Neil Gaiman’s views on the Amazon/Hachette spat seem to have evolved a little since Chris Meadows last reported on them in mid-June. According to an answer to a self-published author and fan recently posted on “the official Neil Gaiman Tumblr, but honestly no better than the unofficial Neil Gaiman Tumblrs out there,” Gaiman now says: “I don’t see an enemy. I see two huge multinational corporations having a fight over contracts and terms, and authors staring up at them from ground level. It’s like Godzilla battling Gamera, and we’re looking up from the sidewalks of New York rather worried that a skyscraper might topple on us.”

Gaiman also speaks positively of the commentary of Chuck Wendig, which I’ve not exactly been favorable to in the past. And he does add: “My wife’s a Hachette Author now, and she has a big book coming out in November, which you cannot pre-order through Amazon. Which sucks. I don’t regard Amazon as the enemy, any more than I regarded Barnes and Noble as the enemy when they had a dispute with DC Comics and stopped selling the hundred top DC Comics Graphic Novels in their stores (which included 17 books by me, including all Sandman). But this seems like a good time to remind people about other places to buy books.”

Arguably it’s never been a bad time for that. But also, if even an internationally famous author like Neil Gaiman feels like a tiny vulnerable onlooker in the struggle, perhaps it is time to look at taking power and options out of these contenders’ hands. Both of them.


  1. It makes no sense to talk of this as just a Amazon/Hachette dispute any more. Amazon’s embroiled in unpleasant negotiations with a German publishers, with publishers in Japan, and with Disney.

    This may help those on the fence. Imagine that four people you knew had been in fights recently and these were the facts.

    * Al fought with Harold

    * Al fought with Bill

    * Al fought with Charles

    It’s not hard to figure how who must be responsible for those fights. Moral equivalent arguments also look dubious. Harold, Bill and Charles aren’t fighting one another. The common denominator is Al.

  2. By Perry’s logic, the U.S. was responsible for WW2 (Germany, Japan and Italy weren’t fighting each other), Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Mandela were each reponsible for their various multiple arrests (the authorities of the cities involved were not trying to arrest each other), and every hero of history, legend, or fiction who ever stood against greater odds was responsible for the conflict in which they were involved.

    I really don’t care where you stand on Amazon versus Hachette. That kind of argument is just too bizarre to let stand.

  3. I agree, it’s a dumb argument. I could just as easily say Harold, Bill, and Charles are corporate attorneys from different companies each polluting a different river. Al is a lawyer for an environmental group. In that case it makes sense that Al would be fighting all three.

    I’m not saying Amazon is squeaky clean; they are (currently) King of the hill and lots of others want to knock them down the slope. And take their place? Who knows what schemes lurk in the hearts of corporations. (Ok, I do know: take the biggest piece of the pie you can and make as much money as possible. They’re all guilty there.)

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail