Amazon wasn't the place to buy J.K. Rowling's new book

'The Silkworm'

An employee of Waterstones poses with a copy of 'The Silkworm' by author Robert Galbraith, aka Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling, as it goes on sale for the first time at a bookshop in London on June 19, 2014.

The stand-off between Amazon and publisher Hachette is complicating the release of the new Robert Galbraith (a.k.a., J.K. Rowling) novel, "The Silkworm".

Amazon didn’t allow pre-orders of the book. If you order it today, Amazon promises delivery in two to four weeks.

Meanwhile, independent stores like Carmichael’s Bookstore in Louisville, Kentucky, have taken pre-orders and have copies of "The Silkworm" for sale today.

Customers ask questions about the dispute between the publisher and Amazon. Owner Michael Boggs says, “We’ve kind of taken advantage of it by pushing Hachette books. Doing a little window of Hachette books, saying, 'You can buy these here today.’”

Big retailers like Wal-Mart and Barnes & Noble are offering discounts on Hachette books in an attempt to win customers away from Amazon.

But the smaller, independent booksellers may benefit most.

“It’s a great advantage if someone doesn’t want to sell a book. Then I have the opportunity to get that sale,” says Wyatt Wergzyn, who co-owns Bookworks in Albuquerque.

Amazon tactics with Hachette have backfired in terms of public relations. Consumer Jim Dembowski used to buy a lot of books on Amazon. Now, he says, “it’s made me think twice about how much I want to patronize Amazon.”

Store owner Wergzyn is putting stickers on the books he sells. He downloaded the stickers from the website of humorist and Hachette author Stephen Colbert. The stickers read, ‘I didn’t buy it on Amazon.’

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...