|Posted on May 28, 2014 at 11:40 AM|
I read an article regarding contract negotiations between a publishing company and a major book distributor. Not that big of a deal; contract negotiations happen in all facets of daily business. What saddened me was that since neither parties have been able to come to a common agreement, the distributor has decided to pull all titles of the authors, who use said publisher, from their catalogs and website.
Did the distributor screw themselves, or just the author and the readers?
Although they have one of the largest distribution networks globally, it doesn’t mean that they are the only “game in town.” The distributor’s competitors are offering massive sales discounts on the “pulled” titles. I can’t really say that I blame them. Why shouldn’t they profit off someone else’s mistake? Especially since it is a stupid mistake.
Big business can and is affecting artistic freedom and the ability to connect with the audience; in this case, the readers. While these two companies are hashing it out, who is really suffering because of this? The authors and the readers are only trying to continue their romance. We write, you read. That’s our relationship, and it’s been working out fine. Just because mom and dad can’t agree on what’s for dinner, why do the kids have to starve?
Now, I completely understand that this is a business as well. As an author, we tend to profit from what we write. Everybody always gets paid before the artist though. I’m cool with that.
What I’m not cool with, is some person, company, entity, etc., making an arbitrary decision to stop delivering our form of entertainment because they want to increase their profits, and going about it a “screw you” type of way. You don’t take away the books until AFTER the negotiations have failed, not during. That’s just plain wrong and makes them look like bullies.
Where is this going to stop? How is something like this not a form of censorship? This is Slaughterhouse Five and the 1970s all over again. The only difference is that this is not about the “misunderstood content of the author’s imagination”; this is about a schoolyard bully beating up another nerd for his lunch money because they want more.
Think about this… What’s to keep something like this from happening to say, network and television? Consumer products and the buyers? Relief organizations and disaster victims?
“I want more money.”
“Let’s talk about that.”
“No. I’m tired of talking and not getting what I want.”
“What does that mean?”
“If you don’t give me what I want, I’ll make everyone miserable until I get it.”
It sounds like a parent having a discussion with their child, or a super villain preparing to destroy the world. I can’t really tell the difference.
It’s a real shame when greed gets in the middle of something as simple as reading a story. I’m fairly certain that no consideration has been given to the collateral effect of their decision. If they thought with something else other than their wallets, they just might see the damage their reputation is suffering in the eyes of the artist and consumer.
I have an idea. Why don’t the people that care most about their perceived shares, who owns what, and how often they should get it, sit in a cold room somewhere and figure out how their lives became so petty and indifferent. The rest of us will read a book.