Why Patterson fights Amazon to save indie bookstores.

James Patterson: battling Amazon and spending money to save indie bookstores
James Patterson: battling Amazon and spending money to save indie bookstores

AT FIRST, I was shocked.

Then stunned.’

Then I read the details.

Of course, I always try to skip the details.

The illustrious James Patterson, whose name is on more mysteries in a year than most authors can write in a lifetime, received an award at Book Expo.

That’s no surprise.

James Patterson is a big-time author.

He sells a lot of books.

However, I read the headline and saw where Patterson had been given the Indie Champion Award.

That stopped me dead in my tracks.

Patterson has a traditional New York publisher.

He’s no indie.

He never was an indie.

But Patterson was an honored recipient because he and his enterprises had given one million dollars to provide assistance to independent bookstores.

That’s good.

Patterson fears independent bookstores are on the threshold of going out of business.

He wants to save them.

They sell a lot of his books.

He does not want to see them dry up and be driven out of business by the villainous  ePublishing.

It seems that James Patterson is waging a one-man war with Amazon.

He doesn’t like Amazon.

He has called Amazon’s business practices a “national tragedy.”

“Amazon,” he said, “seems out to control shopping in this county. This ultimately will have an effect on every grocery and department store chain and every big box store and ultimately put thousands of mom and pop stores out of business. It sounds like a monopoly to me. Amazon also wants to control bookselling, the book business and book publishing… If this is the new American way, it has to be changed by law if necessary.”

Of course, Patterson is involved with the Hatchette Book Group, and Hatchette is in a street fight with Amazon.

Hatchette is a big shot among publishers.

Amazon is bigger.

Negotiations weren’t going well.

Hatchette wanted more.

Amazon wasn’t giving more.

Hatchette dug in its heels.

Amazon, so it’s told, simply delayed shipping on certain Hatchette titles, then made it impossible for customers to pre-order some of Hatchee’s upcoming books.

James Patterson’s name was on some of those books.

He got mad.

Now he’s trying to get even.

Help the independent book stores and create problems for Amazon.

That’s his battle cry.

Good luck.

It’s a fight that looks winnable on paper.

It’s not winnable at all.

But Patterson is throwing his money around like bullets in the wind, and independent bookstores are reaping the benefits.

This is all a bookstore has to do to pick up some of his funds.

  • Be viable.
  • Have a children’s section.
  • Write to him and tell him how they will use the money.

One bookstore bought a van and carried books to children in poor neighborhoods.

One coordinated with schools to being in authors to meet with and speak to the students.

As one bookstore manager said: “Patterson has made a world of difference. We get letters from kids and schools thanking us and Mr. Patterson. It makes kids feel empowered.”

James Patterson is not through.

He has said that he will distribute another million dollars to indie bookstores if there is a need.

There is a need, and I have an idea.

Why don’t these independent bookstores use the funds to create an avenue where indie authors can distribute their books from coast to coast, or at least throughout a particular region?

Indie bookstores are dying.

And they have never cooperated with indie authors.

Oh, they take a few books by local authors on consignment, stick them on a shelf, and forget them.

But they have never treated indie authors right, looking down their collective noses at them as second-class writers.

They shut their bookshelves to indie books.

And soon their bookshelves will be empty.

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  • Roger Summers

    Agreed.

  • Readers vote with their dollars – you can’t force someone to pay $35 for a hardback or $15 for an ebook. And you can’t force me to read Patterson – but I don’t want to block other peoples’ access to his books, and he does want to block access to the ones I’m writing.

    • Caleb Pirtle

      Patterson is like the rest of us – fighting to preserve places that sell his books.

  • Darlene Jones

    I fear Mr. Patterson is fighting a losing battle and missing an important aspect of the writing world – indie authors. His money would be better spent helping indie authors publicize their books and selling them via means other than Amazon OR setting up an publishing house for indie author ebooks.

    • Caleb Pirtle

      I fear he is fighting the battle solely for the benefit of James Patterson’s ability to sell books.

  • Caleb,
    It is almost beyond belief for me to hear someone like Patterson point a finger at Amazon and yell monopoly when the big publishers operated a monopoly for years. The only thing that has changed is the guy who has the biggest stick. It used to be the New York publishers, now it’s Amazon. C’est la vie. Indie authors are still on the short end of the stick.

    • Caleb Pirtle

      It’s all about Patterson, I assure you.

  • Bert Carson

    Patterson is concerned about losing sales outlets we don’t have and will probably never have. It’s hard to identify with that battle.

    • Caleb Pirtle

      It sounds like a lot of money when you give a million dollars to indie bookstores. It’s a drop in the bucket for a man earning 80 million a year in book stores, a man who wants to keep the indies open so he can sell more books.

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