As publisher Hachette claims that Amazon is deliberately delaying deliveries of some of their titles to customers, independent booksellers are making no secret of whose side they’re on.
Hachette spokesperson Sophie Cottrell told the New York Times that “We are satisfying all Amazon’s orders promptly” and that she believes the company is delaying the books “for reasons of their own.” Titles such as “America Again” by Stephen Colbert and “Alex Cross, Run” by James Patterson are currently listed on Amazon as taking between three to five weeks to reach customers. (Publishers Lunch reported that Amazon and Hachette were involved in discussions about “revised terms of sale.”)
Chain Books-a-Million's president and CEO Terrance G. Finley said in a statement that it “values our partnership with Hachette Book Group and has been selling their books throughout our history, and we will continue to do so, both online and in our more than 258 retail locations.”
Now many indie stores have made statements expressing their support for Hachette or poking fun at the disagreement. As noted by industry newsletter Shelf Awareness, New Jersey’s [words] bookstore urged customers to read the NYT article describing the controversy, calling it “disturbing” and writing on Facebook that the store “proudly carries books published by the Hachette Book Group.”
Later, bookstore staff wrote, “Protect authors, including Maplewood favorite Stephen Colbert. Buy Hachette and other fine books now while you still can from wordsbookstore.com and other indie retailers. Stop America's 'Putin' now.”
Meanwhile, Porter Square Books of Massachusetts took a tongue-in-cheek approach, tweeting that the store “both fulfill[s] Hachette orders AND ha[s] cheap e-books. I know, weird, right.” California’s Green Apple Books tweeted, “Not only do we have thousands of @HachetteUS on the shelves, you don't have to wait even a day to get them!"
Publisher Small Beer Press also commented on the brouhaha, expressing support for independently owned outlets.
“Who doesn't do hatchet jobs on Hachette and is shipping today?” company staff wrote on their Twitter account. “Every Indie Bookshop!"