuse topic with an understanding and honesty that these people have always prevented the public from being exposed to. It flew against their mantra of "good women versus bad men". Thus, we should have better anticipated the reaction that we got.
All of us should focus upon how these elitists have poisoned our society by being the self-appointed gate keepers of the information and ideas that we get exposed to. Instead of bolstering their elitist positions, we ought to be violently outraged. How dare they! How many families have been destroyed, and how many people have died during the last 10 years because we were not allowed to communicate a way to compassionately fix what was broken? We are not so angry because we lost prestige and money from the industry's oppression. We are particularly angry because we had something truly special to share, and they tried to kill it specifically because it was remarkable. They considered it to be politically inappropriate, so innocent families would continue to be sacrificed upon their alter of feminism. There is disgusting irony in knowing that women are dying to prevent us from questioning the 'principles' of feminism. Again, what we have witnessed ought to be seen in the light of good versus evil, for the issues go well beyond business decisions, and the enslaving politics is truly evil.
The uninitiated masses will feel that my statements about the old media cartel are exaggerations, paranoia, or some form of grandstanding. This I can anticipate. It will happen because I know what I know, and I know a few things that they do not know. I shall explain by example, using an actual case history. Our second venture into publishing was with a retail magazine called, Naturally Good Magazine. It survived not much longer than our original book did, and our retailer began shredding our magazines after a hysterical telephone call with me, wherein I was told that they could have no more contact with us. We had obviously written something a little too honestly and upset someone. It is what we do best, in fact. Before the disaster happened with our retailer, we learned some things about the publishing industry that have never ceased to disturb us. One of these things was that the publishing industry has secret genres intended for playing marketing and psychological games with the rest of us. One of the secret genres is called "hi-lo". It refers to materials that are meant to be of high interest for people of very low intelligence. Hence, "hi-low". More disturbing is that most of the books and magazines that are allowed to be published are for this genre. If you ever wondered if proof could ever be found that they are conspiring to destroy our educational systems, our culture, and to dumb us down -- now you know. These are the people telling us that they are the good guys, and that we can really trust them this time, honestly. Meanwhile, your local book store is full of stories about vampires and werewolves, sometimes in the adult and academic sections, no less. Another shelf over, and we can find books about spell casting and tarot cards, and perhaps that "50 shades" trash that seems to have been written by an illiterate junior high student. Thus, our literary overlords are not merely the opponents of good literature and learning, but of our Christian civilization as a whole. Amazon, on the other hand, is called evil by these elitists for trying to break through their legally-questionable barriers, in its attempts to give us a true freedom of speech and press, as only the power of the Internet could.
The old media companies deceptively create websites and start book clubs under the guise of helping readers to find a variety of books, but unbeknownst to their readers; they only showcase the books that they publish. In most cases, the publisher's name is never mentioned. The old publishing houses limit our choices by deciding which books we even know about. Despite their claims, they're not interested in fairness or spreading good literature. In contrast, Amazon does not play these games. It lists books regardless of who published them, and it is inclusive of those who self-publish. By doing so, it encourages diversity of literature, gives all authors a chance at recognition, and makes it possible for people to have access to the knowledge that they seek in any subject.
The Free Market Versus the Hachette Group
Some will argue that Hachette and its authors have a right to set prices however they wish for all creative works that they have the legal rights to. This is absolutely true from a purely legal perspective. On impulse, it would likewise seem to be morally true, but there are mitigating factors at play, of which we are not supposed to know. The P.R. suits at Hachette would love for us to believe that they are just trying to protect the careers of its great vampire and werewolf authors alike. You see, they are not really in the business for the lucrative money. They just want to help us poor authors. So, who would write the next book for Hachette about tarot cards if Amazon keeps pressuring them to lower their prices for e-books? They contend that it is important for them to continue fostering the shoddy talent that the industry has become so infamous for. Visit any book store to remove any doubts that they are most certainly not fostering real talent or promoting any worthy authors. Most of their authors get the scraps in comparison to Amazon's authors, and it has been that way since Amazon opened for business.
Here is the gotcha that changes everything, and it is what lays behind Hachette's smoke and mirrors. I believe that in actuality, Hachette is not seeking fairness or a free market. A free and open market is what Hachette and its peers fear the most. Those dinosaurs could not survive in a truly free market that has real competition. As the dominant companies at play, any change whatsoever in the status quo could forever upset their cartel, and regaining their former monopoly would be impossible once readers and authors taste freedom. They know it is coming, so they prepare. The face of this revolution is called Amazon, but it is one of many, and the cartel's real business threat is the Internet itself. It explains Hachette's ridiculously high prices for e-books. The unfriendly pricing is not about making money. I believe that it is actually about losing money -- intentionally. They want to slow and sabotage the e-book market as much as possible, so I think that they are participating in a type of economic warfare to sacrifice a tiny part of their business (e-books) to revive the more lucrative part. The new digital systems and the Internet are the new printing presses, and Hachette is going to use every dirty trick to convince us that the new technologies are inferior and more expensive, despite the opposite being true. The company is playing authors for fools, and convincing them that it is acting in their benefit.
As an author and an American, this struggle goes way beyond who gets to make the rules, and who gets the bigger royalty payments. Sure those things are important, but money comes and goes. Freedom is something far more precious to us as individuals and as a society. We Americans take for granted that we have a freedom of speech and a free press, but I can attest that we Americans have not had these things for a very long time. Just try to publish something that challenges the establishment in the United States, and you will quickly learn how unfree we are. We already know. We managed to publish such a work, but we did not do it through an old media conglomerate. We knew that it simply would not be an option, nor would it ever be an option before these intellectual overlords are unseated from power. With the help of Amazon's CreateSpace division, we were welcome to publish our book, Defy Your Doctor and Be Healed. They actually showed us respect, did not try to politically correct ("edit") our work, and then they paid us monthly at a rate many times greater than old industry authors ever get. That's freedom, and I hope that more authors get a taste of it. None of the usual overlords can decide that our writing is too controversial, and then make our book permanently "out of print". Other authors, who sold themselves for the promise of big money (often to never get it), have this terror hanging over them forever. The elitists lie to them, and claim that Amazon is our enemy, but Amazon is poised to be our liberator. There is only one group who should be afraid of Amazon, and this group deserves to live in fear. What Amazon and other similar companies represent to our society is a breath of hope that we have been missing for a very long time. Do not support Amazon because it is cheaper. Do it because it is a ray of hope in restoring academia, our culture, freedom of the press, and freedom of speech. Money comes and goes, but these things are worth living and dying for.
A World Without Amazon and the Internet
Some of you are old enough to remember the world without an Internet, and I am old enough to remember having only 3 television channels. Deregulation (a free market) of both the media and the Internet led to the greatest leaps of innovation and communication that the world has ever experienced. What state would we find ourselves in now if the old media companies had been successful in thwarting progress, as they earnestly tried to do? This war-like mentality has developed whenever there has been a technological leap. We historically find that established companies are always soon at war with everyone else to stop progress, while pretending to be the good guys. Perhaps if the publishing empires had not such a stranglehold upon our media, then we would know enough about history to prevent it from happening again. It is similar to the problem with mixing vampires and werewolves, isn't it?
If you are one of the Hachette authors who is angry, then remember that I got to write exactly what I needed to, and nobody "fixed" my work. Perhaps you will get angrier when you finally realize that I am free and you merely labored for years to perpetuate your own slavery.