Hachette v. Amazon

I became interested in Gil McNeil’s A Good Year For The Roses because it’s set in a small British village, and that’s all it took to interest me. Also gardening. But I bumped it to the top of my NetGalley queue (that is a bit like a Netflix queue, for those of us who read all day) when I read about how Amazon is punishing publisher Hachette for publishing a book criticizing Amazon.

Look, I usually love Amazon, and when Amazon started offering indie games, I wrote about how great this would be for indie devs and for gaming bloggers, because it enables developers to sell their games without being forced to work with a publisher. And it enables gaming bloggers to offer those indie games for sale as Amazon affiliates, helping reviewers make money, too. I read plenty of editorials about how disruptive this model is, about how sales and distribution have opened for indies, allowing a good product to get straight to interested customers, and about the irrelevance of publishers. I think I even wrote a couple of these…

But Amazon’s unexplained delays and unavailability for Hachette titles is some serious evil-empire activity. Sure, if you’re determined to read a Hachette book, there’s nothing stopping you from going to another bookstore and ordering it. But authors writing for an imprint or publisher on the Amazon naughty list are going to lose a lot of sales from Amazon recommendations, one-click Kindle readers, and Prime customers. Plus, book bloggers won’t be able to use Amazon affiliate links (Or sidebar widgets. Or any other the other ways bloggers can use Amazon to make their reviews profitable.), making a serious disincentive to review Hachette titles.  I’ve been writing on indie games and indie writers for several years now, but as I think about the affected authors, I find myself, bizarrely, sympathizing with the publisher. That’s a new one for me.

So that’s how I ended up reading and reviewing the Hachette novel, A Good Year For The Roses.

In the beginning of Gil McNeil’s novel A Good Year For The Roses, Molly inherits her Aunt Helena’s ancient bed-and-breakfast, and brings her three sons from London to a small village full of delightful characters.

See… I told you it was about a British village… it just took me a little while to get around to that part.

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